Nutrient Management and Its Impact on Water Quality

Practicing good cultural methods and nutrient management has many benefits. Here are som tips that are reminders of the ways you can help preserve water quality while helping your plants achieve optimum health and production. Watch for more information on such ideas as:

Don't bag those clippings! Returning clippings will return nutrients to your lawn.

Build a compost pile and you convert trash to treasure. Such throwaways as leaves, grass clippings, and fruit and vegetable scraps decompose into priceless organic matter.

Mulch to conserve water; during a drought, it can mean the difference between life and death to your plants.

Control erosion with the use of cover crops and groundcovers.

Use proper irrigation equipment, such as soaker hoses and water timers, to reduce water consumption.

Test soil for accurate nutrient formulation for a specific plant. The test will provide you with information on pH, available phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Use correct tilling procedures to lessen erosion. Tilling in the fall allows earlier spring planting, better decomposition of organic matter, and less chance for diseases, insects, and weeds since turning the soil over exposes these pests to harsh winter weather.

Mow at the proper height to protect the grass plant from stress and to preserve moisture. A good "rule of thumb" is to cut off no more than one-third of the grass plant at any mowing.

Using these and other methods from this calendar will provide:

  • Reduced costs for you
  • Reduced landfill dumping
  • Reduced maintenance time
  • Increased water quality

Active use of these methods enables you to become an expert in your own neck of the woods and to know you are helping keep water clean. For more information, contact your local Extension office for slide and video programs and publications available on nutrient management and its impact on water quality.

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