Moisture Manager: Greener Plants AND Lower Water Bills

Moisture Manager: Greener Plants AND Lower Water Bills

Paso Robles Youth Arts Academy’s lawn curb strip was slowly dying off. After four weeks of Moisture Manager treatment by Madrone Landscapes, the curb strip is green again!

Beat the Summer Heat with Moisture Manager Application

As summer temperatures soar, we often start to see burnt plants and grass. Your first instinct may be to solve the problem by increasing the frequency and volume of watering, but that really won’t help address the issue, and you may run afoul of water shortage contingency plans.

If you’re looking to conserve water and keep your lawn and plants green, Madrone’s Operations Manager Erik Gorham has a quick, affordable solution for you: moisture management.

Moisture management begins at the roots. Most of the moisture in your soil is lost to evaporation before the plant can utilize it. An application of a moisture manager helps reduce the amount of water needed by forming a thin film around turf and plant roots. That film attracts and captures water molecules and then stores them on plant roots and soil particle surfaces. These droplets are then released into your lawn.

The product applied to the lawn is a proprietary treatment that comes as a liquid or granule. It’s kid- and pet-friendly and free of toxic ingredients that may cause runoff or contaminate groundwater. “I’ve applied a granular using a whirl spreader and then immediately irrigated the treated area,” describes Erik. “One to two weeks later, I’ve seen improved turf color and increased seed germination.”

As a company that focuses on the effective use of water conservation, plant health, and aesthetics, Madrone’s landscape maintenance teams can work with you to develop a year-round soil moisture management program. If we’re having a dry winter, Erik likes to work with an owner to establish an application schedule where our full-service crew visits two or three times a year to help manage moisture levels in the soil and break the drought cycle in plants.

Homeowners and property managers alike will appreciate our detail-oriented staff, saving on your water bill, and a beautiful year-round landscape.

Meet the Team: Tanner Jannsens, Landscape Construction Project Manager

Meet the Team: Tanner Jannsens, Landscape Construction Project Manager

Tanner Janssens started with Madrone in his early 20’s, and has grown his skill set over the years, and matured as a leader. He has a great attitude for getting things done and is one of the sweetest guys we know.

How long have you worked at Madrone?
6 years

What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone?
I like to build things and make things beautiful.

What do you enjoy most about your job/specialization?
I get to work with great people and I get to see some pretty amazing places on the central coast.

What is your favorite, and least favorite, plant and why?
Ceanothus is my favorite. I like how in the springtime you can look up in the hills and see the blue and white flowers.
I don’t know if I have a least favorite – oh wait, poison oak.

What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?
Hiking, hunting, biking. Salmon Creek is a favorite local hike. Out of the area, it’s Dinkey Wilderness.

Give us a fun fact about you!
I often find arrowheads when I’m out hiking, which can really annoy my friends who aren’t as lucky. Once I found an obsidian spearhead in the Dinkey Wilderness.

Meet the Team: Geoff Condon, Maintenance Account Manager

Meet the Team: Geoff Condon, Maintenance Account Manager

Geoff Condon’s work experience is extensive and includes working on the first recognized watershed in the United States by Congress, Honey Hollow Watershed located in Pennsylvania, soil remediation for Tosco Refinery located in Wilmington and a Christmas tree farm. He has five years working in a retail nursery, restoring a 220-acre watershed in Northern California that was clear-cut for lumber harvest, and working on the Dohney Ranch maintaining the lemon and avocado orchards. Geoff’s landscaping experience includes 18 years with GS Brothers, located in Southern California. There he installed and maintained landscapes for some of the largest developers in Southern California.

How long have you worked at Madrone?
7 years

What is your favorite thing about working at Madrone?
I love the freedom the company provides. I make my own schedule and am trusted to get the job done. The owner, Rick Mathews, has created a great team spirit working environment, and I appreciate the company culture. I also really love that I get to bring my dogs to work.

What do you enjoy most about your job/specialization?
I spend my time overseeing Madrone Landscapes’ client properties. This includes performing irrigation, pest control, maintaining healthy gardens and trees, refreshing annual floral colors, and performing property upgrades—among other things.

I would say my favorite part of this job is going to project sites and meeting clients and residents. I have made a few true friends through my work and really enjoy meeting so many people.

What is your favorite plant and why?
I enjoy all plants. The colors and structures really make the landscape come alive. A good landscape incorporates different forms, shapes colors, textures and sound. I appreciate annual color plantings for instant satisfaction

What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?
When I am not working on Madrone Landscapes projects, you can find me working on personal projects. I own rental properties and work around my house a lot. I enjoy time with family (including camping) and hope to see my 97-year-old mother—the inspiration for my passion and career—soon now that we have been both fully vaccinated.

Give us a fun fact about you!
I try to enjoy every day and make people smile. Just give me a chance and you will be laughing in the first five minutes.

Eight Tips for Sustainable Landscapes on the Central Coast

Eight Tips for Sustainable Landscapes on the Central Coast

Our Californian Central Coast climate is unique and particular, shaped by drought-tolerant native plants and dry but beautiful weather. As professional landscapers, we understand the importance of planting flora that can live sustainably in our soils. Here, sustainability means many things—keeping water bills down, plants alive without fuss and unnecessary labor, the native landscape uninterrupted by any invasive species, and more—and does not undermine the beautification of your outdoor spaces.

This timeless video is just as relevant for central coast landscapes today as it was when it was filmed in 2009. Created by the Templeton Community Services District in cooperation with the SLO County Partners in Water Conservation, this ten-minute video walks through eight topics you should consider when creating a sustainable landscape. Hosted by Kate Dore and our own Rick Mathews. 

Eight factors to consider when creating a sustainable landscape:

  1. Planning and Design—know your site inside and out to ensure you start off on the right foot
  2. Soil Type—before deciding on your perfect plant palette, make sure you know what your soil can sustain
  3. Plant Selection—set your heart on the beautiful variety of native and Mediterranean plants that grow best in our area
  4. Limited Turf Areas—a costly and management-heavy asset, it’s best to design for only as much turf as you need for your practical enjoyment
  5. Mulching—organic mulch is the perfect solution for topsoil protection, temperature regulation, and weed prevention
  6. Efficient Irrigation—an essential component to preventing time-intensive care and water waste, make sure your irrigation system is efficient
  7. Hardscape Areas—these can be designed with sustainable and water-wise materials as well as potted plants and container gardens to beautify your walls and walkways
  8. Maintenance—reduce maintenance time and costs by considering the speed of your plants’ growth, the cost of any new maintenance tools, replanting needs, and any possibility for your plants damaging your landscape if left unchecked
Landscape Maintenance and the 20/80 Ratio

Landscape Maintenance and the 20/80 Ratio

If you’ve read about our landscape maintenance services, you know that we assert that “It has been estimated that 80% of the total cost of a garden over a 20-year lifespan is for maintenance. That means 20% for design and construction. Sustainable maintenance practices help to greatly reduce maintenance costs.”

Some folks are surprised by that number. Here’s how we break it down.

Obviously, the cost of maintenance is different for every property, based on the scopes of the landscape, the type of tasks involved, and the level of detail for the work. Add the variable cost of labor and any renovations and other changes needed over the 20-year lifespan and you have a complicated equation.

The 80% number we use (20/80 ratio) comes specifically from the popular DIY book, “Sustainable Landscaping For Dummies,” by visionary landscape architect, Owen Dell. Despite the goofy series title, it is an excellent source of information on sustainable landscape issues and solutions.

Although that book was published in 2009, the 20% construction vs. 80% maintenance figure has been used at least since the early 1990s when our owner and founder, Rick Mathews, first heard it. Is the ratio still valid? Roughly/generally/approximately, yes. Based on our experience and using numbers from landscape projects we constructed as well as maintain, we found that the 20/80 ratio was the low end of the maintenance cost range.

What should be stressed is that landscapes that use a sustainable approach are, by definition, less expensive over time. Whether it’s less gas (and noise!) for power garden equipment and less polluting chemicals for fertilizing and pest control, a sustainable approach reduces those costs and environmental impacts. Sustainability is a major goal of good landscape design and construction, and hopefully means less time is spent tending to more needy garden elements like large lawns, high-maintenance and low-durability hardscape elements, and poorly chosen and out-of-scale trees, shrubs, and ground covers.

Want to learn more about sustainable landscape maintenance? Give us a call! (805) 466-6263

On the Boards: Shell Beach Oasis

On the Boards: Shell Beach Oasis

As part of this Shell Beach Residence’s major remodel, we are designing an outdoor sanctuary by creating a beautifully contemporary, tropical California landscape.

A unique space that requires plenty of communication and creativity, this design is the epitome of an oasis. It is both striking and practical, formed by three differentiated spaces within one cohesive whole and designed to be split in half by a roll-out gate. This gate, strategically placed within the patio and complemented by the yard’s single-palette planted border, allows guests a feeling of privacy while creating a manageable visiting space for the owners.

From raised garden beds to a built-in spa, this coastal residential landscape harmoniously blends multi-functional features with a stunning, tropical California aesthetic. A bit different from the North County plant palette, the well-drained, irrigated, and thoughtfully-placed materials emote the feeling of a tropical vacation—truly a paradise!