Frozen Pipe

Frozen Pipe

It’s going to get cold soon. It’s not enough to turn off your sprinkler system.  If you live in the mountain community of Wrightwood, and the transitional zones of Phelan, Pinon Hills, West Cajon Valley and Oak Hills, you should think about winterizing your sprinkler system. Water left in  your lines, sprinklers and valves will freeze and expand damaging your system. You won’t realize it until spring comes and you start to use your system again. You could be at risk right now.  Winterizing your system will remove all the water from your pipes and equipment so that there is less opportunity for problems. Call us  to get on our schedule to winterize now or call us for the inevitable repairs you will need come this spring.

 

The very best time of the year is here. Fall is the winding down of the growing season and that is why it is the very best time to plant. Things are getting slower on top but there is lots of activity down below in the root zone. Plants planted in the fall take off sooner and do better in spring, than plants planted any other time of the year.

 

This is a great time to build and work your compost pile with all the leaves and twigs and branches you clean up this fall. Or add your homemade compost to your garden to build up the soil for next year’s veggie garden.

 

Keep watering trees and shrubs, but much less often. Still water deep though. Just space the days between watering more. Some plants may look dead, but they are really just dormant and all that root action is taking place down below. I suggest you not cut back perennials until new spring growth to insulate the core of the plant from winter frosts.

 

Definitely this is time to check and winterize your sprinkler system if you live in a zone of freezing weather. Thoroughly check your system before winterizing to make sure you don’t wrap up a leak that will be a problem for months.  Then wrap pipes with insulation or cover sprinkler valves with an insulated box. A large insulated cooler works well for this and gives easy access. We can help you with winterizing

 

Plan for winter weed control to eliminate spring weeds. A pre-emergent weed application in the winter will prevent most spring weeds and give you your weekends when warm weather arrives again.  We can quote you on your preventative weed control. We get really busy in the winter with applications and timing is preferred before a rainfall to water in the pre-emergent with FREE water from the sky.  Call to get on our schedule so we might schedule you at the most optimum time.

Call Us at (760) 868-6104

We Can Help!

Plan for fire.

By Cindy Poore

 

This was a crazy summer! So, so hot. I may be getting old, but I don’t remember so may days of 100 plus heat from past years.  Isn’t it usually just a few (3-4) weeks? This heat is just going on and  on.  And the fires are not making things better.

 

The fire. Now THAT was scary. And it didn’t even come close to us.  The Blue Cut Fire burned so fast, so hot, so unpredictably, that we were under mandatory evacuation orders. After seeing the devastation, I can understand why. They couldn’t take any risks.

 

We were safe and pretty far from the actual fire. I wish I could say the same for everyone. A dear, dear friend’s property was right in its path. Fires were popping up everywhere on his property. He and his son stayed behind to defend his home and buildings. They fought with tractors and shovels and were on the point of exhaustion around midnight when a group of firefighters came over the ridge and helped them fight the monster off. All his buildings were saved. Tragically,  his very near neighbors and many others in his valley were not so fortunate and lost their homes.

 

So planning for fire in your landscaping and maintenance is essential for nearly any home. Here are some tips from  the University of California Cooperative Extension:

 

DEFENSIBLE SPACE GUIDELINES

Below are general guidelines adapted from CAL FIRE:

1. Create and maintain a defensible space of at least 100 feet or greater from each building or structure.

2. From the home to a distance of 30 feet, keep plants low, and make sure to have irrigation available when needed. Check with your local fire department about the exact distances                           required in your area.

3. Preserve single specimens or groupings of well-spaced and well-pruned trees or other vegetation.

4. Eliminate ladder fuels within the defensible space zone by disrupting the vertical and/or horizontal continuity of plants.

 

Hi all. Just wanted to let you know things are a little crazy here in Phelan due to all the evacuations  and we are not able to get to the work we have scheduled. Please be patient with us we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you to all the police and firefighters that are risking their lives to save our area and homes.

Woops!

By Cindy Poore

 

We’ve been busy! It seems to happen every year at this time. April hits and there are just not enough hours in the day to get it all done. Everyone has kept us busy with their gardens and their dreamed-of gardens so I have been remiss in getting our newsletter out in a timely fashion.

 

Part of the reason I’ve been so behind is because I have stepped up my game and have gone back to school at my advanced age! Yup, bucket list beckons and I went back to school to work on finishing my degree after eons had passed. I did it even though I was afraid I couldn’t do it after all this time. But this past semester was great and I learned a lot. Don’t let fear get in the way of doing what you have always wanted to do.

 

Let’s talk about the weather…

 

The weather has been crazy hot for weeks!  Ugh! I’m  so done with it. This heat and the drought restrictions have been  putting a real strain on your landscapes.

 

One easy trick with watering grass this time of year is to cut your grass higher. As I have mentioned before, longer blades shade the soil around the grass roots and store moisture in the blades for the main grass plant to draw  on in tough conditions. The longer the blade, the bigger the reserve tank your grass has.

 

Also, please consider grasscycling. Grasscycling is merely allowing the  grass clippings to be returned to the grass as you mow instead of collecting them to

be disposed of at the landfill. Thrice lovely because not only are you helping your lawn by giving it a mini water-saving mulching every mowing, but as the clippings dry up and decompose they are adding organics to the soil to build it up with needed nutrients AND reducing  the waste to the landfill resulting in fewer CO2 emissions to perpetuate global warming.

 

Be very diligent on monitoring your water use. We are our checking and fixing sprinkler systems and drip systems every week lately.  Don’t let those leaks and drips continue. Call us for an irrigation tune up to make sure you are not wasting a bit.

 

Summer is for…

 

—Sprinklers!  The calls have been coming in like crazy with sprinkler problems. There have been several with issues where they “thought” they had vetted a particular business as professional and they came out to do sprinkler repairs and refused to tell the customer how much they charge. The repair man told her “ Don’t worry, I will make you a deal.”  Literally he refused and got upset when she wanted to know before-hand how much. “You don’t trust me!” he said.

 

Another charged the customer for installation of check valves to stop the flow of water downhill from coming out of the anti-syphon valves. What a waste of  time and money.

 

Yes, it is not good to put valves downhill from the highest sprinkler. Sometimes that is what you inherit when you buy the place. But it is against the laws of physics to try to stop that. The water will just back up and flow out the next opening in line.

Anti-syphon valves are designed to allow upstream water to flow out the valve when turned off to protect the potable (drinking) water from contamination.

 

We will give you price per hour for sprinkler repairs and “guesstimate” how long it might take. When pipes and equipment is underground and digging is required, we cannot see what the issue is so that is why we charge by the hour.  Digging conditions are sometimes problematic and it can take time to find the issue. We will work with you to minimize the costs, and offer you other options to make repairs when possible. Some things have to be repaired immediately, some things can be postponed. Give us a call with your sprinkler issues and we will take care of them for you..

 

—Manage your sprinkler clock. With temps over 100 degrees, you watering schedule is very important.  Sometimes you just need some advice on how best to set your sprinkler controller. And sometimes, you have no idea on how to work your sprinkler clock at all. We do both for our clients.

 

Most problems are simple. Like the time a gentleman was having issues getting his sprinkler clock to come on automatically.  He felt it was a simple issue but he just couldn’t figure it out,  and he was right. After much fiddling with the system his frustration just got the better of him and he was done. That one was a quick one. He had no time set on the stations.  This actually is one of the most common issues with a seemingly ok system not coming on. A missed step in programming.  So if you are having issues, get the manual and go through it step by step first.