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Lake Friendly Fertilizer

Lake Friendly Fertilizer; Now available!

In a previous newsletter there was an article titled, "Feed Your Lawn; Not The Lake." The subject of the article was the negative impact that phosphorous has on fresh water lakes. Phosphorous is the "limiting factor," which can be interpreted as the growth factor for aquatic vegetation in fresh water, (nitrogen is the limiting factor in salt water bodies.) If you do lawn maintenance yourself or employ a lawn maintenance company, you need to have a discussion with them about the non-necessity phosphorous applications on established lawns. Many of these companies are well aware of the problem and are happy to comply.
The excess introduction of phosphorous through fertilizer encourages aquatic plant growth in the lake. Nitrogen is what makes the lawn look nice and green. Phosphorous is not needed in an established lawn. (New lawns may require phosphorous to initially set up a good root system, a soil test will  indicate if phosphorous is needed. The Cornell Cooperative Extension provides inexpensive soil testing for phosphorous level and soil typing. The cost is a mere $10, and takes a days time,  just bring in a cup of soil. For $15, a soil test kit is available for  a much more extensive testing of soil parameters. To contact the Extension, which is located above the Motor Vehicle Dept. in Brewster, call 845-278-6738 for further information.

There are three (3) numbers on a bag of fertilizer: the first indicates Nitrogen, the second indicates Phosphorous and the third, is Potash. Lesco, a major manufacturer, makes a lawn fertilizer product with a 24-0-12 designation meaning no phosphorous. It is sold at their distribution center at 2 John Walsh Blvd., Peekskill, NY. A 50 lb. bag costs $17.75 and it covers 12,000 sq. ft. Their phone # is 914-736-9056. Your lake will thank you.

You can help by:  
  • Eliminate using fertilizer containing phosphorus
  • Use only slow release or organic fertilizers .
  • Clean up any fertilizer that gets on pavement areas where it may wash off into the lake.
  • Water after fertilizing but do not over water.
  • Always read the fertilizer cautionary labels. Some are not recommended to be used near water.
  • Have your soil tested and follow soil test recommendations on the correct fertilizer blend.
  • Leave a strip of unmanaged grasses or natural vegetation around the shoreline as a buffer zone.
  • Another method is to construct and maintain a modified "berm" along the shoreline. This is best described as a slight hump in the ground that would  run near and parallel to the shoreline. This rise in the ground/lawn will serve as an obstacle to the rapid and direct nutrient-rich runoff into the lake.