Inside Scoop

August 2023
In This Issue

Kristin Gallego
Artistic Landscape

Perspective! What’s Yours?

Life is all about perspective.

Do you see the beauty in things or the flaws?

Do you look at something and see a problem or a challenge?

Are you looking for things to always go your way or do you appreciate the growth that comes from things not always going your way?

I encourage you to answer some of these questions. Write them down! Ask someone you look up to (a mentor) the same questions. Look at your answers from an opposite perspective (good, bad, or indifferent).

Sometimes taking a step back from our normal routine, normal reaction, normal perspective and looking at things from a different point of view can challenge us, help us to grow, help us to see the other side.

Even if we already see the “beauty” in things, looking at the flaws may help us to understand someone else’s point of view. If you are someone that only sees the “flaws,” how can it hurt to look at something for its beauty. Maybe you’ll see it in a light you never saw before. Understanding those that think differently than us helps us to bring another skill set to the table whether in your personal relationships or moreover, in being or becoming a great leader in your own business or career.

While thinking about the above from a personal point of view, I’d like to ask, how do you perceive the CLCA? What is your perception of the chapter (East Bay)? I encourage you, as we step into the later part of this year, as we begin to look to next year and to the future, think about how you and your perception of things can help to bring something new, exciting, or different to the organization.

Have you thought about joining the board? Maybe you haven’t? Maybe you’re new to the organization and don’t feel you’re ready or would know what to do? Maybe you’ve thought about it, but it’s never been the right time. I encourage you to reach out, ask the questions and put yourself out there. I promise we’re inviting. We love to see new faces. We love to hear new perspectives. And, we won’t throw you to the wolves. 😊 We will be having our General Membership Meeting on October 19th (more info to come), where we will nominate next year’s board. If you’re interested, reach out ahead of time, and we look forward to seeing you there. *Everyone’s invited and encouraged to attend even if you don’t plan to be on the board next year.

Oakland A’s vs San Francisco Giants Baseball Fun

Thank you to those that attended the Oakland A’s vs. San Francisco Giants baseball game on Sunday, August 6th, 2023. A special thank you to Ewing for co-hosting the tailgate party and cooking up delicious food and serving refreshing beverages.

Rain Bird Dripline Featured

Rain Bird Dripline Featured in Episode 4 of Mission: PEBBLE Presented by the USGA

Rain Bird’s XFS-CV subsurface dripline and QF Header recently took the spotlight in a demonstration filmed by the United States Golf Association (USGA) at the renowned Del Monte Golf Course. The demonstration was featured in episode 4 of Mission: PEBBLE and the resulting video can now be seen on the GolfDigest website.

Episode 4 of Mission: PEBBLE features leaders of Pebble Beach Company and the USGA explaining the importance of sustainability in Golf Course Management. They dive into the innovative water management practices at Pebble Beach, including the utilization of subsurface drip irrigation, recycling reclaimed water, glass clippings and trash. Among the sustainable solutions is Rain Bird’s XFS-CV dripline which was installed on a forward tee with an island design.

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CLCA East Bay Chapter Smart Controller Training Luncheon

Sep 14, 2023 P
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: SiteOne Hardscape Center
6515 Trinity Court, Dublin

In this concise workshop we will explore core concepts, central control and water management. Perfect for beginners and seasoned professionals.

Register Here
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Many Little Hammers

by Frank Niccoli

We are all familiar with the analogy of how continuously dripping water on a stone will eventually crack the stone.  That same process applies to managing pests with integrated pest management tactics.  We use many little hammers to suppress plant problems by minimizing the conditions they need to survive.  An elegant method of progressively using stronger tactics is illustrated in the IPM Pyramid developed by Penn State.  At the base you will see the least toxic of tactics, and as you go away from the base to the tip of the pyramid the prevention decreases as the intervention increases. As you read this, please refer back to the pyramid to understand how it works.  And as a favor to me, read this article twice before you put this aside.  Somewhere between the first and second reading, you will have an “Aha moment.”

Cultural Tactics or the Hammer of Thought

Let us start our journey at the base of the pyramid with the cultural methods.  This tactic works by minimizing the conditions necessary for the pests to survive.  Plant selection is key in the part of the pyramid.  Select plants for the conditions.  Don’t install or design for long-term problems.  If the plant is susceptible to Phytopthora, don’t plant it next to a lawn.  If a plant is susceptible to powdery mildew, look for a cultivar that is resistant.   If a plant needs good drainage, don’t install it in the clay soils.  Don’t plant lawn around oak trees, not even near them.  This is the most blatantly violated and the simplest rule here. And don’t use drip on natives.  It kills them, period.  Call me or E-mail me if you want to know why.

After the correct plant is installed, give it the conditions it needs to survive.  Strong plants resist diseases, are less susceptible to insect attacks, and will outgrow the weeds.

Physical Tactics or the Hammer of the Corporeal

Physical methods include traps, barriers, mowing, tillage, or any other method that physically removes the pest.  Hand weeding to suppress seed formation, trapping insects in pheromone traps or by using “sticky foot,” vacuuming white fly with a dust buster, putting in snail and slug traps, and using trap plants are all viable and worthwhile strategies in this category.  Pruning is also in this category.  It is as simple as pruning a disease branch before it infects the rest of the plant.  Flaming weeds belongs here.  You can make a very effective flamer by using an old golf cart, a propane tank, and some miscellaneous fittings.  It works very well, but make sure that you have a water-based fire extinguisher on hand.

Look back to the pyramid.  We have just passed the threshold of prevention and we are now in the intervention phase of the process.  As we go towards the tip prevention drops out completely and we are in full intervention.  That is when the problems really begin.

Biological Tactics or the Hammer of Evolution

This category uses predators, parasites, and nematodes in a very targeted way to suppress the pests. Using microbial diseases of pests is a registered method of pest control.  An example of this method is the use of a fungus that kills another fungus. Using insect releases to attack pest plants or other pest insects is part of the biological tactics.  Everyone has heard of using ladybug releases to control aphids.  Most people don’t know how to keep them around long enough to do their job.  And then they get discouraged because it doesn’t work. I do know how and I am not telling you here how to do it.  I want to hear from you to see if you are reading this stuff.  E-mail me at and I will reveal all.  A look back at the triangle and you will notice that intervention has taken a step up.

Chemical tactics or the Hammer of Disruption

Look at the Pyramid.  You will see two distinct delineations in this area.  The first is the bio-rational section.  These chemicals are less toxic and are usually used to target a specific pest or problem.  Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to control tussock oak moth, diatomaceous earth to desiccate fleas, Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis (Bti) to control mosquitoes, pheromones baits used with stick traps to catch insects, pheromones released to confuse the target insect, and chemicals such as neem oil that is so bitter that it makes the plant inedible to the insect.  Most of the chemicals in this category are anti-feedants, repellants, or attractants and are usually very low in toxicity.

The second part of this section of the pyramid is the conventional pesticides.  They are synthetically produced compounds that are direct toxins.  Unfortunately, these same toxins are non-specific and usually kill anything they are sprayed on.  They are chemical missiles that kill without regard.  They are also toxic to bees, fish, humans, and your pets.  They should be your last resort.  Use these very sparingly.  Try one method on the lower end of the pyramid before using this category.  An example of this is trying to control Bermuda grass.  Use black plastic to cover the Bermuda grass before resorting to a chemical. This will reduce significantly the amount of chemical that you need to use.  And by the way, Round-up is not the best chemical to use in killing Bermuda grass.  Guess what. You’ll have to E-mail me to get my method and the name of the chemical.

That’s all for me this month.  I will see you next time with some further advice on IPM.

Frank Niccoli

Upcoming Events

CLCA East Bay Chapter Events for 2023
  • CLCA East Bay Chapter Smart Controller Training Luncheon
    Sep 14, 2023 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
    SiteOne Hardscape Center
    6515 Trinity Court, Dublin
  • General Membership Meeting & Networking 
    October 19th
    Details announced soon
  • Board of Director’s Meetings
    First Thursday of the month
    11am via Zoom.
    CLCA members are welcome to attend.
View Our Calendar
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