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Fertilizer and The Environment

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

Sometimes we get so eager about lawn maintenance we forget how we are affecting our neighbors and community. In neighborhoods that are close to rivers, lakes, or the ocean, lawn fertilizer can have some dire environmental effects. Here are some pointers to keep your gardening environmentally safe for everyone.

Poorly applied fertilizers run off lawns into local springs, streams, lakes, rivers and, ultimately, into the ocean. Because fertilizer is often highly toxic, the results harm waterways and the plants and animals that depend on our water for survival.
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Well Applied Fertilizer Helps The Environment

What's interesting is that if fertilizer is applied wisely, it not only creates a better, thicker lawn, but that denser lawn becomes a better sponge to absorb toxic runoff before it goes off into the waterways.

More Is Not Better

Remember: When it comes to fertilizers, more is not necessarily better. Read and follow all instructions. Excess fertilizer that washes off lawns is wasted and harmful.

Use Slow Release Fertilizer

Use slow release fertilizer. Because its effectiveness is spread over time, the fertilizer is less likely to end up draining away and more likely to be helping the plant life you intended it for.

Don't Fertilize In Rainy Season

Don't fertilize your garden when rain storms are forecast. The rain will push any fertilizer right off the lawn into the drainage. Applied fertilizer will have to be applied again.

And during a rainy season, avoid using water-soluble, quick-release nitrogen, such as ammonium nitrate, urea ammonium phosphate, or potassium chloride. Rain is likely to wash it quickly past the root zone. Fertilize only when needed and use only 100 percent slow-release nitrogen products, biosolids and sludge- or organic-based fertilizers.

About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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