Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program will host a residential rainwater harvesting and turf management training on April 5 for Bell, Falls, McLennan and Milam counties.
The free event, which will be from 1-5 p.m., has both an in-person option and online option on the Zoom platform. The in-person training will be at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center Conference Room, 720 East Blackland Road, Temple.
Online registration is required at https://tx.ag/HLHWBEC or by contacting John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Bryan-College Station, at [email protected] or 979-204-0573.
Once attendees register for the event, updates and instructions to join the online meeting and materials related to the meeting will be sent via email.
The training is being offered in collaboration with Big Elm Creek Watershed Partnerships.
“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 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.
Dean Minchillo, AgriLife Extension program specialist in Dallas and event speaker, 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.
Ward Ling, watershed coordinator for the Big Elm Creek Watershed, will also discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in this watershed during the event.
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.
Residents can pick up a soil sample bag with sampling instructions and the Urban and Homeowner Soil Sample Information Form at the AgriLife Extension offices in Bell County at 1605 N. Main St., Suite 102, Belton; Falls County at 1910 Industrial Park Road, Marlin; McLennan County at 4224 Cobbs Drive, Waco; or in Milam County at 100 E. 1st St., Cameron. Bags containing residents’ soil samples should be returned to the location where they were obtained prior to or by one week after the meeting. Soil samples may also be brought to the training.
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. Do not mail soil samples to the lab.
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 under assistance agreements 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.