Healthy Lawns, Healthy Waters online workshops set for August

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program will host several residential rainwater harvesting and turf management trainings focused on watersheds throughout Texas in August.

These free events will be online from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with a half-hour lunch break. Online registration is required. Attendees can RSVP online or contact John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station, at 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 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.

Dates and targeted watersheds and counties for each trainings are:

Becky Grubbs-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,” Grubbs 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. 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 the different counties. Bags containing residents’ soil samples should be returned to the location where they were obtained prior to and by one week after the training.

Samples will be analyzed for 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 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.

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