Niles, Michigan...the City of four flags!

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Department of Public Works
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Environmentally Speaking . . . Lawn Care

Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams and rivers. Excess fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and gardens wash off and pollute streams and rivers. In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into storm drains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams and rivers.

Recycle or properly dispose of household products that contain chemicals, such as insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, and used motor oil and other auto fluids. Don’t pour them onto the ground or into storm drains.

Don’t over water your lawn. Consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler. Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly. When use is necessary, use these chemicals in the recommended amounts. Use organic mulch or safer pest control methods whenever possible. Compost or mulch your yard wastes. Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams. Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.

The municipalities in Cass and Berrien Counties are working together to ensure cleaner and safer water in the Lower St. Joseph River Watershed. We will need your help, to learn more about these efforts visit

Lawn Care and Water Quality

Are you in the habit of applying fertilizer to your lawn every spring? Did you know that when fertilizer is applied improperly it may pollute our Michigan waters and possibly even kill our vegetation along with fish and animals? Though we all want to have green and luscious lawns this spring and summer, we also need to be aware of the potential hazards our lawn care practices may cause. When too much fertilizer is applied it washes off easily and becomes very harmful to the environment. This is especially true when a rain storm comes. Rain can wash fertilizer straight into the storm drain. Moreover, much of what is on the soil will eventually percolate into our groundwater systems as water gets absorbed into the earth. Therefore, it is important to avoid using fertilizer during the rain season or before a rain storm forecast.

If a fertilizer applicator warns of keeping children and pets off the lawn for 24 hours, it would be wise to discontinue its use all together. Using a slow release fertilizer is effective as it spreads over time and is less likely to drain away.

Note that when you water and mow your lawn properly, you may not need much fertilizer. For suggestions on mowing and watering review these resources:

Lawn Care Guidelines or

If you must fertilize, stick to organic fertilizers and do it sparingly. More is not better when it comes to fertilizing! If you decide to fertilize do it sparingly. Back To Top