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Your Lawn and the Pond

Storm Drains

Geese

Click on the Map to Enlarge

Do you live within a 10 minute bike ride from Spy Pond? If so, you probably live within the Spy Pond watershed boundary. This means that whatever you or your neighbors spray on your lawns or dump in the storm drains makes its way to the pond. Thatís right, even if you live a few miles away your actions make a difference!
 
Click on the Watershed Map to Enlarge

You see, Spy Pond has a weed and algae problem that is pretty serious. Rain and snowmelt within the Spy Pond watershed carry fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, and other pollutants from lawns and streets into the pond.  Once there, these foreign chemicals cause something called Eutrophication. Eutrophication is the sign of a pond ecosystem in collapse due to excessive algal bloom, accumulation of nutrient in sediments, and low levels of dissolved oxygen. 

While currently controlled by expensive chemicals (and thus the reason the pond looks weed free today), there is a simple cost free solution. The one thing that could noticeably reduce weeds and improve the pondís water quality in a couple of years at no cost would be the reduction of phosphorus runoff into the pond by more careful use of fertilizer.  Most lawn fertilizers aim for quick results by providing more than enough quickly available nutrients. The lawn absorbs what it can handle and the rest goes into runoff and then Spy Pond.

To help the Pond and SAVE Money:

1. Test the acidity (pH) of your soil and add lime if needed
Garden centers have simple do-it-yourself kits. Soil that is too acid prevents the lawn from absorbing nitrogen properly; your lawn ďstarves amid plentyĒ while the nutrients you paid for go to the pond. 

2. Fertilize sparingly, using slow-release, low-phosphorus fertilizer. 
If you donít see it at your garden center, ask for it. Phosphorus is the middle number in the formula, e.g. 20-4-8.

3. Water carefully to prevent runoff as much as possible.
This is especially important when using starter fertilizer, which is higher in phosphorus because new grass needs more of it than established grass. The same is true of fertilizer intended for flower and vegetable gardens!

4. Use caution and restraint if you feel you must use an insecticide, weed killer or fertilizer. 
Please read labels. Most people over spray!

5. Never spray or use chemicals near roads, driveways, or sidewalks.
The excess travels quickly to storm drains and then the Pond.

7. Talk to your lawn care service.
If you use a lawn-care service, ask about the fertilizer formula and any insecticides or weed killers they use, and express your concern about the effect of runoff on waterways. Companies listen to what their customers want! 

The following lawn care companies offer Spy Pond friendly, low phophorus, organic lawn services:

Green-Lawn at 781-729-7711 

Steve's Lawn Care Company at 781-648-5116 

(If you represent a lawn company servicing Arlington and Belmont and offer such a service please contact us so we can add your company's name to the list)
 


Various photos copyright and courtesy of I for Images
Please click on a picture to visit their website.