ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE LAWN CARE
These guidelines were originally prepared for Sturbridge Woods Association.
Environmentally sensitive lawn care practices can reduce the risks associated with pesticide exposure to you, your children and pets. Careful selection of fertilizers can minimize damage to the environment, while helping to establish a healthier lawn.
The Sturbridge community is located on land that was formerly a Pinelands forest. Several endangered species have been documented close to our neighborhood. The products we use on our grounds could have a detrimental effect on these species and the other wildlife and plants indigenous to our area. The Covenants indicate that "(f)ertilizers may be used on any lot only in accordance with the Rules and Regulations adopted by the Board of Trustees from time to time. (Article V, Section1 (I); Declaration of Covenants, 11/30/95). The following guidelines adopted by the Board in 1999 were designed to promote harmony between residents and the natural surroundings. They were prepared with the help of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Camden County. For further information on maintaining your lawn and garden, call the Gardening Help Line of the Cooperative Extension at 566-2900, Mon.-Fri., 9:00 a.m. to noon.
Apply fertilizers only when needed, as indicated by a soil test. In most cases, phosphorous is not needed on established lawns.
Plant turf types that require less fertilizer, such as fine fescues.
Choose slow release or water insoluble nitrogen (WIN) sources. Check fertilizer bags for nitrogen types and select those with the highest percentage of water insoluble nitrogen.
Avoid application of fertilizers to frozen ground or paved surfaces.
Practice integrated pest management
(IPM), an environmentally sensitive pest management approach.
Apply pesticides only when needed. Frequent monitoring, early detection and accurate problem identification reduce the need for pesticides. Plant disease resistant turf varieties.
Select turf varieties that contain endophytes- beneficial fungi that provide resistance to chinchbugs, billbugs and other insects.
Maintain good cultural practices that promote turf health: proper watering, mowing, fertilization, aeration and thatch control.
Use biological alternatives when appropriate, e.g., insect killing nematodes, Bacillus popillae & thuringiensis.
REDUCE WATER USE
Select and plant grasses that require less watering such as tall fescues and fine fescues (e.g., hard, chewings and creeping red).
Water only when necessary. Rainfall sensors on automatic sprinklers apply water only when needed.
To reduce disease problems, water between midnight and 8:00 a.m.
REDUCE MOWING AND CLIPPING DISPOSAL
Plant slower growing turf species such as hard, chewings and creeping red fescues.
Do not over fertilize.
Return clippings to the lawn. Clippings can provide up to one third of annual fertilizer needs. A mulching mower reduces yard waste.
The lawn care questionnaire [originally prepared as a survey for use by Sturbridge Woods Association]
will be useful for residents who want to select lawn care contractors who practice Integrated Pest Management.