Fertilizer and herbicide use:
- Prioritize the use of organic waste generated on-site (e.g. grass clippings or compost) in place of traditional fertilizer applications
- Apply fertilizer based on plant needs (as determined through soil testing) rather than by a predetermined schedule
- Test soil every other year for nutrient content and pH
- Test soil for classification/texture to establish your soil type baseline
- Contact the local, county, or state Extension Service office for information about soil testing, gathering samples, and testing costs
- Do not use ammonia-based fertilizers, biosolid-based fertilizers formulated for continuous application, synthetic quick-release fertilizers, or ‘weed and feed‘ formulations
- Use fertilizer derived from animal or vegetable matter, organic/natural fertilizer, and slow-release formulas
- Review local or national sources, such as the U.S.-based Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) database for environmentally-preferred fertilizer products that comply with USDA organic standards www.omri.org
- Control turf weeds using spot spraying only
- Do not apply blanket applications of herbicides
- The performance metric used to evaluate this operational element can be the percent of environmentally preferred fertilizer used, by cost or quantity (units of weight or volume)
- Test soil for its classification/texture to establish your soil type baseline. This testing only needs to occur once, since this soil attribute is unlikely to change without significant human involvement that generally entails removal and replacement of soil.
- Test soil for its nutrient content and pH at least every other year.
- If your site has multiple planting beds, landscape areas, or vegetation types, take a soil sample from each location. For example, if you have turf area and flowering plant beds, take a soil sample from each. The exact number of tests will depend on the specifics of your site.
- Use the test results to optimize the type and frequency of nutrient applications.
- Use fertilizer derived from animal or vegetable matter, organic/natural fertilizer, and slow-release formulas.
- Control exotic species and turf weeds manually or by spot spraying only