When it rains, fertilizer and other pollutants from our lawns are washed into our storm drains where it flows directly – and untreated – into nearby rivers, lakes, and streams.
Phosphorus, commonly found in fertilizers, can cause toxic algae blooms, making it unsafe to swim and killing fish and other aquatic life.
Many people follow the same lawn care routine without really understanding what their lawn needs to be healthy. For example, your soil may already have plenty of nutrients in it for making the grass green and doesn’t require additional fertilizer. Unless you or your landscaper is testing the soil, you really don’t know what your lawn needs, and you could be using chemicals unnecessarily - and wasting your money.
Phosphorus runoff is a big problem in Chelmsford waterways and waterbodies throughout Massachusetts. Therefore, under Massachusetts State Law, phosphorus-containing fertilizer may ONLY be applied to a lawn during the first growing season of a newly established lawn or when soil test indicates that additional phosphorus us needed. Most lawns in Massachusetts do not need additional phosphorus for healthy growth. Bags of fertilizer have three numbers, look for a bag with a "0" in the middle for phosphorus-free fertilizer!
How to Test Your Soil
Testing your soil is easy! Inexpensive soil tests are available through UMass Amherst’s Soil Testing Lab. Detailed test results include customized fertilizer recommendations, tailored to the nutrient levels in your specific soil. Soil samples can be mailed or hand delivered. Additional soil testing information is available here: www.ag.umass.edu/services/soil-plant-nutrient-testing-laboratory