Citrus Trees in Arizona

The desert landscape and environment here in metropolitan Phoenix is quite hospitable to a wide variety of citrus trees.  Most citrus trees do very well, and will often yield sufficient fruit for you, and all of your neighbors.  But some varieties of citrus do better than others given the hot summers here in the Valley of the Sun.

lemon treeGenerally speaking, Valencia oranges and Arizona Sweets are more hardy than navel or blood orange trees.  Most citrus trees need to be five to six years old before they start producing a generous crop of fruit.  Moreover, different types of citrus trees grow at different rates, and sweeter fruit grow slower than less sweet fruit.  Which is why you’ll often see an overabundance of lemons.

Citrus trees do need diligent care and maintenance to thrive.  First, citrus trees really aren’t trees, but are bushes that are trimmed to look like trees.  If they are left to their own devices, they grow big and bushy, and actually will produce more and better quality fruit.  But for aesthetic reasons, citrus trees are pruned to look like trees.  Another quirk about citrus trees in Arizona is that because they are pruned and their trunks are exposed, they are at risk for sunburn.  Therefore, the trunks of citrus trees in Arizona are often painted white for protection against sun damage (which cuts off the flow of nutrients and water to the tree).

The feeding and watering of citrus trees is critical to producing a higher yield of fruit.  A high-nitrogen fertilizer three times a year plus generous watering throughout the year are requirements or citrus trees.  Citrus trees require several hundred gallons of water about twice a week in the summer months.  If you are interested in conserving water, a dwarf citrus tree or a smaller container citrus tree may be more your speed.

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Halloween Safety Tips

community-side-walk photoOctober is a wonderful time of year here in Arizona.  With the advent of cooler weather, more time can be spent comfortably outside, enjoying our gorgeous environs.  Kids, especially, enjoy the October because of the holiday that finishes out the month.  To that end, here are some safety tips for Halloween from the American Academy of Pediatrics that you may find useful.

Home Safety 

  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.

Pumpkin Carving

  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.

Costume Safety

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost/

Trick or Treating Safety

  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
    • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

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One Priority Team Newsletter – Oct 2016

In our October issue, you can learn how to quickly and dramatically update the interior of you home and make a huge impact in a relatively inexpensive way. Plus! The weather is cooling off my friends, take your workout outdoors!

How to Be a Good Neighbor

Whether you are selling your house or buying a new house, or even just settling into your newly-purchased house, you likely don’t live in the middle of nowhere.  Most of us have neighbors.  Love them or hate them, they are part of what it means to live in a neighborhood or community.  Are you a good neighbor?  And what does that really mean?  Here’s some food for thought . . . 

condo photoDo you keep your home and yards maintained?  Think about it . . . the exterior of your home is what your neighbor sees on a daily basis.  What annoys you about your least favorite neighbors’ homes?  Do those issues exist on your own?  In other words, is your yard well-kept and maintained?  Are your trees trimmed, or do they overhang the sidewalk or the fence surrounding your backyard?  Are the leaves swept off your front patio and driveway?  Is the garbage that’s blown into your yard from trash pickup day thrown back into the trash cans?  And, is the condition of the exterior of your home good?  Have you kept up on repairs?   While it may be hard to look at your home and yards objectively because you see it each and every day, taking a few minutes to look at it from your neighbors’ perspective may make all the difference.

Another way to be a good neighbor is to monitor how your noise affects their lifestyle.  Noise complaints are typically a big issue amongst neighbors.  For example, if you have a dog who barks at anything and everything, does the dog barking disrupt your neighbors’ mornings or their ability to work from home?  Forestall potential issues with your neighbors by being proactive and deal with your pet’s noise.  Another way to be proactive when it comes to noise is to give your neighbors a heads up if you’re going to have a party in the evening, for example.  A little common courtesy will go a long way with the new parents next door who may be trying to get their little one to sleep.  And if you’re the one dealing with excessive noise?  Instead of leaving a note on your neighbor’s door, try talking to them face to face.  They may not even realize they’re that noisy and may appreciate your polite request to keep the noise down.

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