All the late winter rains have been great, and I can’t wait to see all of the wildflowers that should soon be blooming! Hopefully, most of the rain did some good on your property, rather than just runoff. One way to keep water on your lawn and help you have a stronger, healthier yard, is aeration. I know I’ve spoken about aeration before, but will do it again! It’s just so good for the soil!
Lawn aeration is a great way to help your lawn stay viable and healthy, it encourages deep root growth of the grass by providing space for the roots to grow, which helps with drought tolerance. With more space, the water that is applied to the lawn (either rain or sprinklers) will now go down further into the soil, rather than running off. I highly encourage everyone to have their lawn aerated annually to promote the root growth, help erase some of the compaction issues that some of our lawns face (I know I walk on the same trail in my backyard all the time, which only adds to compaction), and help with some thatch issues. This all boils down to the fact that you won’t have to water as much, which is a huge benefit too…we ARE still in a drought.
The picture to the right shows the soil cores that are removed from a lawn during the aeration process.
To make getting your lawn aerated a little more lucrative, the Water Conservation Program is introducing a new rebate program for a limited time this spring/summer–a lawn aeration rebate! The rebate is up to $50 rebated back to you, after you have your lawn aerated. You can rent a machine and do it yourself (but they are pretty heavy!) or hire someone or a lawn company to do it for you. Simply fill out the application and submit it along with a copy of the paid invoice for the service.
The rebate is only a pilot, to see how much interest there is in it, so no applications will be accepted after August 30, 2015.
I’m very excited to start a new blog for Round Rock’s Water Utilities and Environmental Department! I’m Jessica Woods, the City’s Water Conservation Program Coordinator and my plan with this blog is to provide timely information regarding the City’s water conservation program–what new rebates we are offering, landscaping information, drought updates, water reuse project information, and whatever else seems interesting to me and hopefully to you!
What was a major catalyst for more water outreach is the drought. We (along with the rest of the State) have been experiencing a drought for the last four years (more or less) and have received many questions from our residents about starting a program to encourage folks to remove grass from their yard and install native shrubs and plants instead (like Austin’s programs). Well, we haven’t created a program like that yet, but we have begun taking a hard look at our own, outdoor water use and are slowly converting the landscapes at the City buildings to native plants and shrubs, smaller turfgrass areas, and more efficient irrigation systems.
One of our major accomplishments so far is the Police Station. The property had two front parking areas and a lot of grass and weeds in the front. Police Chief Tim Ryle was interested in a major landscape overhaul, as the front parking lot was going to be removed. See the before and after pictures of the remodeled Police Department below as proof. It is still a work in progress, but the majority of the landscaping is completed–there are now crushed gravel walking paths, all native plants, trees, and cacti, and three types of turfgrass (Habiturf and two Bermuda varieties). The existing irrigation system was basically junked and new drip irrigation was installed in all the beds. The turfgrass is watered with efficient rotary nozzles. Plant identification markers have been installed to name what the plants are and some interesting features about them.
Part of the parking lot is still under construction; however in the spring it should be looking fantastic! We’d like to hold small landscape and irrigation seminars on-site to take advantage of the beautiful space. Go past and see it for yourself!
Now, I would love to see what changes you have made to your home landscapes to increase the drought tolerance and water efficiency of it! It could be anything from removing turf, to collecting rainwater. I drive around town A LOT during the work day and see many, many gorgeous yards that I do occasionally take pictures of for inspiration. Please, send me pictures of your beautiful, water-smart yard and a little caption about why you changed it, or what you’ve noticed since changing it. We’ll post these on our City Flickr page (in the Native Landscapes set) to give everyone a change to admire your hard work! And, I’d personally love to see what you’re doing to get ideas for my own shady yard! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Send me those pics!! 🙂