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New Mexico State University

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NMSU Workshop Teaches Water Conservation Techniques to Urban Gardeners

ALBUQUERQUE - Home gardeners and urban landscapers can learn modern techniques to conserve water and cope with looming city water restrictions at a workshop March 29 in Santa Fe.

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service is offering the Urban Irrigation and Water Conservation Conference to help Albuquerque and Santa Fe residents maintain plush gardens despite the drought, said Extension horticulture specialist George Dickerson.

"In the last two years, Santa Fe residents have been allowed to irrigate their lawns and gardens only once per week, and this year it's likely Albuquerque residents will also face strict conservation measures," Dickerson said. "We want to help home gardeners save water and still keep their vegetable and ornamental gardens moist and growing."

Although geared to residential growers, the conference will cover water conservation techniques for commercial turfgrass to help urban landscapers, Dickerson said.

Speakers will discuss drip irrigation systems for vegetable gardens, fruit trees, ornamental landscapes and turf. "We'll review the pros and cons of different systems for each type of garden, including irrigation lines, emitters and battery-powered meters to turn water on and off," Dickerson said. "We'll also cover subirrigation for turfgrass areas."

Extension specialists will show how to plan xeriscapes for ornamental gardens and use permaculture techniques, such as catching water from rooftops.

Dickerson will demonstrate a variety of mulching techniques to conserve water, including use of organic mulches and various types of plastics that help cut down on soil evaporation while controlling weeds.

George Duda, an urban forester with the New Mexico State Forestry Division, will discuss evergreen trees and pest problems associated with drought, including methods to protect against bark beetles. Guest speakers from the Santa Fe Nursery will discuss water-wise plants.

The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Santa Fe Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, 3229 Rodeo Road. Participants can pay a $20 entrance fee at the door, or preregister for $10 before March 21.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the conference, call Dickerson in Albuquerque at (505) 275-2576 or Pat Torres in Santa Fe at (505) 471-4711.