News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

News from the Skaneateles Lake Association

Lawn Care, Lake Care for October                   Fran McCormack

You are a resident in the Skaneateles Lake watershed.  You’re concerned about the algal blooms and understand everyone can help our lake with better landscaping practices.  It is October.  Here is what you or your landscaper should do this month.

 Leaves and Lawn:  Keep mower blades sharp.  Mow grass no shorter than 3 – 4 inches in the Fall with a mulching lawn mower so that grass can still peak through.  Leave grass clippings on the lawn or rake and bag leaves or use as plant mulch so they don’t enter streets, road side ditches, drains, or gullies.  Or, do not mow your yard at all!  Mowing avoidance adds habitat, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and restores pollinators.

Seed bare spots to reduce erosion by establishing healthy, dense growth because thin, patchy lawns will have an increased amount of runoff and will transfer more to the lake (even if they are not fertilized).  Test your soil before considering fertilizing your lawn. Most soils in our area do not need fertilizer. Call Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) (585) 394-3977 for testing.

Remove all pet waste – bag it and throw it in the trash. (15-20% of bacteria that enter our waterways comes from pet waste).  This is good lake care every month.

Native Trees/Shrubs/Perennials:  Consult with a certified nursery professional for native trees, shrubs and pollinator-friendly plants.  Plant in the Fall before ground freezes (as long as you can dig) and mulch.  Plant native plants as a buffer along shorelines or stream beds to act as a sponge for storm water runoff.  A buffer can also discourage geese from walking on your property!

Plant a rain garden in a low area where water collects and plant with native plants to slow rainwater flow into the lake or streams or use a rain barrel under gutter downspouts.

New York State Lawn Fertilization Regulations are important to follow every month.  Do not use lawn fertilizer that contains phosphorus unless you are establishing a new lawn, or a soil test shows that your lawn does not have enough phosphorus.  Do not use any lawn fertilizer December 1 – April 1. Don’t apply fertilizer on sidewalks, driveways or other impervious surfaces. If fertilizer spills, sweep it up to prevent it from washing into drains or waterways.  Do not apply lawn fertilizer within 20 feet of any water body unless there is at least a 10-foot buffer of shrubs, trees or other plants between the area you are fertilizing and the water.

You will find a month-to-month guide for lawn care at this site:  The Homeowner’s Lawn Care and Water Quality Almanac –

Please Save the Date and plan to join us on Tuesday October 23rd at 7pm at the Skaneateles High School auditorium.  The SLA, CCE and Town of Skaneateles are collaborating on a forum on Landscaping for Water Quality with Landscape Architect Matt Biondolillo and Native Plant author and dendrology professor at ESF – Don Leopold.  You can register for this forum at

Join us in thanking the following for co-sponsoring the Milfoil Boat for a day:  Jessica & Douglas Fetterman, Annette & Peter Becker.

We thank an anonymous donor for sponsoring an Invasive Species Monitoring Steward for a day.

Every single membership counts.  70 households will be receiving letters this week reminding them it is time to join the SLA for 2018.  If all 70 join we could achieve a total household membership of 900 and that means by the end of the year we could get to 1000.  If you have received one of our annual renewal letters or a reminder letter that you were missed last year and are needed back this year please join today.  You can join the SLA online at or call 315-685-9106 and ask for a membership form to be mailed to you

Source:  Skaneateles Press