Earth Day is Coming April 22

It’s a great day to plant a tree or do some improvements.  Anything helps! If we all make an effort to leave the Earth in better shape, we can make a difference.

Earth Day

Love Your Mother

How much should I water in the Bay Area?

Bay Area cities by irrigation zone

As we are turning up our sprinklers, it’s a good idea to do so with a plan.  These two charts should help.  The ETo (Water needed for a lawn area) represents how much water should be applied each month.  The Map shows the different cities by Zone.  The ETo is the estimated demand of water in Inches.  If it rains, deduct that amount  from the ETo.  How much water is your sprinkler system putting out?  A TYPICAL (they vary, and should be measured) spray head puts out 1.8 inches per hour.  If the ETo happens to be 1.8 for the month- that spray head should run a total of 1 hour in that month if there is no rain.  A typical rotor sprinkler will put out .7 inches per hour.  The brand of sprinkler is printed on the top of the sprinkler, each company has the specification of their web sites.

A few other water saving tips: if you have sloped areas- have the sprinkles run three times on a Water Day for short periods to avoid run off.  Water before sunrise.  Use mulch.  If the sprinklers are ‘misting’ due to too much pressure, turn the pressure down by partially closing the adjuster handle on the sprinkler valve.  Turn the water off if it has rained.  Change that lawn to some nice low water shrubs or trees.  Dig into the soil and take a look- if it’s wet, turn the water down.

EToByZone

A few other water saving tips: if you have sloped areas- have the sprinkles run three times on a Water Day for short periods to avoid run off.  Water before sunrise.  Use mulch.  If the sprinklers are ‘misting’ due to too much pressure, turn the pressure down by partially closing the adjuster handle on the sprinkler valve.  Turn the water off if it has rained.  Change that lawn to some nice low water shrubs or trees.  Dig into the soil and take a look- if it’s wet, turn the water down.

 

Water Management 103 – Drip Irrigation

We recently renovated this property in Pleasanton from an overhead spray system to 'Inline' drip.

We recently renovated this property in Pleasanton from an overhead spray system to ‘Inline’ drip.

First off, the team at Cleary Bros. Landscape would like to thank everyone who has been participating in the ceremonial rain dances as of late.  We’ve seen some much needed precipitation in the last month.  However, we are still in a serious state of drought and we can’t afford to relax yet.  In this, our 3rd installation of our Spring Water Management Series we would like to discuss drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation comes in many forms.  Most people are familiar with the small thin black tubing that weaves its way through the landscape, most of the time looking somewhat unruly.  Many of us in the industry call these thin lines spaghetti tubes.  This is just one example of drip irrigation that can be utilized in the landscape.

Other examples include 1/2 inch black poly tubing with emitters that are plugged into them.  Yet another example is a newer technology where the drip emitters are built into the tubing.  One brand that you may have heard of is Netafim Techline.

Converting a planter bed from an overhead spray system to a drip system can dramatically improve your landscape’s water efficiency while lowering your water bill.  Drip systems, when installed and maintained correctly, are the most efficient form of irrigation.  This is because the majority of the water put out is delivered to the root system of the plant material being watered.  With that in mind there are several benefits to converting to a drip system which include:

  • An overall reduction in water used to irrigate planter beds.
  • Less weed growth in planter beds.  This is due to the fact that you are not watering the entire bed but only the root zones of the plants.
  • Lower likelihood of damage to asphalt, fences, and walls that occurs from over spray.  Over spray from regular pop-ups in the landscape will almost always occur. By utilizing drip irrigation you can extend the life of your asphalt, fences, and siding.
  • Mulch will fade much slower in planter beds that have drip irrigation, this will lengthen the useful life of your bark and mulch.
  • Typical repairs to drip systems are less costly than spray systems.
  • EBMUD and other Water Districts are offering rebates to convert from spray to drip!  Consult your irrigation specialist because only certain types of drip systems will qualify.
The benefits of converting from overhead spray to drip irrigation are tangible and will save your property money in the long run.  With all of the options though, how do you decide what method is best for your property?  Give us a call, or Send us an Email, and our team of Irrigation Specialists and Account Managers will start the process of identifying potential areas.  We will also work with you and your water district to check for potential rebates.
This lush landscape in the Oakland Hills was installed by Cleary Bros. with inline drip irrigation over ten years ago.  We have been maintaining it ever since.

This lush landscape in the Oakland Hills was installed by Cleary Bros. with inline drip irrigation over ten years ago. We have been maintaining it ever since.

Comment from a property manager

Just a note of recognition-

To let you know the Board members at Somerset are sooo pleased with the way the lawns and landscaping look now, as compared to what it used to be like before you came on board. They are just thrilled the grass areas look so lush and green again.

Your continued team work is much appreciated-Happy St. Patty’s

Water Management 102 – Lawn Conversion

Let’s be honest, we love our lawns.  So do the owners of the properties we manage. Lawns provide a lush green appeal to our homes and businesses.  Our lawns also require water to maintain.  A lot of water.  Lawns require the most water to maintain of any landscape plant.  With the rising cost of water and the 2014 Drought, now is an important time to take a good hard look at our lawns and consider if they are truly needed.

 

One great way to reduce water usage in the landscape is to convert those thirsty lawns.  A great way to do this is a method called Sheet Mulching.  Sheet Mulching is the process of taking an existing lawn and transitioning to an area that will be planted with ornamentals or just left mulched.  There are also large rebates available from many water agencies for sheet mulching.  There are many benefits to sheet mulching, they include:

 

  • A dramatic reduction in a properties overall water usage leading to lower water bills.
  • Sheet mulching is ‘green’ and environmentally responsible.
  • Areas that are mulched can be planted or left bare.
  • Rebates of up to .50 per square foot are available from EBMUD and CCWD.
  • Most properties have lawn areas that get very little use that are prime candidates for sheet mulching.
The process is simple.
Step 1:  Identify potential areas where sheet mulching makes sense.  Develop proposals and research possible rebates to develop a Return on Investment Study.
102c
Step 2:  After approval of proposal, the work begins.  Unneeded irrigation components are removed or capped.  New irrigation, if applicable, is prepared and installed.  A thin sheet of biodegradable card board is placed over the lawn which in turn helps kills the grass underneath it without chemical use.  The mulch is applied to the area as well as plant material if applicable.
102b

Step 3:  Enjoy the new aesthetics of the area and the water savings!

102a

Water Management 101

Glass Half Full

Spring has finally arrived in Northern California and with it we have received some much needed precipitation.  Even with the recent local rain and snow up in the Sierras, the 2014 Drought is still in full effect.  At Cleary Bros. we have always taken water management seriously.   We have had many customers ask how we are approaching the landscapes we manage with the drought in mind.  Here are a few of the things that we are currently doing for our customers:

 

  • Due to recent precipitation all of our irrigation systems are off.
  • We have begun our Spring irrigation system checks to identify any components that are not functioning properly.  This will enable us to efficiently irrigate the landscape when we need to turn the water back on.
  • We have increased the height of our lawns.  Taller grass helps to slow down evaporation.
  • We are taking meter readings on a bi-weekly basis, this allows us to track water usage and monitor for spikes in usage that indicate a leak or other problem.
  • We are in contact communication with local water agencies to keep up to date with the latest news and information.  This includes information about water restrictions, rate increases, and conservation programs.

The account managers from Cleary Bros. can help you find ways to reduce water usage, while taking advantage of rebates from many of our local water agencies.  These include:

 

  • Updating standard spray nozzles to high efficiency MP Rotators.
  • Upgrading stand alone irrigation timers to Smart Controllers.
  • Converting thirsty lawns to ornamental plantings or mulched beds.
  • Incorporating drought tolerant plant materials into our customers new plantings.

Helping our customers plan for the California Drought

California is in one of the worst droughts on record.  Governor Brown has asked residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 20%, and many water districts have already implemented mandatory restrictions.

Cleary Bros Landscape is a go-to company in water management, and we have already reduced landscape water consumption on nearly all of our properties.

Some of the programs that we have implemented are:
•Irrigation system checks done by gardeners monthly and Irrigation Specialists every six months
•documenting the condition of the irrigation systems
•Use of Cleary Bros proprietary Meter Reading system
•proposing tried and true improvements such as Smart Irrigation Timers, improved sprinklers for even coverage, converting spray irrigation to drip irrigation, smart timer programming, and reducing water run-off
•Training and certification- Water Auditors and Certified Water Managers
•Recruiting conservation experts from your water district for evaluations and incentives

At this stage, we will be engaging you (our customer) to explore all of the options for reducing water use. The end result will be a plan on how to deal with the drought.

Please feel free to call your Account Manager to discuss the options that we can provide