Friday, April 18, 2008

Fertilizer Article in FLS

In the FLS today there was an article/column written about fertilizing your lawn/garden. Thankfully one of the first remarks was to get your soil tested. This is a must if you're going to go the fertilizer route.

What shocked me about this (it really shouldn't surprise me) is that the FLS would run this article just a few days before Earth Day (like a lot of people realize this), and during a time when the Chesapeake crabbers are making the papers for the record low number of crabs. There are reports they may sue the state for not cleaning up the bay. One of the biggest reasons is non-point source pollution, which translates into runoff from everyday operations - a big one being residential lawn fertilization. Fertilizer promotes algae growth, which kills off underwater grasses. VIMS was quoted in this article as saying eelgrass has been reduced from around 30k acres in the mid-90's to only 13,500 acres in 2006.

No wonder VA keeps falling further an further behind in their efforts to clean up the bay. Between the legislature cuts, a lack of attention from senior leadership, and local newspapers heralding a time to fertilize each spring, it's amazing we have any bay left.

Unfortunately the FLS didn't put the article online for me to link to. But here are some alternatives from
- wait until fall to fertilize
- keep it off hard surfaces
- watch where/when you fertilize (see article for details)
- use organic fertilizers, their slow release may mean less runoff

I'll add one more - landscape, I hate cutting the grass, so our yard is mostly landscaping, a combination of mature trees, ivy, shrubs, ornamental grasses, anything but fast growing grass.


ken said...

Informative article.
The Virginia Waterman's Association says THANKS.
Ken Smith
Vice President Virginia Waterman's Association

Bryan said...

Thanks Ken! We're headed to Reedville this weekend. I'm expecting to talk to some fisherman friends this weekend - I expect to hear a lot about the crabbing this year. I love the water, I hope we can leave it better than we found it for future generations, but it's an uphill battle.

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