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25
Jan

A Guide to Repairing Patches and Bare Spots on Your California & Arizona Sod

Maintaining a lush and vibrant lawn in the California and Arizona desert areas can be challenging due to the arid climate and water restrictions. However, with the right knowledge and care, you can revive your lawn by addressing patches and bare spots effectively. Here are some practical steps to repair and rejuvenate your lawn. Southern California and Arizona are known for their hot and dry conditions, making lawncare a unique challenge. Patches and bare spots can result from various factors, including:

  • Drought Stress: Limited water availability can lead to dry and bare areas in your lawn.
  • High Temperatures: Intense heat can cause grass to wither and die, creating unsightly patches.
  • Poor Soil Quality: Many areas in these regions have sandy or clayey soil, which may lack essential nutrients.
  • Overuse of Fertilizers: Improper use of fertilizers can contribute to patchiness and bare spots.
  • Foot Traffic and Compaction: High foot traffic can compact the soil, restricting grass growth.

Repairing Patches and Bare Spots:

  1. Watering Strategy:

Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth.

Invest in a smart irrigation system to optimize water usage based on weather conditions.

  1. Choose Drought-Tolerant Grass Varieties:

Opt for grass types like Bermuda that thrive in arid climates.

  1. Soil Improvement:

Consider using a soil aerator to alleviate compaction issues.

  1. Appropriate Fertilization:

Use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer to provide essential nutrients without causing excessive growth. Follow recommended application rates to avoid fertilizer burn.

  1. Overseeding:

Overseed the existing lawn with drought-resistant grass seeds to fill in bare spots.

Ensure good seed-to-soil contact by raking the area lightly after seeding.

  1. Mowing Practices:

Set your mower blade to the recommended height for your grass type.

Avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass height at a time to prevent stress.

  1. Adequate Shade:

Plant shade trees strategically to provide relief from the scorching sun.

Use temporary shade structures for vulnerable areas.

  1. Pest and Disease Management:

Keep an eye out for pests and diseases, as weakened grass is more susceptible. Use eco-friendly pest control methods to minimize environmental impact.

Repairing patches and bare spots in your lawn in desert areas in Southern California and Arizona requires a holistic approach that considers the unique challenges posed by the arid climate. By implementing water-wise practices, choosing appropriate grass varieties, and addressing soil health, you can enjoy a resilient and green lawn year-round. Stay committed to regular maintenance, and your lawn will become a thriving oasis in the midst of the desert landscape. For more information, visit https://westcoastturf.com

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02
Jan

Illuminate Your New Year’s Eve: Southern California Garden Party Edition

As the mild Southern California evenings grace us with their presence, take the opportunity to bid farewell to 2023 in style. Transform your outdoor space into the ultimate New Year’s Eve garden party with a few simple nighttime decorating tricks. From creative lighting to reimagined Christmas decorations, here’s how to craft the perfect atmosphere for a night of socializing, hors oeuvres and cocktails, and dancing under the stars.

  1. Set the Stage for Comfort: Before diving into the decorations, ensure your guests have a cozy outdoor space by incorporating heating elements like portable fire pits and heat lamps. Opt for lush, cold-activated superior fescue sod to delineate your party area and walkways, providing a resilient foundation for your festivities.
  2. Hanging Decor Magic: Utilize the vertical spaces in your backyard for festive decorations. Hang star garlands, streamers, curled ribbons, and glittery Christmas bulbs from tree branches, decks, outdoor staircases, or even your backyard tool shed. Embrace the charm of irregular placement to weave together the existing elements of your outdoor haven.
  3. Elegance in Floral Pots: Add an air of sophistication with cut flowers in decorative pots that match your chosen color theme. White roses in glass bowls with gold foil accents exude classic elegance. Scatter these floral arrangements at the edges of your party space or make them the centerpiece of guest tables for an extra touch of charm.
  4. Reimagined Christmas Decor: Give your Christmas decorations a second life in the backyard. Revitalize a Christmas tree with metallic tinsel, glittery ornaments, and luminous garlands. Illuminate tree trunks, arches, and awning poles with Christmas lights or create a magical ambiance with string lights and paper lanterns. Transform a Christmas wreath with quirky elements like pinwheels for a playful touch.
  5. Creative Outdoor Lighting: Soft lighting is key to maintaining a festive and relaxed atmosphere. Reuse Christmas lights and explore other inventive options. Hang candles in mason jars from tree branches, use votives to outline walkways, or employ tiki torches to corral your guests and create a warm glow that lasts well into the night.
  6. Enchanting Archway Designs: Welcome your guests with festive archways that set the tone for celebration. Cover them in balloons matching your color theme, string lights, or drape long “hair” tinsel to add an element of mystique. Make your guests feel like VIPs as they step into your transformed garden party space.

With these imaginative decorating ideas, your New Year’s Eve garden party is guaranteed to be a memorable affair. Embrace the enchanting ambiance of a beautifully adorned outdoor space and usher in the new year surrounded by the warmth and beauty of your transformed garden. Cheers to a night of celebration, under the stars and in good company! For more information visit: http://westcoastturf.com

Happy New Year!

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01
Dec

Water Saving Tips for Your California and Arizona Winter Lawn

Saving water in desert areas of California and Arizona during the winter is crucial, especially considering the region’s arid climate. Here are some water-saving tips for the winter months:

Adjust Irrigation Schedules: Reduce irrigation frequency. In winter, plants generally require less water due to lower temperatures and reduced evaporation. Adjust your irrigation schedule accordingly.

Watering During Optimum Times: Water during off-peak hours. Watering during the early morning or late afternoon helps minimize evaporation and ensures that plants absorb more moisture.

Use Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around plants. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, reduces evaporation, and suppresses weed growth. It also acts as insulation, protecting plant roots from temperature fluctuations.

Choose Drought-Tolerant Plants: Opt for native and drought-resistant plants. These plants are adapted to the local climate and require less water to thrive. Consider xeriscaping, which involves landscaping with water-efficient plants.

Fix Leaks: Check and repair irrigation system leaks. Leaks waste a significant amount of water. Regularly inspect your irrigation system for leaks and fix them promptly.

Collecting Rainwater: When it does rain, capture and store rainwater in barrels or containers. You can use this stored water for plants during drier periods.

Install a Smart Irrigation System: Upgrade to a smart irrigation controller. These systems use weather data to adjust watering schedules, ensuring that plants receive the right amount of water based on current weather conditions.

Group Plants with Similar Water Needs: Zone your landscape and group plants with similar water requirements together. This allows you to water different zones appropriately, providing each group with the necessary amount of water.

By implementing these water-saving measures, residents in desert areas can contribute to sustainable water usage, even during the winter months.

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01
Dec

Synthetic Turf – Drought Fix or Health and Environmental Hazard?

California is no stranger to drought, it’s a recurring feature of our climate, especially in desert areas. Arizona has been in some stage of drought since 1994(!), so drought is a long-term concept in the West. Many shifts are made for the purpose of water conservation, one of which is in landscaping. With these dry times saw a large uptick in fake lawns. 

In a recent controversial move, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill aimed at restricting the use of “forever chemicals” in synthetic lawns. The veto highlights the state’s complex stance on artificial turf, as it was a material once promoted as a water-saving solution during droughts. The vetoed bill was part of a broader effort to address health concerns associated with synthetic turf, particularly the presence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals, found in the crumb rubber base of artificial turf, have been linked to various chronic diseases. Despite growing worries about the environmental impact and health risks, manufacturers claim they are working to address concerns by exploring alternative materials. However, removing PFAS entirely has proven challenging.

The debate over synthetic turf in California reflects a shift in legislative priorities, with some cities already moving to ban artificial lawns due to environmental concerns. Researchers emphasize the potential health risks associated with PFAS, which can enter the human body through various pathways, including skin contact, inhalation, and water contamination.

Studies indicate that high temperatures can cause chemicals to leach out of the crumb rubber base, posing additional risks to human health. Synthetic turf, known for its heat-retaining properties, can reach temperatures significantly higher than living grass, making it a cause for concern. Experts suggest that real grass and plants offer a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic grass. Drought-friendly landscaping options, such as warm-season grasses and native plants, provide cooling benefits and contribute to a healthier urban ecosystem.

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07
Sep

The Importance of Water in the Hotter Months When Laying your Arizona or California Sod

With the intense heat of the summer, it can be an intimidating task to lay sod. Often, the ideal time to lay sod is early to mid-fall, or in the spring. For many people though, summer is the perfect time to get it done. 

Summer can be a hard time for new sod, since it’s hot and the sod can be vulnerable to drought. But with the right strategy and lots of water, you can install warm or cool season sod any time of the year. Here’s how:

  1. Test your soil. Your soil’s health determines the overall health of your grass and testing to make sure it will thrive is the right way to a successful lawn. It helps to balance your soil’s pH so when you apply nutrients found in fertilizers, your grass is able to absorb those. When soil’s pH is off, nutrients can’t be absorbed as effectively and fertilizer you buy may be a waste of money. Taking a soil analysis and sending it to a laboratory is an affordable way to test. 
  2. Choose the right sod for your lawn. Does your lawn have a lot of shade? What grass colors, textures, and physical aspects do you want in your sod? These are questions to ask yourself when choosing. Of course, the climate you live in – in our case, dry desert – plays a huge part in the selection as well. Luckily, this part of the process can be made easy by consulting one of the experts at West Coast Turf. 
  3. Measure the planting area. This will help you determine how much sod you need to order and is crucial whether you’re laying sod in the summer, fall, or spring. There are many apps and tools to calculate how much surface area you’ll need to cover and how much sod is needed. 
  4. Kill and remove old grass. When you install new sod, it’s important that all currently existing grass and other vegetation be removed. 
  5. Prep soil and level. This step is especially important for laying sod in the summer months. Proper site preparation makes it easier for new grass roots to penetrate deeply and evenly—this allows your sod to establish quickly during the stressful heat of the summer. Although you will still need to water your lawn a lot during the summer, deep roots will make the lawn denser and drought resistant, allowing for more efficient use of water and nutrients. A dense lawn will outcompete weeds and resists insects and disease a little better as well.
  6. Lay the new sod. It should remain on the pallet a very short time during summer installations as this will cause the sod to dry out. If you notice the sod is heating up on the pallets, unstack them and spray them with water.
  7. Water and fertilize. It is crucial in the summer months to make sure you are watering your grass adequately!

Please let us know if you have any questions or want to talk about installing new sod! Visit https://westcoastturf.com for more info.

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26
Jun

Dos and Don’ts of Home Sod Installation

When installing California and Arizona sod for your home, there are several dos and don’ts to keep in mind to ensure successful establishment and healthy growth. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Do:

  1. Prepare the soil: Ensure that the soil is properly prepared before laying the sod. Remove any existing grass, weeds, rocks, or debris and loosen the soil with a rake or tiller. Level the surface to avoid uneven areas.
  2. Test soil pH: Conduct a soil test to determine the pH level and nutrient content of the soil. Adjust the pH as necessary by adding lime or sulfur to create an optimal growing environment for the sod.
  3. Water the soil: Before installing the sod, water the soil thoroughly to provide adequate moisture for the roots. This helps the sod to establish and promotes good root contact with the soil.
  4. Lay the sod promptly: Install the sod as soon as possible after delivery or purchase. Sod is a perishable product, and delaying the installation can lead to drying out or root damage.
  5. Lay the sod properly: Start laying the sod along a straight edge, such as a sidewalk or driveway, and work your way across the lawn. Butt the edges of each piece tightly against each other without overlapping, ensuring no gaps or spaces are left between the pieces.
  6. Water immediately: Once a section of sod is laid, water it immediately. This helps settle the soil, removes air pockets, and promotes contact between the roots and soil.
  7. Water regularly: Keep the sod moist by watering it regularly for the first few weeks after installation. Aim for deep watering to encourage the roots to grow deeper into the soil. Avoid overwatering, which can lead to shallow root growth and other issues.
  8. Mow with care: Once the sod has established and grown to the recommended height, mow it to maintain its appearance. Set the mower at the appropriate height and avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade length at a time.

Don’t:

  1. Don’t delay installation: As mentioned earlier, avoid delaying the installation of the sod. The longer it remains rolled up, the greater the chances of it drying out and deteriorating.
  2. Don’t stretch the sod: Avoid stretching the sod while laying it. This can cause the roots to separate from the soil, making it difficult for them to establish properly.
  3. Don’t leave gaps or overlaps: Ensure that the sod pieces are laid tightly against each other without gaps or overlaps. Leaving gaps can result in weed growth and uneven appearance, while overlaps can lead to uneven rooting and hinder growth.
  4. Don’t overwater or underwater: Striking the right balance with watering is crucial. Overwatering can suffocate the roots, encourage disease, and lead to shallow root growth. On the other hand, underwatering can cause the sod to dry out and wither.
  5. Don’t walk on the sod too soon: Avoid walking on or putting heavy objects on the newly installed sod for the first few weeks. This gives the roots time to establish and prevents damage to the delicate young turf.
  6. Don’t mow too short: When it’s time to mow, avoid cutting the grass too short. Scalping the lawn stresses the grass and weakens its ability to thrive.
  7. Don’t neglect maintenance: Once the sod is established, continue with regular maintenance practices such as watering, fertilizing, and weed control. Neglecting these aspects can lead to the deterioration of your lawn.

Remember, each sod variety may have specific care instructions, so it’s always beneficial to consult with a local expert or refer to the sod supplier’s recommendations for best results.

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13
Jun

Essential Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lawn While on Vacation

You look forward to getting out of town to relax on your summer vacation, but it’s important not to neglect your lawn’s health while you’re away. With a little planning and preparation, you can ensure your Arizona and California lawn stays vibrant and healthy even during your absence.

  1. Mowing and Trimming: Before leaving for your vacation, make sure to mow your lawn to an appropriate height. Cutting it slightly shorter than usual will help maintain its appearance for a longer period. Trim the edges to give your lawn a neat and well-maintained look.
  2. Watering: Proper watering is crucial for the health of your lawn. If you’re going away for a short trip (up to a week), deep watering just before leaving should be sufficient. However, for longer vacations, consider these options:

a. Automatic Sprinkler System: Install an automatic sprinkler system or set up timers to ensure your lawn receives adequate water. Adjust the settings based on your lawn’s needs and local watering regulations.

b. Seek Help from a Neighbor or Friend: Request a trusted neighbor or friend to water your lawn while you’re away. Provide them with clear instructions on when and how much to water and show them how to operate your irrigation system if necessary.

c. Slow-Release Watering Methods: Consider using slow-release watering methods, such as drip irrigation or soaker hoses, which gradually provide water to your lawn over an extended period. These methods can minimize water wastage and keep your lawn hydrated.

  1. Weed Control: Weeds can quickly invade your lawn and compete with grass for nutrients and sunlight. Prior to your vacation, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent weed growth. Alternatively, hire a professional lawn care service to manage weed control in your absence.
  2. Fertilization: Proper fertilization promotes healthy grass growth and resilience. Apply a slow-release fertilizer a few days before your departure to ensure your lawn receives essential nutrients throughout your vacation. This will help maintain its health and vigor.
  3. Arrange for Lawn Care Services: Consider hiring professional lawn care services to take care of your lawn while you’re away. They can handle tasks such as mowing, watering, fertilizing, and weed control. Discuss your requirements and schedule with the service provider to ensure your lawn receives the necessary attention.
  4. Mulch Beds and Landscaping: If you have mulch beds or other landscaping features, ensure they are well-maintained before leaving. Mulching helps retain moisture and suppress weed growth, so replenish mulch layers if necessary. Trim any overhanging branches that could potentially shade or damage your lawn.
  5. Secure Outdoor Items: Before leaving, secure any outdoor furniture, toys, or equipment that may obstruct or damage your lawn during strong winds or storms. Store them safely or anchor them down to prevent them from causing damage.

By following these tips and making suitable arrangements, you can maintain a healthy lawn even while you’re on vacation. Planning ahead and enlisting the help of professionals or trusted neighbors will ensure that your lawn stays vibrant, weed-free, and well-hydrated during your time away. Return from your vacation to a lush, beautiful lawn that enhances the overall appeal of your home.

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18
Jul

West Coast Turf Made the 2022 MLB All-Star Team!

Photo credit: Ballparks of Baseball

When you’re watching the 2022 MLB All-Star game on Tuesday, July 19, you’ll also be watching West Coast Turf in action. How is that? Well, for the 4th time, West Coast Turf will be the surface for the All-Star game (held this year at Dodger Stadium). 

Our Tahoma 31 Bermuda grass is currently at not only Dodger Stadium, but also Angel Stadium, and Dignity Health Sports Park, the home of the L.A. Galaxy and UC San Diego’s Triton Soccer Field. This particular turf is the grass of choice for sports fields. There are a lot of reasons for this, one being its low water use. It’s also resistant to winterkill, has characteristics of improved tolerance to wear, salt, and to short mowing heights. Importantly for Southern California, this grass is averse to drought. Its low vertical growth makes it the ideal choice for sports turf, golf courses, and landscape applications. It’s also the perfect choice for home lawns as well, since it’s the most drought-tolerant variety we’ve seen. You can have this exact same grass for your home field! 

Tahoma 31 bermudagrass is a variety of grass that was developed by leading turf scientists at Oklahoma State University. It derives its name from the Native American word, Tahoma, which means “frozen in water”. In addition to the above-mentioned, Tahoma 31 is also used as the turf for Pepperdine Soccer, El Caballero Country Club, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club, Pro Bowl Practice Field 2022, Churchill Downs “Matt Winn Turf Course.” Visit westcoastturf.com for more information.

Tahoma 31 Bermuda (westcoastturf.com)

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06
May

New Turf Course Debuts at Churchill Downs – BloodHorse

Churchill Downs kicked off its opening night on April 30 for a season of horse racing. Not just any horse racing – turf racing. This newly revamped track has a $10 million lawn debuted and was a huge improvement from the old turf, which many say was not holding up well. The old mix was four-inch high Kentucky 31 Fescue (90%) and Bluegrass (10%) grown in a three-inch topsoil layer over a 13-inch course masonry sand base. The new turf course is Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass. Tahoma 31 is a variety we have at West Coast Turf and is the most water-saving of all the varieties we use. Currently, we have Tahoma at Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, and Dignity Health Sports Park (home of the L.A. Galaxy soccer club).

A little trivia: John Foster had the #2 horse in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the dirt surface last year, Hot Rod Charlie, and just got a horse named Tahoma! This Saturday, the country’s most elite racehorses will make their “run for the roses” during the Kentucky Derby. 

Why is the Tahoma 31 such a huge improvement on the turf course? Award-winning jockey, Julien Leparoux, says, “For some reason in the spring, the turf course was actually good and by the time we come back in September it was… the opposite of this (new) turf course now. It felt like, even if we didn’t have any rain, it felt we had like 10 inches of rain the day before the races. It was crazy. The horses were going down pretty deep. A lot of kickback. So, I’m glad they fixed it.”

Said jockey Declan Cannon, “With the old course the roots system was dead and there was no growth. And basically, it needed redoing. It had run its course. It just really needed to be replaced.” Churchill jockey Corey Lanerie concurred, “I’m happy to see them invest money in it and redo it because the other one was getting pretty chewed up, and it wasn’t holding together. So, it’ll be safer for the horses and the jockeys.”

In addition to the new mix of grass, they have improved drainage, and the removal of a crown on the outer part of the old course. The crown was there for drainage, but effectively eliminated that part of the course for running. Providing this new turf for the efficiency, and especially safety, of the jockeys and horses is crucial.  For more information, visit our website at: https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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28
Apr

Changes in Water Restrictions in California

We have all read an article or two lately about the need to cut back on water used outdoors for lawns, trees, and shrubs. We are in a time when water supply is low, and we are caught between trying to keep our homes cooler by having a lawn and using too much water to keep it green. There will always be two sides to this issue as some see lawns and plants as a waste of water and others understand the benefit to the environment. As is the case in politics a blog post or article is not going to change one’s mind one way or the other but being opened to change and learning from each other will help us find a middle ground. Today I am going to talk about ways to reduce water for your turfgrass while keeping the grass healthy, and still providing the benefits to the environment. 

Grass selection is becoming more and more important. Let us start by examining the difference between warm and cool season grasses. Here in the southwest you can expect to use 30% more water by using a cool season grass when compared to a warm season grass. Cool season grasses grow best between 60-75 degrees whereas warm season grasses grow best between 90-105 degrees. Picking a warm season turfgrass for your area can save a significant amount of water and allow you to curtail water use longer during hot, dry periods. Swapping out a tall fescue lawn for a drought tolerant bermudagrass is much cheaper than you think and it will save water and put money back in your pocket. 

The next part of grass selection is determining the right warm season grass for you. Breeders have been working overtime for years to come up with more drought tolerant grasses and they have been very successful. Some of the grasses on the market right now for reducing water are Kurapia (best drought tolerance), Tahoma 31 (second best), Tiftuf (3rd) Santa Ana, Paspalum, and Zoysia (coming soon to WCT). Kurapia is a ground cover that can be maintained on 50-60% replacement of evapotranspiration and even less if you want to slow the growth and put the grass into a state of dormancy during the hot summer. Studies have shown Tahoma 31 to use slightly less water than Tiftuf its closet competitor in the drought market and 20% less water than older bermudagrass varieties. Selecting the right turfgrass will enable your lawn to use less water and maintain drought tolerance through the hot summer.

How much water does grass need to survive? This is a loaded question, and you will get several different answers but on average 1.25” of water per week during the hottest part of the summer will keep your lawn healthy, thriving, and growing. Can you water less than 1.25” and have a good lawn? Absolutely! You could maintain your lawn with a once-a-week deep irrigation cycle during the summer months to keep the plant healthy and alive. The drought tolerant varieties will put your lawn into a state of pseudo dormancy, but the turf will still provide the same environmental benefits. I know for many having a green lawn is important but sometimes its not possible based on available water. In this situation I advise using a product like Endurant Turf Paint to give the lawn the desired color during periods of water reduction. Since the lawn will not be growing much the paint should last 45-60 days. 

Raise your mowing height during the summer. The shorter you maintain your lawn, the shallower the root system will be for the plant. Most warm season grasses can be maintained between half and inch and one and a half inches. These are the optimal ranges but do not be afraid to raise the height to two inches and save even more water.

 Water infiltration is extremely important. If your soil is a hard pan and water sheets off the ground every time you water, there is some work to do. Grass loves a deep watering which can happen all at once or broken up in the cycle/soak method. This means running 10-15 minutes and then letting it soak for an hour or more before running the second half of the cycle. If you cannot run more than a few minutes of water without runoff its time to aerate and open the soil. This will relieve compaction and allow water to freely get into the soil. 

Irrigation systems save time, water, and money. Putting in a smart timer that calculates evapotranspiration and tests soil moisture will help keep water use down and drastically lower your budget. These smart devices calculate real time weather, plant needs, and soil data. You can set them to use 70-80% of ET to keep your lawn growing. Many cities offer free irrigation clocks and soil moisture monitor tools so check with your city and see what is available. 

There are so many great options on the market right now to save water and allow you to have a healthy lawn. Remember that a lawn does not have to be bright green to be healthy. No one wants to give up their lawn and no one will have to if we all use some conservation methods. If you have any questions on any varieties send me an email and I will be happy to help you out. For more information about us, visit: westcoastturf.com

Click here for:

-Jay, Mr. Wise Grass

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