Earth-Kind landscaping school draws variety of green industry, other professionals

SAN ANTONIO – More than 40 green industry and other professionals attended the recent Texas Water Star Program presentation of an Earth-Kind landscaping school at the San Antonio Garden Center in San Antonio.

Earth-Kind and the Texas Water Star program were both developed by Texas A&M AgriLife.

Earth-Kind landscape school attendees tour the San Antonio Botanical Garden to get information about proper irrigation. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Earth-Kind landscaping school attendees tour the San Antonio Botanical Garden. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Attendees included representatives of commercial nurseries, professional landscaping businesses, landscape designers and irrigators, the San Antonio Water System, Master Gardeners and homeowners.

Program coordinators were Jared Beaver, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program coordinator for water and natural resources for Bexar County, and David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Bexar County.

“The workshop was designed for recreational, public, and residential landscape irrigators and contractors, grounds maintenance personnel, retail nurseries and other users of urban water resources,” Rodriguez said. “We focused on Earth-Kind landscaping, which incorporates the best practices of both traditional and organic gardening in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Class instruction included presentations on plant selection and landscaping using Texas Superstar plants; tree selection and placement for energy and water conservation; reducing yard waste and reusing landscaping materials; irrigation efficiency and drip irrigation; and an irrigation audit and evaluation demonstration.

“I came to the program to learn more about landscaping in general,” said Peter Davis, owner of Davis Company Landscaping of San Antonio. “And specifically, I learned a lot about proper tree trimming and more about low-water-use plants for the landscape, like esperanzas and mountain laurels.”

Water conservation and proper irrigation were major topics discussed at the school.

We are providing landscape professionals with instruction and management practices that can help them conserve water in recreational, public and residential landscapes in urban areas,” Beaver said. “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.”

“This program was a really good opportunity to learn more about irrigation technology and efficiency,” said Kelly Hall, co-owner of Hall Irrigation Systems and a member of the Green Industry Alliance. “It was also a good opportunity to connect with green industry professionals to discuss possible guidelines and policy issues that affect all of us.”

Beaver said the Texas Water Star Program is continuing to seek new ways to improve water conservation throughout the state by establishing collaborative partnerships. He said the next area program related to these efforts will be the Spring Grounds Maintenance Conference from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 28 at Palo Alto College in San Antonio.

For more information on the Spring Grounds Maintenance Conference, contact Beaver at 210-467-6575 or jbeaver@ag.tamu.edu.

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