My Lawn Saves the Crabs. Can yours?
What is “Save the Crabs?” It is an educational and activist campaign. Spring lawn fertilization threatens the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. You have the power to make a difference.
Do not fertilize your lawn this spring. Spring fertilizer contributes to dead zones (zones without oxygen) in the Rappahannock and the Chesapeake Bay.
The nutrients from fertilizer wash into rivers and sewers during spring rains. Excess nutrients cause algae to grow out of control. When this algae dies, it decomposes, which causes oxygen to get pulled out of the water. This results in ‘dead zones’ where animals such as crabs die from suffocation in the Rappahannock and Chesapeake Bay.
Economic impacts. The Chesapeake Bay yields 500 million pounds of seafood every year with high culinary, cultural, lifestyle, and economic value. To the 17 million people living in the Bay watershed, this is a vital part of the cultural and economic vitality of the area. Between 1994 and 2004, Virginia's seafood harvest declined 30 percent bearing heavy economic impact. In 2007 it hit a record low. Now blue crab populations have finally risen due to emergency crab management measures put into place in 2008, but they still haven't reached original levels.
So fertilize in the fall – when there is less rain.
It’s better for your lawn. Fertilizing your lawn in the fall is better for your grass. Fertilizing in the spring will make your grass turn green fast, but it’s temporary and weakening. Most of the fertilizer you use will be wasted by spring rains. Fall fertilizing strengthens your grass’s root systems because the fertilizer will have time to sink in and nourish, creating a healthier and longer lasting lawn.