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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Drought StrategiesMulchTo Water or Not To Water
Water Saver Rebate
Q&A Weekly Article and Archives

Water Saver Rebate
By Calvin Finch, Ph.D.

SAWS offers several rebate programs for homeowners wanting to improve the water efficiency of their homes.

My favorite program is the Water Saver Rebate. If you are moving into a new home and select zoysia, Bermuda or buffalo grass instead of St. Augustine grass, you receive a $0.05/sq.ft rebate on your water bill from SAWS. Better yet, if more than 50 percent of the yard is groundcovers, mulched shrubs, and pervious landscape, you receive $0.10/sq foot up to $500.

The rebate covers the difference in cost between a St. Augustine-dominated yard that is constantly threatened by our patterns of drought and cold, vs. a xeriscape landscape that is more tolerant of our conditions.

If you have an ambitious planting in mind but want to do it over a 3- or 4-year period, or at least want to wait until our current drought is lifted, the rebate will work for you. Make your plan so that the first year's work includes mulching the planting area and placing the pervious hardscape (flagstone, brick, patio blocks, etc). Mulch and pervious hardscape do not require irrigation so will qualify for the rebate.

Homeowners or businesses that convert a traditional St. Augustine landscape to xeriscape also can receive the rebate. One of the easiest conversions is to kill your St. Augustine with Round-up or Finale and then plant groundcover right into the killed sod. Use monkey grass, Texas Gold columbine, blueshade ruellia, Katy ruellia, Asiatic jasmine, or English ivy for the shade. In the sun Asiatic jasmine, Katy ruellia, honeysuckle, lantana, spreading juniper, and prostate rosemary make good low maintenance groundcovers.

If you prefer turf, add 1-3 inches of compost or landscape mix over the top of the killed St. Augustine grass and till it to make a homogenous surface. Put the zoysia, Bermuda and buffalo grass onto the level surface and roll it to insure root-to-soil contact.

One of the best ways to get information on the Water Saver Rebate is to attend the free Master Gardener/SAWS programs offered each month for that purpose. Sunday, June 4, a Water Saver class is offered at McCreeless Library from 2-4 p.m. On June 27 (7-9 p.m.) a special class is being offered at the new Extension Service/Master Gardener office at 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive Suite 208. The phone number is 467-6575.

You may also call SAWS at 704-SAVE to have an application mailed. The application is easy to complete and includes a good plant list. Attendees to the Master Gardener programs also receive a copy of the Xeriscape Conversion Guide, a publication available for $5 at area nurseries.

If you live near the Botanical Gardens (555 Funston Place), SAWS and the center are offering special drought counseling every Thursday evening from 5-7 p.m. They will have the Water Saver applications available for individuals who stop by, plus you can ask about any plant problems you have.