Nutrient impacts

Nutrients and other pollutants from urban and agricultural areas can have a significant impact on our waterways. The majority of nutrients entering waterways in urban areas come from fertiliser.

Fertilisers contain nutrients and trace elements that plants need to grow. If used inappropriately, excess nutrients from fertiliser can run off into stormwater drains or leach into groundwater systems, eventually ending up in our waterways. Once there, they help the tiniest of plants, algae, grow in plague proportions.

Excessive application of fertilisers can lead to the eutrophication (nutrient enrichment) of waterways.

This causes:

  • public health issues
  • toxic algal blooms
  • low oxygen levels in water due to algal decay that can threaten wildlife and fish communities
  • unpleasant odours
  • increases in soil acidity
  • significant discolouration of waterways.

Hold off on the fertiliser till spring this winter

Fertilising at the right time of year will keep your lawns and gardens looking green. Nutrients are absorbed more easily in spring and this is when many plants start their new growth cycles. Most lawns are warm season grasses and actually stall their growth in winter. Winter rains simply wash fertiliser into our waterways and create problems for iconic species like the Blue Swimmer Crab.