Keeping Phosphorus in your Lawn and Garden
What can you do to be “phosphorus smart”?
Phosphorus (P) is a nutrient that stimulates plant growth. When it rains, stormwater can carry phosphorus-containing materials into lakes and streams, which can result in excessive algal growth, decreased water quality and harm to aquatic life.
Don’t guess, soil test
- Your Michigan State University Extension office can help with your soil test.
- Lawn and Garden Soil Sampling
- Farm Soil Sampling
- Most lawns don’t require P fertilizer. Use zero P unless a soil test shows need.
- Sweep fertilizers off sidewalks and driveways.
- Maintain a “no application” zone near the water’s edge.
- On the farm, use your soil test result and follow MSU Extension recommendations:
- Nutrient Recommendations for Field Crops in Michigan (bulletin E2940)
- Nutrient Recommendations for Vegetable Crops in Michigan (bulletin E2934)
- Secondary & Micronutrients for Vegetable & Field Crops-PDF (bulletin E486)
Prevent soil erosion
- Maintain a dense lawn or other vegetation to reduce water runoff.
- Establish a native plant buffer along the shoreline.
Keep leaves away from the lake
- Don’t burn or compost near the shoreline.
Pump out your septic tank every three to five years
View the Michigan Fertilizer Ordinances
View the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (excerpt) Act 451 of 1994 - special attention to the highlighted text