Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association

Home & Garden

In May 2015, Pacific Gas and Electric Company conducted a massive exercise to test its preparedness and response to a simulated magnitude 7.2 earthquake along the San Andreas Fault.  According to the PG&E website, the success of this exercise was the result of improvements to their infrastructure initiated after the 1989 Loma Prieta quake and the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. PG&E continues to harden their infrastructure to quickly identify potential gas leaks and to provide sophisticated switching of electrical circuits to restore electrical power quickly to affected areas.

However, in a remote area such as ours, “quickly” may not translate to minutes – we should be prepared for hours and potentially days without power.  Are you prepared to meet your basic power needs such as food storage (refrigerator),  food preparation, lighting, heating, etc.?  Do you have a back-up emergency power source?

The two main types of backup power systems are (1) portable, and (2) standby. Table 1 compares the two types. Here are some good articles:

Table 1. Comparison of portable an standby generators.

Cost $400 - $1000 $7000+
Fuel gasoline propane, natural gas
Run time* 1 day (12 gallons gasoline) 14 days (250 gallons propane)
Typical pros Compact, inexpensive Automatic start
Typical cons Manual start, run extension cords, store gasoline

Professional installation, 250 gal propane tank


* Run time is highly dependent on amount of fuel stored and power consumption of various devices. For instance, an air conditioner during a heat wave will dramatically increase power consumption and decrease run time.

The following building contractors were recommended by your neighbors in Vista Verde. To submit additional recommendations, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include as much of the information shown below as you have available, including the type of work the contractor does (e.g., building, plumbing, landscaping).

Sudden Oak Death (SOD) is a disease that infects and kills certain oak tree species. SOD has killed many trees in Vista Verde and the surrounding area and continues to spread. This article discusses SOD and how it can be prevented. The Vista Verde/Los Trancos Woods Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Task Force was formed to help minimize the effects of SOD in our neighborhood by educate homeowners and identifying best practices. The SOD Task Force is headed by Amanda Lee and has compiled the information below.

Most Vista Verde residents moved to this area because they love the beauty of the native plants and enjoy the opportunity to see wild birds and animals nearby. This landscape guide, contributed by Yvonne Price, provides direction in planting with suitable natives and other plants that lend themselves naturally to this area. Appropriate landscaping helps avoid conflicts with Vista Verde's natural surroundings while enhancing the beauty and maintaining the character of this area.

Although the oakworm devastation is alarming looking, it is not an alarming situation for the oaks. "Defoliation seldom, if ever, kills affected trees" according to the USDA publication, "A Field Guide to Insects and Pathogens of California Oaks" (an excellent resource!).  Copied below are pages 14 & 15 describing California oakworm/oakmoth. The "Importance" paragraph is moved to the fore. Note also that oakworm infestation is unrelated to Sudden Oak Death (SOD).

Agri-Fos is phosphate compound formulated to stimulate growth in trees. Research has shown that about 80% of trees respond well to treatment, meaning that their defenses are stronger. Applications should be made when the tree is actively transpiring. Avoid treating trees during very hot or very cold weather.  Also, avoid applying the compound when deciduous oaks have lost their leaves or when new leaves are emerging in the spring.

To reduce the spread of SOD, a study conducted by the USDA recommends that Bay trees be separated from susceptible oaks per these specifications:

  1. Removing bay from within 2.5 m (8.2 ft.) of the trunk of a susceptible oak
  2. Extending bay foliage-oak trunk clearance to 5 m (16.4 ft.) where possible, especially in the direction(s) from which storm winds blow.
  3. Pruning low branches to obtain up to 5 m (16.4 ft.) of clearance in the lower canopy even if upper canopy bay branches are present at closer horizontal distances
  4. Eliminating poison oak climbing at canopy level within an oak or in adjacent tree within 2.5 m (8.2 ft.) of the oak trunk.

Depending on your circumstances, trimming back bays and other carrier plants/trees can be relatively easy. For the non-do-it-yourselfers we've heard recommendations for the following tree trimming contractors.

Below are tree companies recommended by neighbors for SOD treatment and tree trimming, many of whose charges are very reasonable.

By Amanda Lee

Once SOD-infested oaks, bay laurels, and other trees are taken down, that material is still capable of infecting living trees. Recommendations for disposal of SOD-infested material found on website from the “Homeowner’s Guide” ( ) are:  “In infested areas where burning is not possible, the best option is to leave infested material on site, chipping the small material (for use as ground cover) and using larger pieces for firewood. Composting can also successfully kill the pathogen, but the compost must reach temperatures that are probably not possible or practical in a home composting site. Since inoculum levels are already thought to be high in an infested site, leaving the additional inoculum from the infested plant material on site will not significantly worsen the local disease conditions.”

From Dr. Matteo Garbelotto, Forest Pathologist and Mycologist, UC Berkeley October 20, 2007

The assumption (in Dr. Cindy Russell's email below) is that massive spraying will occur, which is not the case.  Treatments are focused on individual trees and the bark applications are not broadcasted but basically carefully applied on individual trees.

Fueling a car is a lot more dangerous than an appropriate application of Pentrabark from an environmental perspective.  Because the product sticks on the target surface, it is extremely difficult for it to get into the environment.

The email I was sent takes the treatments out of context, however we will dedicate an equal amount of time to injections that do not require Pentrabark.