Eco-City Alexandria: Get Involved!


Tips to Save Money and Protect the Chesapeake Bay

Yard Maintenance Can Impact Water Quality

Proper lawn and garden care is an essential part of protecting our local waterways, the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Fertilizer contains nutrients that may contribute to algal blooms in the Chesapeake Bay and local tributaries. Plants can only use a certain percentage of applied fertilizer. Excess fertilizer and fertilizer spread on hard surfaces may end up polluting our waterways. Not only that, it’s like throwing money away! 
The point is, all these nutrients end up in our local streams and the Chesapeake Bay and may contribute to algae blooms that harm aquatic life by depleting oxygen and creating dead zones. This can mean no crabs, fish or oysters, and equals no fun!

Here’s what we can all do to keep your wallet and the crabs happy:

• Fertilize in the fall, if at all
• Test soil before fertilizing with a kit from the Virginia Cooperative Extension
• Know how much fertilizer to use and what kind is needed (if any)
• Don’t fertilize if rain is forecasted within 24 hours – it’s like throwing money away
• Use fertilizers with low or no phosphorus – most lawns don’t need it
• Read and follow instructions on the label – biggest bang for the buck
• Avoid spreading fertilizer on concrete or paved areas, like sidewalks and driveways, and sweep excess onto grass – don’t use a hose to wash it down the storm drain

Visit to learn more about the City’s Stormwater Management Program and how you can help protect water quality in our local streams, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay.