Yard & Lawn Care

Fertilizer Tips

Use fertilizers wisely to avoid getting it into the drainage system and water bodies.

Massachusetts state law was changed in 2012 to reduce the phosphorus content in fertilizers. Most established landscaping does not need any additional phosphorus. You can have your soil tested for nutrient levels and fertilizer recommendations by the UMASS Soil Testing Lab. For more information visit the UMASS Soil Testing webpage.

  • Apply fertilizers only when necessary and at the recommended amount.
  • Avoid applying fertilizer close to waterways.
  • Don't apply fertilizer before windy or rainy days.
  • Fill fertilizer spreaders on a hard surface so that any spills can be easily cleaned up.
  • Properly store unused fertilizers and properly dispose of empty containers.
  • To determine the phosphorus content in a fertilizer, look at the middle number in the formula on the package (e.g., 16-0-8).
  • Try to reduce or eliminate fertilizer application. Use organic, "no phosphorus" or slow-release fertilizers, if needed.

Grass Clipping Tips

Make use of grass clippings to reduce solid waste and decrease the need for fertilizer.

What to Do

  • Compost the clippings for later use.
  • Leave them on the lawn; it makes a great natural fertilizer and helps to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the soil cool.
  • Take yard waste to the Rocky Hill Road Yard Waste Drop-Off Facility, Monday through Friday: 8 am to 3 pm, Saturday: 10 am to 2 pm, excluding winter months.

What Not to Do

  • Do not burn; the incineration of damp grass clippings or other green materials creates thick smoke which can be harmful to health and the environment.
  • Do not throw grass clippings into general waste bins. When organic material breaks down it creates methane which can ignite in large quantities.

Leaf Disposal Tips

Never rake leaves into or near streams or storm drains. Decaying leaves are harmful to water quality and aquatic environments.

  • Compost your leaves to use for fertilizer next year.
  • Mulch leaves with your lawnmower to fertilize your yard.
  • Take yard waste to the Rocky Hill Road Yard Waste Drop-Off Facility, Monday through Friday: 8 am to 3 pm, Saturday: 10 am to 2 pm, excluding winter months.