Rainwater harvesting and turf management training set for Sept. 20, 21 in Boerne, San Antonio

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is hosting two residential rainwater harvesting and turf management trainings in Boerne and San Antonio on Sept. 20 and 21, respectively.

Both events are free and open to the public. Participants at either training can also have their soil tested free of charge. Both trainings will review how to access soil test results and provide nutrient recommendations.

The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program aims to improve and protect surface water quality by enhancing awareness and knowledge of best management practices, coordinators said. At the trainings, attendees will learn about the design and installation of residential rainwater harvesting systems and appropriate turf and landscape species based on local conditions.

The first training, in collaboration with the Upper Cibolo Creek Watershed Partnership, will be from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Cibolo Nature Center, 140 City Park Road in Boerne.

The second training, in collaboration with the San Antonio River Authority, will be from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 21 at the River Authority, 100 East Guenther St.in San Antonio.

Seating is limited, so attendees for either program are requested to register at the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters website. A free lunch will be provided at the San Antonio training.

Those interested in either program can also contact John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, at 979-845-2761 or johnwsmith@tamu.edu.

Dr. Becky Grubbs, AgriLife Extension turfgrass specialist, said management practices such as using irrigation delivery equipment, interpreting soil tests and understanding nutrient applications can help reduce runoff and provide additional landscape irrigation water.

“These trainings can improve participants’ understanding of rainwater harvesting and landscape management,” she said.

Dr. Diane Boellstorff, AgriLife Extension water resource specialist, 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.

Reagan Hejl, research associate in the soil and crop sciences department, said soil samples will be submitted to the AgriLife Extension Soil, Water and Forage Testing Lab in College Station for routine analysis, including pH, conductivity, nitrate-nitrogen and other parameters.

Residents can pick up a soil sample bag with sampling instructions from the AgriLife Extension office in Kendall County, 210 E. San Antonio Ave. Suite. 9 in Boerne or at the AgriLife Extension office in Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge St. Suite 212 in San Antonio.

At the San Antonio program, Lee Marlowe, sustainable landscape ecologist at San Antonio River Authority, will discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in the Upper San Antonio River.

Funding for the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is provided in part through a Clean Water Act grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute.

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