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Simple step to help our waterways

As strong summer thunderstorms start to roll in, which sometimes bring heavy amounts of rain, it is important to remember to keep yard waste from collecting near and going down the storm drains.  Collectively, this simple step can be one of the many steps that can help protect our waterways.

Why does this simple step matter?

Grass clippings and yard debris that end up on our sidewalks, driveways and roads, get washed down the storm drains during rain events.  This yard waste becomes sources of excess nutrients, particularly Nitrogen.  Excess nutrients can have a very negative effect on our waterways and the health of our fragile ecosystems in Florida.

The hum of lawnmower is a common sound in the summer.  Ample rain and warm temperatures make for an active growing and mowing season.  But why are grass clippings important and what can you do with them?  Grass clippings are a contain nutrients that plants need.  When they are left on the lawn or used in the landscape, the clippings are quickly broken down by microbes.  These nutrients can be then used by your landscape plants and lawn.  When they end up in our storm drains, they can become non-point source pollution and affect our water quality.

Grass on sidewalk                         Photo credit: Kate Rotindo

 

Recycling yard waste in the landscape can be easy!

One of the principles of the UF/IFAS Florida-Friendly Landscaping(TM) Program is recycling yard waste.  Putting those grass clippings back into the landscape can be a source of natural mulch, and the nutrients contained in those clippings can go back into the soil where plants can use them.  If you don’t want to leave the grass clippings on the lawn, there are other options.  You add some to your compost pile or use them as mulch around your landscape plants.  This simple practice in the landscape can benefit not only your landscape plants and lawn, but also help to protect our water quality.

For more information on proper mowing, grass clipping, and recycling yard waste, go the UF/IFAS links below:

https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/lawns/lawn-care/mowing-your-florida-lawn.html

https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/florida-friendly-landscapes/the-nine-principles.html

https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/about-ffl/9-principles/principle-7-recycle-waste/

For any questions or additional information, feel free to contact:

Kate Rotindo, Urban Horticulture Agent (772) 462-1660 or krotindo@ufl.edu