Fert on a lawn with pond in back yard

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by LawnMan883, May 31, 2008.

  1. LawnMan883

    LawnMan883 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    My customer has a sloping lawn that ends at a pond/marsh area in the back. he said he used to hire tru-green to do the yard but he only had them do half the back yard and wanted to know if i could fertilize the whole thing. he wanted an environmentally friendly fertilizer that would have minimal impact on the pond from any runoff. What would you guys suggest or should i just quote him for half the back yard again.
  2. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    You did the right thing. Even using an organic fertilizer you can damage the balance in his pond. I read a university study a few years ago about the damage nitrogen can cause in ponds and waterways, among other things it causes algae to bloom and propagate like crazy. I just avoid areas where I even suspect that runoff could move my application into water. It isn't worth the risk.
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Leave a 20n ft barrier between the fertilized area and the pond. The fertilizer will run off down hill and fertilize the area you didn't. Hopefully all the fertilizer will be up taken by the turf and don't reach the pond. BTW you might want to check if your state or county has a fertilizer ordinances concerning this.
  4. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    If your using a good slow release fertilizer and the turf is in good shape I would say you should have no problem. If the lawn has a dense canopy and it's mowed high any concerns about runoff would be minimal . That being said there is always a chance you could have some runoff. Heavy rain after an application would be a concern. As far as environmentally friendly fertilizer is concerned any fertilizer can be a problem if applied wrong or weather effects it. The slow release fertilizer is your best bet. Consider a buffer zone between the marsh/ pond area and the area you want to treat. We generally do a 10' buffer around sensitive water areas. A sloped area like what you describe can be done just don't over fertilize, keep the lawn mowed high, and water on a regular basis but don't over water. I saw a study a while back on slopes and the impact of runoff and it showed for turf there was very little nutrient movement on well maintained turf. Can't remember where I saw it though.
  5. Green Dreams

    Green Dreams LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 593

    I never treat within 10 ft of a slope that goes into water. I lost a customer once who insisted that I do so.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,676

    Organic fertilizer like Milorganite is out--too much phosphorus, (6-2-0). But a top quality slow-release non-phos type would be the best bet. Try to find an IBDU or perhaps a fert with the nitrogen 100 percent coated. Zero percent uncoated. If you can get some potash that is coated-so much the better. The idea is to have the coated or slow release product release the nitrogen so slowly that it feeds the grass a tiny amount each time it rains--just like a natural manure or organic product, but without the phosphorus. The grass will use the nitrogen released when it rains and you never have much available to run off. Talk to Tom at Lesco.
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    While phosphorus has always been a concern for algae blooms, nitrates are becoming more and more a concern also. Some ordinances and recommendation are also calling for less nitrogen per thousand be applied above the run off zone. We all should know the value of slow release fert, but being careful not to blow it into the water should also concern us. A side discharge mower can un do the care we take of not applying too close to the water.

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