Commercial Landscaping

How Does Landscaping Affect Stormwater?

  • Chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides (weed-killers) used on lawns wash into the stormwater and eventually end up in the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.
  • Fertilizers can cause algal blooms, which rob our waterways of oxygen that fish need to survive.
  • Pesticides and herbicides kill aquatic life in the streams and rivers and pollute our sources of drinking water.
  • Steep slopes that are not landscaped can quickly erode, leading to sedimentation in storm sewers and local waterways.

Green Landscaping Tips

  • Help protect our waterways and drinking water source by using natural, non-toxic alternatives to pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.
  • Let your customers know about grass cycling – the natural recycling of grass by leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing instead of using a grass catcher. Grass clippings will quickly decompose, returning valuable nutrients to the soil.
  • If you must use chemical treatments, spot apply rather than blanketing entire areas, avoid applying near curbs and driveways and never apply before a rain storm.
  • Do not blow, sweep, rake or hose yard waste into the street.
  • Recycle leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste.
  • Conserve water and prevent runoff by controlling the amount of water and direction of sprinklers. Sprinklers should be long enough to allow water to soak into the ground but not so long as to cause runoff.
  • Regularly inspect, fix leaks and realign sprinkler heads.
  • Plant native vegetation as much as possible to reduce the need for water, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides.
  • Utilize ground cover, berms and vegetation on slopes to prevent erosion and capture stormwater runoff.
  • Avoid excavation or grading during wet weather.
  • Keep landscaping materials and debris away from the street, gutter and storm drains.
  • On-site stockpiles of materials should be covered with plastic sheeting to protect from rain, wind and runoff.

For More Information:
Organic Lawn Care
Non-toxic Weed Control
Recommended Native Plants - Pennyslvania
Native Plant Sources - Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Cooperative Extension


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