Healthy-Lake Lawn Care

Why is healthy-lake lawn care is so important?Pigeon Lake Watershed Management Plan (PLWMP) Recommendations
How To's -Resources & Answers at Your Finger Tips!How do I deal with Dandelions?

  1. Why is Healthy-Lake Lawn Care is SO important?

  • To limit excess nutrients from going into the lake.
  • 1lb of phosphorus can produce at LEAST 500 lbs of algae!
  • The correlation of phosphorus to algae is the same as nitrogen to algae.
  • Synthetic fertilizers suppress the healthy microbrial life in the soil.
  • The science and the survey on fertilizer use in the Pigeon Lake Watershed told us that nutrients are entering the lake from all around the lake and that lawn fertilizers is one of the key sources.
  • Over 40% of the nutrients entering the lake from external sources come into the lake from diffuse sources (e.g. stormwater runoff).
  • Nutrients feed the aquatic plants and algae.

  2.PLWMP Recommendations


The PLWA, in accordance to the the PLWMP Cosmetic Fertilizer & Soil Management Committee drafted recommendations is providing information and education about "Healthy-Lake Lawn Care" (see information & resources below).

The draft recommendations are that:

  1. The use of residential lawn fertilizers be eliminated in the watershed and at the same time alternative practices be promoted.
  2. Local Governments in the watershed bring in consistent regulations prohibiting the use of lawn fertilizers.
  3. Watershed stakeholders advocate to the Province of Alberta to introduce legislation similar to the “Nutrient Management Act” of the Province of Manitoba.
  4. The PLWA work in partnership with local governments to provide outreach and education related to lawn fertilizer elimination and alternative practices.
  5. Further review of lawn herbicides (and other lawn care chemicals), be undertaken by the Cosmetic Fertilizer and Soil Nutrient Subcommittee.

This is all about moving away from synthetic fertilizers and harmful chemicals
towards healthy soils that are self-sustaining and supportive of healthy lawns.

  How To's - Resources & Answers at Your Finger Tips!

The Pigeon Lake Watershed Association has created a series of information sheets on How to Maintain a Healthy-Lake Lawn.


  How Do I Deal with Dandelions?

  1. Accept & Mow. They are great for pollinators and their roots aerate the soil.
  2. Pick & Eat. Dandelions are high in vitamins A and C, and contain impressive levels of iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper.
  3. Pick & Compost. Return them as composted nutrients to spots in the yard that need helpl without adding more nutrients into the watershed.
  4. Dig them out. Take the whole root when you are digging them out. Careful: Activity can be addictive - once you start it is hard to stop.
  5. Pour Boiling Water on them.
  6. Tarp Driveways or WalkwaysSunlight is needed for photosynthesis, so covering the dandelions will eventually kill them.
  7. Overseed with a Native Grass. The native grass will out-compete and over grow the dandelions.
  8. Spray with a Vinegar Solution. For more information see the FAQs - Answers to Key Questions

One method that seems to work, but is not scientifically proven is a vinegar solution. The acidity of the vinegar, made more potent by the salt, “sucks the water out” to kill the dandelions, while the soap
makes the mixture better adhere to the leaves. There are many different recipes available online, but it is suggested to use low salt mixtures with an organic biodegradable soap, two recipes:

a. More effective, more lawn kill: 1 gallon of vinegar (5% acetic acid) , 1 cup of salt, and 1 tablespoon of biodegradable dish soap
b. Less effective, less lawn kill: 1 gallon of vinegar (5% acetic acid) and 2 tablespoons of biodegradable dish soap

The vinegar solution works best when it is applied in dry sunny conditions and may require multiple applications because there is no residual action, allowing new weeds to grow in replacement. Wait at
least two weeks between applications to reduce the salinity and pH impact on the soil.

Caution: Use as a spot treatment and in small quantities only. As it may kill off healthy lawn, we suggest testing it on a small section first. As well, the salt and the vinegar can still impact the natural soil salinity and pH; therefore, it is best to use on driveways and sidewalks to limit the impact.

But I have WAY TOO MANY! Well then, maybe time to start over. Cover the area with weighted down cardboard or black plastic and you will kill all the ground cover by depriving them of sunlight. All plants need sunlight so blocking it out will eventually kill them and you can then seed new grass with the recommended mix of seed. This can take a little time but better for the soil and lake then killing them with chemicals. Read Marion Owen at:

Composting Making Compost - Black Gold for Your Organic Garden

Healthy-Lake Lawn Care means healthy for:
your kids, pets and the environment - in and around the lake. 

What else would be helpful for you?  What other questions do you have?   Send suggestions to  Thanks!


Donate Today


ENDOWMENT FUND: Pigeon Lake Watershed Association has a Family of Endowed Funds with the Edmonton Community Foundation. To contribute, please contact Noel Xavier at

PLWA Charitable BN/Registration Number
85541 4785 RR 0001


Pigeon Lake Watershed Association
P.O. Box 1353
Calmar, Alberta
T0C 0V0


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