Take the EarthKind Challenge!

Ag Biz News Column
Chad Gulley
County Extension Agent –Ag/NR
Smith County


Have you taken the Earth-Kind® Challenge?

            Earth-Kind landscaping uses research-proven techniques to provide maximum garden and landscape enjoyment while preserving and protecting the environment. The objective of Earth-Kind landscaping is to combine the best of organic and traditional gardening and landscaping principles to create a horticultural system based on real world effectiveness and environmental responsibility.  Individuals using Earth-Kind landscaping principles and practices can create beautiful, easy-care landscapes, while conserving and protecting natural resources and the environment.

In Earth-Kind landscaping, homeowners can practice landscape water conservation.  Water conservation is important as our state continues to grow in population as well as during the last few years of continued drought conditions.  Homeowners can use low volume irrigation, perform an irrigation system audit, use mulch, utilize rainwater harvesting, and utilize raised beds in the landscape.

Low volume irrigation systems are becoming more popular.  Low volume irrigation systems are sometimes referred to as drip or trickle irrigation.  These systems can be efficient in meeting the plants water needs while also achieving significant water savings in the process.

An irrigation audit can be performed on your system to make sure the system is working properly.  An audit can determine if your system has any leaks, if your system is applying a uniform water pattern, can locate misaligned or broken sprinkler heads, and more.  Rain sensors are important as well as they can help conserve water on your system.

Mulch can be used in and around your flower beds.  Mulch is simply a protective ground covering that saves water, reduces evaporation, prevents erosion, helps control weeds, and can enrich the soil.  There are various materials used as mulch in many landscapes.

Rainwater harvesting can be a beneficial.  Even if we only get small amounts of rainfall in some areas of Texas, rainwater harvesting can be used to water trees, shrubs, and lawns.  There are a number of rainwater harvest collection systems.  More information on rainwater harvesting can be found at http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu/ .

Earth-Kind also incorporates efficient use of landscape design, plant selection, soil improvement, Integrated Pest Management, and composting to name a few.  So, have you taken the Earth-Kind® Challenge?

Earth-Kind information as well as the Earth-Kind® Challenge can be found at the following website:   http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/ .  At this site, the Earth-Kind® Challenge asked a number of questions about the cultural principles and practices used in maintaining your landscape.  After completing the questions, click on the SUBMIT button and you will automatically receive an Earth-Kind score ranging from 0-100. The higher the score, the more you are doing to help preserve and protect the environment in which we live.

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