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Advice for homeowners caring for their yards during extreme Texas drought

Kevin Gibbs is a horticulturalist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and says watering correctly is the key to keeping a healthy yard and foundation.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The month of July saw water use skyrocket according to the city water department. Much of it possibly fueled by people concerned about keeping their grass, plants and trees alive. Not to mention their worries over their foundations.  

Kevin Gibbs is an ornamental horticulturalist for the Texas A&M AgriLife extension service. He offered important advice to homeowners.

"Foundation repairs are extremely costly and the best thing to do is to try to keep it moist up next to the foundation," Gibbs said. "A lot of people will use a soaker hose but in this case with their house they've got plants planted up next to the foundation so if they water the plants it's going to keep the soil moist hopefully keep that foundation from cracking." 

Gibbs says his specialty is helping homeowners with their yards. 3NEWS spotted a house on Cascade Drive which was a good example of a homeowner doing everything right. Everything from the grass to the plants and trees looked great. 

"They've got the mulch up to the foundation so I like I said earlier like I said earlier as they're watering moisture it's keeping the moisture in the bed in the soil and also helping to keep the foundation from cracking." 

Another thing this homeowner is doing correctly according to Gibbs is watering infrequently but heavily. We could see that every plant looked healthy and thriving in the middle of this drought." Most plants like to be watered heavily and then allowed to dry out between watering so they don't like to stay wet or have wet feet all the time and they don't like to go to dry."

But Gibbs says watering your yard is usually the most expensive and time consuming aspect of maintaining a yard. "It's usually going to be somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour and in clay soils that's going to run off in the street."

So, Gibbs recommends that you move the sprinkler around your yard during that hour watering period. It should help to get the water 8 inches down in the soil and also help to fill in those cracks a lot of people are seeing in their yards. 

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