Yard Maintenance and Gardening

This section deals with the normal yard maintenance activities we all perform at our homes.  Overwatering, overfertilizing, improper herbicide application and improper disposal of trimmings and clippings can all contribute to serious water pollution problems.  Following the Best Management Practices listed below will help alleviate pollutant runoff.  For more information about yard maintenance and gardening, contact your local County Extension Service or the Soil and Water Conservation District by clicking here.  Ask about the ASK-A-MASTER GARDENER program.

Suggested Best Management Practices:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly for mixing and applying herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, and use them sparingly.  Never apply when it is windy or when rain is expected.  Never apply over water, within 100 feet of a well-head, or adjacent to streams or other waterbodies.  Triple-rinse empty containers, using the rinsate for mixing your next batch of spray, and then double-bag and dispose of the empty container in your regular garbage.
  • Follow manufacturer’s directions when applying fertilizers.  More is not better, either for your lawn or for local waterbodies.  Never apply fertilizers over water or adjacent to ditches, streams, dry creek beds, or other waterbodies.  Remember that organic fertilizers have a slow release of nitrogen and less potential to pollute than synthetic fertilizers. 
  • Never dispose of grass clippings, leaves or other vegetation in or near storm drains, streams, rivers, lakes, dry creek beds, or other waterbodies.
  • Save water and prevent pollution problems by watering your lawn sensibly.  Lawns and gardens typically need the equivalent of 1" of rainfall per week.  You can check on how you’re doing by putting a wide-mouth jar or can out where you’re sprinkling and measure the water with a small plastic ruler.  Overwatering to the point of runoff can carry polluting nutrients to the nearest waterbody.  For more information about water conservation or xeriscape, contact the Pendleton Public Works Dept., listed here.

  • Consider planting a vegetated buffer zone adjacent to streams or other waterbodies on your property.
  • Make sure all fertilizers and pesticides are stored in a covered location.  Rain can wash the labels off bottles and convert 50 lbs. of fertilizer into either a solid lump or a river of nutrients.
  • Compost all yard clippings, or use them as mulch to save water and keep down weeds in your garden.  See Composting section for more information.
  • Practice organic gardening and virtually eliminate the need to use pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Pull weeds instead of spraying and get some healthy exercise, too.  If you must spray, use the least toxic formulations that will get the job done.
  • Work fertilizers into the soil instead of letting them lie on the ground surface exposed to the next rainstorm.
  • Rake leaves and dispose of them properly.  You are responsible for leaves from your trees, so rake leaves that fall on streets and sidewalks.  Add leaves to your compost or take them to the local solid waste disposal facility.  Leaves can plug storm drains, and decomposing leaves rob oxygen from rivers, lakes and streams, which harms fish and wildlife.