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This month's Spotlight Project is Storke Ranch in Goleta. This is an outstanding example of an environmentally friendly large-scale landscaping project.

It utilizes the latest in computerized weather monitoring equipment that adjusts the watering schedules every day to reduce water usage based on temperature, rainfall, and other factors and also alerts when there is any leakage.

The landscaping won a well-deserved award from Goleta Valley Beautiful last year.

Dave Fudurich of Kitson Landscape Management has supported the Green Gardener Program from the beginning. He and all his team managers have completed the program, both regular and advanced.Fudurich01

Since taking over this project four years ago, Dave has replaced many of the plants for compatability and sustainability. That means keeping roses and natives from being on the same drip system, since their water needs would be incompatible. Also plants that were attractive to pests have been replaced. In the top picture the hedge in the back replaces a Ceonothus hedge that had a whitefly problem.

There is no reliable biological control for whitefly so the Ceonothus was replaced with Podocarpus which has an attractive growing habit that does not require shearing.

Besides biological controls, Dave also uses pruning to reduce pest problems. A certain variety of daylily was getting rust, so it gets cut back to the ground regularly to get a fresh start.

The public areas of this project are using reclaimed water and there is a large wetlands meadow in the center of the property that is left as wild habitat. This area is being restored by homeowners, led by Kelly Hildner, and volunteers. Gradually the non-native species are being removed and native species restored.

Fruit and avocado trees are interspersed through the gardens for the enjoyment of all the residents and there is an area where homeowners can grow vegetables if they wish. The Homeowners Association also puts mulching into the budget every year since Dave knows mulching is a key component for the success of this low water using landscaping.

You can find Kitson Landscape Management on the Advanced Green Gardener list by clicking here