Community commits to fertiliser-free winter

Last week staff from the South West Catchments Council were in the Busselton Bunnings store promoting the community-driven ‘Save the Crabs, Then eat Them’ campaign.

Customers visiting the store on Saturday morning were asked if they would be willing to wait until spring to fertilise their lawns and gardens.

“Almost everyone we spoke to said they would be willing to hold off on the fertiliser till spring,” said SWCC’s Community Engagement Facilitator, Sarah Molloy.

“One local said he didn’t realise that winter fertilising caused nutrients to run into waterways and made a commitment to us that he would stop fertilising during the winter months. This shows that the campaign is having an impact.”

A pledge and photo board were on display to show public commitments from people who are happy to hold off on the fertiliser till spring. Asking residents to make a formal commitment increases the likelihood that they will adopt the desired behaviour. By making it public, others can see who else is on board and this normalises the behaviour.

Children were provided stickers, magnets and novelty crabs, handmade by the Bunnings team, while parents committed to a fertilise-free winter.

The Busselton Bunnings store has been supporting the community-driven campaign to improve the health of our waterways.

Gardeners are encouraged not to fertilise in winter because this is when it is most likely to leach and run off into waterways. Excess nutrients in waterways lead to algal blooms that remove oxygen from the water when they break down and threaten wildlife and fish communities.

This campaign is based on the successful Chesapeake Club campaign in the United States and is supported by the South West Catchments Council (SWCC), through funding from the Australian Government and the Government of Western Australia.