Protecting & Restoring Long Island's Peconic Bays

Environmentally-friendly fertilizer use and pest management

Alternative techniques can save you money, effort, and eliminate potential risks to the environment, including impacts on groundwater.

Home near salt marshes in the Peconic Estuary.

Did you know?

Applying Fertilizer between November 1st and April 1st is prohibited in Suffolk County.

Suffolk County Fertilizer Law Information

Environmentally Friendly fertilizer use:

  • Test your soil annually before any application of fertilizer.
  • Use organic alternatives or time-release fertilizers.
  • Don’t apply fertilizers within 20 feet of surface waters or wetlands.
  • Don’t apply fertilizers when the ground is frozen.
  • Don’t apply fertilizers when heavy rain is expected.
  • Store any excess product safely, and do not apply just to “use it up.”

Environmentally friendly pest management:

Volunteers gardening at the Big Duck Native Plant Garden.
Volunteers gardening at the Big Duck Native Plant Garden.
  • Look for USDA certified organic products to help manage pest issues, including ingredients such as mint, rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
  • Consider biological alternatives, such as releasing ladybugs in the yard to manage pests, or hand pull weeds instead of broadcasting pesticides.
  • Research at-home-remedies to pest issues as well. Ideas such as tying tape sticky-side out around trees infested with leaf eating worms will trap the worms as they climb up the tree, helping to control the pest issue.
  • Try to learn to live with pests and weeds. Many of them do some beneficial things for our environment.
  • If you are worried about bug bites, apply organic bug spray, wear long pants, long sleeves, closed toe shoes, and a hat when necessary. Also remember to check yourself for ticks every time you come inside!

Careful Use and Storage:

If you decide to continue to use some pesticides, it is critically important that you follow the label directions exactly. If you have any questions regarding label instructions please contact the manufacturer before use eliminate the need to store excess pesticides. When storing pesticides and other chemicals, it is important to make sure that they are completely sealed and there are no leaks in the containers. Secondary storage within a container or a tray with sides is a good idea, in case packaging does leak at some time, the spill will be contained.


Goldenrod at Cedar Beach, Southold
Goldenrod at Cedar Beach, Southold

When you decide to get rid of unused, unwanted, or unneeded pesticides please dispose of them properly on a designated S.T.O.P. (Stop Throwing Out Pollutants) day.

If thrown out with the regular trash these chemicals can make their way into our local waters.  All towns in the Peconic Estuary Watershed hold designated S.T.O.P. days, which are listed on this page.  If you are not located in the estuary, please contact your local town hall for a list of S.T.O.P. dates.

More Resources

Connect with Us

Sign up for News, Events and Information straight to your inbox.