Yard and Lawn Care, Fertilizers and Pesticides

Stormwater Related Information for Yard and Lawn Care

Preventing fertilizer and pesticide applications from entering our streets and storm drains helps protect our waterways from pollution!  All sources of pollution, including runoff from fertilizer and pesticide applications, are prohibited from leaving your property; only rainwater is allowed in the streets and storm drains.

Did you know…

  • Yard and lawn care can generate pollutants such as fertilizers and pesticides. These pollutants can be washed into our waterways as a result of irrigation runoff or rain events where they degrade our water quality and harm aquatic life.

  • Grass clippings, leaves, and tree trimmings can clog the storm drain system, increasing the risk of flooding. Once they settle into water bodies, these materials begin to decompose, absorbing oxygen fish need to survive. 

  • Releasing pollutants directly or indirectly into the storm drain system is a violation of the County’s Watershed Protection Ordinance (WPO)


What can I do?

  • Dispose of waste thoughtfully: rake up lawn clippings, leaves, and other yard waste and dispose of it in green waste bins. Alternatively, drop-off yard trimmings to facilities that will compost them into a beneficial compost or mulch. These facilities are often less expensive than taking the materials to a landfill. For a list of these facilities click here.

  • Use Best Management Practices (BMPs): BMPs are techniques or controls used to prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants, such as yard waste or chemicals, into the storm drain system. BMPs for yard care include using less-toxic pesticides, applying pesticides sparingly, following label instructions, ensuring that sprinklers aren’t causing any runoff from your yard, or including integrated pest management as a way to handle unwanted pests in your garden.


Want to learn more?

The resources below provide suggested BMPs and further information on how to protect our waterways. Some resources have been translated to multiple languages. Please click the buttons to view available languages:

Irrigation Runoff
Soil and Sediment
Check After You Mow
Trash and Green Waste
Yard Drains
Pet Waste
Doo Points




How to Hire a Landscaper Webinar presented by The Water Conservation Garden


Know before you go…

Don't apply pesticides or fertilizers before a forecasted rain event. 


Contact Us

If you would like to report a concern regarding yard care, have questions about our program, or would like additional information call the County Storm Drain Pollution hotline at: 1(888) 846-0800 or e-mail us at watersheds@sdcounty.ca.gov 


Thank you for doing your part to protect our waterways!