The Tippecanoe-Walnut Creek Clean Water Committee encourage you to help keep our lakes healthy and clean by using phosphorus-free fertilizer, or no fertilizer, on your lawn. By applying fertilizers to our lawns, we are usually adding nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil.
All plants need these nutrients to grow strong and healthy. However, we often don’t realize that our soils usually already have plenty of these nutrients. By adding more to the soil, we are putting in excess nutrients that will not be used by the plants. These nutrients have to go somewhere, and they are often carried away by run-off rain water, eventually making their way into our streams and lakes.
Once in the lakes, these nutrients do the same thing they did in the soil: they feed plants. Our lakes, like our soil, naturally get plenty of nutrients for the native vegetation. The excess nutrients from our lawns ends up feeding algae, causing it to spread and grow out of control. When these algae blooms occur, they clog up our lakes and rob the water of oxygen. This threatens the fish and other wildlife in our lakes. Algae often gives water an unpleasant odor and taste. Sometimes, it can become toxic blue green algae, making our lakes unsafe for recreation.
Before adding fertilizer to your lawn, perform a soil test to determine which nutrients, if any, your soil needs. If your lawn is short on one or more of the necessary nutrients, it is important to buy the fertilizer that contains only those nutrients. Fertilizer bags are labeled with three numbers separated by dashes, corresponding to nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If your lawn already has adequate levels of phosphorus, for example, you should purchase a bag with a zero for the middle number. This means there is no phosphorus in the fertilizer.
Make a pledge now to use phosphorus-free fertilizer on your lawn. By going to ClearChoicesCleanWater.com and taking the lawn fertilizer pledge, you will add your name to a long list of people in Indiana and across the country who are promising to make lake friendly lawn care choices.
The mission of the Tippecanoe Walnut Creek Watershed Committee is to protect and improve water quality in the lakes and streams of the Tippecanoe River – Walnut Creek watershed. This area includes the Warsaw and Winona Lake waters.