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Phosphorus

Research has indicated that the lake is virtually free of contaminants. Recreational pursuits may be enjoyed throughout the year, but like any central Minnesota lake, the water turns green during the summer.

Use Zero Phosphorus Fertilizer

Fertilizer graphic [12K]

Phosphorus increases the growth of plants. Any fertilizer or waste that runs off of driveways and other impervious surfaces ends up in ditches and gutters, which carry it to the lake. The phosphorus in the fertilizer provides food for algae, which makes the water green and murky. It also depletes oxygen levels so that plant life and fish do not flourish. Unpleasant to swim in, algae is not generally dangerous to humans, but can be toxic to wildlife and pets.

In 2006, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law regulating the use of phosphorus in fertilizer statewide. There are only a few instances where phosphorus may be applied, including the establishment of a new lawn or if the soil (or plant tissue) has been tested and is lacking.

In addition, the law states that ANY fertilizer must be cleared off of driveways, roads, sidewalks or other impervious surfaces immediately.

Our soils are naturally high in phosphorus and your lawn likely does not need it. Call Sherburne County Extension for a test kit (there is a small fee for the kit & analysis).

Unsure as to how to read a fertilizer label? See "Fertilizing Basics".

Other Ways to Keep Phosphorus Out of Our Waterways

Remove Yard Waste. Grass clippings and leaves are high in phosphorus. You may recycle nutrients by leaving finely chopped clippings on your lawn, but remove yard waste from high runoff areas such as sidewalks, driveways, and decks. DO NOT dump into ditches, lakes, streams, street gutters, etc.

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