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Smart Lawn and Garden Practices Can Prevent Stormwater Pollution | Home & Garden

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Smart Lawn and Garden Practices Can Prevent Stormwater Pollution
Home & Garden
Smart Lawn and Garden Practices Can Prevent Stormwater Pollution

From the Town of Leesburg:

As we get into the warmer months of summer, more people are busy doing yard work to build or keep a green lawn. However, some lawn and garden care practices can actually be harmful to the environment. Many people are unaware of environmental consequences of their lawn care practices, but simple, every-day habits can cause potential problems down the road (and downstream!). Below are some important notes on preventing stormwater pollution from poor lawn and garden care practices:

  • Consider eco-friendly products over chemical-based products. There are many safer alternatives to harsh chemicals which can wash into storm drains and cause harmful impacts downstream. If you choose to use a chemical product be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully and don’t over-apply. More is not better! 
  • Fertilize in the fall instead of the spring.  This timing helps lawns recover from the harsh heat of the summer while building strong roots over the winter for next spring. If you feel you must use a product in the spring, consult the local extension office for assistance with soil testing to ensure you’re using the right product and amount for the job. The Loudoun County Extension Office can be reached at 703-777-0373 for more information.
  • Don’t over-water your lawn, especially after applying fertilizer, pesticides or other chemicals. The runoff will flow into storm sewer inlets, carrying with it those same chemicals. This means less stays on your lawn to do its job and more enters the waterways where it doesn’t belong. Also be mindful of the weather forecast – summer storms often bring heavy rains which can also wash away freshly applied products.
  • Don’t leave yard waste in the street.  Don’t sweep or blow it into storm drain inlet, either! Storm drains and the sewer system are designed for moving water – not yard waste or trash. Leaves and grass clippings don’t immediately break down, thereby clogging the drains and outlets, which can lead to flooding. In addition, downstream outfalls cannot handle the extra nutrients that come from the grass clippings and leaves.
  • Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects. If you have more material delivered than you can distribute in one day, plan on having a tarp to cover the pile with. Otherwise, rainfall can wash the material into the sewer system, potentially clogging storm drains and washing away your investment!

​For more information on educational outreach programs about stormwater pollution prevention, including volunteer opportunities, contact the Town of Leesburg Department of Public Works at 703‐771‐2790, via e‐mail at publicworks@leesburgva.gov, or visit www.leesburgva.gov.

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