Saturday, May 4, 2013

Safe & Clean Zone at McKinley Square

San Francisco Park and Recreation has agreed, to do a trial at McKinley Square of a Safe & Clean zone.  An grass area attached to the kids playground area.  This area will be a dog free zone.  This is nothing against dogs, as many families have dogs,  but indeed some dogs can sometimes be a little aggressive, and sometimes dog poop doesn't get (completely) picked up, and a toddler isn't always so careful about what they put their hands into.

This area will be intended to be for kids, but there is not a restriction that this area be kids only.  

This is a trial, and if the community appreciates this it can be continued.  If it is not wanted, it can be removed. 

The fence will need to purchased by the community, but it will be managed by Park & Recreation.

The fence/barrier is intended to be a non intrusive, yet functional fence, that a parent can step over, but children not so.

For the first time in 10+ years of living near McKinley Square I saw kids playing, and tumbling into the grass without any worries.  This Kid Zone was so small, it does not take away from anyone's ability to enjoy the park which ever way they wished.

From what I have seen, dog owners are very conscientious and respectful, and understand the desire for this zone.  Maybe a few might have behaved poorly, or didn't understand, but all in all, I think everyone understands we are all part of the same community and everyone wants to have fun in the resources we have.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Join us for special Saturday McKinley Square Hillside Restoration
Saturday March 16th, 10am-12:30pm


What: Restoring the McKinley Square hillside with native plants.  

Where: McKinley Square Hillside, in San Francisco, at 20th St at San Bruno Ave.  

When: We meet once a month,  next meet up is Saturday March 16th, 10am-12:30pm 

Want more info: email:  

 or check out our blog & website,  at

Below is a brief summary with pictures to help illustrate what we do. 


Foxtails :  The McKinley Square hillside is a designated off leash dog area, which but has a foxtail infestation. 
What are they? sometimes called wild barley, foxtail weeds feature arrow shaped seeds that can be hazardous and fatal to dogs, getting caught in dogs toes, underbelly, and especially dangerous when inhaled in a dog's nose. Foxtails pop up every spring, and we have been eradicating them at McKinley Square and replacing them with native plants and grasses. We have been doing this for a number of years, but we can really use a large group to help remove them from the hillside in one shot. If we keep our efforts up, the foxtails will be virtually eliminated. Please join us.

There has been an ongoing effort by volunteers remove the foxtail weeds and plant native plants and grasses. 

Natives such as  Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Sticky Monkey Flower (Mimulus Aurantiacus), Perennial Aster (Aster chilensis), California Scorpion Flower (Phacelia californica), Gum Plant (Grindelia camporum), Costal Buckwheat (Eriogonum Latifolium), Red Fescue (Festuca rubra ‘Molate’) , California Fescue (Festuca californica ), Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha ), Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), Monardella Villosa (coyote mint), Carex vulpinoidea (Brown fox sedge), Indian milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa ), Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis ), Showy Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis), Silver Lupine (Lupinus albifrons var albifrons), Summer Lupine (Lupinus formosus ), Calfornia Melic (Melica californica), One-sided Bluegrass (Poa secunda), Sea Thrift (Armeria) 


These native are good for native butterflies and other insects.  Real differences are showing at McKinley Square as more and more butterflies appear in spring, and less and less foxtails. 
All volunteers get to go home with a few rare native plants.  What is good for the hillside, is also good for our backyards.

On our volunteer days, lunch and drinks are typically supplied by Potrero Hill's Goat Hill Pizza & Chiotras Grocery.

The volunteers at McKinley Square are non-profit fiscal sponsored organization.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cardboard mulching at McKinley Square

Helping native (and other plantings) with Cardboard mulching.

Clean cardboard (no tape, no staples) is a great source of for mulching.

Below are some pictures of the cardboard mulching around native plants that were planted in McKinley Square hillside in San Francisco.

The need for the cardboard mulching is to prevent invasive weeds from blocking out sunlight for the young native plants.  

Such invasive plants include Oxalis, and Foxtail weeds,  Oxalis, although not a hazard to dogs like fox Foxtail, contributes to the success of the Foxtail,  as Oxalis is strong in rainy season, and Foxtail follows once the Oxalis goes dormant. Its a 1-2 punch against native plants.

The native plants we are protecting with this cardboard mulching is Pacific Aster & California Fescue.

The cardboard itself will not be visible, as it will be covered with mulch, and then it will disintegrate after a few months.
Cut the cardboard halfway through to the center and make a hole, so you can move the cardboard around the trunk of the plant or grass. In this case the cardboard was pre-sliced 3 times (from a case of bottles) which was still fine to use. 

On the left is a finished product, on the right is cardboard mulching in progress, and in the center, you can't see it until the next picture, is and example of the before, our native plant, California Fescue is being suffocated of sunlight from the invasive Oxalis weeds.  

OK, there it is, the California Fescue which was not even visible in the previous picture is now dominant with the cardboard in place.  Once the card board is in place, cover it with wood chips, or other mulch, as was done to the California Fescue to the right and left.   Note how these plants are surrounded by weeds such as Oxalis. Before the cardboard was put in place, it was almost impossible to see the California Fescue.  With the protection against weeds given by the cardboard mulching, these California Fescue should succeed and thrive.

An example of cardboard mulching being set up around Pacific Astor

Its an easy one person job, but its always nice to have a friend help you.  In my case my cat Chewy joined me.