Employee Spotlight: Gabino DeLaCruz

Gabino DeLaCruz has been a dedicated part of the Terracare Associates team at the Milpitas branch in California since 2012. He works as a crew leader overseeing maintenance work for the City of Livermore. His main responsibilities include directing his crew, training new workers on the City of Livermore contract, and knowing all work sites and maintenance requirements for the City of Livermore. Above all, Gabino values the safety of his crew and the citizens of Livermore. He always thoroughly inspects sites before beginning work and makes sure to implement proper traffic control to ensure the safety of his crew and those who pass by.

“Gabino knows all of the work limits and requirements for the City of Livermore and always follows them. I can count on him to get the job done well and to keep his crew safe no matter how difficult the conditions,” said Sam Galvez, Operations Supervisor for the City of Livermore.

The City of Livermore has field inspectors who monitor maintenance activities of the crew performing work. Gabino works closely with the inspectors and when their priorities change he makes adjustments to maintenance services being performed to meet the inspector’s needs. He takes pride in maintaining a beautiful landscape that the citizens of Livermore can enjoy. Thank you for all of your hard word Gabino!

Why You Should Consider Turf Reduction For Your Commercial Property

Sustainable landscapingDid you know that landscape watering accounts for nearly 50% of your water bill?

Property managers are constantly looking for ways to reduce water costs without compromising the appearance of their landscapes. What can you do to maintain the beauty of the landscaping on your commercial property while also using less water in your landscape? One of the best ways to accomplish this is with a turf reduction conversion.

What is turf reduction?

Turf reduction or landscape conversion involves replacing selected sections of turf grass with drought resistant, native plants or other landscape materials. Turf reduction conversion doesn’t mean covering your property in pea gravel or monkey grass. With the vast selection of beautiful native plants with low water needs, creative design and use of alternative landscaping materials, you will not miss the turf areas.

Hens and ChicksNative plants and xeriscaping

Based on the climate and layout of your property, you can use a variety of low-growing ground covers such as Asiatic Jasmine and Lamb’s Ear that can take the heat and have low water requirements. Water-wise perennials and ornamental grasses will also add color and texture to the landscape design.

Landscape alternatives

Crushed granite, mulch and river rocks are a few landscape alternatives to replace irrigated turf grass in

areas that are long and narrow or small and odd-shaped.

Why you should consider turf reduction conversion

  1. It uses less landscape water and reduces watering costs

Everyone loves the look of a beautifully manicured, lush, green turf area on their property. Because of the rising cost of landscape watering, many municipalities offer a rebate for reducing the turf areas on residential and commercial properties.

  1. Is turf grass the best choice for certain areas?

The best use of turf grass is on areas where people will be sitting or playing. Ask yourself: is it necessary to have turf grass in parking strips/islands or on south-facing slopes? Why pay to water turf in these hard-to-maintain areas, when that water can be used for the most valuable things in your landscape: trees.

  1. Sustainability and being green

Today, being water-wise and sustainable are not just buzzwords. Irrigation modifications, using native plants and xeriscaping design are not only good for business, but good for the environment as well.

Is turf reduction right for your commercial property? Contact Terracare Associates.

Employee Spotlight: Jose Quinterro

Jose Quinterro has been working at the Sacramento branch of Terracare Associates since 2004. He followed in the footsteps of his brother Francisco, who is now an account manager for the City of Brentwood. Jose has worked his way through the ranks at TCA. He started as a maintenance worker before receiving his irrigation license and moving on to tech work, which he has continued to do for the past six years. Jose takes pride in what he does and works very well with his fellow employees and management.

“When Jose is asked to do extra work on top of his already busy schedule, he gets it done with no complaints. His customers value his hard work because their job sites are always well-maintained and properly irrigated,” said Steve Thinger, Account Manager at the Sacramento branch.

Jose is happy when he sees healthy sod, beautiful color beds and green shrubs. He loves learning as much as possible about the industry and is always looking for a way to improve and learn new skills. Jose is a valuable asset to TCA and we are grateful for his hard work keeping things green in the Sacramento area.

What is Integrated Pest Management?

What is Integrated Pest Management?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency “Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.

Implementation of IPM

The goal of IPM is to eliminate pest problems by strengthening and stabilizing the landscape and creating the proper balance of conditions that are more favorable for plants than for pests. At Terracare Associates, we often recommend this program to our commercial properties, HOAs and public parks, especially those who are interested in a well-balanced approach to pest management.

Integrated Pest Management is a 4-step process.

  1. Set action thresholds

The sighting of a few insects does not necessarily pose a threat to the plants on your property. Keep in mind, not all insects require control. Many are not harmful, in fact, some are even beneficial. For instance, lady bugs eat aphids and certain wasp species that feed on web worms.

  1. Regular monitoring

A trained landscape professional should regularly monitor your property for signs of harmful pest infestation. While insects are a common problem, they are not the only problem that should be monitored. Your landscape expert can watch for early signs of disease and weeds in turf areas and floral beds.

  1. Prevention

Implementing proper maintenance and lawn care prevention techniques will go a long way in preventing many pests.

We recommend mowing turf areas at the highest setting for your grass type to promote deeper roots and prevent water loss. Taller grass also cools the soil and reduces heat stress.

It is recommended to water turf areas to deeply penetrate the soil twice a week. This will ensure that the grass receives enough water to stay healthy. Frequent watering encourages shallow and weak root systems.

Performing a soil test to determine its pH levels will help prevent you from overusing fertilizer. Improper use of fertilizer promotes weed growth and makes plants more susceptible to disease.

  1. Control

Various methods are used to control pest problems. Cultural control methods, such as mulching beds and other areas, help to control weeds. Mechanical control employs the use of devices, such as traps, for rodents and insects.

Integrated Pest Management emphasizes nonchemical and biological methods of pest control. However, chemical control is used to ensure healthy plant growth and stability.

How Does IPM Benefit Your Property

  • On large commercial properties, hand-pulling weeds is neither practical nor cost efficient.
  • By monitoring, preventing and controlling damaging pests you can reduce failing vegetation, help the environment and save money on replacement plants.
  • IPM gives you a plan to control pest activity on your property, keeping your property looking great for years to come.

Contact Terracare Associates for more information about IPM.

 

 

How to Improve Your Property’s Irrigation System on any Budget

Today, commercial property managers aim to have sustainable landscapes that enhance the look of their property without overusing precious resources, such as water.. Time and budget constraints can often limit plans to completely overhaul your landscape irrigation system. However, you might be able to make some of the needed improvements in incremental steps.

Implementing just a few of these suggestions each year can make a significant impact on your irrigation system, watering costs and your landscape’s appearance. Our staff at Terracare recommends the following solutions and best practices:

Step 1 – Simple and low cost solutions

  • Use mowers with mulching blades on turf areas– do not bag grass clippings or leaves.Coneflower
  • Implement an integrated pest management program
  • Mulch beds with 2-3 inches of organic material to prevent weeds and hold moisture near the root zone of the plants.
  • Use water-wise perennial and native plants
  • Perform turf aeration – pull plugs out of the soil throughout the turf to get more oxygen and water to the root system.
  • Install rain and freeze sensors on your irrigation system to avoid unwanted or unsafe watering.
  • Perform regular irrigation system check-ups, looking broken sprinkler heads, clogged lines and other problem areas.

Step 2 –Moderate cost solutions

  • Sub-metering your irrigation system will allow you to better track water usage and remove water waste costs from your irrigation bill.
  • Shred and reuse all organic materials and landscape trimmings as mulch or compost.
  • Conduct an irrigation audit to determine your water usage.
  • Replace rotor spray nozzles with stream spray nozzles to reduce water runoff.

 

Step 3 – High impact solutions

Some solutions cost more, however, the long-term gains in efficiencies, water conservation and significant reductions in water costs is well worth the investment.

  • Install a drip irrigation system throughout the property 
  • Consider an irrigation supply system that uses captured rainwater, gray water or onsite treated waste water.
  • Install an ET controller, equipped with weather station monitoring – this better controls when and how much the irrigation system operates.

These are just a few suggestions that you can implement to improve your irrigation system.

For more information about ways you can make improvements on your landscape irrigation system, contact Terracare Associates by visiting our website.

Terracare Associates’ irrigation experts are state-licensed technicians, trained to provide watering programs based on the varying needs of plants and planting environments. We design irrigation programs that are tailored to the client’s water use budget, while protecting their landscape investments.

Free Irrigation Audit

 

Turf Wars: How to win the Battle With 3 Common Turf Grass Problems

Turf grass fights a constant battle with 3 common problems: diseases, weeds and insects. What can you do to fight them?

Diseases

Bermuda grass, St. Augustine and other turf grasses can be susceptible to various diseases. Bald patches, brown spots and dead grass can be signs of disease in your grass. From the fungus that causes take-all patch to the combination of thatch and other conditions that cause slime mold, there are a variety of causes for the problem.

How to Control Turf Grass Diseases

Be sure your commercial landscape contractor has established a regular feeding and fertilization routine, this will help to keep your grass disease-free. Using the right fertilizer will help keep grasses healthy.

The best course of action is to consult a commercial landscaping company to correctly identify and treat the disease affecting your grass. Incorrect treatment could cause further damage and kill your grass.

Weeds

Weeds are one of the most troublesome problems in maintaining healthy grass. Not only do they mare the beauty of a lush, green lawn, but they also steal precious water, nutrients and sunlight from your turf grass.

Perennial weeds, like dallisgrass, dandelions and chicory can lay dormant during the winter months, but grow quickly with the first spring rains and summer heat.

How to Control Weeds

The best way to control weeds is prevention. Effective control of weed growth requires the use of a post-emergent herbicide during their active growth season. It is important to identify the type of weed in order to determine the proper treatment. You must know if the weed is annual or perennial, since pre-emergent herbicides are only effective for control of annual weeds.

A certified plant health care specialist can help with all applications, the wrong herbicide can damage your grass and harm the environment.

Insects

What can be mistaken for a disease in your grass might very well be the effects of insect damage. Effective insect control targets the harmful pests that cause damage to plants. Insects like grub worms, chinch bugs and fire ants flourish when it is hot and dry. Chinch bugs suck the life out of St. Augustine grass, leaving large, brown patches of dead grass.

How to Control Insects

You must first determine the type of insects that have infested your grass, this will help you to determine which chemicals might be most effective. It is best to talk to your commercial landscape maintenance contractor to determine the best chemical weed and pest control for your lawn.

This is the time to prepare your property for the heat of the upcoming months. If you start now to take care of your turf grass, you can avoid these problems. Contact Terracare Associates today to ensure your grass stays beautiful and green this summer.

Terracare Gives Back to the Community

At Terracare Associates, we are committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work. Throughout the year, we volunteer our time and resources to local nonprofit organizations and community events. Here are a few of the projects we are proud to have been a part of over the past year.

Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment – Denver, Colorado

Over the past year, Terracare has donated materials and time to create an outdoor learning garden at Montclair. The garden features 32 raised plant beds as well as an area to grow pumpkins, squash, melons and gourds. The goal of this project is to provide students with hands-on learning experiences that align with grade level standards while also teaching them new skills and responsibility.

Columbine High School Memorial- Littleton, Colorado

On April 17, volunteers from TCA continued our annual spring cleaning tradition at the memorial honoring those affected by the events of April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School. We are honored to continue to donate time and materials to keep the memorial looking beautiful year after year.

 

City of Centennial Earth Day Event- Centennial, Colorado

On April 22, we teamed up with CH2M and the City of Centennial to host an Earth Day Event including a plant sale  benefiting Project C.U.R.E.  All plants were donated by TCA and CH2M and profits from the sale went directly to Project C.U.R.E. In addition to the plant sale, TCA provided free gardening demonstrations and activities for kids.

Intuit Earth Day- Mountain View, California

Terracare took part in Earth Day activities at the Intuit Corporate Campus in Mountain View, California on April 20. TCA offered educational seminars on beneficial bugs, drought tolerant plant material and irrigation efficiencies.  In addition, one of our staff members even dressed up like a bee!

Texas Tree Foundation Volunteer Event- Dallas, Texas

Terracare is planning to attend a spring volunteer event to help the Texas Trees Foundation make a difference. Volunteers will be in charge of plant, mulch or weed nursery trees at the TXU Energy Urban Tree Farm & Education Center as well as individual sites all over the DFW Area.

Tips for Water Wise Landscaping

After an unusually warm and dry winter in many parts of the country, it’s more important than ever to conserve water as summer approaches. What can you do to save your lawn and save money on your monthly water bill? Here are a few easy tips to help you be more water wise with your landscaping.

Prevent water evaporation: Water your lawn early in the morning or in the evening, especially during the hot summer months. Never water on windy days. Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs and use low-angle sprinklers for lawns. Also, be sure to cover pools and spas to prevent loss of water through evaporation.

One inch of water is enough: Just one inch of water each week will keep most grasses healthy. To determine how long you should run your sprinklers — place straight-edged cans at various distances away from each sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of 1 inch of water in each can.

Mulch… Mulch… Mulch!: Cover all flower beds and planted areas with mulch. It keeps the soil moist and slows down the evaporation of water from the soil, allowing water to infiltrate it efficiently. Maintain at least a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch in all planted beds and containers.

Maintain your sprinkler system: Repair any broken, missing or misdirected sprinkler heads. You should also install rain and freeze sensors on your sprinkler system and monitor your total water usage.

Terracare Associates can help with any of your landscaping needs from installing a more efficient irrigation system to laying down mulch in your plant beds. Visit our website to see what we can do for you.

Free Irrigation Audit

Five Benefits of Planting Trees on Your Property

We all know that planting trees on your property makes your business look more attractive, but did you know trees also have many economic, health and environmental benefits? Here are five of the most compelling reasons to plant more trees on your property:

Trees increase property value

Trees not only add beauty to your property, they can also increase its value. Studies show that property values for homes and businesses surrounded by trees can increase as much as 20 percent.

Trees clean the air

A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas, per year. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases such as ammonia, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and ozone. A study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people experience more deaths from respiratory disease and heart disease when they live in areas without trees.

Trees increase business traffic

Studies conducted by the USDA Forest Service show that people are more likely to visit businesses with trees and attractive landscaping. It is also shown that consumers tend to spend more time at these businesses and spend up to 13 percent more money.

Trees can reduce overall property costs

Planting trees around your property can save you money on air conditioning, irrigation and soil replacement. Trees placed strategically around a building can cut air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent during the summer months. The shade from trees can also save you money on watering costs as they slow down the evaporation of water on your lawn.

 

Trees provide oxygen

On average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen per year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. By planting trees on your property, you are producing oxygen for the employees and citizens that visit your business.

Visit our website to see how Terracare Associates can help you bring these benefits and more to your property today.

Terracare Wins 2017 Community Stewardship Award

Terracare Associates was awarded the 2017 Community Stewardship Award by the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado for its collaboration with Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment to build outdoor educational spaces.

“One of our core values as a company is to give back to the communities in which we operate. This is the seventh learning garden we have built and our first garden in Colorado. It has been a great partnership working with the Montclair staff, children and parent volunteers,” says Cristin Tarr, marketing director at Terracare Associates.

TCA began the process of installing a learning garden at the school in early spring of 2016. The six month project included excavation of the garden area, installation of a footpath and planters, and establishment of an extensive irrigation system. In the process of building the garden, TCA contributed more than 300 hours of volunteer labor and thousands of dollars worth of donated time, talent, materials and equipment. The garden features 32 raised planting beds, providing each classroom with its own space to garden. The western edge of the garden has been set aside to grow pumpkins, squash, melons and gourds for use in all classrooms. Beans, peas, grapes and other vine plants are grown on the surrounding fence.

The goal of this project is to provide students with hands-on learning experiences that align with grade level standards while also teaching them new skills and responsibility. The students in each classroom are responsible for making decisions about what to plant and maintaining their sections of the garden throughout the growing season. Montclair took an extra step to keep students engaged and the garden well-maintained by creating a school club called “The Green Paws”. The organization consists of students of all ages and a committee of teachers and parents who participate in activities that support sustainability and the upkeep of the learning garden.

“Terracare Associates made our dreams of creating an outdoor classroom garden space a reality. The professional support from their design team, community outreach, and labor was above and beyond our hopes for the project. We have been able to tie in lessons from the classroom to the gardens for each of our grade levels which impacts each of our 400 students,” said Heather Manone, enrichment coordinator for Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment.

Terracare is proud to work with Montclair to provide students with hands-on learning experiences that help them grow in the classroom and beyond.