Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Power Outages Cost Money 

If your area experiences a power outage, your irrigation controller may revert to what is called by many manufacturers its "Emergency Program".  This is especially, but not exclusively, true of older controllers.

Commonly this is a watering schedule of 10 minutes per station every day.

If your property is located in a water district with weather-based irrigation budgeting, or tiered water rates based on other parameters, this so-called emergency watering program will likely cost you money if your gardener does not notice and reprogram promptly.

When you have problems with water cost, water management, or when you wonder about the effectiveness of the irrigation system at your commercial property,
call CENTENNIAL SERVICES INC. at 714.730.3610 or email us. 

We can help.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thoughts on Gopher Control 

I just read this article from the LA Times garden blogger Emily Green, which presents an interesting but hard to swallow position on gophers in the garden.  Understanding and acceptance of the critters that populate landscaped areas is important; a varied and healthy garden ecosystem keeps pest species in better control; a balanced environment requires fewer chemical and maintenance inputs overall.  This article gives good insights into gopher behaviors which help inform our approach at Centennial Services Inc. which is: the best gopher is one which has been trapped.  Or, eaten by a predator.

An added service we provide to commercial landscape owners is non-chemical gopher control.  We continuously monitor the client's landscape for problems including gopher infestation; the pesky rodents don't get out of control. But from time to time the population-- perhaps in a nearby vacant lot, unused area, or less-pristine landscape--swells and the burrowers spill over onto a site we manage.  Call CSi 714-730-3610 for landscape maintenance services you need.

Our primary method of control is trapping; occasionally we are able to flush out a gopher with water . . . either way, no chemicals are used and the kill is confirmed positively.  No chemicals used results in safety for natural gopher predators like owls as well as the property owner and users.  UC IPM offers some information on gopher biology and control here and here. As stated in both of these guides, habitat modification also helps control and discourage gophers. Regular maintenance activities, as an example, have a dampening effect on gopher incursions.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Rain Day Water Conservation 

Every once in awhile it rains in southern California.

Today is that day. Can you visualize your rain shut-off device gathering raindrops and sending a "Do Not Water" signal to your irrigation controller? If so, you are on your way to conserving irrigation water.
If you're having trouble with that imagery, maybe your automated irrigation system is in need of updating to help control water use and get your irrigation events in tune with the local weather.

Call us at 714-730-3610. We can assess your system, advise on and install water management technologies.

Rain in southern California is nature's gift of free irrigation to landscapes under water budgeting by your water districts. But rain not only waters plants. It's a often observed phenomenon that rain water perks up plants . . . nutrients in the rain . . . lack of additives and residues as compared with piped or reclaimed water . . . ionic charge . . . magic? A steady rain washes accumulated dust off the leaves and this enables better photosynthesis in the plant, maybe the explanation is that simple.

photos:    1.  freshly washed flowers of Arbutus unedo, Strawberry tree
              2.  raindrop held by surface tension on dried Hypericum balearicum flower
by JT copyright 2011

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

In October it's a good time to 

arrange to TRIM EUCALYPTUS TREES (because the weather is turning cooler so eucalyptus borers are less active and less likely to lay eggs in the freshly cut wood, and because you want to minimize the number of eucalyptus limbs falling when storms arrive.)

SEED LAWNS (because the weather is getting cooler, and warm season grasses like Bermuda are beginning to go dormant. Cut lawns lower or dethatch to make a good seedbed. Annual ryseed is often used because it is less expensive, germinates quickly requiring less water, and though not a permanent turfgrass it will stay green until the weather warms up again next spring. It's also a good time to reseed permanent turf grasses like bluegrass, perennial rye and fescue, while there's still enough sun and warmth for germination but the need for water is reduced.)

PLANT basic landscape shrubs and trees (because, even with the weather getting cooler, in So Cal it will stay warm enough to allow new plantings to grow roots and get a head start on the spring growing season. This is, however, not a good time to plant tropicals like hibiscus, palms, bird of paradise and the like. Wait until next May for that.)

REFRESH MULCH in planter beds (because the weaather is getting cooler and plants need a thick blanket to stay warm! But seriously, the two main functions of mulch are to conserve moisture and moderate temperature in the root zone. While we do expect (hope?) to get rain during the winter, we commonly have extended cool or even cold dry periods which can impede root growth or even damage roots. Mulch helps prevent this. Another benefit when it does rain from mulch is protection of the soil surface from siltation and compaction.)

It's a good time to PLAN HOLIDAY PLANTINGS (because there are only so many shopping days. Cool season plants are coming available, and if planted early they will put on top- and root-growth resulting in a better display in mid-winter.)

CALL CSI at 714-730-3610 to handle any of these landscape tasks for you so you can . . .

VISIT AN ARBORETUM and witness firsthand the changing of the seasons (because it's getting cooler and you need an excuse to wear that new sweater you bought.)

STOCK UP ON FIREWOOD (from those eucalyptus trees you had trimmed last October?) because there's nothing like cozying up to a warm fire on these first brisk nights of the season.

GET THAT PUMPKIN CARVED and those pumpkin seeds roasted.

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Centennial Services, Inc. is a full-service landscape management company based in beautiful Orange County, CA. Call 714-730-3610 for excellent service.

Learn more about our company, our services, or contact us for more information.


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