Racoons wreaking havoc with lawns in Belwood and east Los Gatos

Racoon Lawn Damage in Belwood September 2014 Has your yard been hit yet? For the last month or two, many Belwood and nearby residents have been awakening in the morning to damaged landscaping, particularly front lawns.  One home owner phoned the Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police to complain about his vandalized front yard. But this time, it’s not human caused damage.

On several social media sites, neighbors vent that they have been victims of wild pigs or boars.  But that’s not it – at least not for most of us.  Boars do far more destruction and they are further in the hills, though perhaps if you are in the east Los Gatos foothills around Santa Rosa, or in parts of Almaden near open space that could be a risk.

Although sometimes the damage is quite extensive, involving a large percentage of one’s front lawn, the guilty parties are usually hungry racoons.  Crows may be assisting too, but they don’t create problems on as large of a scale.

They are after a meal in the form of tasty lawn grubs.  Grubs find their way into the soil to eat the roots of the grass, and those grubs seem to be the best eating in town for some of the local wildlife.

If that’s not enough,  squirrels like to bury food in lawns, too (someone is giving out peanuts in the shell – the squirrels keep burying them in our lawn – I’ve watched them!).
Racoon attacked lawn October 2014
The first photo is of our family’s front yard and it was taken in early September. The second one is of our next door neighbor’s place, and it was taken about a week ago.

Most of the time, the racoons creep out in the middle of the night, but not always.  A couple of days ago, our hungry hunters came back between about 6pm and9pm.  It must have only barely been dark!

So what can you do about it?

In my real estate practice, recently I showed a home with a lawn grub problem.  The home owners there laid down something like a soft plastic chicken wire atop the lawn and similar landscaping.  It did seem to work in terms of keeping the critters out, but it may not do anything at all for the grubs which are the Siren call to them.

One grub solution is beneficial nematodes.  These are a type of roundworm used to kill the grubs without using pesticides.  This approach may work for some but I’m reading comments online that this has not been so successful for many who’s attempted to quash the grubs this way.

There are anti grub pesticides available as well.  Sunset Magazine advises that the best thing to do is to dig into your lawn and get some of the grub worms to take to your local nursery to identify the culprit, as different treatments will be more successful with one type of grub than another.

No matter how you treat them, you do want to get rid of the grub worms, as a serious infestation will not only be unsightly, but eventually will kill the lawn.

Los Gatos lawn after grub incited racoon attack

Halloween Party at Belwood of Los Gatos

 Belwood of Los Gatos Halloween  PartyHalloween fun in the Belwood of Los Gatos Community!

Halloween is being celebrated at the Belwood of Los Gatos cabana club, Sunday Oct 26th 3- 6pm. Wear your costumes! Enjoy games, prizes,  popcorn & seeing everyone in the spirit. Spooky haunted house tours too – in years past they began at 5pm.

Volunteers needed! Here’s how to sign up to help:

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:http://vols.pt/5sWqqD

2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)

3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone.

Belwood Halloween

Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby sales year to date

Real estate sales this year in the east Los Gatos areas including Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood of Los Gatos and homes close to Harwood but within the Los Gatos town boundaries have been small in number due to the extraordinarily tight inventory levels.  Below are the closed and pending sales as reported in the MLS for this calendar year so far.

Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby

Of the nine closed sales, 5 sold for more than list price – most or all of these were multiple offer situations.  The other four had a variety of situations: one was bank owned, one needed several hundred thousand in finishing work (there was no kitchen, there were no bathrooms, etc.).  The one on Alerche sold “off market” and “off mls”.

Interested in buying or selling a home in or near this pretty corner of Los Gatos?  Please give me a call or send me an email today!

Deer resistant landscaping

Two deer - Belgatos Park, Los GatosAs plums fall from our neighbor’s trees, the deer come to assist in the cleanup.  We walk our dog past this area daily and are noticing the distinct hoof marks left by the deer as they come to claim their dessert each night.

On Alerche Drive, many homes have wrought iron fences and gates installed to keep the deer from devouring their expensive landscaping.  For most of Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont, though, a 5′ tall fence of this sort is not feasible, nor would the local rules and regulations permit them anywhere close to the street.  Aside from big barriers, what can be done to protect plants and trees from our voracious friends?

A number of websites include information on deer resistant – or possibly “deer proof” – landscaping.  Here are some helpful resources:

Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay offers landscaping tips and a list of plants less likely to make the favorites list for the deer:
http://www.yerbabuenanursery.com/DEER1a.php

On the Central Coast area of California, the Las Pilitas Nursery suggests that most ideal is to target plants which less susceptible to both deer and fire:  http://www.laspilitas.com/easy/deerfire.htm

The Deer Friendly website shares information on landscaping to avoid attracting deer as well as hints on barriers to them.
http://www.deerfriendly.com/deer-resistant-plants (and more links too)

 

Video drive through Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood and the Alerche & Harwood Hills neighborhood

Where is the Surmont neighborhood? Where is Belwood? Belgatos? Heritage Grove?

Bing map of east Los Gatos neighborhoods is largely wrongSometimes the search engines cause more harm than good when they begin to label Los Gatos neighborhoods for us.  In the case of Surmont, as well as Heritage Grove, Belwood and Belgatos, that is certainly the case.

Bing has published a map with the wrong answers.  So let’s set it right for the good people trying to figure out what is where.  This mislabeled map puts Surmont across both where it does belong and neighboring Heritage Grove.  It has Heritage Grove north of Strathmore neighborhood (which is correctly placed).  Belwood and Belgatos seem to be either one and the same or north/south of each other.

Of 5 named neighborhoods, one of them is correct.

So let’s set the record straight.

Where is the Surmont neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Surmont starts with Westhill Drive and runs through approximately halfway between Old Orchard and Belblossom.  These homes are a little older than those in Belwood and Belgatos.  Many of them are custom or semi-custom, and a few have large lots with views. The streets include Westhill Drive, Surmont Drive, Surmont Court, Old Orchard Drive and Campos Verde.

Where is the Belgatos neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Belgatos begins with the end of the Surmont subdivision and continues up to Belgatos Road.  Like Surmont, some of the homes along Westhill have bigger lots and views.  These seem to be custom homes built to take advantage of valley vistas.  Other houses down on the flatter area look to be semi custom in many cases. Streets found here are part of Westhill, part of Belblossom, part of Belvue, and part of Belgatos.

Where is the Belwood neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Belwood of Los Gatos runs approximately between Belgatos Road and Harwood.  Some of this area was added about 10 years later (part of Bacigalupi Drive and Jamie Court behind it) and they are not part of the original Belwood subdivision.  This area has optional dues and may use the pool if paying that year.  The rest of Belwood pays lower dues but it’s not option.  The newer stretch also has smaller lots, mostly about 8,000 SF lots instead of 10,000 SF lots. Please see the HOA’s website, BelwoodHomes.org, to get more precise boundary information for Belwood and the pool.  Westhill continues into this area, though the homes appear more semi custom than Belwood generally.  Most of the streets begin with “Bel” as in Belridge, Belcrest, Belglen, Belwood Gateway.

Where is the Heritage Grove neighborhood of Los Gatos?

Heritage Grove is a newer (for Los Gatos) subdivision just off of Blossom Hill Road.   The roads there are Regent Drive, Heintz Court, Ayala Court and Ramohs Way.  If you’d like more information on this younger, upscale subdivision, please read the following article in my Valley of Hearts Delight blog, which includes a slideshow and a bit of local history:
The Heritage Grove Neighborhood in Los Gatos and the Heintz Open Space Preserve
Heritage Grove Surmont Belgatos Belwood of Los Gatos

If you enjoy this blog and would like more information on Los Gatos or the San Jose and Silicon Valley areas generally, please have a look at my other blogs:

Live in Los Gatos blog (newly moved to WordPress, better than ever!)
Valley of Hearts Delight blog (SanJoseRealEstateLosGatosHomes.com)

Belwood of Los Gatos July 4th Celebration

The Belwood of Los Gatos community is hosting its annual Independence Day or 4th of July celebration and the details are announced on the Belwood HOA website. (Quick note: A parade begins at Mulberry School (220 Belgatos Road) at 12:30.  The neighborhood festivities run from 1 – 5 at the cabaña.  Read all about it on the Belwood HOA site!)

Please note that since the weather is really hot and dry, the risk of fire danger is high right now.  A sign at Belgatos Park warns that viewing fireworks is strictly prohibited.

Belwood Cabaña is on FacebookGot Facebook? If so, you might consider “liking” the Belwood Cabaña page on Facebook.  They are great at keeping people updated on neighborhood events (this is not my page, btw).  That’s where I first learned that the holiday is being celebrated in traditional fashion.

Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby area real estate listings and sales

 

Belwood Belgatos Surmont Los Gatos area sales June 15This afternoon I ran the recent listings and sales in the Belwood of Los Gatos, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby areas.  These contiguous east Los Gatos neighborhoods have extremely low turnover, so not surprisingly, there are few sales!!

It should be noted that larger homes on larger lots usually sell for far less on a price per square foot basis – so it’s not really fair to compare a house on an acre with one sitting on a 10,000 sf lot. Additionally, homes in the $2 million plus range are a very different creature than those closer to $1 million in terms of multiple offers and the sale price to list price ratio.  In some cases, though, even these higher end homes get multiple offers and sell for more than the asking price.

Finally, the type in the image below is a little small, but if you click on it, you will get a larger, more readable version.

Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby area sales June 15 2014

Belwood, Belgatos, Surmont and nearby area sales June 15 2014

Update on Nextdoor for our corner of east Los Gatos

The Nextdoor site for Surmont, Belgatos, Belwood and the nearby areas (Jamie Court, Almond Blossom Court, Sebastian Court, Alerche Drive, Crider Court, and Harwood Road & Court) is growing fast!  We are up to almost 50% membership.

As of mid June, we have 367 members and 274 households out of 573 (48%).

Want to join?  Go to www.Nextdoor.com and enter your address.  This is a private social network for residents so you’ll need to get your residency verified so look for your options for doing that.

Spring 2014 Belwood of Los Gatos Belringer online

The Spring 2014 Belwood of Los Gatos Belringer newsletter is available online at this link (a pdf):

http://belwoodhomes.org/Belwood/Newsletter_files/2014_Spring_Belringer.pdf

This website is provided by Mary Pope-Handy, a Belwood resident and real estate agent. *******************************

For the HOA site,
and phone numbers for the Cabana or HOA, please visit
BelwoodHomes.org

*******************************

Mary Pope-Handy
Realtor, Belwood resident
BRE License # 01153805
CIPS, CRS, SRES, ABR
Sereno Group, Los Gatos
mary (at) popehandy.com
408 204-7673

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