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, 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.

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