Every drop counts
it really does
By Kelly Daniel
Membership and Marketing Manager
Water is considered a uniquely valuable natural resource. So much so that Keep Texas Beautiful’s upcoming annual conference has “water conservation” flooding the mix of its sessions and workshops.
“Water, just like every other resource - money, personnel, energy - has to be managed,” said Mark Holl, chairman of the board of Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful. “Watering just to water is wasteful, and frankly, what’s good for conserving water is good for the pocketbook.”
Among the many tips for resource conservation, Holl suggests business and home owners “zone plant” in their landscaping. Grouping plants together that have similar watering, sunlight and soil composition needs should result in healthier plants and better use of resources.
“Look for ‘Earth Kind’ plants and ask your nurseryman about plants, grass and groundcover that perform better in our climate,” Holl said.
Installing and maintaining irrigation systems is one of the services their business offers. They and their staff operate with the required licenses and can handle projects from large commercial properties to home owners’ yards. All of their clients benefit from the pairs’ shared years of experience including Gill’s 20 years in the industry.
“One of the best things a residence or business owner can do for an irrigation system is to adjust the controller for proper water distribution according to the season,” Gill said. “Adding rain sensors to existing systems as well as new installations is beneficial, too. The sensors will automatically cut the system on and off, depending on the amount of moisture collected.”
Whether a system includes rain sensors or not, professional horticulturalist and landscape designer Jeff Abt suggests using a watering system “only when needed to supplement natural rainfall during dry spells.”
Skillern added that regular system maintenance which can be as simple as “keeping an eye on the system’s performance” is important for efficient water usage. Valves that get stuck or leak, broken sprinkler heads and pests such as gophers chewing on the lines can all cause problems.
“Sprinkler heads are technologically advanced compared to what they were 15 years ago,” Skillern said. Replacement sprinkler heads can now be found with built in check valves and pressure regulators. Check valves keep water flow even in the lateral lines “so the water doesn’t drain out at the lowest point in the system and make a mud hole,” he said. Pressure regulation will eliminate “fogging” problems that put moisture into the air and not the lawn.
Gill and Skillern agree that businesses and home owners can conserve water best by utilizing drip system irrigation. In fact, they use drip irrigation in their business’s garden center’s landscape and green houses. With a variety of installation choices, a drip irrigation system can be used throughout a landscape.
Rainwater harvesting adds another element to water conservation and Texas Tax Code 151.355 exempts rainwater harvesting equipment from sales tax. According to Holl, a tax exemption certificate is all that is needed for purchases. To see a pilot project, visit the
Dragonfly Nursery & Garden, LLC
(936) 715-0444, www.easttexaslandscapinginc.com
(936) 676-0459, www.usalandscapeservices.com
For more resource management information, contact
(936) 560-5624, www.keepnacbeautiful.org
203 W. Main,
(936) 560-7711, nacogdoches.agrilife.org