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Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
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cmick
Mueller Community

Posts: 42
Joined on February 10th, 2009
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by cmick on November 12th, 2013

We all agreed to the homeowner association covenants when we bought our homes. In those covenants we agreed to maintain our trees and landscaping with particular guidelines for pruning. We pay monthly homeowner dues which includes monitoring and enforcing our adherence to the covenants.

We should all properly maintain our property. We can do so ourselves, hire someone of our choosing to do the work for us, or the HOA, after informing us of their intent to do so, and giving us the opportunity to perform the work ourselves, can have someone do it for us and bill us for the work.

This is a common practice for HOAs. Seems the simplest solution to me. Penalizes no one taking care of their property and maintains the quality and safety of neighborhood for us all to enjoy.
 
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ret1ree00
Mueller Community

Posts: 333
Joined on September 7th, 2007
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by ret1ree00 on November 12th, 2013

I'll respond as best as I can for the Landscape Committee to these comments.

(1) The information I relayed is the most current information to the landscape committee. The POA Board did take into consideration the responses to the survey regarding taking on the street tree maintenance for an increased POA Fee.

They decided not to increase the fee.

Instead they are considering doing it anyway and not passing the additional cost on to the homeowner. To my understanding they have not made a final decision.

(2) The POA had no input into the planting standards by the homebuilders. The POA has no involvement until after the builder is done and the home is sold. Up to that point it falls to Catellus as the master developer to make the specifications and to ensure the builders do it according to the specifications.

I would agree that some trees were not planted well to begin with.

Joe
 
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ret1ree00
Mueller Community

Posts: 333
Joined on September 7th, 2007
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by ret1ree00 on November 12th, 2013

Again I'll respond for the Landscape Committee.

First, since Mueller began we have had two landscape companies handing our landscapes. Valley Crest was the first and now Central Texas Landscapes currently has the contract. As I recall the job was not to the lowest bidder but to the one that was believed to provide the best service for the money. Their current contract ends next year. We will then look at others when the request for bids goes out.

Both companies have certified arborists supervising the maintenance of the trees.

From my perspective on the committee I would have to say our current company has done a better job of maintaining the trees and grounds.

Second, The landscape committee is looking at the trails and looking at better ways of maintaining them. The concrete aggregate is not a good solution. Some areas we would like to see completely concreted in because of the ongoing wash out problems, other areas we believe better slope control will help. However with any hard and fast rains we will have wash outs.

Joe
 
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dhs
Mueller Community

Posts: 179
Joined on January 5th, 2009
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by dhs on November 12th, 2013

Quote:

The POA Board did take into consideration the responses to the survey regarding taking on the street tree maintenance for an increased POA Fee.

They decided not to increase the fee.

Instead they are considering doing it anyway and not passing the additional cost on to the homeowner. To my understanding they have not made a final decision.

Joe


In my case, and I think in many others as well, it isn't the increased fee that's the problem. It's their one-size-fits-all approach to the problem.

There is already a deed restriction mandating proper tree care. Enforce it, reasonably, equally and with due process. If the homeowner wishes, they can have the POA do the more difficult maintenance - yearly pruning, fertilizing and mulching.

I disagree that there is a useful distinction to be made in this case between Associa and Catellus. Associa was hired by Catellus, not by any of the residents, and thus are much more their agent than our representative.

Doug
 
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Kathy Sokolic
Mueller Community

Posts: 275
Joined on March 19th, 2008
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by Kathy Sokolic on November 12th, 2013

I'd like to chime in here that technically, the POA hires the landscaping committee, and we currently have 4 residents eager to fill the first non-Catellus appointed spot on the POA board. Please makes sure that if you are a property owner, that you either vote at the annual meeting (November 20th), or give your proxy to someone to cast your vote. You have received this information in the mail, and it's on http://www.muelleraustinonline.com. Be a part of the tree solution!!
 
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ellen h.
Mueller Community

Posts: 44
Joined on November 25th, 2009
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by ellen h. on November 12th, 2013

Thanks for the summary and for the work you do, Joe.

Re 7 (a), It's understandable that the POA board would consider taking on pruning of all street trees--this site has certainly published complaints about low branches. Since there have been concerns about the pruning that has been done, I wonder if bidding processes will or might require statements of when/under what conditions pruning would be done..ideally by type of tree...and require specific assurances of how the statements would be implemented?

Disclaimer: I'm a community member, not a community homeowner.

 
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Susan Egan
Mueller Community

Posts: 57
Joined on April 29th, 2013
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by Susan Egan on November 13th, 2013

This is how it was done by my previous HOA. Any maintenance work not done by the homeowner could (with reasonable notice) be contracted out by the HOA and billed back to the homeowner.

Unfortunately, without the resources for regular inspection, the HOA was forced to rely on residents' complaints about covenant violations ... meaning one had to (anonymously or otherwise) be a whistleblower of sorts to get things fixed. Some residents were (understandably) reluctant to rat on a neighbor.

The problem we always had with covenant violations is that they tended to proliferate if not addressed uniformly and swiftly.

As for tree trimming, might it be possible for block captains (perhaps working together) to bid out the work to a reputable company for a group discount? An online sign-up sheet could be used to compile a list of interested homeowners. Just a thought.



Quote:
We all agreed to the homeowner association covenants when we bought our homes. In those covenants we agreed to maintain our trees and landscaping with particular guidelines for pruning. We pay monthly homeowner dues which includes monitoring and enforcing our adherence to the covenants.

We should all properly maintain our property. We can do so ourselves, hire someone of our choosing to do the work for us, or the HOA, after informing us of their intent to do so, and giving us the opportunity to perform the work ourselves, can have someone do it for us and bill us for the work.

This is a common practice for HOAs. Seems the simplest solution to me. Penalizes no one taking care of their property and maintains the quality and safety of neighborhood for us all to enjoy.


 
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Cyndy Dwyer
Mueller Community

Posts: 75
Joined on June 25th, 2011
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by Cyndy Dwyer on November 13th, 2013

I don't know of anyone living in Mueller who is intentionally choosing to ignore their trees. Much has been mentioned on tree care over the past couple of years. The biggest issue we have with tree care in Mueller is TIMING. We received two notices from the POA this year indicating that the three trees we have on Antone needed trimming. We knew we needed to trim the trees. We have trees on both Tom Miller and Antone that have aphids that we battled two summers, without chemicals, utilizing beneficials. We also knew that summer and early fall was NOT the time to trim trees. Why on earth would we create wounds in a tree, in a drought, while battling an aphid infestation?

From the look of many curbs over the past week we were not alone in our thinking. We did trim our trees when the time was right. We have oaks that bear nuts. As the season goes the branches of our trees become heavy with acorns. This is a good thing. Heavy limbs mean that our trees are healthy and doing what they are supposed to do. It also means that the branches droop.

Late fall into winter is the BEST time to trim trees in Texas. I disagree that the landscape company is utilizing best practices when managing the trees in the neighborhood. The landscape company appears to raise the canopy on each and very tree in the neighborhood on a yearly basis. Gotta keep that grass... Have you seen the park side trees on Tom Miller? Some have lost so many branches they look damaged.

If common sense is applied to this topic the POA will work with homeowners and encourage tree trimming in the fall and winter BEFORE spring buds on all trees. That doesn't mean that branches cannot be marked by homeowners throughout the year. Perhaps a homeowner can mark the limbs they plan to trim which plastic landscape tape. Folks walking by and the POA can see that a homeowner has marked limbs that they plan to trim when the time is right.

Trees are meant to provide shade. A tree canopy will expand to provide shade for the root system. Shade is Texas is a GOOD thing. Proper pruning should NOT be a yearly thing. I hold firm that the POA should NOT get into the business of tree maintenance for the neighborhood. The POA should provide options to homeowners who do NOT want to maintain their trees. Education is a great start.

The following is from Ehow. I typed in When to Trim Trees in Texas? This what popped up;

Expert Insight
The best time to trim a tree in Texas is late winter or early spring, before the new growth begins, according to the Texas A&M System Agrilife Extension. Pruning at this time does not interfere with the tree's new growing season.

Warning
The least desirable time to prune your Texas tree is after the new growth has already stated in the spring. Major pruning at this time puts too much stress on the trees roots and stems. You should also avoid heavy trimming in late summer. This may spur new growth that could make the tree more susceptible to damage from winter weather.

Exception
Do not not worry about the time of year when you need to trim off dead or damaged branches. Trim these immediately so they do not become entry points for disease or insect infestation.



Read more: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7829022_time-trim-trees-texas.html#ixzz2kYOFu17O

 
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Bobby Gierisch
Mueller Community

Posts: 37
Joined on June 25th, 2010
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by Bobby Gierisch on November 15th, 2013

I am also a member of the Landscape Committee. Everyone can decide for themselves how they feel about the POA taking over tree maintenance with or without an increase in our fees. However I believe there is a case to be made for it. If you look down almost any street where the POA maintains the trees on one side and homeowners maintain the other side, the POA side is noticeably healthier. For me, the clearing of branches over sidewalks is not the issue, though improvement there would also be effected and needed in some places.

Now, POA maintenance for row houses and parks currently includes watering as well as pruning, etc., and POA would not control watering under the current proposal as I understand it ... so the result might not be dramatic as it has been to date.

Mueller has a goal of 30% (I believe) tree canopy to mitigate heat island effect, which I know we all support. Whatever we think of the current proposal, or however it might be improved, let's figure out the best way to have healthy trees in the long run.
 
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Thomas Sullivan
Mueller Community

Posts: 12
Joined on April 2nd, 2013
Update From Landscape Committee Nov 2013
by Thomas Sullivan on November 15th, 2013

I would argue that the trees on my section of Zach Scott, which are maintained by the POA, don't look that great. In fact, since I moved in last December, they have planted a replacement tree which since died and have now planted another tree in the same spot and that tree doesn't look healthy at all. .

I haven't been impressed with their care of the trees so far. In a one block section of Zach, there are at least 4 gaps where trees have died and not been replaced yet. I understand they died from a root fungus, but why would they plant the same type of tree to replace the dead one, when they know the fungus is present?
 
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