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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:

2019 Annual Member Meeting

The Annual Member Meeting for the Rio Crossing Homeowners Association is being held this month.

Date: Wednesday September 25, 2019

Time: Meeting starts at 7pm. Sign-up begins at 6:45pm. Meeting should last under an hour.

Location: Palm Valley Community Center, 14145 W Palm Valley Blvd, Goodyear, AZ. About half a mile west of Litchfield Road.

Members of the association — owners of lots in Rio Crossing — should receive an envelope in the mail with ballots, candidate information, and meeting information some time the first week of September. All members are encouraged to submit a ballot by mail to ensure that the association achieves a quorum (minimum number of votes + attendees to conduct business). See this page for more details.

Going from Summer to Winter Turf

Dan has written a number of landscape-related articles for us. Here’s another one, focused on what happens to our grass as we move from summer to winter. Thanks for the info, Dan!
— Ray

A lot of changes are likely to occur in your turf grass, as our environment enters the cool season. Bermuda grass will stop growing at 60°F and will go to sleep and turn brown by 50°F. Overseeding is an optional process which will render a Winter lawn to enjoy and appreciate, but preparation and timing are important to a successful overseed.

If you didn’t know, there are generally two types of turf grass used in our climate: warm season & cool season. Each have months of growth in their preferred (and labeled) season with a period of dormancy or intolerance. For example:

  • Perennial Ryegrass grows well in the cool season and often dies off before the high heat of July. Do not bother with Annual Ryegrass, unless it is intended for a large area where maintenance is of little concern. Perennial Ryegrass produces a superior lawn to Annual Ryegrass, although Annual Ryegrass is less expensive in comparison.
  • Bermudagrass grows well in the warm season and enters dormancy as temperatures drop in the cool season.

To Overseed: 

  • If you are intending on overseeding, August and September are usually key months for planning, checking the irrigation system, selecting and ordering seed and process related materials, and to gradually start transitional practices aiming to drop seed around the last week of October.

Process Summary

  1. 30 days before overseeding
    1. Stop nitrogen fertilization of the bermudagrass lawn
  2. 14 days before overseeding
    1. Raise the mowing height 30 – 40%
    2. Decrease irrigation by 30%
  3. 1 – 3 days before overseeding
    1. Stop watering
    2. Mow at the “old” height that was before raising 30-40%
    3. Just before overseeding, lower the mowing height another 25 – 30% and leave the clippings as mulch for the overseeded seed
  4. Day of overseeding
    1. Use ryegrass seed at 12 to 15 lb/1000 ft2
    2. Apply one-half of the seed by walking in one direction and the other half of the seed by walking in a pattern perpendicular to the first pass
  5. 7-10 days after overseeding
    1. Irrigate 3-4 times per day to keep germinating seed moist
  6. 14 days after seedling emergence
    1. Fertilize with ammonium phosphate (16-20-0) at 5 lb of product per 1000 ft2
  7. First mowing
    1. When ryegrass height approaches 3 inches

Do Not:

  1. Scalp the Bermudagrass to ground level
  2. Allow germinating Ryegrass seed to dry out
  3. Aerate or deeply verticut or dethatch
  4. Use dull blades, always use sharpened mower blades
  5. Mow the grass when it is wet
  6. Over-apply fertilizers
  7. Apply pre-emergent herbicide products until after first mow

For details on the process from turf expert Dr David Kopec at the University of Arizona, visit https://extension.arizona.edu/pubs and search for the publication PDF file “az1683-2015” entitled “Overseeding Winter Grasses into Bermudagrass Turf“. 

Not Overseeding?

  • If you decide not to overseed, your Bermudagrass will thank you. The process is not heavily detrimental, but involves a lot of activity in the soil around the Bermudagrass roots while they are supposed to be sleeping. Give it a break every 3-4 years or so. 
  • Like dormant trees, dormant Bermudagrass still needs water every 15-30 days, at least 12” deep. 

Recommended sources for further reading can be found online at:

August Board Meeting

Note date change! Meetings now on Wednesday!

The August Regular Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 28, 2019 starting at 7pm. Meetings are now held at the Palm Valley Community Center, located at 14145 W Palm Valley Blvd, approximately a half mile west of Litchfield Rd.

A draft/preliminary agenda is available to view/download here, and is subject to change.

If there are pending Architectural Requests, the Design Review Committee will meet starting at 6:30pm, just prior to the Board Meeting. Homeowners with pending requests are encouraged to attend.

If you have been attending meetings at the Palm Valley location, please note a room change: go right once you’re inside, we’ll be in the conference room. (Previously we were to the left in half of the meeting room area.)

Meeting Dates

At last night’s special board meeting (see the announcement here), the board made the official designation of “fourth Wednesday” for regular board meetings, and the official designation of Wednesday September 25, 2019 as the date of this year’s annual member meeting.

See the preliminary meeting minutes here.

These changes were required because the venue where we now hold our meetings can no longer accommodate Thursday’s (when we’ve historically held our meetings). The changes were discussed informally at the June meeting, but the July meeting didn’t have a quorum of board members, so a special meeting was necessary to make the designations “official”.

Special Board Meeting August 1, 2019

Note: The August 1 meeting was held and had a quorum, therefore there will be no meeting on August 3.

A special board meeting was announced via MailChimp and posted on the community bulletin board. Actually, two meetings are scheduled: one for Thursday August 1, 2019 at 6:30pm, and if that meeting is unable to be held (due to lack of quorum or other issues), a second “make-up” meeting is scheduled for Saturday August 3, 2019 at 10am.

The meeting agenda is available to download here, including meeting instructions and two possible motions relating to dates of future regular board meetings and the 2019 annual member meeting. Though the board has previously discussed these dates, they hove not yet been officially approved as required by the association bylaws.

This should be a quick meeting to simply make the date/time/place selections “official”.

Homeowners are welcome to join the conference via audio and/or video, and participation in the meeting will be allowed in accordance with ARS 33-1804 Open Meetings.

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.

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.

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.