Fertilizers are used by homeowners to maintain and improve the quality and beauty of their landscapes. However, the ever-increasing use of home lawn and garden fertilizers has caused concern about the harmful effects these fertilizers have on groundwater and aquatic ecosystems.
Most commonly used fertilizers contain three basic plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Some fertilizers also contain certain micro-nutrients necessary for plant growth such as zinc and other metals. Increased amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and these micro-nutrients have negative impacts on water quality and aquatic life. They can also cause health issues for humans and animals when they infiltrate our drinking water sources.
Using the correct amounts of fertilizer and taking the time to apply it carefully so it won’t wash into storm drains from driveways and sidewalks can enhance plant growth without polluting the environment. When watering the lawn after fertilizing, don’t allow the water to run into the street. Always clean up any spilled fertilizer and dispose of it properly.