Don't Feed the Weed
The best approach to weed control for those who live with the lake in their back yard is to avoid feeding the weeds. Ever notice those three numbers on the fertilizer bag (ex: 10-10-10)? They are percentages of Nitrogen - Phosphate – Potash. Minimizing Phosphate is the key as this is the nutrient which enhances rapid root growth.
● When planting or replanting a lawn, use a seed mixture with a high percentage of fescue grass. It requires much less fertilizer which acts as a nutrient for the weeds and algae in the lake.
● Leave grass clippings on the lawn. They return nutrients to the lawn.
● Avoid fertilizing your lawn or garden. If you must fertilize, use a product with little or no Phosphorus such as 23-0-6, 30-4-4 or 26-4-4. Corn Gluten is an all natural product containing no Phosphate – it also inhibits weeds and crabgrass. Espoma makes a product line of lawn & garden products that are Phosphate free and all organic. Both of these items can be purchased locally at Litchfield Hills Nursery and Blue Seal Feeds. But the best choice is NO FERTILIZER. Dont forget to inform your landscape service.
● Rake or blow your lawn (leaves) away from the lake. Leaves contain large amounts of nutrients when they decompose.
● Start a compost pile using leaves and weeds raked from the lake. This compost is excellent for your garden and landscape plants. Lake weeds and algae are good sources of nutrients for your garden.
● Plant a shoreline buffer (the wider the better) of shrubs, bushes and tress. These plants utilize phosphorus and nitrogen and act as a buffer zone or filter before groundwater and runoff pass into the lake.
● Be sure there is proper drainage on and near your lot so that erosion will not take place.
● Hand pull or rake Pondweed.
Septic system owners:
● Maintain your septic system regularly. The septic tank should be pumped and inspected every one to three years.
● Reduce the amount of water used in your home by adding water dams to your toilet tank and installing faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads. This helps your septic system operate more efficiently, preventing sewage flow into the lake.
● Don’t drain any type of sewage into the lake, including ashes from campfires.
● Don’t burn leaves near the shoreline. Burning turns the leaves into instant fertilizer which is easily washed into the water.
● Don’t destroy the soil holding vegetation on the shoreline. These plants prevent erosion.
● Don’t feed ducks or geese from your dock. Plenty of natural food is available in the lake. Ducks and geese may pass on swimmer’s itch and leave significant amounts of “natural fertilizer”.
● Don’t use cleaning products containing phosphates.
● Don’t rake/harvest Milfoil or Fanwort weeds as they can spread by fragmentation.
Septic System Owners:
● Don’t harm your septic drain field by adding fill, planting deep rooted trees nearby, or driving a vehicle over it.
● Don’t use a garbage grinder in your kitchen. Ground-up food contributes to septic system problems and may add nutrients to the lake.