The lone voice of horticultural reason

“Fertilizer runoff is the chief cause of excess algae growth in ponds, lakes and rivers.”

Here’s a topic — and myth — I’ve already touched on a few times this season in different features on the site, but since it’s leaf rakin’ season, let’s deflate the myth quickly for those who are new to RG.

By far the biggest cause of phosphorus build-up in water systems is the introduction of grass clippings, leaves, and other plant waste into the storm drainage systems that run under most city and suburban streets. All this yard waste, especially grass clippings and leaves, contain very high levels of phosphate, and do more to create life-choking algae in water than does the phosphorus form of phosphate found in garden and lawn fertilizers.

Every curb is a shoreline. Now that the fall season is here, compost your lawn waste, bag it and dispose of it, do anything you want with it except rake/sweep/blow it out into the street.

For those interested in more on this topic, check out a column from earlier this summer, Every Curb is a Shoreline.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener