Take the Pledge!

How you treat your lawn matters for water quality in central Ohio

The Program

Soak it Up, Buttercup

Rain is your resource, Soak it in!

Install a rain barrel or add a rain garden to your yard and put rainwater to work for you. For rebate information, visit greenspotbackyards.org.

Regular yard care keeps mosquitoes away

Mosquitoes are small pests that can be hugely annoying. Thankfully, simple yard care can keep the mosquito population from booming. Mosquitoes need water that has been standing for a week or longer to breed. Empty plant saucers, dump and refill bird baths, and use rain barrel water regularly. Keep your roof and street gutters free of debris so water can properly drain. Rain gardens or low spots in your yard should drain completely after a storm within a day or two.

Mow to grow

Did you know all lawn mowers have adjustable settings? Using your mower's highest setting (3-4") allows you to grow taller grass with deeper roots. Taller grass shades out weeds and is more drought-resistant, so it stays green longer. Spring grass grows fast; mow more than once a week to avoid removing too much at one time. When you cut your grass, leave clippings on the lawn where they will break down quickly and feed your lawn.

Streaming Live! From your Backyard.

Not the green we were looking for

Dead plants, grass, and leaves create "food" for algae. Algae blooms pollute our water, make it smell and taste bad, and cost us more at the water treatment plant. Do your part to protect our water by simply pointing your mower so grass clippings land in the grass, not in the street or sidewalk, or sweep them up after mowing.

Only rain down the drain

Storm drains in our streets and curbs play a big role in protecting our homes and properties from flooding. Remove trash, grass clippings and leaves that clog drains before they wash away. Make sure your waste doesn't end up in our river. Practice "grasscycling" by leaving clippings on your lawn and mulching leaves in the fall. Too much yard waste? You can easily compost at home or with the city.

Sidewalks are for chalk

Did you know that storm drains in our streets are directly connected to local creeks, streams, and rivers? Rainwater and sprinklers easily wash fertilizers, grass clippings, trash, and pet waste from driveways, roads, and sidewalks into our waters. Make sure that anything you put on your lawn stays there by following label directions and applying to targeted areas.

Soil is good for grass, not fish

Soil is important for green plants, but not for healthy rivers. Just like smog can make it hard for us to breathe, soil in the water makes it hard for fish to breathe. Keep your soil where it belongs by using mulch, keeping grass healthy, and planting deep-rooted Ohio natives.

Ditches aren't for dumping

Ditches and creeks- even those that are sometimes dry- play a big role in reducing neighborhood flooding. Decaying yard waste in ditches can make "food" for algae. Never dump lawn debris like grass clippings, branches, leaves or mulch into creek beds or ditches. It can clog the creek, cause flooding, and feed algae blooms in our ponds and rivers. Leave creek beds and ditches clear so water can flow naturally.

Around water

Leave buffers around water sources. Pay special attention to protecting creeks, ponds, and reservoirs. Plants help stop pollution before it gets to waterways.

Healthy Lawns 101

Choose fall

If you only fertilize once a year, choose fall! University research shows fall fertilization is the best for growing healthy lawns with vigorous root systems. Too much or misplaced fertilizer can hurt your grass or cause water pollution, so pick the right kind and keep it on the grass and off driveways, sidewalks, and roads.

Only if you live on a golf course

If you cut grass really short so you don't have to cut it as often, you could actually be hurting it. Short blades of grass weaken a lawn by encouraging shallow roots. To keep grass healthy, remove no more than one third of the leaf blade when mowing. Keep your blades sharp - dull blades tear and injure grass, and it shows!

Stay hydrated

You have two choices: keep your lawn green this summer with about 1" of water per week (use a rain guage or tuna can), or let it go dormant. Want to conserve water? Most healthy lawns can recover from dormancy without watering during the drought period. Contact Franklin Soil and Water to see if you qualify for a free irrigation sensor.

Leaf it on your lawn

You can save time and provide nutrients for your lawn by mulching leaves in the fall. Shredded leaf material blocks weeds and breaks down fast into free fertilizer! This means less time and money you have to spend on your lawn. Do your part by keeping leaves and grass out of your street where they can clog storm drains and feed algae.

Fertilizer for Dummies

Grass isn't concrete - It's a plant in your managed landscape that benefits from a low level of supplemental nutrients. Dense blades and deep roots trap more rainwater and hold soil in place. Follow all label instructions closely and keep fertilizer off of hard surfaces and away from water. You can reduce fertilizer usage by recycling grass clippings and mulching fall leaves.

Topsoil is king

Good topsoil is the foundation for a healthy lawn, but many new homes have had their topsoil compacted and removed during construction, leaving behind debris and clay. These lawns soak up little water and require more fertilizer and pesticides. To slowly improve topsoil so your grass grows better, add organic materials like lawn clippings and mulched leaves.

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