Free Soil Moisture Meters
Make the most of your outdoor watering with a free soil moisture meter from Austin Water. Available in ladybug and frog designs, these easy-to-read devices measure the relative moisture of your soils, which can help you decide when and where to apply supplemental water (allowed any day and time with a hand-held hose or can).
Insert the meter as far as possible into the soil (gently, do not force if soil is hard) to start learning how long it takes your soil to dry out. Leave the meter in one spot of your yard or planted beds, or move it around to test several areas. These meters are also great for kids in need of a school science project.
To help keep young trees healthy, Austin Water is offering free Treegators, which are slow release watering bags that evenly deliver water to a tree’s roots without run-off or evaporation. Trees should be 2-3 inches in diameter (about the size of your wrist) with branches at least 25" from the ground.
Water your tree using the Treegator once a week during summer. After it empties (typically 5 to 9 hours), remove it until it’s time to water again or move it over to another needy tree. When your tree outgrows the Treegator, consider donating it to a friend or neighbor, or planting a new tree of your own! Additional tree planting and care information is available from the City of Austin Arborist Program.
Pick up your soil moisture meter or Treegator (one each for Austin Water residential customers) between 8am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, at 625 E. 10th Street, 6th floor Water Conservation office.
Check-Out a Digital Garden Hose Meter or Sunlight Calculator
Austin Water has partnered with the Austin Public Library and Grow Green to offer digital garden hose water meters and sunlight calculators to Austin Public Library customers through the library check-out system.
By attaching the digital hose meter to standard outdoor hoses, spray-nozzles, and outdoor faucets, you can monitor and control water use while irrigating your lawn, garden, and trees, washing your car, and more. The LCD screen shows you how much water you’re using, allowing you to save water by adjusting your habits.
Use the sunlight calculator to measure the amount of light each area of your yard receives. Then use the included plant guide (also available at www.GrowGreen.org) to select plants that best fit the light conditions of a particular area. Plants in partial shade and full shade may require less water than those in full sun and partial sun so adjust irrigation to those areas accordingly making sure to follow the current watering restrictions.
For hose meter and sunlight calculator availability, search for “hose meter” and "sunlight calculator" in the Austin Public Library catalog at http://library.austintexas.gov/.