Did you know that what you put on your lawn — fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides — can wash out and eventually show up in surface waters? Of course yard and lawn chemicals are just one component of water pollution sources, it is one you can control.

This summer we have joined a league of residents throughout the state who are monitoring area beaches for water quality issues for the Maine Healthy  Beaches (http://www.mainehealthybeaches.org/).  Check the website for information on area beaches. It only takes a few minutes a week to help monitor, and ultimately protect our water resources. We check air and water temperatures, salinity levels and take water samples for anaylsis. Even if you cannot take part in the program, you can contribute by using fewer, if not eliminating entirely, those chemicals you spread on your lawn.

By using herbicides that restrict grass species, you run the risk of creating a mono-culture of a lawn that is even more susceptible to disease issues. A mix of grass and other plants such as Dutch clover helps ensure a green lawn all summer. Trust me, an application of lime is better for that lawn than just about anything you can use. Lime “sweetens” up the soil, and by doing so enables the grass (and other plants) to utilize more of the nutrients in the soil. Another thing you can do to get a greener lawn is to cut higher. We mow our lawns not because they get too tall, but because they get uneven. The taller the grass, the longer its roots. When you cut the grass too short “scalp” the grass you end up with fewer, shorter roots that cannot withstand heat and dry conditions and you end up with brown spots. It’s easy and the impact can be far-reaching.