Published by: Portland Water
Why Do Lakes Like Less Lawn?
Whether you have lakefront property or live many feet from the lake, you can help protect lake
water quality by reducing your lawn and making your property more beautiful and more valuable
at the same time. The goal of this publication is to show you how!
When it rains, most of the water runs off smooth surfaces, such as lawns, instead of soaking in.
And shallow grass root systems do little to prevent soil erosion. This means fertilizers and pesticides
applied to lawns end up in the lake where they feed algae and degrade water quality. Eroded soil also
feeds algae and too much algae in a lake can make the water murky and green. Studies have shown
that property values are lower on lakes with less clear water. Too much algae in a lake also lowers
oxygen levels in the water which can threaten cold water fish species, other wildlife, and a healthy
By planting a variety of trees, shrubs, ground covers, and flowering perennials you can protect
the lake. All of these have deeper root systems that hold soil in place, absorb more runoff, and filter
out more pollutants than grass. Native plant species are the best to use because they are adapted to
local conditions. This means they require little maintenance once established, so you’ll have more
time to relax and enjoy the lake. Plus, they provide important habitat and food for birds, butterflies,
and other wildlife. (link above to full article)