Don’t use phosphorus on your lawn; ‘Look for the Zero’

don't use lawn fertilizer with phosphorus
Photo illustration copyright Connie Oswald Stofko

To keep our Western New York waterways clean, go phosphorus-free when using lawn fertilizer and “Look for the Zero.”

On a fertilizer bag, you’ll see three numbers. The number in the middle is for phosphorus. For lawns, choose a fertilizer that has a zero in the middle.

Excess phosphorus is a threat to many New York waterbodies, triggering algae blooms and sometimes rendering waters unswimmable and unfishable, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). That’s why they are encouraging gardeners not to use fertilizer containing phosphorus.

Of course, you don’t have to use synthetic fertilizers at all. Organic lawn care can easily be implemented on any lawn, and safe and effective alternatives exist for most chemical pesticides and fertilizers, according to the DEC. Organic lawn care treatments promote deep root systems, natural photosynthesis, and longer grass growth. Visit DEC’s Sustainable Landscaping webpage to learn more.

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