California is in a drought. What are we doing?

What is Cleary Bros. doing to address the 2014 drought situation?
For our current customers:
Your account manager is already thinking about how to handle increasing water costs and possible restrictions.
We are looking at the lawn areas and categorizing them in terms of visual impact and water consumption. We will identify the low priority lawns as candidates for conversion to low or no water use areas.
We are currently providing sheet mulching projects. Essentially, Sheet Mulching is a very cost effective and healthy way to convert lawn areas to low or no water use areas. Rebates are available from some water districts for this.
We already have an inventory of our customer’s irrigation timers and equipment. We will be providing information on upgrading these systems to modern “Smart” systems that typically result in 30% water savings.
Cleary Bros has partnered with Rain Bird Irrigation to be able to centralize our customers systems. This is a huge step beyond the current “Smart Timer” system. Our Account Manager will be discussing this with our property representatives.
As always, we are using proper horticultural practices to manage water. As an example, in our first year of service at Palomares Owners Association in Castro Valley, we saved the customer 12 million gallons of water through proper adjustments. This is prior to any significant changes to the irrigation equipment.
Cleary Bros. is reaching out to water districts representatives and engaging them in conversations about what is coming.

For those that are not customers: A few general rules that will help you or your landscaper save water:
Lawns are thirsty! Reduce lawn area or convert to shrubs. This is where your primary focus should be.
Fix leaks. Over the long term, large leaks use huge amounts of water.
Even out the coverage. With uneven watering, your gardener will set your system based on the most lightly watered areas. The heaviest watered areas will be way over watered.
Once the above are done, look at your timers. If you have multiple timers, ask us about centralizing. Essentially, this is what golf courses use.

A problem with Organic Fertilizers

One of our owners met with a manager from another large landscape maintenance companies. This company has over 400 employees serving the Bay Area. In an effort to force their cutomers to move to a more sustainable method of landscape care, the company chose to use organic fertilizer on all of the lawn areas. The trouble with organic fertilizer is the massive volume of material needed to supply the lawns with the needed nutrients. The company was not willing to pay the labor to do the second application and eded up shorting the plants of the needed 1 pound of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet. The end result was 80% of the lawn areas were yellow and thin.

Bad looking lawns? Could be racoons searching for White Grubs



White grubs are in the root zone of some lawns in the Fall.  At this time the racoons come by to dig back the lawns to get at the White Grubs for a high protein meal.  Pretty gross!

The Racoons will remember where they found the grubs and will return a year later in search of the same meal.  In spring the grubs can damage the lawns by feeding on the turf roots, causing the lawn to look dry and unhealthy. The White Grubs can be treated with very specific chemicals.  In fact, this chemical is Very similar to what we put on our cats and dogs to control fleas!

Below is a photo of racoon damage to a lawn area

Below is a photo of the White Grub20130924-192235.jpg

When to prune your trees

This is very common question:

The basics:

Oaks should be pruned in the dryer months to avoid exposing the open wood to fungus

Evergreens and conifers should be pruned in the colder months to reduce ‘bleeding’ and susceptibility to beetles.

Fruit tree should be pruned in early spring to let the right buds develop in the growing season.

For any questions, feel free to contact one of our Certified Arborists

Weed Abatement Time!

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District has published weed abatement deadlines on their website.  Notices will be mailed to Contra Costa County residents in the coming months.

To get a jump on defensible space protection, the deadlines are as follows:

East County – May 30th

Central County – June 15th

West County – June 30th.