Healthy Lawns & Gardens

Water Runoff

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) considers stormwater runoff from yards, gardens, driveways, streets and parking lots to be one of the most significant sources of contamination in the nation’s waters. 


Homeowners use 10 times more chemicals per acre, in the form of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, than farmers use on crops. These chemicals are often washed off the lawn or garden with only a small amount of rainfall, or the lawn sprinkler that is used to water them in. 

The excess rainwater carries these chemicals to the gutters and storm drains and deposits them in the nearest water body through the storm water drainage system.

Watering Can

Healthy Lawn Tips

Simple changes in lawn care habits can make a dramatic difference in areas waterways. Review the following ideas for changes in your lawn care habits:

  • Grass clippings left on the lawn contribute much of the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium the lawn needs. Clover is another free fertilizer. It takes nitrogen from the air and feeds the soil. Clover can provide up to 30% of a lawn’s nitrogen requirement.
  • A lawn does not have to be “perfect” to be healthy and meet the needs of your family. Fewer chemicals on the lawn are fewer chemicals for your children and pets to come in contact with and fewer chemicals that find their way to local streams and lakes.
  • Mowing height is one of the biggest factors in a healthy lawn. Setting your mower at a height of 3 to 4 inches will result in 80% fewer weeds and a thicker turf by minimizing weed seed germination and conserving moisture.

Guide to Understanding Stormwater (PDF)

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Useful Documents