Landscaping has been relatively uneventful in 2018. We are on target to complete the year under budget (approximately 80% of budget), primarily due to under running in miscellaneous landscape expenses, packrat control, and tree trimming. For 2019 we will reduce the budget in all 3 of these areas.
We’ve spent most of our irrigation budget this year. This was in large part due to finally working to find lines that ran down south Velazquez. After 3 significant leaks in lines that were supposed to be dead, we decided it was time to find out where they branched and cut the line at the proper head point. You may have noticed a major dig that went under the sidewalk at the Gelsomino/Velazquez intersection. It turns out that the branch occurred under the sidewalk! All of the water watchers have assisted in noticing and reporting leaks in a timely fashion so kudos to all of you. Our water watcher/leak reporters are: Lois Coan, Ardith Grady, Cathy Grant, Jim Macinko, Susan Peterson, Cynthia Schneider, and Toz and Jane Spaulding. We always need homeowners to be eagle-eyed when it comes to water leaks so please report problems to me as soon as you spot something.
We did remove 30 Packrat nests this year — down significantly from prior years. In part the reduction is due to removing some plants from maintained common areas that tend to be habitat for them and also we are lifting more cactus on maintained common areas as these often become nesting areas. Going forward in 2019 the HOA will no longer invest in packrat control. As a homeowner you can still remove packrat nests around your home. If you have a nest on common area behind your wall for example, you may remove it if you follow certain guidelines (NO poison ever on common property, an insured and approved vendor such as Mr. PackRat must be used). Contact the landscape chair to get approval for removal of any nest on unmaintained common property. You can discourage packrats in your yard by ensuring that you keep packrat friendly hiding places removed. This includes stacked bricks and wood, low hanging thick plants such as rosemary. If you leave fruit on the ground from a fruit tree or leave birdseed on the ground, this will attract packrats as well so ensure you discard any fruit that falls from your trees and keep birdseed in a bird feeder unaccessible to rodents. Remember you are allowed to keep the area behind your wall weed free if it is flat (up to 12′). Keeping that area clear also discourages packrats as generally they don’t like to cross open areas. Finally if you have a problem, once the packrat has been removed wash the area with 50% PinSol and 50% water. NEVER trap for packrats more than 2-3 nights in a row. If a packrat is caught and removed, wash the hardscape with the PinSol mixture and put the trap away until you find additional indications of packrat visitation. Repeatedly trapping night after night will draw packrats to your yard as they are laying a scent trail and following it.
Our heavy summer and fall rains also contributed to active weed growth. I am happy to report that fewer homeowners (15) than in years past received notes asking them to attend to their yards and all homeowners addressed the problem (thank you!). We all benefit from the tidy appearance of our HOA so keep up the good work. Don’t forget that even if you are away, you are responsible for ensuring weeds in your yard are removed in a timely fashion.
Thanks to all of you who help us keep our community looking terrific. If you have any questions about your yard, contact me or consult Yard Rules and Regulations. Also as a reminder you may not trim any trees behind your homes in common area. Because this is considered destruction of someone else’s property, you can face criminal charges, a large fine, and/or required to replant. Please ensure you are working with the landscape chair if you need to trim trees for view.