As the snow is melting away many are dreaming of bright May flowers brought to us by those April showers, green grass and nice dip in cool swimming on a hot sunny day. However, those dreams can quickly turn to a nightmare if we are not responsible with our use of fertilizers and lawn chemicals and proper preparation of our swimming pools. As we prepare our lawns and pools for the upcoming weather we have to consider those April showers.
No one likes a wet basement or overflowing gutters. Just as important as it is keep your gutters clean of leaves and debris, is where the gutters drain to. When possible collect roof runoff in rain barrels, and then utilize this water to water your garden. Rain Barrels to which you can hook up a garden hose con be purchased or constructed, or direct water to grassy or vegetated areas rather than down the driveway and into the street. Lawns will soak up much of the water and cleanse it of pollutants.
While everyone loves a lawn that looks like the putting green at Westwood Golf Club it is important to use herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. Lawns and many plants often do not need much fertilizer, if any at all. Inexpensive soil testing (under $10) can help determine whether fertilization is even needed. Visit the Penn State Cooperative Extension web site for information on their soil fertility testing program (www.aasl.psu.edu/SSFT.HTM). Never fertilize before a rainstorm as the stormwater will carry pollutants down into the storm drains and into our waterways. Be sure fertilizer stays on the lawn. If it falls on paved surfaces (sidewalks, driveways, etc.), it will be picked up by stormwater during wet weather so always sweep loose fertilizer back into the lawn. Mulching your clipping not only reduces landfill waste but also works as an excellent source of nitrogen and organic matter that a lawn requires to stay healthy. Remember that a healthy lawn will resist weeds and be easier to maintain.