Board Meetings are currently virtual meetings on the 3rd Monday of each month. Invites will be sent to owners 48-hours prior to the event.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Auto Thefts

Hi Folks,

In the month of November 119 cars were stolen in Aurora, year to date the City Of Aurora has had 1253 vehicles stolen. Currently this is a 20% increase over 2015. Puffers (leaving your car running unattended) is a big part of the numbers along with cars left in open garages with the keys left in the ignitions.

We at the Aurora Police Department are asking you to please secure your car like you would secure your house. Your car is an extension of your house, most of us would never leave the front door of your home unlocked or your house keys laying in your driveway or sidewalk when you leave for work or run an errand.

Please don't leave your keys in your car, don't leave your car running unattended (a remote start system is ok), don't leave your car unlocked, don't leave any valuables (money, cell phones, GPS devices, wallets, briefcases, Christmas presents, packages, purses etc.) in plain sight inside your car, check to make sure your garage door is down prior to going to bed, make sure any side doors into your garage are locked and never leave your keys in the car while parked in inside your garage.

Criminals who steal cars go on to commit other crimes. It’s not uncommon for criminals who steal cars to commit business robberies, home and commercial burglaries or worse come back to burglarize your residence as they now how the key to your house, garage door openers and registration/insurance documents to facilitate identity theft.

We at the Aurora Police Department want you to have a safe and prosperous holiday season. For more information on how to stop motor vehicle theft please visit

Lieutenant Jad Lanigan
Aurora Police Department District One
Investigative Support Section Commander
(Gangs, Fugitive, Metro Vehicle Theft, Intelligence)
13347 E. Montview Blvd.
Aurora, Colorado 80047
Office: 303-739-1702

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Landscaping Tips

Giving Thanks!
Did you know that November was originally the 9th month of the Roman calendar?  It signified the beginning of colder weather moving in.  We haven't seen a lot of the colder weather yet, which has been pretty nice. For as long as the warm weather lasts, we should try to take the time to do a few of the following:
  1. Make sure your trees are in good physical shape.
  2. Water your trees and shrubs.
  3. Water your lawn.
  4. Make sure that your irrigation system is shut down properly
Enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasts!  From all of us at Prides Crossing HOA, have a safe and "Happy Thanksgiving".

Although this fall has been exceptionally warm, we know that the cold temperatures are right around the corner. The cold temperatures offer an opportunity to begin pruning trees and shrubs that are currently, or potentially, infected by various fungal and bacterial diseases. These diseases are less active in the dormant season, so the likelihood of spreading more disease is reduced.
We have seen significant jumps in the occurrence of fire blight and cytospora canker. The spring weather of 2015 and 2016 has been very conducive to high infection rates. Antibiotic treatments have been helpful in reducing the damage to fireblight infected trees, but proper pruning in the dormant season is a vital part of any treatment program. Removing as much visible infection from the canopy of the tree, and cleaning up fallen leaf debris helps to reduce the amount of inoculum that will overwinter in or near the tree.

Our Arborists are highly trained help you develop the best program to care for your trees. Contact us to set up a time to discuss the best way to keep your landscape healthy.
Fight the Mite!
Near Record September and October temperatures 
are exploding mite activity in the Denver Metro area!
A combination of late fall and winter watering along 
with sprays to reduce mite populations can save areas of turf.

Mite information:
Lawn areas that are west and south facing are particularly susceptible to lawn mite damage.     
However, with the extremely warm and dry weather we have experienced in the last two months, all areas of lawns are in danger of mite damage.          
Watering lawns during this warm dry span is essential to helping control costly mite damage. If you find your lawn crunching under your feet, it needs water. Even a dormant lawn should be soft to the touch.
Once we do get colder temperatures, mites are still active in lawns especially in the sunnier areas. Keep in mind snow cover may last in some areas while others are completely exposed.
As the winter sun beats down on sun exposed areas it provides extra heat for the mites to actively feed and breed. Mites handle the winter cold and move to sheltered and warmer areas when the temperatures really drop. They then move to the warmest areas of the lawn to feed. At the same time the sun is drying out the ground in these warm areas, so there is no moisture to replenish what the mites are removing from the grass.

Tip of the Month:
Water your newly planted trees throughout the winter to keep young roots from drying out. All the effort to plant new trees and shrubs in the fall can be nullified if you let your new plants fall victim to our mild and extremely dry winters.

Prepare for Winter

September and October have been extremely hot and dry. It’s important to water your plants well one last time before they go dormant. An added layer of mulch can help insulate roots and hold in moisture. Winter is one of Colorado’s harshest seasons. Cold and dry conditions threaten the biggest investment in your yard — your trees. Winter is the driest season in Colorado, temperatures can drop well below zero and warm Chinook winds can batter our trees. Keep your trees healthy, avoid winter-kill and minimize insect and disease problems by having a winter tree care plan that includes watering and pruning. Winter is an ideal time to prune your trees.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Centennial Airport Noise Exposure

Subject: Noise Exposure Map Public Open House 11/02/2016

MEMO TO:  Centennial Airport Community Noise Roundtable

FROM:  Robert Olislagers, Centennial Airport Executive Director

As part of noise compatibility planning, Centennial Airport has been working with Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH) to conduct the Noise Exposure Map (NEM) Update per 14 CFR Part 150. Part 150 is a voluntary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program that sets guidelines for airport noise compatibility planning.  The NEM is the Part 150 document that provides the current and five-year forecast of aircraft noise exposure levels.

After working on the study for the past nine months, Centennial Airport has prepared a draft of the Part 150 NEM Update for public review.

As part of the process, all interested parties are invited to learn more about the update of the Part 150 NEM and to review the document during this public open house.

When:                         Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Where:                        Ramada Englewood Hotel and Suites

7770 S. Peoria St., Englewood, CO 80112

Please help us assure a good turnout by passing this information on to staff and elected officials within your jurisdiction, as well as to any other contacts you would like to make aware of the Nov. 2 open house.  We look forward to seeing you at the open house and the Noise Roundtable meeting immediately following at the same venue.

If you are unable to attend the open house a draft of the NEM Update will be posted on the Centennial Airport website and further information can be found at the following link:

Thank you for your assistance.

Aaron Repp
Noise& Environmental Specialist
Centennial Airport |Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority
7800 S. Peoria St., Box G-1
Englewood, CO 80112
Main: 303-790-0598
Direct: 303-218-2922

Friday, September 9, 2016

Aurora News

*** For questions, contact Daniel Krzyzanowski at 303.739.7187 or

The city of Aurora is creating a new plan over the next 18 months that will help to guide city leaders for another decade and beyond. We’re calling it Aurora Places, and it will represent a collective vision for Aurora’s future. While a project team from the Planning & Development Services Department is leading the effort, this plan will serve the entire community and city organization.

This comprehensive plan will serve as a foundation for decision-making in the city. It will establish policies and recommendations related to land use and development, neighborhood livability and housing, transportation and mobility, community health and sustainability, economic vitality, cultural diversity, community life and more.

The plan will be built on a foundation of community participation and feedback. City employees offer a unique perspective on Aurora, the challenges it will face and the opportunities the future may hold. Whether you call Aurora home or simply your home away from home, make sure your voice is heard through any or all of these methods:

  1. Visit, fill out a survey and take part in the interactive mapping activity. This site is the best resource for information throughout the process.
  2. The city is hosting a series of public workshops next month. Attend any one of these dates:

Sept. 20, 7 to 8:30 p.m., North Middle School, 12095 Montview Blvd. (also available in Spanish)

Sept. 22, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Aurora Association of Realtors, 14201 E. Evans Drive (also available in Amharic)

Sept. 22, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Cherokee Trail High School, 25901 E. Arapahoe Road (also available in Korean)

  1. The Aurora Places project team has developed the “DIY Workshop Kit,” a guided discussion to identify Aurora’s challenges, opportunities and assets. If you would like a representative of our project team to facilitate this activity with your managers or staff, please contact Daniel Krzyzanowski directly at 303.739.7187 or The activity takes about 1 hour and is designed to accommodate roughly 10 to 20 participants.

For additional information about the project or these input opportunities, contact Bob Watkins or Daniel Krzyzanowski with the Planning & Development Services Department.

*** For questions, contact Daniel Krzyzanowski at 303.739.7187 or

City of Aurora

Neighborhood Liaison

15151 E. Alameda Parkway

Aurora, Colorado 80012


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Landscaping Art

Placing and caring for outdoor art

celtic archWe're embellishing the outdoors more than ever with art and architectural pieces just like we have done indoors. Where we relax, eat and entertain is where we want to see the objects we enjoy and it makes sense we're decorating outdoor spaces with more than plants.

How these works of art come into our gardens varies. Some gardens are created to showcase a treasured statue. Sometimes a property owner commissions an artist to create a piece that will complement a special outdoor space. Other times, artifacts, reproductions and architectural objects from around the world or even the local flea market just catch our fancy and end up outdoors. Someone else's junk becomes our treasured find.

Whatever the art form, when it goes outdoors, it needs to resist and endure the ravages of the Colorado climate. It can't blow over in the wind or be ruined by rain and snow. Ideally, it should look good during all four seasons.

Placement requires forethought. Sometimes objects can be outdoors as long as they are somewhat protected from the elements and that requires thinking ahead about placement and protection. If water will harm the object, make sure it's out of the line of fire of the sprinkler system as well as the weather.

Will the proposed placement be disruptive to ongoing maintenance activities? For example, if the object is in the middle of the lawn, how will you mow around it?

Finally, know the composition of the piece and if has specific care needs. Here are some tips:

  • Place art and other interesting pieces where they will not be overgrown by plants as they mature.
  • For long-term life, select pieces that are weather-resistant and need little maintenance. Bronze and marble, for example, are very durable and only need occasional cleaning or polishing.
  • Wooden art may need a hardy paint or finish to give it a long life outdoors. It may also need to live in a protected location.
  • Anticipate how the piece may change over time. Steel is typically left to rust; copper is allowed to develop an aged patina.
  • Some art is made of materials that are intended to go back to nature. Many sustainable pieces made of wood and twigs are designed to disintegrate over time as they are used for nesting and habitat. Enjoy them for what they do and as long as they last.
  • Consider using repurposed items, especially items already used outdoors for other functions. Metal gates, antique farm implements and architectural artifacts from old buildings all qualify. They easily repurpose as unusual and long-lasting art.
Pay attention to the sprinkler system. No matter what the material, water should never be aimed directly at artwork or other artifacts.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Time to prune tomatoes

Time to prune tomatoes

Zucchini and peas are pick-able in our gardens now. But otherwise, we're in the summer stall - waiting for the majority of our plants to ripen for the harvest. Besides watering and weeding, there are a few things we can be doing in our gardens, especially with tomatoes, to keep them healthy while we're waiting for the harvest to begin.

Prune your tomato plants if they're getting wild and woolly. With proper pruning, you will not only neaten up the appearance of the garden, but fight off soil borne diseases, allow air to flow through the plants and spot insects more easily.

Prune tomatoes based on how they are watered

  • If you water tomatoes overhead using a sprinkler, prune the lowest stems and leaves back to the main stem of the plant up so there is a clearance of about 1 ft. above the ground. Creating this distance between the plant and the soil keeps leaves from picking up soil-borne diseases from water splash-back during irrigation.
  • If you use drip irrigation, prune leaves and stems at the bottom of the plant so that none of them directly touch the soil.

With both methods, the result is the same. We're pruning to keep the tomato plant healthy by preventing soil-borne diseases from coming into direct contact with the plant.

Prune to remove suckers to promote a healthier plant.

  • Tomatoes have suckers. These are branches without flowers that won't produce fruit. They can be pruned to reduce the overall size of the plant. This pruning allows air to flow through the plant and you will be able to see insects more easily.
  • As you remove suckers, follow the "Missouri Pruning" method. As you prune off the suckers, leave one stem above and one stem below each flower or fruit cluster. The stem above the fruit shades it and the stem below supplies sugar and carbohydrates for the ripening fruit. Scientists have verified that the fruited stem receives its nutrients from the stem below and that is why we need to leave that stem in place.
  • Remove yellow leaves. Leaves at the bottom of the plant turn yellow because they are in the shade and do not receive the sunlight needed to stay green. Since they are not contributing to the health of the plant and are somewhat unsightly, they should be removed.
Following these simple techniques will keep tomato plants healthy and help improve growth of the tomato crop you will soon be picking.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hot Plants

Perennials that are more than pretty

plant selectIn the heat of the summer, we're very aware that some plants take the heat better than others - and that some need more water than others to stay perky. Mother Nature reminds us through soaring temps that we need sustainable plants that are heat-lovers, aren't super thirsty - and also do their job of catering to pollinators who are active this time of year.

July and early August are prime hummingbird feeding times. Rufous hummingbirds (the coppery-colored ones with attitude) are traveling through, and the broadtails, calliopes and black-throated hummingbirds are preparing to migrate south so need lots of fuel for their travels. Does your garden offer flowers that will provide them with natural and more nourishing food than just plain sugar water?

Bees and bumblebees are also most active in the heat of summer. We need them around to help vegetables and fruits produce abundant yields, so we need to offer them a wide assortment of summer-blooming perennial flowers and groundcovers.

Luckily in Colorado, there's a wide range of perennial flowers that thrive in the extremes of summer, providing color and wildlife benefits during our hottest, driest months.

Try some of these altitude-hardy plants from Plant Select® that are native and adapted to the Rockies and southwestern U.S.:

Hyssops (Agastaches) - pictured above: This group of southwestern native perennials come in a range of colors and sizes, blooming from July through early frost. Sunset hyssop (A. rupestris) is one of the most dependable, and has orange/pink tubular flowers with narrow, blue-green leaves that smell like root beer when crushed. It grows to about 2' tall and 12-16" wide.

Penstemons: Most penstemons bloom early in the summer, but Bridges' penstemon (P. rostriflorus) is just getting going in the heat of summer. 

The orangey-red flowers are narrow and tubular, just perfect for hummingbirds' tongues, and the stems are wispy and airy. This is a cold-hardy, long-lived summer-blooming penstemon growing 28-32" tall and about 24" wide. As with most penstemons, be sure to plant Bridges' penstemon in a well-drained soil with moderate to low amounts of organic matter. 

Orange Carpet®: Another hummingbird favorite is Orange Carpet® hummingbird trumpet (Zauschneria garrettii), a selection from northern Idaho that forms a low-growing mat of medium green and is covered with 2" orange-colored, trumpet-shaped flowers in midsummer. Very cold hardy and long-lived, Orange Carpet® will spread to 2' wide or more but is less than 8" tall. This heat-loving groundcover will thrive in most sunny spots with good drainage. Try planting it on the edge of a rock wall so it can cascade over the edge.
There is still time in this growing season to plant these and other perennials that do more than sit pretty. Perennials that multi-task add outdoor beauty, provide food for pollinators and thrive in the heat without requiring an abundance of water. We all probably need more of them in our yards.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Real Estate Update

Real Estate Market Update

Mid-Year Market Review

Looking back at the first half of 2016, the real estate market has performed much as expected. In a year that has already seen a series of tumultuous events unfold on the world stage and at home, real estate has remained surprisingly insulated and stable. 

The market has been driven by internal fundamentals rather than outside forces. Specifically, the imbalance between low supply and high demand remains the primary driver. This month, we will compare actual year-to-date market performance with our 2016 predictions and look ahead to what we can expect in the second half of the year. But first, a quick review of last month’s market data. 

The volume of real estate sold across all Front Range markets in June decreased 0.2% compared to June of last year and was up 12.9% over May. The supply of inventory ticked up slightly to 1.6 months. Many markets saw a significant increase in new listings in June.  

In Douglas and Arapahoe Counties, the volume of real estate sold in June fell 5.9% and 7.1% respectively on a year-over-year basis. The supply of available homes in Douglas County remained below the 2 month mark at 1.7 months and 1.0 months in Arapahoe County.

Now let’s compare the actual year-to-date numbers with the predictions we made at the outset of 2016.

#1. Sellers Keep the Advantage

Inventory levels will remain well below the six-month benchmark that divides a sellers market from a buyers market.

Mid-Year Update: This prediction has proven accurate. Even though many home owners have realized now is a great time to sell, not enough of them have listed their homes to satisfy the demand of first-time buyers, move-up buyers and relocators entering the market. 

Looking ahead to the second half of 2016, expect to see a more balanced market with more inventory. June saw a flurry of new listings come on the market. Many of these listings were immediately snapped up, but if this trend continues, inventory shortages may ease a bit in the second half of the year. Rather than the 1 - 2 months of supply that has been the norm, inventory levels could edge up to the 3 - 5 month range. This will give buyers not only more listings from which to choose, but a bit more negotiating power as multiple offers become less prevalent. 

#2. Tight Inventory and Higher Rates Won’t Stop Buyers

Job growth and relatively low interest rates will give buyers the confidence to enter the market. Buyers will have to compete for a limited supply of inventory, thwarting many from actually completing a purchase. Enough will find a way to closing, resulting in an increase of 5% to 10% in the volume of real estate sold in 2016 compared to 2015.”

Mid-Year Update: This prediction has only proven partially accurate. There is no question that low interest rates, which dropped even lower just after Brexit, are fueling a high level of buyer demand. 
What has proven less accurate is the volume increase prediction. Through the first half of 2016, the volume of real estate sold across all Front Range markets is up just 2.0%. Because the number of transactions is lower this year, this gain is solely the result of higher prices. 

In the second half of 2016, it looks likely that monthly volume will remain flat year-over-year or be down slightly. An increase in available listings will help free up the market and allow more buyers to close. At the same time, uncertainty due to large scale events, including the Presidential elections, may cause some buyers to put their home search on pause.   

#3. Home Values Up 6% to 8% 

We expect to see appreciation rates exceed 10% through the first half of the year before settling back down to the 6% to 8% range by the end of 2016.” 

Mid-Year Update: Home values are performing just as predicted or better! According to the most recent Federal Housing Finance Agency data, of the 20 cities in the entire US with the highest annual appreciation rates, four are located in Colorado: Denver metro, Fort Collins, Greeley, and Boulder. All have seen one-year appreciation in excess of 10%. Overall, Colorado has a one-year appreciation rate of 8.9%.

However, we’re already seeing signs of these appreciation rates moderating a bit in the second half and settling back down to a 6% to 8% range. Mind you, a moderation in appreciation rates does not mean prices will start falling; they just won’t be rising at such a torrid pace. This is a healthy market adjustment and will begin to alleviate growing concerns that a lack of affordability could weaken the overall market. 

Overall, it looks like we will move toward a more balanced market in the second half of the year.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Annual Meeting This Saturday!

Hello Prides Crossing Community!

As a reminder, the Annual Meeting/BBQ will be this Saturday at Aqua Vista Park.
Please arrive between 6:00pm and 6:30pm to sign in.

If you are unable to attend, please make sure that you return the attached Proxy to or fax to 303.693.8803 so we may obtain quorum to conduct Business and to not incur additional monies to the HOA in having to reschedule and attempt another Annual Meeting.

Thanks again, and see you on Saturday!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saving Tips - Water

3 Smart ways to cut summer 

water bills

If you have a typical Colorado household, you expect your water bill to go up in the summer. With much of Colorado still hovering in the 90s, the heat wave drives up water used for showers, washing clothes and keeping our plants alive.

Because July brings the biggest drain on our water resources and highest water bills for us, it is a good month to think seriously about ways to save water with our sprinkler systems.

Three components to consider

How water reaches your plants - whether it's the lawn or the petunias - is the most basic element of a sprinkler system. The efficiency of that delivery process will either save or waste water. Efficiencies lie in the sprinkler heads themselves, the small components called "nozzles" and the use of drip irrigation.

#1 - Address sprinkler heads that spray water too high or are misting because they are wasting water and money. When water seeps out of the heads after the watering cycle stops, those heads are also wasting water. Newer technology has given us better sprinklers that control water pressure - and even the size of the water droplets - so that the water lands where it needs to fall without misting and floating away in the breeze. Consider upgrading to newer sprinkler heads. The key term when you shop is "pressure regulating."

#2 - Upgrade to newer nozzles. These are the tiny plastic parts at the top of the sprinkler heads. Depending on the nozzles you have, you will either use or save a lot of water. By retrofitting existing heads with more efficient nozzles, you can cut water use by 50% or more. Prices vary, but for around $6 per nozzle, you can save a lot of water. New nozzles can pay for themselves in little time.

#3 - Save water one drip at a time. With drip irrigation, water never floats away in the breeze or runs down the gutter. It goes right to the root zone of the plant where it is needed most - and that makes drip the most efficient way to water every plant in the yard - except the lawn. Converting less water-efficient spray heads to drip irrigation is a smart way to cut your water bill.

Remember the maintenance

Even with newer, better technology, sprinkler systems are still mostly made of mechanical parts. Sprinkler heads get out of adjustment, underground sprinkler lines can crack and leak, and electrical valves that direct water throughout the system can break. 

Periodically turn on the system to see how it is operating. Then make the adjustments and repairs to keep the system operating efficiently. You'll save water and money in the process!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Annual Meeting Anouncement for 7/23/16


The Annual Meeting and barbecue/swimming party for Pride’s Crossing Master HOA will be held on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 6:30 pm at the Aqua Vista Pool.  This is the official notice of the meeting as required by the declaration and by-laws of the Association.

The membership will elect three board members at the meeting.  Linda Gross & Elaine Potter terms have expired.  However, both will seek re-election.  Bob Burke has chosen to step down and we will seek a person to serve the remaining one year term.

The remaining members’ terms are expiring in 2017:

Dale Slemp and Kate Counter

Each position is a two (2) year term (except Bob Burkes position has one year remaining for another individual to fill). Any homeowner can be elected to the board and nominations will be taken from the floor. If interested, please fill out the enclosed questionnaire form, so if you can not make the meeting and still want to be considered we can present you to the rest of the membership.

At the annual meeting, the Board will formally present the membership with the annual budget– which is enclosed for your review - for fiscal year beginning September 1, 2016. The new budget calls for a seven point seven percent (7.7%) increase in dues, which is an increase from $234.00 to $252.00 every six months.  Another way to look at it is an increase of $3.00 per month – or less than seventy five cents per week.

The primary reasons for the dues increase will go towards savings to replenish our Reserve Balance after we spent over $250K on a new fence and Monument signs in 2015.  The Board anticipates increased monies towards landscape repairs and improvements as our community now approaches 30 years in age.  Along with increased costs to the HOA in bad debt collection and legal fees.

Since state law requires that the Association, as a non-profit corporation, must meet at least once per year, your participation is not only welcomed, it is important. At least 28 owners must be present in person or by proxy in order to elect new board members and fulfill our legal annual meeting requirement. 

If you plan on attending the meeting, please RSVP via e-mail or by calling the management company. This is a catered event and it is helpful to know how many people will be attending. Please e-mail Shane at or call us at (303) 693-2118. 

If you cannot attend the meeting, please fill out the enclosed proxy postcard so that we can meet our quorum requirements.  You may mail them to the office address listed above or fax them to (303) 693-8803. Please make sure you are signed up on the Association’s website to get updates on community announcements.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Landscaping Tip

How to get your lawn through a heat wave 

We're in the middle of another long stint of 90+ degree days and many lawns are definitely showing signs of stress. But before you pour on more water, make sure you are not already over-watering your lawn. As many landscape experts including turf scientists at CSU will tell you, most lawn disease problems in Colorado directly result from over-watering.
In a heat wave, it's tempting to crank up the length of time the sprinkler system waters. But before you do, make sure the lawn is really telling you it needs more - not less - water. The best starting point is to push a screwdriver into the soil. If the soil is hard, that shows lack of moisture. If it drives right into the soil, there is already sufficient moisture.
Signs your lawn needs water
Our lawns really do talk back to us and that is by how they look. Brown spots that are dry in the screwdriver test tell you that spot is not getting enough water. Blueish/gray areas also indicate lack of water. If you leave footprints when you walk across the lawn, that's another sign.
On the other hand, when the lawn is over-watered, it talks back with unsightly areas across the lawn that are often patches of disease. With over-watering, those problems will only get worse.
If you see patches that look similar to a doughnut in the lawn with circular areas of yellow or brown with a green center, this could be a sign of necrotic ring spot. Another common problem seen frequently in Colorado is ascochyta. Both of these diseases disrupt the healthy green look of a thriving lawn. And both are tied to over-watering.
Before you turn up the water in this heat wave, make sure that lack of water is really the problem:

  • Check the soil to see if it is dry or moist.
  • Look carefully at your lawn for possible signs of disease. If you're not sure, consult with a pro who can diagnose disease issues.
  • Check out the sprinkler system to see if some areas of the lawn are not being watered at all and fix the problems.
  • Avoid the temptation to apply more water. And when you need to apply more water, use the cycle-and-soak method of short watering cycles broken up by a rest period and then another watering cycle later. This technique allows water to soak into the soil without creating wasteful run-off.

Relieve heat stress on your lawn by following these mowing practices:

  • Raise the mower blade to the highest setting and cut no more than about ¼ of the total grass height off the top. When we leave the grass higher, it shades the soil to help it retain moisture.
  • Sharpen the mower blade regularly. A dull blade shreds rather than cuts and grass blades that are shredded are more stressed and open to diseases than when they are cut cleanly.
  • When you mow, leave the clippings on top of the lawn. This also helps retain moisture and the clippings will fertilize the lawn as they decompose.
By following these simple and sustainable steps, you will help your lawn survive the heat wave.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Landscaping Tips

Give thirsty pollinators a drink without drowning them

One of the problems that traditional bird baths and outdoor water features have is that bees and other small pollinators try to perch on the sides, and lose their balance. Often their perch is slimy and they slip. Too often under these conditions, bees and other pollinators fall into the water and drown - an unnecessary and sad end for our pollinating friends.

Yet, it is easy to provide pollinators a drinking source in our yards. With a very few household materials and in less than five minutes, we can create an attractive "watering hole" for small pollinators.  These small creatures don't need wide expanses of water - but they do require a safe and non-slippery perch from which they can sip water and fly away when their thirst is quenched.

Here are the materials you will need:

  • A wide and shallow dish or other vessel that will hold water.  Because pollinators are small, short creatures, we want to avoid a deep container.  Even a glass pie plate works.
  • Small rocks or glass marbles to fill the bottom.
  • Flat stones or other objects that can be set amidst the marbles.  These stones will form a perch for the pollinators while they get a drink.
  • Clean water replaced often that sits slightly below the level of the perch.  Imagine you are Ms. Bumblebee and make the distance you need to lean into the water to get a drink user-friendly.

Placement: make the water feature obvious to pollinators who visit your garden by placing it near the flowering plants where they will be flying in search of nectar. 

Maintenance:  Add fresh water and clean out debris regularly.  Stagnant water can breed bacteria and mosquitoes, so keep the water feature clean and filled with fresh water.

Other pollinator-friendly tips:

  • Cater to the butterflies.  Strange as it sounds, those beautiful butterflies that flit around our gardens drink from muddy puddles.  To keep them happy, create some indentations in the soil and fill them with water.
  • Do you have a birdbath?  You can overcome the problem of a steep slope around the edge of the birdbath by adding flat rocks or even a brick that rests slightly above the water line.  The rock or brick provides a flat perch where bees and other small pollinators can drink without threat of drowning.
Do you have a water feature? Create easy access points along the water feature by placing flat stones in shallow areas at the edge where the water tends to pool and is not running fast.  A low, non-slippery perch at water's edge is all it takes to make your water feature pollinator-friendly.

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