Highland Lakes

Country Club and Community Association

Minimize Green Lawns and Use Native Plants

If you are wondering what you can do to be a better neighbor to our lakes read the full feature story in the May Newsette written by  Bob Reffelt, chairperson of the Ecology Committee. It starts with an explanation of why lawns are more trouble than they are worth.

Lawn chemicals seep into our watershed and eventually into the lakes. This is especially true if your property slopes into a lake, stream or wetland. NJ recently passed a law that prohibits the use of phosphorous (P) in lawn fertilizers, but fertilizers still contain a large percentage of nitrogen (N), the main greening element. Reduce your use of chemical fertilizers by leaving your grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. Nutrients in decayed clippings will help nourish the lawn. An even better alternative is to reduce the size of your lawn by replacing sections, especially along the water’s edge, with native plants that absorb nutrients which otherwise would flow off the lawn into the lake. An added benefit: Native plants will make it less desirable for geese to invade your property since grass is their favorite food. Their fecal droppings are a major source of water pollution and nutrient loading. A sign showing photos of some native plants will be posted at the clubhouse in the near future. Become familiar with these natives.

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