Weather Center

Protect Your Home During Droughts

By Casey Kelly-Barton 8.1.18

Droughts can hit Texas at any time of the year, but when the heat of summer causes dry conditions, it’s especially important to protect your property while still conserving water.

Safeguard Your Yard

During a drought, the highest priority is saving water, but conservation doesn’t have to mean abandoning your yard to the elements. Texas A&M AgriLife’s Earth-Kind landscaping program recommends:

  • Watering trees deeply twice a month during droughts. The key is to soak the soil along the dripline — the ground below the ends of the branches — to saturate the most active roots.
  • Planting a thick layer of mulch in landscape beds to keep soil damp longer.
  • Watering early in the morning if possible to reduce evaporation.
  • Watering deeply and infrequently to encourage deeper root growth.

Reduce Your Fire Risk

Droughts increase the risk of wildfire because so much vegetation is dry, dormant, or dead. The Texas Forest Service’s Firewise Landscaping Checklist includes:

  • Removing dead tree branches and limbs that overhang your house.
  • Removing tall dry grass within 30 feet of your house.
  • Trimming tall shrubs and vines away from your house.
  • Raking leaves and pine needles out from under trees that are close to your house.
  • Planting fire-resistant plants around your property.

Protect Your Foundation

If your home or outbuildings have concrete slab foundations, watering around them can help prevent soil shrinkage that causes foundation shifting, cracking, and other costly structural damage. Jennifer Summers, a Realtor with Keller Williams in Round Rock, says homeowners who move to Texas from other places that don’t have the same foundational issues are at higher risk.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Water Education Network recommends setting up a foundation watering zone and schedule if you have an irrigation system or using a timer on an outdoor faucet attached to a soaker house to ensure regular foundation watering.

Balance Your Bills

If you own rental property, Summers recommends making sure your tenant or manager keeps the foundation watered. “In my experience, homes that are being used as investment properties tend to suffer the most damage,” she says, because the owners aren’t on-site to supervise watering and tenants may want to limit their water bills.

How well are you protected against heat, drought, and other Texas weather extremes? Get a quote to make sure you have the property coverage you need to protect yourself and your family.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance