Safer Yard Care Practices

Fertilizer Application

Fertilizers fall under two general categories, organic and processed. Processed fertilizers are more concentrated; organic fertilizer’s effect will often last longer. It is very important to read fertilizer labels very carefully to prevent over application.

Excessive fertilizer application could lead to nutrients leaching into groundwater or running off into storm drains that empty into local lakes and rivers. High levels of nutrients in groundwater are harmful to people. High levels of nutrients in rivers and lakes lead to algae growths that degrade aquatic habitat and water quality.

What can I do?

  • A garden soil test every 3 to 5 years will give a general nutrient recommendation to help prevent over application. 
  • Fertilizers should only be applied around the time of rapid plant growth. 
  • Do not apply fertilizer before a rain event. 
  • Read labels carefully. Follow instructions.
Benefits: Proper fertilizer use will save you money, help your yard look great year round and protect Redmond’s water resources.

Pesticide Application

Pesticides are not always the best solution for yard care. Pesticide misuse or overuse will weaken the natural defenses of your lawn and can even increase susceptibility to disease and infestation in the future. There are many helpful organisms and fungi in the soil that will also suffer from pesticide misuse.

Pesticides can easily infiltrate into groundwater or run-off of your lawn into storm drains, which flow untreated to surface waters. Harmful chemicals in pesticides can adversely impact the quality of groundwater and surface waters.

What can I do?

  • Read labels carefully. Follow instructions.
  • Do not treat your yard before a rainstorm.
  • Try using non-chemical alternatives.
  • Pull weeds by hand. Try mulching to reduce weeds in plant and flower beds.
  • Try native shrubs in place of a lawn.
Benefits: A few changes will save money, protect Redmond’s water resources and make your yard a safer place to play and enjoy!

For more information on how to enjoy a productive garden without toxic chemicals, check out King County’s Grow Smart, Grow Safe booklet.