Parker County Soil and Water Conservation District #558
CONSERVATION - DEVELOPMENT - SELF GOVERNMENT
604 North Main, Suite 100
Weatherford, TX 76086
Phone: 817 594-4672, EXT 109
Range Plants of North Texas
By: Ricky J. Linex
The District is giving away a wonderful book titled “Range Plants of North Central Texas – A Land User’s Guide to Their Identification, Value and Management” written by Ricky J. Linex, as a thank you to those who donate $20 or more to the Parker County SWCD in support of the District’s conservation efforts.
Easy to use and beautifully written, the guide is full of colorful pictures of plants and their seeds. This is a great resource for anyone who would like to identify plants growing on their property.
Between mid September until mid March we offer wildflower seeds for those interested in low maintenance, but beautiful ground cover.
Bluebonnet seeds are sold in 1 lb. bags for $18, wildflower seed mixes are sold in 1 lb. bags for $26. Planting is generally September through November, weather permitting. Contact us for more information.
First Week of October until mid February we offer low cost tree seedlings to landowners. Primarily for privacy screens and windbreaks.
Containerized seedlings may be ordered individually. We usually have extras on delivery day. Call us for information.
GUTTERS CAN MEAN GALLONS OF WATER FOR LANDSCAPING
By Jacob Shaffer
Gutter, by definition, is a trough fixed under or along the eaves of a roof for draining rainwater, a simple definition in such a stressful time of drought. I am writing to encourage residents to ponder the concept of installing gutters on their roof eaves. With water restrictions threatening in the near future, we should all think about ways to conserve water and harvesting rainwater is a great option. Many residents have beautiful trees and other landscaping that could find themselves on the dry end of the hose. Harvesting rainwater from a roof could save a few hundred or even thousands of gallons depending on the storage tank size.
Still not convinced? Then let us crunch a few numbers. Take a 60 x 40 foot rooftop that is 2,400 square feet. If approximately 0.62 gallons of water is run off for every square foot of roof from a 1 inch rainfall event that results is around 1,488 gallons of water. What?!? A one inch rain in Parker County? Ok, ok, so let us use a 0.2 inch rain, that is still around 298 gallons of water. The moral is; gutters, downspouts and storage tanks can be used to capture a significant amount of water, which can later be used to water landscaping, livestock, or other water needs.
The UDSA Service Center Building in Weatherford has a fairly simple water harvesting system, which is setup for public viewing. The system was setup by the Parker County Master Gardner’s http://www.pcmg-texas.org and is used to water the land-scaping in front of the building. So before stage 4 water restrictions arrive, now is a great time to install gutters, obtain a storage tank or barrel and prepare for the next rainfall event, whether it is 0.2 or 2.0 inches!
For more information about harvesting rainwater please visit the follow website http://rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu.
For more information about the rainwater harvesting demonstration project, please visit the Parker County USDA Service Center at 604 N. Main St.
THE STATE’S O&M GRANT PROGRAM FOR SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
On November 1, 2013, Governor Rick Perry renewed the certification of exceptional drought conditions originally set out in an Emergency Disaster Proclamation dated July 5, 2011. Even though the drought began in October of 2010, little rain and high summer temperatures made 2011 the driest year since recording started in 1895. Summer temperatures were estimated to be 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Also making 2011 the most intense one-year drought ever. Statewide, the state’s reservoirs are estimated to be at 60.6% full, while 90% of the state is still in some type of drought condition. Even though Parker County now ranks in the “moderate” category, strains on the county’s water supply are becoming apparent. At this time, water in many of the District’s flood control structures is at historic lows, while some are even considered dry. Planning and design of floodwater retarding structures includes an allowance for anticipated sediment accumulation. At this time the District does not foresee a need or have funds available to dredge the lakes of sediment. But there is good news. The State of Texas has reinstated the O&M Grant Program for Soil and Water conservation Districts. Over the next 4 biennium, the District will receive a designated amount to remove trees and other woody vegetation, rebuild fences and replace gates, resolve erosion issues on the dam and in the spillway, repair minor wave erosion and trailing by livestock, replacement of eroded corrugated pipe ends, and repair/ replacement of valves and valve stem. While the District’s priority is clearing sites, less costly O&M needs could be addressed while working on a site.
PLANTING BECOMES A BREEZE WITH THE DISTRICT'S BRILLION GRASS SEED DRILL OR OUR TURBO SPREADER SEEDER
For landowners who enjoy working the land, the District's Brillion Grass Seed Drill will make planting, or over- seeding of pastures, a breeze. The seeder is 10 ft. wide, 12 ft. wide with wheels on the ground for transport. The seeder requires a tractor equipped with rear hydraulics (3 point linkage) to raise and lower the wheels for transport. A copy of the Operator's Manual will be provided at the time the equipment is picked up. The District charges $5.00 an acre and a day charge of $25.00 for up to 30 acres. An acreage meter keeps count of the acres seeded, brushes in the fluffy seed box push the out the smaller seeds, while the slick seed box has an agitator to move the seed along. Fillers are recommended to provide bulk. A $50.00 deposit is required at the time the Rental Agreement is signed.
The seeder should only be used on clean, firm, seedbeds that are free of stumps and rocks of any size. If the seed bed is too wet or crusty, the grass seed roller will "ball up", so the firmer the seedbed the better stand of grass. A good rule of thumb - you should barely leave a footprint when walking across the field. Some people firm the seedbed by rolling it before planting, while others plant the seed then roll the seedbed. Both ways work when establishing a crop. Turner Seed in Breckenridge recommends rolling the seedbed before planting, but believe it is best to roll before and after seeding. The seeder drops the seed and the rollers press it in to a 1/2" before covering it up. Good seed/soil contact is very important.
For areas not suited for a grass drill, the District also rents out a Turbo Spreader Seeder for a flat $25.00 per day. The heavy-duty spreader fits on the back of a tractor (a 3 point linkage) and distributes seed at a uniform rate in a 10 ft. strip. Excellent for small acreages or for seeding hard to get to areas in small pastures, the Turbo Spreader is ideal.
And don't forget safety. When transporting farm equipment keep a watchful eye on traffic coming up behind. Farm equipment travels at a slower mph than normal driving. As an example, the District's seeder is pulled at a rate of no more than 30 miles an hour. Also, never drive with one wheel on the road and the other on the shoulder as it could increase your chances of an accident. When using any farm equipment, watch out for uneven ground as well as animals that could appear suddenly from surprising places. Wear proper clothing and never operate farm equipment when sick, medicines slow reaction time.
I give my pledge to save and faithfully to defend from waste the natural resources of my county-its soil and minerals, its forests, water, and wildlife.
All year round, we offer rain barrels for water harvesting, made from food grade recycled containers. Once ordered they are delivered to your door!
Rain barrels with various attachments are available all year long, but now is the time to start storing water for your gardening needs next summer.
And the good news just keeps coming – RAIN WATER HARVESTING EQUIPMENT AND RAIN BARRELS ARE TAX EXEMPT!
Contact us for more information!