Did you know what happens to weed and feed products you put on your lawn in the fall? A few things. As it’s a combination of an herbicide and a fertilizer, if your dog rolls around on the lawn even days after treatment, it can ingest some of that pesticide (weed killer). If you water the lawn afterwards, and there is any runoff, it can either soak into the soil where it may harm other life forms or end up in a storm drain and make it out to the bay.
Fertilizers are a particular problem. When nitrogen and phosphorus are not fully used by growing plants, the excess nutrients are washed into our waterways during rain events. Known as nutrient pollution, too much nitrogen and phosphorus in water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Significant increases in algae harm water quality, food resources and habitats, and decrease the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.
To help protect your family, pets, and the environment:
- Encourage rainwater to slow, sink, and spread into soil. Use porous alternatives such as gravel or permeable pavement for driveways and paths.
- Avoid using combination products that include a weed or bug killer.
- Reduce the use of chemical fertilizers that can lead to excess plant and algae growth in waterways.
- Test your soil before applying fertilizers and add only the nutrients your soil needs.
- Use natural fertilizers; compost or slow-release fertilizer release nutrients slowly.
- Time fertilizer application right – avoid fertilizing before heavy rain to prevent runoff, or late in the season when plants head into dormancy.