Helix Helps with Arbor Day in El Cajon

Helix Helps with Arbor Day in El Cajon

Photo: Helix’s Director of Operations Kevin Miller minds the details while the kids do the shoveling.

Helix Helps headed out to Kennedy Park last Saturday for the city of El Cajon’s Arbor Day celebration.

The city put on a great event, with about 60 people showing up to plant a new generation of trees throughout the park, and the experts from the Ornamental Horticulture Program at Cuyamaca College on hand to show everyone how to do it.

In addition, West Coast Arborist, CalFire, SDG&E and Helix all had educational booths set up and information to take home on where to plant trees and how they can reduce a homeowner’s energy and water bills.

Top Left: Leah Rottke, an arborist and instructor in the Ornamental Horticulture Program at Cuyamaca College, gives everyone a step-by-step lesson in tree planting. Top Right: Helix’s Michelle Curtis sharing water conservation tips with customers. Above: the Helix Helps gang.

How to Plant a Tree

Helix Board Secretary Sandy Janzen and her husband Doyle got some useful tips from one of the experts on hand Saturday from Cuyamaca College’s Ornamental Horticulture Program.

Dig Your Hole

The hole should be twice as wide as the pot that the tree is in. This way, the tree will have a ring of soft soil around the roots, allowing them to grow outward.

Find the Top of the Roots

Brush away the dirt until you find a wide spot at the base of a tree’s trunk — this is the top of the roots. When you plant a tree, you want the top of the roots to be an inch above the soil.

Don't Let Your Tree Sink

It may take a few times — taking more soil out or putting some back in — to get the depth of your hole just right, so that the top of the roots are just above ground level. Stomp on your soil so it provides a firm platform for your tree.

Keep the Trunk Dry

Water a newly planted tree right away with a hose. It’s best to keep the trunk dry, so build two rings with your soil — the inner ring should be about 12 inches from the trunk and the outer ring should be be about 8 inches further out — and fill the area between the rings with water.

World Water Day Through a California Lens

World Water Day Through a California Lens

From the Public Policy Institute of California —

Happy World Water Day―a day that brings attention and, hopefully, action to some of the world’s most pressing water challenges. This year’s theme is “exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.” It’s a concept that shows the deep linkages among many water problems—and the need to tackle these problems jointly.

California’s complex array of water challenges make it something of a policy lab for trying out a “portfolio approach” that addresses issues in an integrated way. Although California has one of the world’s largest economies, the state faces many of the same water problems seen around the world.

Read the article at ppic.org

Spring Carnival is Saturday, March 24, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Spring Carnival is Saturday, March 24, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The 4th Annual Lake Jennings Spring Carnival is Saturday, March 24, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Please Note: Some Events Times Have Changed

The Kids Pond will be fully stocked for kiddos under 10 and we’re stocking the lake with 1,700 pounds of Rainbow Trout. Rent a kayak or fishing skiff and enjoy a day on the water.

The egg hunt for children under 10 will be in Hermits Cove at 10 a.m. and again at 12 p.m. We’re hiding 3,000 eggs and we’re sectioning off an area for the age three and under crowd.

And — back by popular demand — we’ll have free hot dogs and hamburgers in Hermits Cove from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Day Use Fee (Non-Fishing) 16+: $2
Adult Fishing Permit 16+: $9
Children under 8 Fishing Permit: Free with a Paid Adult Fishing Permit or $4
Youth 8-15 Fishing Permit: $4

The carnival kicks off Spring Break. The lake will be open every day from March 23 to April 8, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Make camping reservations at https://camping.lakejennings.org/

It’s Fix a Leak Week

It’s Fix a Leak Week

Nearly 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted in U.S. homes each year from easy-to-fix leaks. That’s why Helix is participating in Fix a Leak Week, March 19-25, and we encourage you to join us.

Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program, Fix a Leak Week is an opportunity to improve the water efficiency of your home by finding and fixing leaks. In the average home, household leaks waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year. That’s the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry!

Go to hwd.com/diy to get started.

You’ll find four do-it-yourself projects complete with instructional videos:

  • How to check your water meter to find leaks
  • How to check your toilet for leaks
  • How to check your irrigation for leaks
  • How to check your swimming pool for leaks

If you’re not ready to tackles these projects yourself, call a handy relative, plumber or irrigation specialist to help out.

Visit the WaterSense website
Like WaterSense on Facebook
Follow WaterSense on Twitter

Water-Wise Home Garden Tour is March 24

Water-Wise Home Garden Tour is March 24

The Water Conservation Garden will host its third annual Water-Wise Home Garden Tour on March 24, 2018, 9am-3pm — and you’re invited.

The tour will highlight five beautiful gardens utilizing an array of color, variety, and low water use plants, shrubs and trees. The gardens emphasize plants from semi-arid regions of the world including Australia, New Zealand, Southwestern U.S. and South Africa.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to purchase garden/home items such as bird houses, plant pots and garden jewelry, all handmade by local artisans. In addition, attendees can speak with the homeowners about each garden, as well as knowledgeable garden docents, about how they can redesign their own landscape using drought-tolerant plants.

Tickets

$25 in advance or $30 at-the-door
Available on The Garden’s website or in their gift shop

The Five Gardens You’ll See

Rita and Joel Cloud
This unusual garden is in the shape of Africa with specific areas dedicated to the couple’s cherished destinations. The Madagascar Palm is one of the focal points and a favorite. This garden is for aloe, agave, cacti, rock, and succulent lovers. Going green without the grass, beautiful flowers, trees, an array of plants and garden art will delight your senses. Enjoy your walk through Africa and watch out for animals!

Susan and Larry Nichols
A cottage-style landscape on a half-acre, this lush garden features a variety of drought-tolerant plants designed to provide a colorful and bird friendly environment. The front yard is a low water meadow filled with flowering perennials and ornamental grasses. The backyard retreat is filled with roses, succulents, fruit trees and flowering ornamentals with winding paths and even a chicken “mansion!”

Jill and Gaylord Norcross
This small, half-acre property nestled on the South slope of Mt. Helix had approximately 3,000 square feet of lawn removed to create a water-wise natural landscape. The semi-desert front yard highlights a unique variety of cactus, succulents and cycads. The back yard was designed primarily to showcase drought-tolerant native plants of the Southwest.

Amethel and Ken Parel-Sewell
Following the work of succulent expert Debra Lee Baldwin and designer Laura Eubanks, approximately 300 plants were creatively placed in their garden tapestry, with ribbons of succulents and cacti weaving throughout the garden and along the flagstone paths. This natural, outdoor room featuring hummingbirds visiting amazing succulent blooms has become an extension of their living space. This ecosystem has no gophers!

Marsha and Gary Rold
Bordering the Crestridge Ecological Reserve, this acre-plus garden began as an owner-designed retirement project after the Cedar fire burned through the neighboring open space. The landscape features natural boulders and stacked-rock borders, California native plants, water-wise selections from Australia and other Mediterranean climate regions, fruit trees, vegetable beds and strategies for critter-proofing the edible crops.

Spring Carnival kicks off spring break at Lake Jennings

Spring Carnival kicks off spring break at Lake Jennings

The 4th Annual Lake Jennings Spring Carnival is Saturday, March 24, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Please Note: Some Events Times Have Changed

The Kids Pond will be fully stocked for kiddos under 10 and we’re stocking the lake with 1,700 pounds of Rainbow Trout. Rent a kayak or fishing skiff and enjoy a day on the water.

The egg hunt for children under 10 will be in Hermits Cove at 10 a.m. and again at 12 p.m. We’re hiding 3,000 eggs and we’re sanctioning off an area for the age three and under crowd.

And — back by popular demand — we’ll have free hot dogs and hamburgers in Hermits Cove from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Day Use Fee (Non-Fishing) 16+: $2
Adult Fishing Permit 16+: $9
Children under 8 Fishing Permit: Free with a Paid Adult Fishing Permit or $4
Youth 8-15 Fishing Permit: $4

The carnival kicks off Spring Break. The lake will be open every day from March 23 to April 8, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Make camping reservations at https://camping.lakejennings.org/

Get DOUBLE the rebate on rotary nozzles

Get DOUBLE the rebate on rotary nozzles

Photo: Rotary Nozzle (Hunter Industries)

Have we got an offer for you!

Helix is doubling the $2 per nozzle rebate on rotary nozzles for our customers. Rotary nozzles cost from $5 to $8 each, so a $4 rebate is a substantial savings. Note that you must purchase at least 30 nozzles to qualify for the rebate, but you probably need that many or more to replace the sprayheads throughout your landscape.

Why are we offering this great deal? Because most homeowners have sprayheads and sprayheads have two inefficiencies: they water quickly, which can cause the water to run off the landscape, and they produce mist, which can blow away. Rotary nozzles use 10 percent less water than sprayheads. They save water by producing large water drops and applying them slowly, giving the ground time to absorb the water.

Replacing sprayheads with rotary nozzles is a simple project because you don’t need to dig out or relocate your sprinklers. All you have to do is unscrew the sprayhead, screw on the rotary nozzle and adjust the nozzle. Watch our video below.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A butter knife or standard screwdriver to pry the nozzle out of the sprinkler far enough to grab it
  • A rubber jar opener to help you grip and turn sprinkler risers when your hands are wet
  • A small standard screwdriver to adjust a sprinkler’s distance (arc)

TIPS

  • When you grip and turn a sprinkler’s riser to point the rotary nozzle in the right direction, you’ll hear and feel a “ratcheting” noise. Don’t worry, this is normal and you’re not breaking the sprinkler.
  • You will get a little wet, so wear the appropriate shoes and clothes.
Daylight Saving Time Starts Sunday

Daylight Saving Time Starts Sunday

Don’t forget to spring forward into Daylight Saving Time this weekend — it starts at 2 a.m. on Sunday.

While it can takes days, weeks, even months to change the clocks in your cars — yeah, we all have those stories — it would be very smart and efficient of you to change the clock on your irrigation controller this weekend, and to give your irrigation system this 4-point check-up.

Replace the Battery in Your Timer 
Replace the battery in your timer, if there is one, to make sure you don’t lose your programmed watering schedule if the power goes out. Many timers will automatically revert to watering seven days per week, ten minutes per day, after a power outage if they don’t have a good battery.

Run the Sprinkler System  
Check to make sure all your sprinkler heads are still watering your plants and not the sidewalk or street.  Give them a simple twist if they need to be redirected. Realigning your sprinkler nozzles can save 12 to 15 gallons each watering cycle.

Check for Leaks
Look for perpetually damp spots in your yard or places where water pools – these could be a sign of a leak in your sprinkler system.

Stop Irrigating When it Rains
Don’t forget to turn off your sprinklers when rain is in the forecast and leave them off for at least 72 hours afterwards.

Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to outdoor watering.  Start a new habit and check your sprinklers when you change your clocks to make sure you’re not wasting water — and paying for it.

Could your landscape inspire others?

Could your landscape inspire others?

If your water efficient landscape has grown up into something beautiful, we encourage you to enter in the 2018 WaterSmart Landscape Contest.

Helix and other water agencies in the region participate each year in the contest because showcasing beautiful, water-efficient landscapes can inspire other homeowners to install one of their own.

Entries are due by April 30 and the winner receives a $250 gift certificate. Landscapes are judged based on attractiveness, plant selection, design, maintenance and irrigation.

Learn More About the Contest