By Kristen Wilde, LGA Director of Education
Spring is here (at least I think it is, though it hasn’t felt very spring-like) and many of us are preparing our yards to get them ready for spring and summer fun.
If you are working on cleaning and feeding your yard, please remember that everything you do can be protective of the Lake’s water quality.
Working mindfully and carefully will keep both nitrogen and phosphorus out of the Lake – two chemicals that will cause water quality to diminish.
Working protectively in your yard in the watershed is one of the easiest ways to protect our water quality. We call that living “Lake-Friendly”
To help you live Lake-Friendly on Lake George, the LGA offers these friendly tips:
- Yard waste can contribute significant amounts of phosphorus to waterways. Keep soil, leaves, and lawn clippings out of the street, out of ditches, out of storm drains, and out of streams by bagging them, composting them, or leaving them right on the lawn as a natural fertilizer.
- “Raise the Blade” on your lawnmower. Cutting your grass to 3” in length will build a strong root system and will protect the soils, and will allow better water infiltration. If possible, use a mulch blade and leave the clippings right where they fall, creating natural fertilizer as the grass decomposes.
- Use fertilizer sparingly – and please don’t apply within 50 feet of the Lake shore. Why 50 feet? If you live in Queensbury or the Town of Lake George, it is the law. Anywhere else, New York State law prohibits the application of fertilizer within 20 feet of surface water (with a few exceptions). That 50-foot distance will minimize the chance of any product washing into the Lake.
- If you are using fertilizer, please only use a product that has no phosphorus. You’ll know it has no phosphorus if the middle number on the front of the bag is a zero. (The bags show nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) content of the fertilizer.)
- If you are not sure whether you need fertilizer, you can have your soil tested. Soil testing is available through the local Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Warrensburg for a reasonable fee.
- Make it easier on yourself and reduce your lawn area, especially along shorelines. Vegetative buffers with native plants along the shoreline reduces erosion, allows the filtration of pollutants and sediments, and saves time and money on maintenance!
Native plants help protect Lake George and can also save you time and effort in maintaining your landscape. Because they are adapted to live here, Lake George native plants require less extra fertilizer and water. Here are some native plants in categories that may be of particular interest: https://www.lakegeorgeassociation.org/protect/lake-friendly-living/landscaping-with-native-plants/
There’s much more information about native plants, creating shoreline buffers to protect water quality, and other Lake-Friendly Living ideas on the LGA’s website at www.LakeGeorgeAssociation.org Thanks for helping to protect the water quality of the Lake – and we look forward to seeing you this summer!
Kristen Wilde is the Director of Education for the Lake George Association, which is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country. The LGA’s members support water quality protection, water quality monitoring, education and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.
All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future