September and the end of summer is at hand, at least calendar-wise, and our snowbirds are setting their sights on getting back to the desert for “the season.” Our landscape maintenance personnel are also making plans that might interest our year-round residents as well as part-timers.
During September, each week will see a dialing back of irrigation to as little as two minutes per application (Monday thru Saturday). The decrease will help the Bermuda grass go dormant, so some increased browning-out will be apparent. In concert with water reduction will be a mowing schedule that removes an additional 1/2 inch or so of the lawn thickness each week. By the end of September, we will be ready for an easy scalping of the lawn areas in preparation for over-seeding in early October.
The water that we have saved in September will be used to germinate and nourish the annual ryegrass that will be sown during early October.
Our bottle brush trees have grown unfettered for two years now so the time has come to prune them to prevent storm damage this winter. These are weak and brittle trees full of sucker-growth resulting from having been “poodled” during their early years of growth. Our landscaper rescued them from the poodle shape but the damage had been done. The bottle brush pruning will start at the east pool and move west from there.
Our citrus trees will be pruned in November and the old fruit removed long before then.
The good news is that our desertscape plants have survived another very hot summer and most seem to be thriving as they are being properly irrigated. The bad news is that some pyracantha hedges on Caliente have died due to inadequate irrigation. Our landscaper will be augmenting the irrigation systems that serve these hedges and will plant new plants in November to replace the dead ones that have been removed.
Fire Ant Infestations
Fire ant infestations have been treated by the landscapers in between vector control applications, the last of which was virtually ineffective. Ant poisons in granular, powder and liquid form have been used but a new powerful insecticide is currently being sprayed and injected into the nests. This treatment kills thousands of ants and appears to kill the winged ants … hopefully the queens also. The granular poison was a good control, but nests just moved a few feet away or came back in a week or so.
Beginning in October the Center Pool was heated for the first two months. December and January will see the East and West pool heated, then back to the Center pool for February and March, finishing with the East and West pool for April and May if needed.
Spas at all pools will continue to be heated year-round.
Scalping and Reseeding
Desert Water Agency reduced its water savings guidelines from 35% in 2015 to 10-to-13% in 2016. Canyon South 1 continued with the Monday-Wednesday-Friday nighttime watering schedule this year and thus the water savings continued from last year. However, when it became apparent that most complexes would over-seed this fall and that Desert Water Agency was going to permit daytime watering for this purpose, your Board voted to scalp and over-seed along with the rest. After the new lawn is established, normal nighttime irrigation on M-W-F will resume.
Annuals and Tree Pruning
Landscape staff is busy planting geraniums and lobelia in the beds near our pools and in one or two other areas. Our valuable Bougainvillea shrubs blend with and form a backdrop for the annuals. We have not “poodled” our Olive trees for two seasons so they could sprout some trunk-shading branches that will help prevent sunburn of the bark in the future. This photo illustrates the kind of pruning that we will do with our Olive trees. The citrus trees will be pruned in November and a contractor will prune the large pine trees and other trees that must be professionally climbed for that purpose.
Architectural Variance Reviews
Owners have been very good in submitting helpful, detailed architectural review requests for the Board’s consideration. These have covered landscape upgrades, patio surface work & installation of windows and air conditioners. Download these forms here.
Pool and Spa Re-plastering
Rammell Construction was again awarded the bid to re-plaster the East Pool and Spa. They drained the pool and spa on September 28th, began demolishing the plaster and tile the next day and finished the plaster and tile on October 13, 2016. There was no delay in construction this year while waiting for the Health Department inspection. New drains were installed to help us further comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker safety codes. Auto-fill devices were installed
on pool and spa and a ‘to-code’ handrail was added at the pool. Other handrails of this kind may need to be installed if code enforcement becomes very strict at our pools and spas.
For those who were not here to experience last summer’s heat and humidity, it was a bad one.
Our desertscape had just been installed last year as summer arrived. Plants in the desertscape did pretty well, but we have lost some pyracantha hedge plants due to lack of irrigation quantity. When our landscaper realized that there was too little irrigation to the pyracantha hedges and one large pine tree, he got busy adding emitter hose to both sides of the hedges. Five Red Yucca were planted in the exterior desertscape where ocotillo of the original planting did not take root and live. The five pyracantha were used to fill in hedges where plants died over the hot summer. One entire L-shaped hedge was replaced this fall as the existing one was old and declining.
Sagging Patio Ceilings
Over the years, Canyon South 1 has had a history of repairing sagging patio ceilings. Our investigation this past fall, determined that one unit had priority for repair. A trusted contractor was consulted for a cheaper and less invasive solution to this repair — plus two board members put their best engineering thinking to work. Their suggestions were not followed — for the better we’re sure. This repair went well, looks very good and is affordable, so other patio ceilings will be repaired in this manner at a rate of one or two a year on priority units.
Pool and Spa Heating Schedule
We return to our normal pool heating this next season, beginning in October when the Center Pool will be heated first for two months. December and January will see the East and West pools heated, then back to the Center pool for February and March, finishing with the East and West pools for April and May.
Spas at all pools will continue to be heated year-round.
Pool and Spa Re-plastering and Lighting
The East Pool and Spa are our only remaining pools to be re-plastered in this cycle and they are planned for updating this fall. New tile, plaster and auto-fill devices will be installed, probably September and October.
Rammell Construction was awarded the bid to re-plaster the Center pool. Work began on Sept. 10, 2015, and they finished the startup for that pool as of Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Other items of construction remained to be done, but the pool was open for use. There was a 3-week delay in construction while waiting for the Health Department inspection.
About 3 years ago, Canyon South 1 installed seven new LED pool and spa lights as they were supposed to be longer-lived and use less electricity. These fixtures began failing about a year and a half after installation and thus far four have failed. Two of our contractors, JSR Pools and Horizon Electric lobbied the supplier/manufacturer of these fixtures so that we have been able to replace them for only the labor to install. In the future we will take better care to manage these fixtures during pool and spa re-plastering.
In keeping with state and local water agencies’ rules and recommendations and bowing to the general consensus in the Valley, CS1 Board decided to forgo the normal overseeding with annual ryegrass this fall. Therefore we went through the winter season complying with the irrigation schedule of Mon-Wed-Fri only and only during nighttime hours, morning and night. The Bermuda grass did its biological thing and went dormant – no one died because of it! Without the competition from the annual ryegrass, various weed species acquired a strong foothold in the dormant Bermuda. This required us to apply pre-emergence and post-emergence weed killer to combat these weeds.
Palm pruning is on schedule to begin during the first two weeks of June this late spring, 2016.