A Lake Lover’s guide to Spring

1.  Clean up gardens and lawns responsibly. Compost yard waste or take to a composing site, like fox lake town hall. Remember that birds are building their nests so don’t feel the need to clean too much.

2.  Mow but don’t fertilize. Fertilizers run off into lakes, rivers and streams after rains, polluting the waters and encouraging harmful algal growth.  Instead, leave grass clippings on the lawn to naturally fertilize your lawn.  Leave a no mow area along the lakeshore/water front (90% of wildlife rely on natural shorelines at some point in their lives)- or even better:

3.  Plant a garden! Waterfront gardens (also called buffer zone gardens) and rain gardens (positioned in low areas of your yard or at the ends of downspouts) offer many rewards in addition to their beauty- they provide habitat for wildlife, help filter water before it runs into the lake, and help stabilize your lakefront and prevent erosion.  Plant native and other pollinator friendly plants.  They provide food and habitat for birds, bees and pollinators while their roots penetrate deeply into the soil, turning the land into a sponge that absorbs and filters water as well as holding the soil in place.

4.  Avoid using pesticides, herbicides or other harmful chemical sprays as they can harm butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects.  Control weeds by hand pulling or use herbicides VERY sparingly.  I put about 1 tablespoon of herbicide in a spray bottle and spray individual weeds directly.  Pull off any flowers or flower buds on weeds to prevent further seeding.

5.  Take the Healthy Yard Pledge (from Audubon)

     HEALTHY YARD PLEDGE Create and maintain a healthy environment for you, your family, and local wildlife by pledging to:

     - Reduce pesticide use

     - Conserve water

     - Protect water quality

     - Remove invasive exotic plants

     - Plant native species

     - Support wildlife on your property

Every small action you take to manage your property sustainably will have a big impact on our lake.Be a steward of your shoreline property. If we all incorporate these multiple practices, we will make a positive change…together