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Lawn Care

Lawn care and the constant mowing and maintenance in your own yard can definitely be a chore. The realization that your personal health and the health of our communities is bound to the health of our land will not only save you time and money but will also help protect our local water, wildlife and way of life!

Homeowners Guide to Watershed Friendly Living cover only jpg.jpg

So where do you begin? A great place to start is by reading our (new!) Homeowner's Guide to Watershed-Friendly Living (click on image) which will give you a host of ideas for simple and easy actions you can take in your yard and landscape that will preserve, protect, and enhance our area watersheds!

These strategies can help protect our local water quality, enhance your enjoyment of our lakes and other water bodies, and increase your investment in your property. So whether you are a full-time or seasonal resident, Chautauqua County depends on you to make responsible decisions and practice lake-friendly living. The real environmental
power lies in the hands of committed landowners like you!

Here are some additional recommendations that will make a positive, healthy impact to your yard!

  • Lawn Fertilizer - Protect water quality by reducing or eliminating fertilizer on your lawn. Fertilizer is food, but is your lawn hungry? Use too much, and it can escape your lawn and go on to feed runaway algae growth in our waterways.

  • Water Conservation - Reduce how much and how often you water your lawn. The average American family uses about 300 gallons of water every day. A failure to protect and conserve our water resources can potentially lead to more expensive utilities, use restrictions and even significant impacts to recreational areas like lakes and rivers.

  • Fallen Leaves - Mow these beautiful babies right into your lawn! Dry, mulched leaves will compost into your lawn, retain moisture, attract beneficial worms and prevent lawn diseases. Your grass will thank you for it!

  • Pet Waste - Bag it and throw it in the trash. The connection between our water supply and pet waste might not be obvious, but that doesn’t mean it’s trivial. With an estimated 53 million dogs in the United States, poo that doesn’t get picked up can create serious water pollution issues.

  • Septic Tank Maintenance - Have your tank pumped regularly. What is flushed down is not always forgotten. Leaking septic systems allow some serious pollutants to contaminate our waterways.

  • Native Plants & Pollinators - About 70% of pollution in our waterways comes from stormwater runoff. Landscaping with native plants can slow that runoff to a crawl or stop it altogether, and planting natives also supports our all-important pollinators at the same time!

  • How You Mow Matters - Mowing your grass at 3 inches or taller will prevent diseases, promote deep-digging roots, help the grass conserve water, improve turf density and improve turf color.

Way of Life 

The small and simple choices we make in our own backyards can greatly impact our local streams, rivers, and lakes. Our individual yards are just one individual ecosystem that, added together with each of our neighbors and surrounding communities, create one beautiful and viable watershed! After all, this is the water we drink, the water we play in, and a vital part of nature’s ecosystems.

Lawn Alternatives

It’s time for our traditional lawn to start kicking grass! Grass has its place…it’s hardy, you can play and roll on it and its shallow roots help keep soil in place. But it also has some drawbacks. Healthy grass needs a lot of mowing, chemicals (that don’t stay where they’re applied), and water to stay green throughout the summer. Its shallow roots do a poor job of soaking and cleaning excess water, which adds to stormwater runoff and flooding issues as well as to the pollution that enters our lakes and rivers. Lastly, it offers nothing to the beneficial insects that we rely on to pollinate our gardens and control pests. With so much of our urban and suburban environment covered by impermeable surfaces such as rooftops, streets, and parking lots, how we choose to plant our remaining green spaces has critical consequences for water and habitat quality.

One great way to improve your lawn using less water and fertilizers is to sow grass seed into an existing lawn. Overseeding allows you to introduce better grass species, fill in bare patches and reduce crabgrass infestations. And at the same time, it creates a lawn that requires less watering and fewer fertilizers to keep it looking lush and green.

Our top three recommendations for seeding your lawn are

  1. Tall Fescue (drought and shade tolerant, grows fast, less fertilizer needed)

  2. Perennial Rye Grass (full sun, grows fast but not drought and shade tolerant)

  3. Fine Fescue (shade tolerant, average growth, some drought tolerance)

For more information on grass and grass seed, watch our “Healthy Lawns, Healthy Lakes” presentation featuring Dr. Frank Rossi below.

For more information on turf alternatives, visit:

Frank Rossi Webinar 
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