Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Local Company Continues Support of NH Lakes Association

The following article was published on May 22nd in the SHORELINES, the New Hampshire Lakes Association monthly eLetter.

Local Company Continues Support of NH Lakes Association
By Guest Writer Dale Squires

Gilford, NH (May 25, 2010) - Belknap Landscape Company Inc. (BLC) is the Lakes Region’s largest landscape design-build firm, providing an unmatched scope of landcare services to area residential and commercial clients. BLC, led by Owner Hayden McLaughlin, continues efforts to promote the Lakes Region as a great place to raise a family, providing an unparalleled record of community service initiatives with Lakes Region youth, focusing on environmental education. Belknap Landscape maintains a NH Lakes Association “Lake Guardian Business Membership and also invests in the Lakes Congress every year. Look for through the Association’s Lakeside newsletter and you’ll see BLC advertisement in support of the Association’s efforts.
The landscape industry as a whole has an important role to play as environmental stewards and educators. Belknap Landscape's actions and specifications have a direct impact not only on each piece of property they work on, but on adjoining properties, riverways, lakes and the larger context of our region.

Options for Landowners

BLC offers several opportunities for homeowners to make alternative choices for the care of their shoreland properties and the selection of plants and materials. The Landscape Management Division offers organic fertilizer and Integrated Pest Management programs for those who choose to enjoy their properties free from chemical products. Hand-weeding with meticulous care, mulching and compost applications produce robust plantings that have increased strength against diseases and pests.

Home and business owners, particularly those on the waterfront, may find that Belknap Landscape’s extensive list of indigenous plant selections will provide attractive, low-maintenance solutions for their properties. In keeping with the natural surroundings of our beautiful Lakes Region, these native plantings thrive through harsh winters and provide subtle, four season interest in the landscape. Nutrients for these plantings come from BLC compost, harvested from local farms and providing an opportunity to recycle leaves, clippings and vegetative material from our maintenance programs. To learn more about specific plantings best suited to the Lakes Region ecosystem, please contact Jonathan Marchant, NHCLP* Estate Gardening Supervisor at or by calling 603 737-0015 ext. 922. *"New Hampshire Certified Landscape Professional" for more information on certification go to

The company offers drip irrigation systems, water-conserving by slowly delivering moisture directly to the root zone of plants only when needed in precisely timed programs. Some clients have opted for rain catchments or gray water recycling systems – a practice BLC encourages as it saves potable water for future generations.

Low-voltage lighting, thoughtfully designed, will produce a subtle effect in your evening landscape that never outshines the night sky. All of these examples are choices that Belknap Landscape has made throughout the years for the benefit of clients as well as their own families. BLC continually educates our on current trends and technologies and strives to provide clients with the most beautiful, healthy landscapes for their enjoyment.

For environmentally friendly irrigation and lighting design, installation and ongoing maintenance your local resource is Gerry DuBreuil, BLC Irrigation, Lighting and Winter Management Division Manager at Gerry's number is 603 737-0015 ext. 903.

What about Phosphate in Fertilizers?

The NH LAKES ASSOCIATION initiated legislation during the 2010 session to limit the amount of phosphorous contained in lawn fertilizers sold in New Hampshire, based on the belief that this will limit a major source of overabundant aquatic plant growth, including invasive exotic species like variable milfoil. We know that excessive aquatic plant growth depletes oxygen levels in lakes when the plants decay. Many of us have misconceptions regarding the source of polluting phosphates, and many homeowners unknowingly contribute to the problem. Commercial firms applying fertilizers on a much larger scale must be knowledgeable and careful in the application of phosphate fertilizers.

With proper application, phosphate fertilizer pollution may be minimized. When phosphates are applied to soils, they quickly bind to soil particles, much like a magnet picks up paper clips. Soil-bound phosphates contribute to pollution only when soil erosion occurs and problems arise when fertilizer is over-spread or spilled onto hard surfaces like streets, driveways and sidewalks. There the phosphate washes with rain into lakes and rivers and is know as non-point source pollution. Likewise, grass clippings and leaves that fall on hard surfaces release their phosphorous into water sources. While a few grass clippings mowed into the street look rather innocent, collectively they have a major impact on our water quality. Using a mulching lawn mower to keep lawn clippings on your lawn is especially useful. Belknap Landscape crews will take clippings back to the BLC composting facility as a sustainable resource.

What to Do?

Belknap Landscape, for their part, adheres closely to the NH Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act which prohibits the use of all fertilizers, except limestone, within 25 feet of the of public waters and beyond twenty-five feet, low phosphate, slow release nitrogen fertilizer or limestone are used on lawns or areas with grass. Andrew Morse, the BLC Director of Landscape Management said “Belknap Landscape actually goes further than that, applying only no-phosphate fertilizers to established turf areas, as long as the turf is more than 25 feet from the water”. And continued “In New Hampshire the soils are already rich in phosphorous, so it’s actually a wasted expense for homes and businesses. There are a couple exceptions, including turf starter fertilizers although we are currently experimenting growing new turf areas without using any phosphorus. Our deep root tree fertilizer does contain phosphates, at a 27-9-9 ratio, but we do not apply this treatment near waterways”. Andrew finished with “We support low or no phosphates and have done so for years now”. Contact Andrew at or call 603 737 0015, ext. 902 for more information.

Another important source of phosphate pollution comes from soil erosion caused by water or wind. When soil moves, it takes the soil-bound phosphates with it. Construction sites and sparsely vegetated ground also cause erosion. In Lakes Region landscape construction projects, the most likely place to see Belknap Landscape crews at work, you’ll see extra care taken to prohibit site work erosion.

You can take an active part in protecting New Hampshire water quality by keeping fertilizers, leaves and grass clippings off streets and driveways and prevent soil erosion by planting slopes with natural plantings. We all have a part in protecting our water, the economic engine for our Region!

Belknap Landscape Company is a Lakes Region eco-friendly business - family owned since 1988 and a 2001 Business of the Year Award Winner.

The company specializes in landscape design and permitting, including extensive experience in Shoreland and Wetland Permitting, construction services including site work, softscape and hardscape design and installation and architectural masonry. Landscape Management Services include plant health care, turf management and seasonal enhancement services, along with comprehensive winter snow & ice services for homes and businesses. Plus, BLC employs certified arborists and owns their own sky cranes and offers the design, installation and maintenance of irrigation and lighting systems, as well. To find out more, please visit

The entire contents of the May issue of SHORLINES, with more information on Phosphates and the impact on our waterways may be found at: May Issue of SHORELINES and the article was in turn archived on the NH Lakes Association website at:

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