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News & Articles
One of the most problematic pollutants that flows into storm drains from overwatering is fertilizer. Many people think that “more is better,” but with fertilizer more can be a big problem. In fact, while brand-new lawns or areas with very poor soils might be lacking in nutrients, most established lawns are not and do not require significant or frequent fertilizing.
If you do decide to use fertilizer, follow the application instructions closely as too much fertilizer can actually damage the turf grass. If you apply too much fertilizer, apply during a windy day, or overwater after application, you could actually watch your hard work in applying the fertilizer (and the money you spent buying it!) run right out of your yard and into the storm drain.
That fertilizer, full of nutrients intended for your lawn, instead causes algae growth in our creeks, streams, and rivers. That algae can end up in the ocean, causing odor or unsightly beaches and mucky ponds. When the algae dies and decomposes, it consumes the oxygen in the water that animal life relies on. If it gets bad enough, the waters can become a “dead zone” where no animal life can survive.
One of the biggest and first dead zones identified is in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi River pours heavily fertilized farm runoff into the Gulf, but they’ve appeared as close as in nearby San Diego County. If we all do our part, and pay a little more attention when we fertilize, we can make sure they don’t appear in Orange County.