Healthy Lawns Can Help Protect The Bay

For years, concern about nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has been a driving force behind scientific research and environmental policy. Recently, the EPA released a report summarizing research done by universities and other institutions highlighting the impacts of lawn fertilization on the bay. To the surprise of many, the report finds that using fertilizer to establish dense lawns can result in  less pollution than unfertilized lawns, provided that the fertilizer is applied correctly and used in conjunction with proper maintenance practices.
Download the report here.

The conclusion of much of the research is that dense lawns on soil protect against erosion better than spotty, weedy lawns. And soil erosion is a large factor in pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. Soils naturally contain nutrients from both their original parent material (the rocks they were derived from) and rainfall (rain contains small amounts of many nutrients). If soil is not protected from rain and wind, it can find its way into streams and rivers where the nutrients that are adhered to the soil will dissolve into the water. But by establishing a dense lawn you can reduce runoff and erosion, even if some nutrients are used to establish that dense cover.


The report and research goes on to elaborate that the benefits of dense lawns are only realized when they are properly maintained. If a dense stand of grass is created through over fertilization, excessive watering, bagging and loss of clippings, the benefits compared to non-fertilized lawn are lost.

The EPA report outlines 10 principles that should be followed to create a dense lawn that prevents pollution. Of the 10 principles, Hertzler and George is 100% compliant and has been for many years. Our company has always been a proponent of protecting the bay by following the recommendations of the Virginia Cooperative Extension and other university research to create the best and most responsible product for our customers. I look forward to hearing the public’s response to this report and if anyone has questions please contact me for further discussion.

10 Lawn Care Principles For Reduced Watershed Pollution

  1. Test your soil and use Virginia Cooperative Extension research to determine the appropriate amount of fertilizer your lawn needs.
  2. Maintain a dense stand of grass to minimize nutrient and soil loss.
  3. For each application, use less than 1 lb per of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
  4. Rather that bagging your clippings and sending them to the landfill, keep your clippings on your lawn or compost them. And make sure they’re not washing into streams.
  5. Apply fertilizer only when your grass is actively growing.
  6. Utilize slow release fertilizer when possible.
  7. Mow your grass at 3″ or taller to promote deep rooting.
  8. Immediately remove all fertilizer from impervious surfaces.
  9. Don’t apply fertilizer within 15 to 20′ of ponds, streams or rivers.
  10. Employ practices like aeration, thatch management, bio-stimulates, and adding organic matter to promote increased soil porosity and infiltration.
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Always Helpful

Brian came out last week to try to assess a problem we are having in our yard.  He arrived on time, was extremely courteous and took a considerable amount of time analyzing our situation.  While he was unable to reach a solution, he did take the time to research and recommend another business that might be able to help us.  That kind of customer service will make us more likely to call on Hertzler & George if other issues arise.  Thanks, Brian!


Five Stars All Around

We hired H&G to help us re-do our landscaping after a different local landscaping company did a sub par job with plant selections and installations. That company also was very hard to deal with. H&G stepped right up with Jennifer creating a new planting scheme comprising of native plants with some we had never seen before and which we love! She is extremely knowledgeable and pleasant to work with – a true landscaping charm! Jon did the installations and also did a fantastic job. He was very meticulous on planting and finishing the job neatly with mulch. Unlike that other company’s installer, Jon left us extremely happy with the job done. Customer service on the phone – pleasant, patient and helpful. The only, and ever so minor aspect of their work, is they don’t offer a guarantee on the plants or install. I suppose that’s becoming industry standard. However, now looking over all the plantings with a bit of time passing, I am confident that there won’t need to be any replacements. Watering is of course the key element. Thank you H&G, the country cottage landscaping we’ve wanted is now ours – FIVE STARS!

Chris Dombrowski
Ford's Colony | Homeowner

True professionals

Had these guys build a surface-grade patio in May 2023. They looked at the project, sent me a proposed scope of work and contract via email, took a deposit of 1/2 the total via bank transfer. They set a date weeks later to start the job. They showed up on time, worked professionally and cleaned up at the end of the day. Whole job took 3 days, and they even replaced all the patio furniture on the last day. The final product was precisely what I asked for, done in a high-quality, workmanlike way.

H&G are not the cheapest guys out there, but for the extra money you get a professional product, professionally executed, on time, on budget. Honestly: I don’t think it gets any better than that.


Ken Blakely

Beyond Satisfied

We had an ugly uneven weedy patio and a driveway that needed reshaping and gravel. The transformation is stunning. Your representative Brian was patient and helpful in designing repairs to our satisfaction and your work crew was exceptional. Edwardo the work site foreman was extremely knowledgeable and professional and created a beautiful patio. His crew was superior.

Tim & Cynthia Porter

Joe Hertzler goes the extra mile

Hertzler and George were contracted to perform some landscaping for a seller of mine to get the home ready to show. They had just finished an extensive re-landscaping of the next door neighbors entire yard. I was very impressed by their attention to detail and their desire to satisfy their client. Joe Hertzler goes the extra mile to achieve complete client satisfaction. They provide a complete mix of landscaping design services and maintenance of existing landscaping

Tim Parker
Liz Moore Real Estate