The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host an online training on residential rainwater harvesting and turfgrass management on Aug. 6 for residents of Hays and Blanco counties.
The free training will be from 1–5 p.m. Participation is limited, and online registration is required.
Attendees can RSVP online or contact John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-204-0573. Those who RSVP to the event will receive updates, instructions to join the online meeting and materials related to the meeting via email.
The training is offered in collaboration with the Cypress Creek Watershed Partnership.
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.
Becky Grubbs-Bowling, Ph.D., Texas Water Resources Institute urban water specialist, Dallas, said attendees will learn about the design and installation of residential rainwater harvesting systems as well as how to determine 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,” Grubbs-Bowling said.
Diane Boellstorff, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension water resource specialist in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, 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.
Participants can have their soil tested as part of the training. A soil sample bag and analysis will be provided without charge to Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program participants.
Beginning July 13, residents can pick up a soil sample bag with sampling instructions and the Urban and Homeowner Soil Sample Information Form at the AgriLife Extension office for Hays County, 200 Stillwater Road in Wimberley, or the agency office in Blanco County, 101 E. Cypress, Suite 109, Johnson City, beginning July 13.
“Attendees can submit a soil test by dropping their soil sample off to the AgriLife Extension offices in Hays or Blanco Counties prior to or no later than week after the meeting,” Smith said. “Bags containing residents’ soil samples should be delivered to the AgriLife Extension location where they were obtained and not directly to the lab.”
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. Additionally, Nick Dornak, watershed coordinator for the Cypress Creek Watershed, will discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in the watershed.
Funding for the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is provided in part through Clean Water Act grants from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 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.