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Lawn Fertilization Guidelines

Runoff from storm water enters the city's lakes and ponds through the storm sewer system. This runoff can have a negative impact on water quality because of phosphorus and other nutrients in the water. A source of these nutrients can be lawn fertilization. Phosphorus and other nutrients increase the growth of algae and aquatic plants, causing a reduction in water clarity and quality in our lakes and wetlands.

Most soil in Woodbury (and throughout Minnesota) is naturally high in phosphorus and can grow healthy lawns without the addition of phosphorus fertilizers. For this reason, fertilizers containing phosphorus cannot be sold for typical lawn application in Minnesota. On all bags of fertilizer, there are three numbers. The middle number indicates phosphorus content and should read "0" on any fertilizer purchased for typical lawn fertilization needs.

Other things residents can do to help prevent the decline of water quality:

  1. Get a soil test to determine what, if any, fertilizer application is necessary for your lawn.
  2. Keep fertilizer off hard surfaces such as driveways or streets.
  3. Do not fertilize areas adjacent to lakes or ponds.
  4. Prevent grass clippings from going into the street and storm sewer system.

Fertilizers containing phosphorus may be used on a lawn if a soil test indicates it is necessary or when establishing a new lawn. For more information about soil testing, visit the University of Minnesota's Soil Testing Laboratory website.