Editorial: Let’s have green lawns, blue lakes

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 30, 2006

Don’t like too much algae in your lakes?

Then stop sending your grass clippings into the streets when you mow your lawn. There’s phosphorus fertilizer on your clippings. The clippings wash into the storm sewers and end up in lakes. According to the Shell Rock River Watershed, 1 pound of phosphorus produces 500 pounds of algae.

Besides, by shooting the clippings into the street, you are losing that phosphorus, other nutrients and plant organic matter &045;&160;good stuff for growing grass. It’s like throwing money out the car window.

The best place for your clippings is on the lawn. The clippings mulch into the new growth. Grass becomes fertilizer for your grass. That saves money.

When it gets hot and there’s a lack of rain, raising the height on your mower by a half inch does more to help your grass beat the weeds and the sun than anything else. Clippings are mostly water and good for the lawn in dry times, too.

We support the Leave it on the Lawn campaign undertaken by the Shell Rock River Watershed District. Shooting grass clippings into the street is a violation of Albert Lea code.

In Texas, the state did a study. The Texas Don’t Bag It campaign convinved 184 homeowners who bagged their clippings to use a mulching lawn mower. A mulching mower does the same thing as one that shoots out the side except it minces the clippings so they decompose faster. After one season, those homeowners rated their lawns at 30 percent better than the year before.

You can’t beat that. Especially if you want your lawn green, not your lakes.