News 2017 Choose Wisely

May 22, 2017

Texas A&M AgriLife experts on tax-free holiday: Choose wisely

Writer: Gabe Saldana, 956-408-5040,

Contact: Daniel Cunningham, 972-952-9223,

Originally published at AgriLife Today

DALLAS – A state tax-free holiday on “water-efficient products” from May 27-29 includes all plants, trees and grasses for non-commercial shoppers, according to the Texas Comptroller’s Office. Texas A&M AgriLife Research horticulturists urge residents to be vigilant in selecting plant life that conserves water resources.

“We know a good number of plant species out there require lots of water and other resources, like pesticides and fertilizers to grow well in certain regions,” said AgriLife Research horticulturist Daniel Cunningham. “We want to avoid those as much as possible.”

Cunningham is project manager for Texas A&M AgriLife’s Dallas-based public outreach water conservation program known as Water University. The program is a partner of the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense initiative to evaluate and label water efficient consumer products. All WaterSense labeled products are tax exempt for businesses and individual buyers during the tax-free holiday, according to the Comptroller’s Office.

Cunningham stressed the use of WaterSense products alongside regional native and adapted plants for a holistic approach to conserving water throughout the household.

“By selecting the right plant for the right place, you can cut down on water and resource use and also on labor in the landscape,” he said. “Species naturally suited to your region should hold up on their own and maintain their vibrancy without much input from humans.”

He recommended shoppers research plants before purchasing, reviewing plant tags and labels for regional suitability as well as for water and light requirements.

Go to for a plant database searchable by region and plant characteristics. Go to for a database of plants native and adapted specifically to North Texas.

Besides plants, trees and grasses, the tax holiday covers hundreds of implements that do not bear WaterSense labeling. These are available for non-business purchase only, and include soaker and drip-irrigation hoses, mulch, soil, compost and irrigation system controllers, among others.

Go to and search “water efficient products” for detailed information on all items exempt from sales tax over the three-day period.

“It’s a great opportunity to save a little money while taking some important steps toward (water) conservation,” Cunningham said.  



Texas A&M AgriLife expert urge Texans to choose wisely when selecting water conserving plants during this weekend's tax-free holiday.  

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