Blog

4-Week Landscaping Cycle

Keeping Rio Crossing green and clean takes a lot of effort. To help keep the cost down, Stillwater — Rio Crossing’s landscape vendor — uses an approach common in their industry: cycling through separate areas each week.

What Gets Done

This week past Tuesday Stillwater crews performed routine tree and shrub maintenance in Cycle 1 areas. This includes removing suckers (the tiny branches that pop up typically near the base of the tree trunk) and trimming low limbs from trees, as well as inspecting for fallen branches.

In addition, the crew will use a back pack system to spray for weeds in Cycle 1 areas. They’ll also typically “mow and blow” turf areas, using a line trimmer around the edges.

The irrigation system this time of year is set to water turf and flower areas 6 days a week, and the drip system for trees and shrubs is on 4 days a week.

Where It gets Done

So where exactly is the Cycle 1 area? And what about cycle areas for other weeks?

Here’s a map of the areas. Cycle 1 is primarily along El Mirage from the north down to the midpoint area, plus the Campbell entrance. Cycle 2 is the remainder of El Mirage plus the Heatherbrae entrance. Cycle 3 includes all of the smaller greenbelt areas south of Roma, including the Glenrosa park and the “jumping wall” at Roma and 124th. Cycle 4 is Roma Park, the walkway up to Highland, and all the smaller greenbelt areas north of Roma.

Then Every Week…

Then on Friday of every week, Stillwater crews typically police the area (a common term for “pick up trash and such”) for debris, broken limbs, runaway irrigation lines, and other small items — but this is done throughout the Rio Crossing common areas, not on a 4-week cycle.

Management Vendor Search Committee Meeting

As announced in this message from our mailing list, the association board created the Management Vendor Search Committee, charged with a number of tasks related to selection of a management company starting in 2020.

The first meeting of the committee is Saturday, May 26 at 9am in the picnic area at Roma Park adjacent to Roma Drive. We recommend attendees bring a chair and water.

As a “Committee of the Board” in section 5.1 of our bylaws, this committee will announce our meetings and invite homeowner attendance similar to the board’s regular meetings as required in Arizona’s HOA open meeting laws (see ARS 33-1804). Homeowners who attend will be given an opportunity to participate and contribute at times, but the meeting is not being conducted as an “open discussion forum”.

At this first meeting we’ll be working on the overall plan and timeframe, and discuss criteria for possible inclusion in the Request for Proposal (RFP) that will be made available to management companies seeking to provide a proposal. The committee is chaired by association president Ray, and the other two members are the association vice president Julia and the association secretary Andres.

Our contract with our current company, AAM, began in January 2016 and was for 3 years, which ends December 31, 2019.  Starting now in establishing the process to select the vendor for 2020 gives us plenty of time to create a good RFP, interview potential companies, and make a selection with time to plan and communicate any transition tasks.

Weeds!!

I asked resident and landscape-savvy Dan to give us some advice on getting rid of the pesky weeds that never seem to go away.

— Ray

Do you have weeds now? Everyone has weeds! Right!? But what are weeds? Weeds are simply undesirable plants, and they come from all over the world. Common weeds are known to steal nutrients & water from desired plants, spread & outcompete desired plants, become physically dangerous, and/or have poisonous or toxic materials. For instance, a Desert Broom can overtake a Texas Sage and the rest of the other desired plants in the yard, until only Desert Broom is present. Ask any adult who grew up riding bikes in the valley about why preventing Goatheads (dry Puncturevine fruits) is worthwhile.

Here’s a few methods to consider:

Quick & Dirty Method:

  • Buy & use a broad-spectrum post-emergent herbicide like RoundUp, generally available at local big box stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, & Ace Hardware.
  • Be very careful when using broad-spectrum post-emergent herbicides like RoundUp, as they can easily damage or kill desired plants after contact.

Generally, the best method is to apply or have applied a pre-emergent herbicide to your entire landscape, usually in the end of fall and beginning of spring. Then use or have used post-emergent for the weeds found between pre-emergent applications. This ideally minimizes the weeds while also minimizing the amount of money spent to control weeds.

Delegated Method:

  • Search online for and hire an appropriately-licensed contractor to determine and apply the ideal controls. Licensed contractors with the appropriate spray certifications from the Arizona Department of Agriculture for residential work. Great ways to find such contractors can be through sites like Yelp.com, Nextdoor.com, or Google. Useful search terms to try would include “weed control” &/or “Avondale, AZ”.

DIY Method:

  • Photograph the weed(s) as best as possible and show them to the representatives at a reputable pesticide store such as Arizona Spray Equipment. Ask what the plant is and what product and method should be used to control it. Like Sissoo trees, some weeds are particularly tough and may require reapplication over a series of cycles to effectively kill them.
  • Most importantly, no matter what product you are using, it is very important to read and follow the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). This tells you how to use the product safely and how to mix if it is a concentrate. If the mix ratio is not followed, the product may not work as desired.

Useful points to consider when selecting an herbicide to control weeds:

  • Be sure you know what you are treating for. There are two types of weeds, grass/palm (monocots) & broadleaf (dicots). Photos of the weeds can be taken to a pesticide store to identify the type of weed.
  • Herbicide products are made to either target all plants (broad-spectrum) or to target monocots or dicots specifically. Monocot or dicot targeted sprays are helpful if broadleaf weeds are growing in the grass or palm trees are growing through shrubs.
  • They are either made to kill existing plants (post-emergent) or stop seeds from becoming plants (pre-emergent).
  • They may be effective when applied onto to the plant (contact herbicide) or after having been absorbed thru the roots of the plant (systemic herbicide).
  • Air and soil temperatures often improve or reduce the results. Some herbicides are specifically designed for summer or winter temperatures.
  • Herbicides should be applied carefully so as to not accidentally affect desired plants.

Recommended sources for further reading can be found online at:

June Meeting Minutes – Draft

The first draft of the June regular board meeting minutes are available online here.

The board did ask Wendi to obtain additional bids on the block wall painting project. Often, informal requests like this aren’t included in the official minutes of the association, but of interest to many of you. Hopefully the board will have enough information at the July meeting to make a vendor selection, and we’ll be able to move the wall painting project forward.

The wall repair project was previously approved, and will be underway shortly.

May Regular Board Meeting

The Regular Monthly Meeting of the Rio Crossing Homeowner Association Board of Directors is scheduled for Thursday May 23, 2019 at 7pm. The meeting will be held at the Palm Valley Community Center. See this page for location and directions.

All homeowners are invited to attend.

If there are Architectural Requests to be reviewed, the Design Review Committee will meet beforehand at 6:30pm. Homeowners are also invited to attend this meeting, and those with Requests pending are particularly encouraged to participate, since if there are questions – you’re right there, and it saves everyone time!

The April Meeting

Unfortunately, there was not a quorum of board members for the April meeting, so no association business was completed. A Special Meeting was held Saturday May 4 to complete a limited agenda of important items. See the email here for details about this and other timely topics.

Special Board Meeting May 4

There will be a Special Board Meeting held Saturday, May 4, 2019 starting at 11am. It will be held at the south-east Ramada at Roma Park.

We did not have a quorum of directors for the board meeting scheduled for April 25, and a few items need some attention before the May Regular Meeting.  As usual, homeowners are welcome to attend. Please bring your own chairs and water.

The Call for Special Meeting with topics to be covered can be read here.

April Meeting, March Minutes

This Thursday, April 25, is the next regular meeting of the Rio Crossing Homeowners Association Board of Directors.

The Board Meeting starts at 7pm; the Design Review Committee meets before the board meeting, starting around 6:30pm.

The location is Palm Valley Community Center near Litchfield Road and Palm Valley Blvd at 14145 W Palm Valley Blvd.

See more information here.

You can see the draft agenda for the April meeting, and the draft minutes from the March meeting.

Spring Fling & A Film!

This Saturday, we’ll be grilling up some hot dogs and pumping up the bouncy castles at 5pm, and at 7pm we’ll fire up the projector for “Ralph Breaks the Internet!”

Open to all Rio Crossing residents and their guests. Come on out and meet your neighbors while the weather is still nice.

February Draft Minutes, March Meeting

Draft minutes from the February 2019 meeting are available here.

The March meeting is this coming Thursday, March 28, 2019, at 7pm. The meetings are now held at the Palm Valley Community Center. See this page for more information.

2018 Year In Review

It’s a valid question:

What has the Rio Crossing Homeowners Association done for me lately?

Read a review of the last year’s activities and significant events, which includes the following major sections:

  • Community Appearance
  • Communication
  • Social Events
  • Updates to Policies & Rules
  • Management Company Software
  • Finances

It’s an 8 page document with several “before and after” pictures of maintenance activities, and discussion of the many efforts that took place throughout 2018.