Thursday, May 23, 2013

Slow-release Fertilizers: Green Lawns AND Safe Drinking Water

May is one of the best times to feed lawns because they are growing fast and quickly using up the last of winters’ reserves. Warmer soils mean more soil activity as the soil critters that help break down the fertilizer are more active and ready to eat! Choose a slow-release to feed them and your lawn this spring.

Why choose slow-release fertilizers?
·         Slow-release fertilizers depend on soil microbes to break down the nutrients and this makes the fertilizer last longer in the soil to give plants a steady source of nutrients.
·         Slow-release fertilizers are less likely to run off lawns and pollute lakes, rivers, streams, and Puget Sound.
·         Slow-release fertilizers are less likely to move down through soils and contaminate groundwater. In Thurston County, we drink groundwater.
·        Organic and slow-release fertilizers don’t contain toxic weed or bug killers that other brands may contain.  Weed and bug killers destroy the soil microbes that live in healthy soils. Healthy lawns need healthy soils just like other plants do.

How do I find slow-release fertilizers?
To find slow-release fertilizers, look for the terms “slow-acting” or “long-lasting” on labels. Read the fine print – 50% of the nitrogen should be non-soluble in slow-release fertilizers.  Most organic fertilizers are slow-release and include aged manure, seed meal, bone meal, poultry and fish by-products.  In Thurston County, you can find slow-release fertilizer at local nurseries.

The Grow Smart, Grow Safe is a great resource for choosing lawn and garden products. It ranks hundreds of products to help you find the ones that are least hazardous to people, pets, and the environment.

For more information on Common Sense Gardening, including a fertilizer fact sheet, visit the Common Sense Gardening website or call, (360) 867-2577 to have Common Sense Gardening materials sent to your home.

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