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Washington Waters  Ours to Protect

yard care What you can do...

Yard care


Treat with care.
Right dose at the right time.

Many people use fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides to enhance their yards and gardens.

But If you use too much of these products or apply them at the wrong time, runoff can easily carry them from your lawn or garden into storm drains and ditches. From there they can end up in lakes, streams, Puget Sound and other marine waters.

Bonus points!

Using fertilizers and pesticides sparingly also helps you:
  • Save money.
  • Make yards safer places to play.
  • Support a healthy watershed.

Weed killers and pesticides are designed to kill plants and animals. However, when they get into our waters, they can kill plants and animals that are not a problem. Fish and amphibians are vulnerable to these chemicals.

Like in the garden, fertilizer in lakes and streams makes plants grow. But too much algae and other aquatic plant growth can make boating, fishing and swimming unpleasant. What’s more, as the algae and other plants decay, they use up the oxygen in the water that fish and other aquatic life need.

Lawn and garden care doesn’t have to be a problem.

What will you do to help?

  • Read the label. Follow the instructions.
  • Use fertilizer sparingly. Many plants don’t need as much as you might think. Too much can even harm them. Also, roots, leaves and fruits need different nutrients. Test your soil to find the right dose and type to match the your plants’ needs.
  • Don’t treat your lawn or garden right before a rainstorm.
  • Use slow-release fertilizers and other more environmentally friendly products.
  • Try non-chemical alternatives. Use compost. Plant companion plants that deter pests. Pull weeds by hand. Use mulch. Trade lawn for native groundcover or shrubs.
  • Get expert advice about lawn and garden products from Master Gardeners at your county WSU Extension office.

When you treat the lawn, remember
you’re not just treating the lawn.


 get the Washington Waters logo

New! RAIN GARDEN HANDBOOK
Landscaping advice for Western Washington homeowners

YARDCARE TIPS

Focus on Clean & Healthy Waters: Everybody can help keep grass clippings out of our waters

HANDBOOK

VIDEO

"Use Fertilizers Sparingly" Washington Water's public service announcement

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION GUIDES

Protecting Washington’s Waters from Stormwater Pollution
(PDF)

Working for Washington's Future: Healthy Watersheds, Healthy People
(PDF)