Grounds & Landscape Updates

Spring 2020 Updates

New Look for Traffic Islands:

At the April Board meeting the directors approved a proposal from Coast Landscape Management for redesigning eight of Nepenthe’s fourteen traffic islands.

The goal behind the design is to create more inviting and lively entrance islands that match the more natural style of the existing landscape. The designer from Coast, Greg Dawson, proposed taking advantage of some the existing plant material in parts of the design. The three larger islands (the two for Dunbarton Circle and one for Elmhurst Circle) will feature cobble dry creeks as a reference our other dry creeks throughout the community, especially the one that runs south to University from the large traffic island at the end of Commons.

The entry islands are vital in establishing perceived value to potential new homeowners seeing Nepenthe for the first time. Thinking about property values is one of the main goals of any community association. During these times of uncertainty, using the allocated reserves for projects that can have a significant effect on property values will be prioritized.

When the community as a whole shows well, it benefits all homeowners individually when they put their homes on the market. All homeowners pay into the reserve fund and it exists

for the benefit of all. This project is a lovely  way to use part of this year’s allocation for the good of the neighborhood.

The plant choices are as dynamic and varied as Nepenthe itself. Many are ones that we are used to seeing throughout Nepenthe, but some are new to us. Some of the new plants include a groundcover called biokovo geranium:

Other plant choices are Alstromeria Roselind:

Nepeta faassenii, more commonly known as catmint:

And Polygala Petite Butterfly, which looks very interesting:

Currently the planting crews are working in Zone 1 implementing the proposal that was approved at the March 4 Board meeting, but keep your eyes open– you’ll soon see fresh and new looking islands throughout the community.


Tree Work:

Caring for this urban forest is a year-round job. If you’ve been bothered lately by the sound of chainsaws around your home, please know it is all in the interest of keeping the forest and its inhabitants (you!) safe.

The Grove Total Tree Care is approximately halfway through the annual clearance pruning. The purpose of this pruning is to ensure airspace around every unit so that tree limbs do not end up on chimneys or scraping roofs through the entirety of the summer growing season.

In addition to the clearance pruning, they have injected Merit into specific species of trees to help repel wooly aphids– tiny little bugs that make a big mess! They have also applied anti-fruiting treatments to plum and pear trees located over alleys or walkways.

The next big job will be spraying the Liquidambar trees to prevent them from fruiting. This treatment, when applied annually, can reduce the formation of the spiky balls by up to 80%.

The Grove is also preparing to remove some trees in the community. Trees with invasive root systems were approved for removal at 1425 University and 1411 Commons a couple of months ago, but required City approval as they qualify as “private protected trees” due to their size. The City has denied the first application, but The Grove has been authorized to conduct a root excavation for both locations. The goal is to show the City arborist that the trees are destructive and pose a danger.

At the March meeting, the Board approved a proposal for the removal of another Liquidambar which has a history of limb failure. This particular tree is located at 201 Dunbarton Circle.

Coast Landscape Herbicide Practices:

At Coast we recognize that chemical safety is a very important issue for our customers and employees and take considerable precautions to ensure we are always safe and on the leading edge of the industry. Below is a little information about our training program for our team.

Safety for our crews and clients is our top priority. To encourage safe practices, we work closely with our crews in the field to oversee their work practices, hold multiple training days each year and have weekly safety meetings with all staff. We have always maintained a strong safety record. We are licensed and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Part of our safety culture is the proper use of herbicide. All our of staff, regardless of whether or not they will be applying chemicals, are trained annually in an herbicide safety program. This training is done in English and Spanish. We want all crew members to be aware of its uses, storage requirements and to treat it with respect.

In addition, with each change of season, employees are refreshed with training on the specific products applied during that season. Copies of these training records and product labels are kept in the trucks and office.

We seek to use herbicides wisely and only when necessary, at which point the least toxic effective chemicals are chosen for the safety of staff and public. Rather than utilizing a broadcast method, we target only specific areas of infestation with spot sprays. Only veteran employees who have proven understanding of chemical use and safety are permitted to use them. Any specialty product is applied only by a team member with a Qualified Applicators License.

Apart from herbicide use, Coast employs many non-chemical means for weed abatement including integrated pest management techniques, mechanical and manual removal, water management and environmental controls, like the bark replacement and replanting that is happening at Nepenthe.