Rainwater harvesting and turf management training set for April 22

From Kerry Halladay

March 31, 2021 Free online program will address systems, best management practices for optimal irrigation. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program will host a residential rainwater harvesting and turf management training April 22 for residents of Caldwell and Hays counties.

The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters program, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, helps residents with rainwater harvesting and lawn irrigation best management practices. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

The free training is being offered in collaboration with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and Plum Creek Watershed Partnerships. It will be held online via Zoom from 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. with a half-hour lunch. Online registration is required at https://bit.ly/3fEv8DV.

Attendees who RSVP will receive updates, instructions to join online and materials related to the meeting via email. They can RSVP by contacting John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Bryan-College Station, at johnwsmith@tamu.edu or 979-204-0573.

“The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program aims to improve and protect surface water quality by enhancing awareness and knowledge of best management practices for residential landscapes,” Smith said.

Rainwater harvesting systems

Becky Bowling, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension urban water specialist, Dallas, said attendees will learn about the design and installation of residential rainwater harvesting systems as well as appropriate turf and landscape species based on local conditions and other practices.

Rainwater harvesting can Rainwater harvesting can reduce flooding, erosion and contamination of surface water, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

“Management practices such as using irrigation delivery equipment, interpreting soil test results and understanding nutrient applications can help reduce runoff and make efficient use of applied landscape irrigation water,” Bowling said.

Diane Boellstorff, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension water resource specialist in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Bryan-College Station, said proper fertilizer application and efficient water irrigation can protect and improve water quality in area creeks, and collecting rainwater for lawn and landscape needs reduces stormwater runoff.

During the event, Stephen Risinger, watershed coordinator for the Plum Creek Watershed, will discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in this watershed.

Soil testing for event participants

Participants can have their soil tested as part of the training. The soil sample bag and analysis are free to Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program participants.

A soil sample bag with sampling instructions and the Urban and Homeowner Soil Sample Information Form are available at the AgriLife Extension offices in Caldwell County, 1403 Blackjack St., Suite B, Lockhart, or in Hays County, 200 Stillwater Road, Wimberley.

Bags containing residents’ soil samples should be returned to the location where they were obtained prior to or by one week after the meeting. Samples will be grouped into one submission and sent to the AgriLife Extension Soil, Water and Forage Testing Lab in Bryan-College Station for routine analysis, including micronutrients, pH, conductivity, nitrate-nitrogen and other parameters.

The training will include information on how to understand soil test results and nutrient recommendations so residents can interpret results once the analysis is mailed to them. Funding for the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is provided in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The project is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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