By Jeff Ray

FARMERS BRANCH (CBSDFW.COM) – Roses can cost a pretty penny, especially around Valentine’s Day. But if you’ve ever tried to grow your own, a walk through Farmers Branch Historical Park might make you appreciate the special flower even more. “To my knowledge, it has never been sprayed and never been fertilized at all… ever,” said Steve George, a research horticulturist for Texas A&M.

He was describing a plant that is over six feet tall.

George came up with the idea of Earth-Kind Landscaping, and it could give you a greener garden while saving you a little green. His research started in the 1990s. “It’s a great deal of time and money to do this research,” George said. “This is a revolution in landscape management.”

The goal of Earth-Kind Landscaping is to use less water, less fertilizer and less pesticides, and have plants thrive in the hot Texas sun. A plant would only need to be watered maybe every two and a half to three weeks. Even in July and August. Even on 100-degree days.

The program is simple. For the notorious clay soil of North Texas, add expanded shale. Top it off with three inches of compost and plant one of the hundred recommended plants. Twice a year, mulch with three inches of shredded tree limbs. “We are trying to emulate what Mother Nature does on the floor of a mature hardwood forest,” George explained. Finally, irrigate with drip hoses under the mulch bed.

The Earth-Kind way is not only easier to maintain, but it’s less expensive, too. Decades of research has found a better green at a better price. “In this great Earthkind of garden, they have never had to fertilize. They have never had to spray any harsh pesticides,” George said. “And they are reducing the watering by at least 50 percent, and they can probably reduce it by 70 percent.”

Texas A&M Extension Center in Dallas offers classes for you to learn more about Earth-Kind Landscaping. Click here for additional information.

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