Many of us live in neighborhoods where stormwater is diverted away from our homes and into a stormwater retention pond. The reason that they’re built is to hold stormwater and keep it from running into our natural creeks and streams so quickly to avoid flooding. A lot of people who live on these ponds find frustration in the summer when too many nutrients are washed into the pond, which causes excess plant and algae growth.
There are five things that everyone can do to help keep the water in their stormwater ponds healthy and clean during the summer. First, avoid putting on any phosphorous fertilizer unless you do a soil test and determine that you need phosphorous on your lawn.
Second, avoid fertilizing on the slope or right next to the pond. You don’t want any of the extra fertilizer washing down into the water, because that will just feed the algae and aquatic plants instead of feeding your grass.
The third tip is to never feed the geese on your pond. Feeding those geese will keep them there all winter long, and then you’ll have all those extra nutrients feeding that plant growth during the summer.
Next, make sure that every time you mow the lawn to sweep any extra grass clippings back into the lawn where they can be decomposed and used as fertilizer for your lawn. Any of those grass clippings that get blown or washed down into the storm drain will wash into the pond the next time it rains. That will feed the system and create more algae.
The same thing goes for fertilizer. If you get fertilizer on your driveway or sidewalks when fertilizing your lawn, be sure to sweep that into your lawn where it belongs. Don’t let it wash down and fertilize the pondweeds.
Even if you don’t live directly on the edge of the pond, and you live across the street from the pond, your actions influence the pond. So, you’ll still need to keep the grass clippings in your yard and the fertilizer on the grass where it belongs.
If you’ll do these five things as you’re taking care of your lawn during the summer months, you’ll avoid putting extra nutrients into your pond that feed the algae and cause excess plant growth. Then, your pond will look great for the full season.
This feature story prepared with Tonya Bronleewe, Kansas State University Research and Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.