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Posted on: April 19, 2021

Rainwater harvesting, turf management online training set for May 11

A person's hand can be seen watering a lawn

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program will host a residential rainwater harvesting and turf management training May 11 for residents of Gillespie, Kendall and Kerr counties.

The free event is being offered in collaboration with the Upper Cibolo 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/2QRTy2h.

Attendees who RSVP to the event will receive updates, instructions to join the online meeting and materials related to the meeting via email. They can RSVP online or by contacting John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Bryan-College Station, at [email protected] 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.

“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 soil and crop sciences department, 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.

The watershed coordinator for the Upper Cibolo Creek Watershed, will also discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in this watershed during the event. 

Free 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 at the AgriLife Extension offices in Gillespie County, 38 Business Court, Fredericksburg; in Kendall County, 210 E. San Antonio Ste. 9, Boerne; or in Kerr County, 3775 Highway 27, Kerrville. 

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 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 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.

Contact: John Smith, 979-204-0573, [email protected]

Dr. Becky Bowling, 972-952-9673  [email protected]

Dr. Diane Boellstorff, 979-458-3562, [email protected]

Dean Minchillo, 972-231-5362, [email protected]

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