Fertilizer isn’t the only substance that can add nutrients to the Bay. Grass clippings, leaves, and other yard wastes can get into streetside gutters and be washed away with stormwater. The organisms that help decompose these materials in the water consume oxygen and the nutrients in the plant material are released.
Here are actions you can take to limit the amount of yard waste carried away by runoff:
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn. This is “Grasscycling.” It is good for your lawn because it returns nutrients to the grass. A second benefit is that it reduces the amount of material that is sent to landfills.
- Keep grass clippings, leaves, and other plant debris out of streetside gutters. Gather these materials and put them in a compost pile.
- Compost can be used to improve soil around trees and shrubs, in flower beds, or in planting boxes. Simply create a bin and add material:
- The bin should ideally be 50-100 cubic feet, with no one side less than 3 feet.
- Almost any plant material can be composted easily. However, do not compost invasive weeds, cooked food scraps, meat, or dairy products (egg shells are okay).
- Chop or shred garden material to increase composting speed.
- Turning the compost pile will eliminate odor or uneven dampness.