6. Minimize areas of lawn by planting more native plants, which provide benefits for water quality and wildlife. For areas of lawn you wish to keep, take the necessary steps to keep it dense and healthy. A healthy lawn will reduce surface runoff and will filter and purify water before it enters the soil and groundwater. Follow these tips from Dr. Frank Rossi of Cornell Cooperative Extension:
Avoid fertilizing if your lawn looks good, or if you fertilized last fall. Excess fertilizer in the early spring promotes top growth at the expense of root growth.
Weigh how much time, energy and money you want to spend on lawn care with what the lawn's function will be. A plot of green lawn so the kids can play ball makes sense. Large expanses of turf that exist only to be mowed, probably not.
Grow the right type of grass. (Tall fescues and fine-leaf fescues, not Kentucky blue grass. Tall fescues have deep roots, tolerate shade and tolerate high foot traffic.)
Do not apply fertilizer before Labor Day. Nitrogen is all that grass needs to achieve dense vegetation. (Potassium can lead to an abundance of dandelions.) New recommended concentration levels are lower than before: 3/10 - 5/10 pounds per 1000 square feet. Leave legumes, like white clover, in your lawn to add nitrogen, naturally.
For more information about how to create lake-friendly landscapes, or to receive on-site technical support, the public can contact the LGA at 668-3558. In addition, the LGA's new website has information at www.lakegeorgeassociation.org