Signature’s Team Hauls Trash Out of Lemmon Valley

It was a great big day for trash. Somehow, it always seems to be a big day for trash. But on Saturday, May 11th, trash took a big hit from the Signature Landscapes team out at the Lemmon Valley trash pick-up site. The Signature team, their large dump truck, and about 20 other community heroes gathers together for the Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful Great Community Cleanup.

This site was just one of more than 10 sites designated as heavily trashed by the organization.  The KTMB Community Cleanup has been taking place for more than a decade, and the trash just keeps on coming.

Chemane Trimble, one of Signature’s owners can’t believe the amount of garbage that people just throw out in the open.

“Beds, carpets — there’s a Reno Gazette-Journal machine that I think someone gutted and threw out here,” Trimble said. “A Ski-Doo. And the tires — just dozens of them.”

This year’s cleanup netted 103 tons of waste.

Trash Talking at the Picnic

This is a great video highlighting many of the great folks who donated their Saturday to helping the Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful Great Cleanup a huge success. Give props to the Signature guys at the end!


2013 KTMB Cleanup - Lemmon Valley

Tires were the standout item this year. More than 500 were collected during the event. Firestone, Howard’s Chevron and Tires Plus will recycle them.

“Tires are one of the saddest items to see dumped because they only cost $2 to recycle, but by the time we organize a cleanup and haul them out, the cost is 20 times that amount,” Christi Cakiroglu, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “People think they’re saving a couple of bucks, but the cost to the community is immense, and they end up paying far more in other ways.”

UNR’s Resource Economics Department in 2009 found that a vast majority of Northern Nevadans are concerned about illegal dumping and would be willing to report it.  The hotline to report illegal dumping is 775-329-DUMP.

 

Signature helps wounded hero and family enjoy a new home

Defenders of Freedom Home

A Northern Nevada soldier & family enjoy new home in Somersett

Signature Landscapes Defenders of Freedom work

Signature crews installing landscape

In May of this year, a group of volunteers including Signature Landscapes raised the support walls for a Reno house being built for Sgt. Thomas “Trey” Humphrey and his wife, Lindsey.

Humphrey, 29, a graduate of Foothill High School in Henderson, suffered severe leg, arm, facial and brain injuries when he stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in November 2010. His squad was trying to maneuver on an enemy machine gun position at the time.

The 1,739-square-foot home, valued at $275,000, is being donated to the couple as the first such project sponsored by the Reno chapter of the Texas-based organization Defenders of Freedom.

Some 40 local companies and individuals have donated more than $200,000 in cash, supplies and services for the Reno home to date.

houseduringconsructionDefenders of Freedom ~ Northern Nevada is a local organization that was formed to build fully compliant homes for our American heroes with physical challenges faced as they return home. Defenders of Freedom is a nonprofit (501c3) organization. All donations, grants, and in-kind services are 100% tax-deductible. One Hundred Percent (100%) of all monies contributed support construction of the homes.


 

 

Ten Questions About Defensible Space

TEN FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DEFENSIBLE SPACE

A special post from local Living With Fire founder and fire prevention specialist,
Ed Smith, Natural Resource Management Specialist for UNCE

As northern Nevada communities grow, the likelihood of homes being threatened by a wildfire also grows. A critical factor in determining whether or not a home will survive a wildfire is the type, amount, and maintenance of vegetation surrounding the house. In the 1980’s, the term “defensible space” was coined to describe vegetation management practices aimed at reducing the wildfire threat to homes. This fact sheet addresses some of the frequently asked questions regarding defensible space.

1) WHAT IS DEFENSIBLE SPACE?
Defensible space refers to that area between a house and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and which provides an opportunity for fire fighters to effectively defend the house. Oftentimes, a defensible space is simply a homeowner’s backyard.

2) WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VEGETATION AND WILDFIRE THREAT?
Many people do not view the plants growing on their property as a threat. But in terms of wildfire, what is growing adjacent to their homes can have considerable influence upon the survivability of their houses. All vegetation, including naturally occurring native plants and ornamental plants in the residential landscape, is potential wildfire fuel. If the vegetation is properly modified and maintained, a wildfire can be slowed down, the length of flames shortened, and the amount of heat reduced, all of which contribute to a house surviving a wildfire.

3) WHY IS DEFENSIBLE SPACE NECESSARY? WON’T THE FIRE DEPARTMENT PROTECT MY HOUSE?
Some individuals incorrectly assume that a fire truck will be parked in their driveway and fire fighters will be actively defending their homes if a wildfire approaches. During a major wildfire, it is unlikely that there will be fire fighting resources available to defend every home. Even with adequate resources, some wildfires may be so intense that there may be little that fire fighters can do to prevent a house from burning. The key is to reduce fire intensity as a wildfire nears the house. This can be accomplished by reducing the amount of flammable vegetation surrounding a home.

4) DOES DEFENSIBLE SPACE REQUIRE A LOT OF BARE GROUND AROUND A HOUSE?
No. While bare ground would certainly provide an effective defensible space, it is not necessary and looks bad. Bare ground may also cause soil to erode. Many homes have yards that are both effective defensible spaces and attractive landscapes with little or no bare ground.

5) DOES CREATING A DEFENSIBLE SPACE REQUIRE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS OR EQUIPMENT?
No. For the most part, creating a defensible space employs routine gardening and landscape maintenance practices such as pruning, mowing, weeding, plant removal, appropriate plant selection, and irrigation. The necessary equipment consists of common tools like a chain saw, pruning saw, pruning shears, loppers, weedeater, shovel, and a rake. A chipper, compost bin, or a large rented trash dumpster may be useful in disposing unwanted plant material. Annual maintenance will likely be required to retain an effective defensible space.

6) HOW BIG IS AN EFFECTIVE DEFENSIBLE SPACE?
Defensible space size is usually expressed as the distance from the house in which vegetation is managed to reduce the wildfire threat. The necessary distance for an effective defensible is not the same for everyone, but varies by slope and type of native vegetation growing near the house. An example of defensible space distances is presented on the back page of this publication. Contact your local fire marshal for suggested defensible space distances specific to your area. If your recommended distance exceeds your property boundaries, contact the adjacent property owner and try to work cooperatively on creating a defensible space. The effectiveness of defensible space increases when multiple property owners work together.

7) WHAT SHOULD I DO TO MAKE MY PROPERTY DEFENSIBLE?

Within the recommended defensible space distance, conduct the following activities:

  • Remove dead vegetation (i.e., dead trees and shrubs, dried grass and flowers, dead branches, fallen leaves, etc.).
  • Remove lower branches from mature trees to a height of eight feet from ground level. Also, remove small trees and shrubs growing under mature trees.
  • Remove tree branches within 15 feet of a chimney or stove pipe. Keep vegetation clear of power lines and decks.
  • Remove the majority of native shrubs and trees within 30 feet of the house. Retaining a few well maintained native shrubs and trees within the 30 feet is acceptable. Avoid leaving native trees in front of large windows and adjacent to decks.
  • Beyond 30 feet, remove native shrubs to provide a separation between shrubs of approximately three times the shrub height (i.e., if shrub height is 2 feet, then 3 x 2 feet = 6 feet separation). Thin mature native trees to provide a separation of at least 10 feet between tree crowns.
  • Selectively thin and maintain remaining native vegetation at a shorter height through pruning.

Selecting ornamental plants for use in the defensible space should emphasize:

  1. herbaceous plants (i.e., non woody plants such as turfgrass, perennial and annual flowers, etc.) over shrubs and trees.
  2. shorter growing plants over taller plants.
  3. deciduous plants over evergreens

8) DOES HAVING AN EFFECTIVE DEFENSIBLE SPACE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Yes. Investigations of homes threatened by wildfire indicate that houses with an effective defensible space are much more likely to survive a wildfire. Furthermore, homes with both an effective defensible space and a nonflammable roof (e.g., composition shingles, tile, metal, etc.) are many more times likely to survive a wildfire than those without a defensible space and flammable roofs (i.e., wood shakes or shingles).

9) DOES HAVING A DEFENSIBLE SPACE GUARANTEE MY HOUSE WILL SURVIVE A WILDFIRE?
No. Under extreme conditions, almost any house can burn. But having a defensible space will significantly
improve the odds of your home surviving a wildfire.

10) WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE LIVING IN A HIGH WILDFIRE HAZARD AREA CREATE A DEFENSIBLE SPACE?
The specific reasons for not creating a defensible space are varied. Some individuals believe that “it won’t happen to me”. Others think the costs (i.e., time, money, effort, etc.) outweigh the benefits (i.e., improved protection for property). But some have failed to implement defensible space practices because of lack of knowledge or misconceptions.


Thank you to Ed Smith and Sonya Sistare For individuals wanting to learn more about defensible space, contact out YOUR LIVING WITH FIRE office or fire marshal.

Signature recognized by Nevada Chamber of Commerce

Community Spirit Award Finalist

The_Chamber_LogoSignature recognized as an exceptional business making a difference? You bet! And that’s really good news for the community.  Imagine coming to work to find Signature is one of the top three businesses recognized for this prestigeous award. The award notes we have demonstrated a sense of caring and responsibility for others that connects citizens and solves community problems.

View Signature’s Social Responsibility Page

Wow! Thank you to the Reno/Sparks Chamber, the non-profits we support, and the crews on staff that work hard to support our incredible community!


 

April showers, May flowers and June tomato towers

With water resources looking to be tight throughout much of northern Nevada, many of us are wondering what we should plant in our gardens this year – or should we plant at all.

If there are no April showers, should we scratch the May flowers?  Should we grow tomatoes or corn or petunias?  Mr. Vegetable, where are you?

Nasturtium

Nasturtium – colorful and edible.

First things first… get the garden off to a good and healthy start.  

  • Clean out the debris like leaves and dead plants that has collected over the winter.
  • Till the garden by double digging or even consider the new trend which is triple digging.  You have to dig down to the third shovel depth to till. This is done in Africa with amazing results in production.
  • Add compost.  Tilling plus adding compost will improve soil quality and help it hold more water.
  • Use mulch this season because it keeps more water in the soil and lowers evaporation.  Wood mulch, straw and even newspapers and grass clippings all do the job.

Be sustainable in your plant choices and practices.

Growing food is not a waste of water – it puts the most locally-grown food possible on your table.  Just do it wisely.

Here are some tips:

  • Grow more edibles than ornamentals.  Tomatoes have many uses on the menu and are easily consumed.  Pumpkins, on the other hand, are generally more ornamental and tend to overrun your garden if you’re not careful.  Scale back on the pumpkin patch and devote more resources to food crops.
  • Dress up your edible garden with companion flowers.  Nasturtium aren’t just pretty, they taste good in a salad.  Marigolds help deter pests.  Using dual purpose flowers like these in your garden gives more bang for your water buck.
  • Plant in blocks, rather than in rows.  Putting plants closer together creates shade that holds in moisture.
  • Control weeds.  They will suck up moisture your veggies need.
  • Use containers to grow some herbs, veggies and summer annual flowers.  Potted plants generally need less water than those planted in the soil.  Containers can also be watered efficiently with drip irrigation.
  • Recycle water from the kitchen.  After swishing a head of lettuce in a big bowl of water to clean it, pour the water on the pot of herbs outside.  It’s a few more steps, but the effort reminds us how precious our water is and that we need to use it wisely and even “twicely” whenever we can.

Productive landscapes add value to our lives and are a responsible use of resources.  This year, plan ahead and water wisely.

Phil Petrocco Joins Signature Landscapes

Phil Petrocco

Phil Petrocco

Signature Landscapes is proud to announce Phil Petrocco has joined the Commercial Landscape Construction team and will leading business development efforts for Northern Nevada and California. Petrocco has an extensive background in large-scale landscape construction projects working with companies such as SoilTech out of Las Vegas and Gothic Landscape as the landscape manager in charge of the recently completed I-580 freeway construction.

Petrocco’s experience in working alongside government and municipal entities means he is uniquely suited to providing solutions to the larger, complex landscape challenges faced in our region today. He is a licensed Right of Way pest control operator for the State, and carries a C-10 contractor license for Utah and Arizona.

Revitalized Landscapes on Horizon for 2013

Recent research shows that at least 30% of homeowners nationwide have plans for a major landscape project sometime in the next two years. And that’s aside from many more of us who have lesser projects planned that will add to the ambiance and enjoyment of our outdoor spaces.

quotesLearn more about evaluating a landscape contractor

Brian, Signature Designer & ISA Certified Arborist

Brian, Signature Designer & ISA Certified Arborist

Interestingly, this research also showed that most of us turn to our family and friends to get referrals when looking for help with landscape projects. It’s easy to peek over the fence to see the neighbor’s new project and there’s a built-in trust factor in the recommendation.  That’s good info and it’s where Signature Landscapes gets a large number of new landscape construction customers!

But if you’re in that 30% with a major project on your agenda, it will be worth your time to do some homework and make the selection process thorough. Depending on your yard and your budget, a “major landscape project” can range from $10,000 to $150,000 or more. It’s an investment in your ongoing property value and personal enjoyment, so it pays to be a wise consumer.

Here are 4 tips to get started:

  • Identify your priorities, your “maybe” list and your problems. For example, you may know you want an outdoor kitchen, but aren’t sure about a fire pit. Or there may be an eyesore in the yard that needs a creative solution, but you’re not sure what it is. Laying out your priorities, maybes and problems will help you match your needs to the right expert.
  • Know your budget and be ready to discuss it. This will help you get the best value from your available resources.
  • Check out the company, even if you got the referral from a friend. Is it a member of the Nevada Landscape Association? Does the company have industry certified people on board? Are they aware of licenses and permits that may be required by your city? Do they offer to provide you with a certificate of insurance to show that they have the necessary liability and worker’s comp coverage?
  • Look for professionalism. Do they have everything in writing? A detailed landscape design, a well-written contract that protects the interests of both parties and a fair payment schedule are the marks of a pro. They should spell out exactly what you are buying and they are essential to doing good business. These documents will be critical should a dispute arise.

Support KTMB’S Great Community Cleanup May 11th

It’s that time of year to put on your work gloves and Levi’s and set out for a little community clean up!

Like all of us, we are so blessed to thrive in such a beautiful, vibrant and compassionate community. The Truckee Meadows has been so good to us, our employees and their families too. So it’s a no-brainer to take on the challenge of raising funds to support the folks at KTMB – their employees and their volunteers are the backbone of our clean city.

Please show your support for all the great things KTMB does around here. Here’s how…

Donate right now! You can do it!

Visit Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful website for more details

You’re a web-savvy person. You know how this works. You were thinking about buying something online today anyway, weren’t you? The website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support KTMB‘s fundraising efforts.

And when you’re done, forward this on to your friends and family. Let’s do what we can to keep the programs moving forward!

Many thanks for your support — and don’t forget – forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too! It’s amazing what a few folks can do to keep our community beautiful.

 

Environmental ROI

Is your landscaping worth it?

Water and maintenance used to keep landscapes healthy don’t go down the drain

  • Just one average tree absorbs 26 lbs. of carbon dioxide from the air each year. That is enough to negate 11,000 miles of car emissions. (Hug your tree!)
  • Lawns act as a filter to purify water passing through the root zone. The front lawns of just eight houses provide the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. That’s amazing when you consider that the AC unit at the average home has a 3- or 4-ton capacity. (Love your lawn!)

Landscaping cuts energy costs

  • Carefully selected and placed trees around a home can cut energy costs as much as 25%.
  • Shading the AC unit can increase its effectiveness 10%.
  • Planting ground covers, shrubs and lawns reduces heat reflected off the ground and onto walls and windows. That helps cool the indoors and saves energy dollars.

Growing veggies is a healthy pastime that saves money.

  • Working in your garden 45 minutes burns off as many calories as 30 minutes of aerobics.
  • Weeding for an hour burns 300 calories.
  • The cash spent to grow a garden will return 7 to 10 times your initial investment in the value of your produce.  In other words, $50 spent on a garden will give you at least $350 worth of produce you would otherwise buy.  You won’t get that rate of return in your savings account.
  • There’s no produce more sustainable than what you grow yourself or more fresh than what you bring to the table within minutes of picking.  You also know where it was grown and how it was grown.  Those health benefits are priceless.

 

These great tips were brought to you by the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

Common Landscape Irrigation Problems

No two landscapes are alike

That’s why Signature Landscapes  installs some of the most diverse, durable and precise irrigation components in the industry. Whatever landscape problems you might have, be worry-free knowing Signature Landscapes has an efficient, hassle-free solution.

PROBLEM: Watering Slopes or Hills
Water can puddle or pool around sprinklers installed at the bottom of slopes or hills, causing soggy areas, which can kill grass or encourage fungus to grow.

SIGNATURE LANDSCAPES SOLUTION
3500 Rotors and 5000 Rotors with a Seal-A-Matic™ (SAM) Check Valve stop the problem of low head drainage and eliminate puddling. Or use Rain Bird Rotary Nozzles which deliver water at a lower rate, allowing sufficient soak-in time to prevent run-off.

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