Rainwater harvesting, turf management training is June 30 in Mansfield – AgriLife Today

Rainwater harvesting, turf management training is June 30 in Mansfield – AgriLife Today

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program will host a residential rainwater harvesting and turf management training on June 30 for Dallas, Ellis, Johnson and Tarrant counties.

The free event will be from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Chris W. Burkett Service Center, 620 S. Wisteria St., Mansfield. It is also offered online on the Zoom meeting platform.  

Online registration is available for either option. Participants may also register by emailing John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, Bryan-College Station, at [email protected] or calling 979-204-0573.

Once attendees register, they will be emailed event updates, instructions to join the online meeting and materials related to the training. Participants can have their soil tested as part of the training.

“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.

The training is being offered in collaboration with the Joe Pool Lake Watershed Partnership.

Training topics, experts

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.

Photo of the front of a building with a cistern near the door and the "Healthy Lawns, Healthy Waters" logo on the wall
The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters program, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, helps residents with rainwater harvesting and lawn irrigation best management 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.

Proper fertilizer application and efficient water irrigation can protect and improve water quality in area creeks. Collecting rainwater for lawn and landscape needs reduces stormwater runoff, said Dean Minchillo, AgriLife Extension program specialist with the Urban Water Team, Dallas.

Heather Finn, watershed coordinator for the Joe Pool Lake Watershed, will also discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in the watershed.

Soil testing opportunity

As part of the training, participants can have their soil tested. 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 Dallas County at 6820 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, Suite 3200, Dallas; Ellis County at 701 S. Interstate 35 East, Waxahachie; Johnson County at 109 W. Chambers St., Cleburne; or in Tarrant County at 200 Taylor St., Suite 500, Fort Worth.

Bags containing residents’ soil samples should be returned to the location where they were obtained within one week after the meeting. Soil samples may also be brought to the training. Do not mail the soil sample 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.

Funding for the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is provided in part by the Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreements with 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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