Texas Water Star/Earth-Kind landscaping workshop slated Feb. 14 in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Water Star Program will present the Earth-Kind Landscaping School from 8:15 a.m.–4 p.m. Feb. 14 at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels in San Antonio.

Earth-Kind landscapes combine the best of organic and traditional gardening and landscaping principles to create a horticultural system based on real  world effectiveness and environmental responsibility. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Kathleen Phillips)

Earth-Kind landscapes combine the best of organic and traditional gardening and landscaping principles. A major focus of the Feb. 14 landscaping “school” in San Antonio will be how to reduce water use in landscape maintenance. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Kathleen Phillips)

Jared Beaver, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program coordinator for water and natural resources, and David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Bexar County, will lead the workshop.

According to coordinators, the workshop is designed for recreational, public, and residential landscape irrigators and contractors, grounds maintenance personnel, retail nurseries and other users of urban water resources.

“Although green industry professionals are our target audience, there are many in the general public who can also benefit from this workshop and they are invited to participate,” Beaver said.

Beaver and Rodriguez said the workshop will focus on the fundamentals of Earth-Kind landscaping, which include landscape water conservation through efficient irrigation systems, best management practices to improve plant selection and conserve water use, reduction of landscape waste, and landscaping for energy conservation.

Five Texas Commission on Environmental Quality licensed irrigator credits and six Texas Nursery and Landscape Association continuing education units are available to attendees.

The workshop is being presented in conjunction with the Texas Water Star Program, Beaver said.

“This statewide AgriLife Extension program targets landscape professionals, providing them with instruction and management practices that can help them conserve water in recreational, public and residential landscapes in urban areas, he said. “The ultimate purpose of this program is to make every drop count because according to the state water plan, demand for municipal water is expected to increase 71.4 percent by 2060. The key is conserve more now to give us time to develop new technologies and practices to increase savings in the future.”

Beaver said recent research has shown that one of the biggest uses of municipal water, and the one with the most potential for increased savings, is water use for commercial landscapes and lawns.

“The objective of Earth-Kind landscaping is to be compatible with resource conservation because it combines the best of organic and traditional principles to create a system that’s environmentally responsible,” Rodriguez said.

Program registration will be from 7:45-8:15 a.m. Program presentations will begin at 8:45 a.m., with presentations to be followed by a short question-and-answer period.

Morning presentations and speakers will be:

– Earth-Kind Landscaping: Research-proven plant selection and best landscaping techniques for saving water and money using the Texas Superstar Program. The presenter will be Dr. Jerry Parsons, retired AgriLife Extension horticulturist, San Antonio.

– Tree Selection and Placement for Energy & Water Conservation: Using trees and Earth-Kind landscaping principles to make homes and communities more energy efficient and lower utility costs,  Mark Kroeze, staff forester, Texas A&M Forest Service, San Antonio.

– Reduction of Yard Waste Entering Landfills: Putting materials to use instead of throwing them away, Dr. Calvin Finch, Water Conservation and Technology Center director, Texas Water Research Institute, San Antonio.

Lunch will be on-site from 12:00-12:45 p.m. Attendees may bring their own lunch and there are several restaurants in the vicinity of the workshop.

Afternoon presentations and speakers will be:

– Irrigation Efficiency and Drip Irrigation: The latest in irrigation efficiency and drip irrigation,  Dr. Dotty Woodson, AgriLife Extension program specialist — water resources, Dallas.

– Irrigation Audit and Evaluation Demonstration: Drip irrigation system demonstration at the San Antonio Garden Center and lawn irrigation system demonstration at the nearby San Antonio Botanical Garden, Woodson.

Certificates of completion and evaluations will be distributed at program conclusion.

Beaver said the Texas Water Star Program is seeking new ways to improve water conservation throughout the state by establishing collaborative partnerships with green industry professionals, regional water planning groups, water districts and utilities, river authorities, school districts, homeowner associations and other entities.

Registration is $50 in advance and $60 at the door. Attendees must RSVP no later than 4 p.m. Feb. 11. Make checks payable to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and mail to: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Attn: Angel Torres, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Suite 212, San Antonio, TX 78230-4818.

For more information contact Torres at 210 467-6575 or matorres@ag.tamu.edu.

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