Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Joseph A. Carroll Building
401 W. Hickory Street
Denton TX 76201-9026
Help desk email: email@example.com
Webmaster email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Desk 940-349-2892
You’re Invited to these Upcoming Events
March 21–June 15: Children’s Garden
May 4: DCMGA Plant Sale
May 11: DCMGA Garden Tour
June 4: Community Grove Training and Workday
June 15: 2019 Vegetable, Fruit, Herb, and Flower Show
October 12: DCMGA Fall Garden Fest
January 24–November 21: Keep Lewisville Beautiful Garden Secrets Classes
Ongoing: DCMGA public speakers bureau presentations
Ongoing: DCMGA “Herbal Branch” Special Interest meetings, one Monday each month
Ongoing: DCMGA General Membership meetings, second Wednesday each month
Q: My rain barrel used to be a beautiful and functional part of my back yard. Now it’s an eyesore, and I question the quality of the water in it. How can I rehabilitate my “old friend” so it’s ready for watering my spring container garden? Also, do you have any design ideas to inspire me as I refresh its exterior?
A: Just like any tool in our garden shed, rain barrels need their own regular maintenance. Contaminants like roof debris, algae and mosquito larvae can create problems, but there are ways to refresh our barrels, inside and out. If the water is clear, even if you haven’t used it all winter, it is ok to use.
Algae is an eyesore, but won’t bother your plants. According to Texas A&M University Water University, “Some algae may accumulate in your barrel but is not typically a problem when the water is being used and the barrel allowed to fill with fresh water. The best practice is to protect your barrel from unwanted light and exposure. The best color to eliminate algae growth is black, so we suggest priming/painting your barrel black first, then you have a base to design or decorate it however you choose.”
Drain the barrel, using the water where you can in your yard. Once empty, clean its exterior, lightly sand and paint it black to prevent algae growth. Replace the mesh screening, if necessary, to keep mosquitos out. Repaint with a color complementary to your home and stencil pretty designs or garden motifs. You can even use wood slats to surround the sides and top of your barrel.
Clemson University’s document, “Rainwater Harvesting for Homeowners”, details steps to clean and refurbish an older rain barrel. Refer to pages 16, 19 and 20 for that information. Skip over other portions of the document that pertain to South Carolina.
In the video (link below), Daniel Cunningham, Horticulturalist and Project Coordinator at Texas A&M Agrlife’s Water University in Dallas, describes creative ways to improve the curb appeal of your barrel.
It shouldn’t take much effort to restore your “old friend” to its former self, and you’ll again enjoy its beauty while tending your garden.
- DCMGA is here to help with your gardening questions
There are two ways to contact our help desk:
(1) Call 940-349-2892 any time. If there is no answer, leave a detailed message. We will research your question and call you back. Our help desk is located at 401 W. Hickory Street in Denton, TX, and is staffed by Master Gardener volunteers. When volunteers are available, you may bring in a sample of diseased plants or plants you want us to identify.
(2) Email us at email@example.com. We will research your question and usually can provide an answer within a day or two.