Although the use of fertilizer has become increasingly frowned upon because of concerns about its effect on the environment, it can actually help when applied properly, writes Jeff Gillman. Lawns can grow spotty and sparse and won't develop strong roots that help hold the soil in place without fertilizer. As a result, rainwater can wash away the top layer of soil that can also be a pollutant. Therefore, fertilizer benefits the environment if the appropriate amount is used, Gillman argues.

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