As the drought continues in South Texas, water supplies continue to fall in our lakes and the long-range forecasts do not indicate any significant rainfall soon. So lets review some watering tips around the home landscape.

Of the tremendous amounts of water applied to lawns and gardens, much of it is never absorbed by the plants and put to use. Some water is lost to runoff by being applied faster than the soil can absorb it, and some water evaporates from exposed, unmulched soil before it can be used by the plant. Yet the greatest waste of water is when too much is applied too often. More plants are killed by too much water than by too little.

Most lawns receive twice as much water as they require for a healthy appearance. It is best to not water by the calendar, for example, once a week. It is better to water when the plant needs watering. Most gardeners can readily recognize lawn stresses due to lack of water, such as wilting and yellowing. The key to watering lawns is to apply the water as infrequently as possible, yet thoroughly.

As with lawns, trees and shrubs should be watered infrequently as possible, yet thoroughly. Most established trees and shrubs will benefit from a twice a month thorough watering during the growing season in the absence of adequate rain. Normal lawn watering is no substitute for thorough tree and shrub watering.

To address landscape management in drought, The Nueces County Extension LAB and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will sponsor the Coastal Bend Landscape Conference on Thursday, February 14, 2013 at the Del Mar Economic Development Center, 3209 S. Staples, Room 106. The conference will begin with registration at 8:15 am, followed by the program at 8:30 a.m., and will conclude at 4:00 p.m.

The conference will focus on drought management of plants in the landscape along with the safe use of pesticides in the urban environment.

Topics and speakers for the morning session will include: Fertilizing According to Plant Needs & Reduce Pest Problems, Impact of Water Quality on Sustainable Landscapes, Managing Turf in Drought, Turfgrass Pest Management, and Drift Minimization in Urban Landscapes. Topics for the afternoon session will include: Safe Pesticide Use in Urban Landscape-Review of Laws & Regs., Protecting our Precious Resource Water, Tree Care in Drought and Water Use Restrictions in Drought.

The conference will provide 5.5 CEUs through the Texas Department of Agriculture. Registration is $30 per person and it includes a catered lunch. All those planning to attend should pre-register by contacting the Nueces County Extension Office at (361) 767-5217 no later than Thursday, February 7.

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation to participate in any of the mentioned activities, are encouraged to contact the County Extension Office eight days before all program for assistance. Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.