Lake Friendly Lawn Care

Preamble:  “Lake Friendly” lawn care is very similar to “regular” common sense lawn care.  The difference is two-fold – 1. The presence of an obvious target, and 2. Heightened sensitivity of the owners of the site.

That said, the practices that will prevent pollution are:

  1. Encourage infiltration, not runoff. Seven ways:

-soil modification

-core aeration

-reduce slope

-delayed irrigation starts

-reduce thatch

-conduct an irrigation audit

-use a broom or blower to move fertilizer particles back to the lawn and off the           sidewalk, driveway or street


  1. Use Slow Release Nitrogen

-use turf math to apply lighter amounts than called for on the fertilizer bag label; divide the amount desired by the % nitrogen in the product; provides the amount to use per 1,000 sq. ft.  ex. 0.5 lb N desired/0.28 equals 1.78 lbs of product to be applied for every 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn

-use the holiday schedule for both warm and cool season turf species              Warm Season – Buffalograss, Zoysiagrasas – Memorial Day, 4th of July

Cool Season – Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Turf Type Tall Fescue – Arbor Day,  Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day

-don’t apply phosphorous unless a need has been established through a soil test.

  1. Rhizomatous species of turf have more capacity to prevent pollution

-more thatch and mat exists to retain applied nutrients

  1. Thin turf stands allow more runoff

-so, don’t avoid fertilization.

-don’t overfertilize or underfertilize.

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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