Archive for the ‘Park Maintenance’ Category

55 trees planted in Jeffrey Fontana & TJ Martin parks

On December 16th & January 6th., Our City Forest (OCF) held “Planting Parties” and a total of 55 new trees were planted in our Jeffrey Fontana & TJ Martin parks. The new trees were planted in select locations and in areas where dead or dying trees needed to be replaced. The professional staff of Our City Forest managed the program and provided direction and tools.

From left to right are MFPA Vice-President Richard Zahner, MFPA President Rod Carpenter, District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, and OCF Planting Manager Rob Castaneda

These plantings were a major “once in a decade” opportunity and the Martin Fontana Parks Association Board of Directors wants to give a big “Thank You” to the OCF staff, MFPA members, and all the other volunteers who came out and helped make it a success.

This program was initiated by PG&E early in 2017 when they asked the MFPA Board to partner with them to find locations for new trees to replace the ones they were required to remove along Almaden Expressway.  A team of MFPA members created a ‘Planting Plan’ for consideration of the City Park Staff and PG&E.  The PG&E planting guidelines that limit the mature tree height for any trees under the lines were taken in to account during the negotiations. This avoids any possible contact with the lines and costly annual tree trimming.

Our plan was adopted in principle by PG&E and used in negotiations with the City and County. PG&E finished the removal of over 150 trees along Alamaden Expressway in late summer and then provided funding to OCF to plant replacements in our parks.  MFPA finalized the Planting Plan locations and the OCF Arborist coordinated tree selection with the City and PG&E.

From left to right are District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, MFPA Project Manager Dave Poeschel, OCF rep, Brian O’Neill, and two others.

The trees were of the 15-gallon size from the OCF nursery. The City will provide water for a three-year program to assure survival of these young trees and OCF will manage the watering. Our continuing responsibility will be to support the OCF watering and report problems, if and when they occur.

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We hope you, your children, and future neighbors, will enjoy all the new trees and a have an attractive parks for decades.

 

 

 

District 10 sets aside $250,000 for Guadalupe Oak Grove Park woodland management

On December 4, 2017, Mollie Tobias of the City’s Adopt-a-Park program and her crew, including our Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services maintenance team, supported the Swath Project in the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.  You may recall that the Swath is a section of our park, between the east and central trails, 30 foot wide and about 420 foot long, in which 1-year Blue and Valley Oak seedlings were flagged.

These small ‘starts’ have been out competed by Coast Live Oak saplings for years.  They are encroaching from two main areas: the dog-park entry area, near the Villas of Almaden and the main GOGP entry off of Thorntree.  As a result, our open Blue and Valley oak woodland on the Valley floor has been transitioning to a closed Oak woodland.  It was initially thought that the Blue and Valley oaks were not regenerating.  However, Lee Pauser, Dave Poeschel and I found that these starts were there and were just being out-competed by Coast Live Oak saplings and the unmanaged European grasses.

The idea of the Swath is to demonstrate this regeneration by removing the Coast Live Oak saplings, then caging the Blue and Valley Oak starts to protect them from wildlife, providing occasional summer water, and promoting their establishment through the removal of weeds and grasses adjacent to these starts. Preserving the unique GOGP (one of the last two remaining Valley and Oak woodlands in the Santa Clara Valley) requires woodland management and Monday’s effort is a first step!   Thanks to the commitment of District 10 and our Councilman Johnny Khamis, funding at a level of $250K has been set-aside to involve H.T. Harvey and Associates, environmental consultants, in the woodland management of this park!

We ant to thank the dozen volunteers from the Signifyd Company for their help in coordination with project leads Lee Pauser and I.  Ninety-five percent of the scheduled work was performed between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. on the workday!  I’m sure there will be a lot of sore muscles and a few bruises at Signifyd come Tuesday!

Park users should see a notable difference in the condition of the park in the area of the Swath.  This is illustrated in the photo comparison below.

Thanks again to all involved.

Patrick Pizzo

 

Pipeline Maintenance Project has started

Replacement Water Valve?

So have you been wondering what those strange objects wrapped in heavy black plastic are?  Well, according to a Nov. notice posted on Nextdoor from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, pipeline maintenance has begun.  “As part of our work to keep your water safe and reliable, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will work on a nearly 12-mile stretch of pipeline from Calero Reservoir in South San Jose to the Vasona Pump Plant in Los Gatos, a six-month maintenance project that started this month.”  

We expect operations to be back to normal by the end of February, 2018.”  So don’t be surprised to see lots of activity around those large concrete blocks in Jeffrey Fontana and TJ Martin Parks.

If you have any questions about the operation, please call Water Resources Supervisor Jerry Sparkman at 408-630-3254.

Guadalupe Oak Grove Park “Cluster-Buster” project completed

This morning, Patrick Pizzo and Lee Pauser implemented a “Cluster-Buster” plan, cleared with the City of San Jose- PRNS (Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services), in the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.  This work was done near the J. Fontana West entry to the GOGP near the dog park.  The ‘cluster’ was a group of Quercus agrifolia saplings, encircling a ‘mother’ tree at the intersection of two of the main park trails in the GOGP.  One can identify the area by the tree-trimmings just adjacent the trail.  The trimmings should be gone by mid-week.   The before and after photos  of the work-area are illustrated below.

Why was this done?  The mature trees that define the oak woodland at this entry point, and throughout much of the flat-plain of our park, are Quercus douglasii (Blue Oak) and Quercus lobata (Valley Oak).  They are deciduous native oaks.  The trees in our park are at least 200 years old, especially the Blue Oak (very slow growing).  The Q. Agrifolia is an evergreen tree, and it is a recent entry to our park.  It is concentrated near the main entry to GOGP and in the area at the S-W corner, near the Villas of Almaden.   It is prolific in the urban area surrounding the GOGP, it is fast growing, and it is rapidly becoming a dominant tree. It’s acorns thrive on the valley floor.  Q. agrifolia out competes the Blue and Valley oaks.  Leaving nature take its course would convert the park from an open oak woodland to a closed oak woodland.  Note too that Q. agrifolia is subject to sudden-oak-death (S.O.D.) whereas the Blue and Valley Oaks are not.  So in addition to becoming a closed oak woodland, the GOGP would be more susceptible to S.O.D. issues.

The cluster in our subject-title is one of the young Coast Live Oaks (CLO) saplings that surround the edge of the canopy of the established CLO’s.  They were out competing young Blue and Valley oak saplings in that area.  Proof of this became evident when these saplings were removed; among the saplings were Blue and Valley seedlings which are now open to direct sunlight, the conditions required to establish these trees.  We found about 30 Blue and Valley Oak seedlings among the CLO saplings!   If we are vigilant in removing subsequent CLO seedlings and if we remove the circle of European grasses and weeds that will surround each of them, (they too out-compete the Blue and Valley Oak starts, by grabbing moisture and nutrients), come Spring, we can get the Blue and Valley Oak seedlings to survive 3 years to four years out, it should allow them sufficient time to get established.  In this way, we will be preserving the GOGP.

If you want proof of the spreading of Q. agrifolia evergreen trees in the park, go to Google Earth and look at the historical aerial views.  One can see the expansion of the CLO footprint throughout the park.

Clean Up in Jeffrey Fontana Park a Success!

Pascal on the left with friends

On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, the Parks Recreation & Neighborhood Services Adopt-a-Park folks, along with the Martin-Fontana Parks Association, coordinated a clean-up of the area we refer to as the Cotoneaster patch near Tree #13 in Jeffrey Fontana Park.  Thanks to Adopt-a-Park’s Mollie Tobias and Sue Bowling, we had about 20 or more students from many local and not so local schools:  Lynbrook High School, Pioneer High School, San Jose High School, Holy Spirit School, a young man from Cal-Davis (he was here on the weekend to visit his folks), Leland High School, Valley Christian High School and others.  What a terrific Group!  Combine this with a representation of local residents, MFPA members, and community leaders such as Scott Raley, Jane, Kelly, Sunny Wagstaff, Rich Grailou , Linda Wilson, Patrick Pizzo, and our MFPA photographer Susan Mosher, who took some great photos,  and we had one efficient work crew!   We did weeding, removed numerous Oak starts and saplings, planted a replacement plant and, in general,

made one HUGE of debris.     Take a look and see if you don’t agree that the Cotoneaster patch is looking Sharp (no pun intended)!

Thanks to Pat Pizzo, the Project Director shown on the left. 

 

Mollie Tobias, City of San Jose PRNS Program Manager, had this to say:

“As involved and ‘willing-to-sweat-and-get dirty’ neighbors and volunteers, you take ownership and pride in your local park! Thank you for sharing your time and energy! Your sense of pride is a great asset in improving the park and in turn, the entire community! Because of your help, the park is cleaner, safer and more welcoming to all! We appreciate all you do for Jeffrey Fontana and TJ Martin parks!”

 

Thanks to all for giving our Memorial Rose Garden a Fall clean up

Fall SCCAOR Rose Garden clean-up crew

Thanks to the Santa Clara County of Realtors (SCCAOR), District 5170 Rotary Club members, Martin-Fontana Parks Association members, and other volunteers. We had a great turn out on a beautiful day in the park.

Mulch was spread, weeding was done, along with trimming, and fertilizing. Tools were provided by MFPA and San Jose’s Parks, Recreation, & Neighborhood Services.  Refreshments were provided by the Martin-Fontana Parks Association.  Thanks to Orchard Supply Hardware for their donation of 15 bags of mulch.  They were put to good use in the garden.

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*A special thanks to our MFPA Photographer, Susan Mosher and thanks also to Kris Myers for her photos.

Please don’t pick the flowers. Oops! I meant to say FLAGS….

 

 

You may have seen green/blue and red irrigation flags in one area of Guadalupe Oak Grove Park between two of the main walking trails.  These flags represent a project being done in cooperation with District 10.  They mark a 30 foot-wide swath from trail to trail, and all the one-year old, baby Valley and Blue Oak shoots that are growing within.  These shoots are to be ‘caged’ in chicken wire cages to protect them, watered and encouraged to live as they are to be the replacement trees for the Blue and Valley Oak trees we are losing to the extended drought and other issues.  The flags are there because after the deciduous native oak trees drop their leaves they will be ‘invisible’ but for the subsequent caging.  Blue and Valley Oaks will not regenerate due to the high-weed and grass load in the park and the out-competing Coast Live Oaks which are overtaking the open Savannah.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.

 

 

 

Pat Pizzo