Tag Archives: Growing Green Pledge


To fertilize or not to fertilize – that is the question

You would think that with all the marketing of fertilizers in the Spring,  that it is impossible to grow anything without chemical intervention. Well, just go in time  before the advent of big Agriculture companies and realize that most plants survived and thrived without our chemical assistance. Many plants, shrubs, and trees are able to absorb exactly what they need from the soil, air and water and do not need additional Nitrogen, Phosphorous or Potassium. One of our major problems in our Watershed is that many of the fertilizers that are applied actually “run-off” into our water system instead of remaining in the soil for the plants to uptake. This causes issues for our water quality as the chemicals  leach into the aquifers and also run into the Bay and increases algae blooms and reduces water quality.

The first step before fertilizing is to have a soil test to determine your soil quality.  Once you know your soil quality and the PH of your soil, you can determine what type of fertilizers and how much should be applied onto your lawn, garden or plants.  When choosing the fertilizer – try to use SLOW RELEASE, ORGANIC fertilizer.  And always think about improving your soil quality by applying compost, organic matter and controlling the Ph.  These actions will help your plants thrive.  Please visit the Maryland Cooperative Extension’s web site at the link below for more information on fertilizing and soil testing. Also, please visit our link to the GROWING GREEN PLEDGE concerning lawn care.

Maryland Cooperative Extension

Growing Green Pledge

Bay Pollution Diet and Your Landscaping

Have you kept up on the new federal standards for the total loads of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and sediment for the Chesapeake Bay? According to Will Baker, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) president, “After 30 years of failed, voluntary programs to save the Bay, EPA appears ready to enforce the Clean Water Act.”  The Clean Water Act, circa 1972, promised fishable and swimmable waters by 1983. Obviously, this goal was not met.

What can you do or what will you be required to do when maintaining your property? First, the use of chemicals should be minimized to prevent run-off of excessive nutrients. Please see the Growing Green Pledge on our website for information on environmentally friendly practices when landscaping your lawn and consider native plants and rain gardens.

Secondly, when landscaping, drainage, sediment erosion control and storm water control should be considered.  As much as possible, the flash or surge of water during storms should be contained or slowed with rain barrels, cisterns, rain gardens, etc.