Be Wise about your fertilizer use

  1. Eliminate chemical fertilizer if possible:
    1. Use lawn clippings and mulched leaves to add nutrients.
    2. Cultivate appreciation for the “up north” lawn look that might not be as deep green or as uniform as a downstate suburban lawn.
  2. If you must fertilize:
    1. Fertilize only as much as necessary, according to soil testing.
    2. Use Zero Phosphorus fertilizers. Phosphorus is the most damaging nutrient for lakes.
    3. End your application of fertilizer at least 30 feet from the shore.

Why shouldn’t you fertilize your lawn?

  • Too much lawn fertilizer will result in algae on your shoreline.
  • Any unabsorbed nutrients can migrate from the lawn into the lake through rain and irrigation.
  • Nutrients in the lake will feed algae growth. No one wants algae on their shoreline.

Yard Signs

To raise awareness about the impact of using fertilizers, Three Lakes Association, Torch Conservation Center, Torch Lake Protection Alliance, and Friends of Clam Lake have worked together to develop this program of ‘Don’t Fertilize’ yard signs. If you are on Lake Bellaire or Clam Lake, you can get a free ‘Be Wise, Don’t Fertilize’ yard sign. For those on Torch Lake, there are ‘Keep Torch Blue, Don’t Fertilize’ signs.

Be Wise sign, for Clam Lake and Lake Bellaire people
Keep Torch Blue sign, especially for Torch Lake folks

Sign Display Guidelines

  • Display your sign proudly where passing motorists, pedestrians, and boaters can see it.
  • Plant it well off the road shoulder, no closer than a mailbox, and preferably in the yard if space allows.
  • Take in your yard sign by October 15
  • Store it over winter so you can replant it in Spring next year. 
  • We will remind you to store and re-display your sign by email

The signs are free! To request a sign, complete this form Or stop by the True Blue Gallery in Alden, starting Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t Fertilize Yard Sign Request Form