Lawn Care Best Practices

Lake Champlain Sea Grant and numerous partner organizations have implemented a Lawn to Lake outreach initiative to encourage homeowners and commercial property owners to use low input lawn care practices to reduce stormwater runoff.

Lawn to Lake

In 2006, several groups in Vermont and the Lake Champlain basin of New York began pooling resources and ideas to create a coordinated outreach message. Partners included Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Lake Champlain Committee, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, the Smart Waterways Regional Stormwater Education Program, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

The successful Lawn to Lake effort expanded from Vermont and New York to include southern Lake Michigan, with new partners from the Illinois-Indiana Sea GrantUniversity of Illinois ExtensionSafer Pest Control ProjectPurdue University Northwest (formerly Calumet) and others, with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Learn more about the Lawn to Lake initiative at

Our Campaigns

Don't 'P' on Your Lawn

Through the “Don’t ‘P’ on Your Lawn” campaign, which promotes the use of phosphorus-free fertilizer, the Vermont/New York partnership encouraged local retailers to stock phosphorus-free fertilizers and created other healthy lawn tips. Learn more at

Find out more from this "Don't 'P' on Your Lawn" fact sheet.

Raise the Blade

Through the "Raise the Blade" campaign, homeowners, businesses, and municipalities are encouraged to follow three simple lawn care practices that help minimize stormwater runoff.

  • Mow grass to no shorter than 3 inches. 
  • Allow grass clippings to decompose in place. 
  • Cut no more than one-third of the length of the grass blades in any one cutting to help promote development of soil organic matter.

As part of this effort, Lake Champlain Sea Grant is partnering with numerous local businesses, and some have adopted the recommended practices on their properties. Other businesses are helping us research differences between lawns managed with different practices to help support "Raise the Blade" outreach.

Learn more details about "Raise the Blade," our research, and recognition of numerous local businesses that have adopted the practices.