We’ve learned lessons from having lived with our desertscape for four years. We’ve learned that while saving water, the removal of lawns raises the ambient temperature around our homes and plants. In at least three cases, our landscape contractor Ismael has had to install multiple rings of soaker hoses around suffering citrus trees that had been in the lawn but now have surrounding desertscape. Pyracantha hedges also have suffered until additional water supplies were brought to them.
This past summer was so hot that more shade screens had to be built just to keep plants alive. We are used to shading such as the Sago Palms, but this past summer we had to drape burlap over the Mexican fencepost cacti to protect them on the south and west exposures. Next month, our landscapers will begin an aggressive treatment of all the agave in our complex. The stress of heat has made them more susceptible to boring-type worms and we have lost several this past year. We will use both liquid and granular poisons to control these pests.
During the ungodly hot part of the summer, Ismael and an expanded crew spread ten tons of fresh decomposed granite on the thin spots over the entire desertscape area. If you’ve been near the east pool recently, you probably noticed that the landscaping has been updated. New bougainvillea and lantana were planted as well as a new pyracantha hedge around the pool to hide the pool equipment. Some cobblestone mulch was installed along with annual geraniums.
Pools and Spas:
We got a break this year from pool and spa tile and plaster renovation, but some of our supporting pool and spa equipment needed replacement. The east spa got a new filter, new pump and new heater this past summer. The center spa also got a new pump for a total cost of almost $7,000. The main entry handrails of all pools and spas have been covered with blue insulating sleeves. No longer do we have to drape a towel over the rail or risk burning our hands.
The center pool is, for February and March, being heated to the standard temperature of 84 degrees. All spas are always programmed at 101 degrees.