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Landscaping and vegetation management include a wide variety of activities, including vegetation installation and removal, lawn mowing, fertilizer, and pesticide application, watering, and other landscaping practices. Many of these activities can result in the contamination of stormwater runoff with sediment, nutrients, organic materials, toxic chemicals, heavy metals, oils, and trash.

By implementing the proper practices and procedures below during your landscaping and vegetation management work, your business and project site can help to prevent stormwater pollution and keep our waters healthy for everyone.

Landscaping and Planting Activities:

  • Schedule any soil disturbance activities such as grading and excavation projects during dry weather.
  • Use mulch or other appropriate erosion control measures when soils are exposed.
  • Place landscaping materials, including soil and mulch, away from stormwater drains, drainage ditches, and surface waters. Berm and cover stockpiles with secured waterproof tarps or plastic sheeting to prevent exposure to rainfall and stormwater.
  • Cover all stormwater drains before hydro-seeding. Avoid seeding lawns on steep slopes or areas that do not drain well. Sod these areas to protect from erosion.
  • Do not refuel or clean lawn mowers and other landscaping equipment near a stormwater drain, drainage ditch or surface water. Inspect all landscaping equipment for leaks on a daily basis and repair as needed.

Fertilizer Application:

  • Always follow the manufacturers’ recommendations and directions for the proper amounts of fertilizer and application instructions. Make sure to calibrate granular spreaders and liquid applicators to avoid excessive application.
  • Avoid applying fertilizers when it is raining or when heavy rain is forecast.
  • Fertilizers should be worked into the soil rather that broadcast and left on the surface.
  • Close fertilizer spreaders when going over pavement, bare soil and other non-vegetated surfaces. Sweep up dry fertilizer granules that fall on pavement or other hard surfaces. Do not hose or blow off.

Weed / Pest Management:

  • Properly identify weeds, diseases and insects before applying a pesticide.
  • Use non-toxic and more environmentally friendly pest control methods, whenever possible.
  • Read and follow the label directions and apply all pesticides as directed. Follow all federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing the use, storage, and disposal of fertilizers and pesticides and training of applicators and pest control advisory's.
  • Do not apply pesticides when it is raining or when rain is forecast. Check the irrigation schedule to ensure that pesticides applied will not be applied prior to watering. Apply pesticides only when wind speeds are low.
  • Do not mix, prepare, or apply pesticides near a stormwater drain, drainage ditch, or surface water.
  • Spot treat only affected areas instead of using widespread pesticide application.
  • Sweep up any dry pesticide that falls onto pavement or other impervious surfaces. Do not hose or blow off. Follow manufacturers’ instructions for any spills and leaks.

Waste Management:

  • Sweep and bag waste materials rather than blowing or washing off paved surfaces.
  • Never blow or dump grass clippings, leaves, and other waste into the street, stormwater drain, drainage ditch, or surface water.
  • If disposing of yard waste off-site, bag as solid waste for pickup or delivery to a composting facility or permitted landfill. Always cover waste materials when hauling off-site.