Stormwater: Yard and Garden Maintenance

Save Time and Money - Protect Your Water

Mow high - water sparingly -- Make your lawn cheaper and easier to maintain by mowing high -- three inches is the rule! The roots of your lawn grow as deep as the grass grows tall, so taller grass has deeper, healthier roots. Never cut off more than 1/3 of the blade each time you mow and leave the clippings right on your lawn for a natural fertilizer rich in nutrients and organic matter. Work with your lawn care professional to request these simple changes in mowing practices -- your lawn and the environment will reap the benefits!

Water sparingly. Over-watering can damage plants, stimulate fungus, and leach nutrients out of the soil.

The power of mulch -- Create a smaller lawn area. Use trees, shrubs and flowers to landscape the rest of your yard. Create natural buffer areas around the perimeter of your property. Landscaped planting beds will improve the value of your property and help with absorbing excess nutrients and give more privacy. Remember to mulch your planting beds properly in order to retain important soil moisture for your plants and reduce watering needs.

Mulch and compost are available for free to New Castle residents who pick it up, or you can have it delivered for a small fee. For more information contact the Town's Recycling Center at 238-8091.

Landscape with deep-rooted native plants. They are naturally suited to our weather and soil conditions, which means less work for you! (Watch for more about this in a future issue of The New Castle News.

Put rainwater to work for you. Border your lawn with deep-rooted flowers and shrubs to prevent water runoff. Direct down spouts into garden areas, or into covered rain barrels to collect water for use during dry weather.

Fertilizers -- less may be more. Did you know that over-application of fertilizers wastes money, ruins plants and pollutes our waterways? Be an informed consumer. Work with your lawn care professional to determine the minimal amount of fertilizer required to maintain your lawn. Your professional also can recommend more natural organic fertilizers that are lower in phosphorus that minimize the amount of nutrient build up.

Put your lawn to work for you! Grass clippings are the ideal food source, providing essential nutrients by releasing them slowly over time. Grass clippings, mulched leaves and compost also provide organic matter, which keeps soils from compacting. Ask your lawn care professional to use a mulching mower that will cut up grass clippings to the right size, ideally suited to return essential nutrients back to your lawn.

Check yard and garden product labels. If you decide to use commercial fertilizers, always choose a low-phosphorous fertilizer (indicated by the middle number of the three number series on the bag, such as 34-3-4). Why? Most soils in this area are already high in phosphorus and reducing the nutrient load will make our waterways healthier.

The Town of New Castle has a series of stormwater tips with advice for prevention of stormwater runoff and for protecting our environment. According the State Environmental Protection Agency, stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater runoff from naturally soaking into the ground. Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.