When the grass is greener …

Healthy grass

Sometimes a customer tells us that he or she wants a greener lawn. Upon further investigation, I find what they want is a “nitro” lawn — that nearly phosphorescent green that comes with excessive use of nitrogen. It’s that beautiful green that suites Ireland so well becuase they can grow it year-round in mild weather. Here — you can only get that kind of grass with heavy fertilizer use.

Usually, customers tell us that this nitro green is the color of their neighbors’ lawns.

At any rate, when we hear that the grass isn’t green enough, we tell our callers what we’re about to tell you.

That kind of fertilizer use is irresponsible. To get that kind of green here in the United States, you need enough fertilizer that you will certainly have run-off and affect the Chesapeake Bay. It’s that simple.

Is that a fair trade-off? I don’t think so. That’s why I specialize in organically fertilized lawns.


Therefore, one quarter of all lawns that feed into the Chesapeake Bay are overfertilized — are present a significant problem.

Here are the facts:

  • Test your soil before fertilizing.
  • Use natural (animal and plant based) slow-release fertilizers instead of synthetic, water-soluble fertilizers.
  • Apply no more than 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of land.
  • Apply any fertilizer at the right time — follow instructions.

Read more about it:

Home Lawn Fertilization in Virginia: Frequently Asked Questions, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service

Groundwater Quality and the Use of Lawn and Garden Chemicals by Homeowners, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service

Lawn Fertilization in Virginia, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service

Healthy Lawns, Healthy Waters, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Return to Knowledge Center

Leave a Reply