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Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan :: Healthy Bay, Healthy Community

Zero P Zero Worries

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Phosphorus lawn fertilizers have been identified as a source of excess phosphorus in lakes and streams, including the Bay of Quinte, which can fuel excess algae growth, especially along the shoreline. 

One of the problems is, when this algae dies and decomposes, it uses oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive. 

If you use lawn fertilizer, you can have a positive influence on the water quality in the Bay of Quinte by purchasing non-phosphorus lawn fertilizer. How do you know if it’s phosphorus free? The middle number on the bag should be ZERO, i.e., 10-0-5.

Phosphorus has been reduced in lots of other ways 

• P inputs reduced 50% over 20 years at sewage treatment plants

• Improved farming operations prevented over 16,500 kg of P from reaching water

• Over 100 domestic sewage systems upgraded in the Bay of Quinte watershed

• Over 25 storm water treatment facilities upgraded with technology, like ultraviolet disinfection, porous    pavement, and wet-dry ponds.

• P banned to a max of 0.5% by weight in all dishdetergents in Feb 2008

Recommended Lawn Care Management

Fertilize using compost, or zero P, or organic lawn fertilizers, like corn gluten meal. Follow directions on the product package.

 Leave grass clippings to decompose naturally releasing nutrients into the soil.

Mow lawn to a height of 2.5-3 inches (6-8 cm) to promote healthy root growth.

Water in the early morning to minimize evaporation, and water deeply to reach the roots (max 1 inch/week). Don’t overwater as this can starve roots of oxygen and promote disease.

Aerate in the fall before fertilizing to loosen compacted soil and promote movement of water, oxygen and nutrients to roots.

  Diversify problem lawn areas with different grass species or plants that can tolerate a range of growing conditions, promote biodiversity and reduce pest susceptibility.