Commonly Ignored Best Practices of Commercial Landscape Maintenance
Author: Tim Hawkins
How you care for your plants makes all the difference in the lifespan and overall look of them. Here are some best practice tips for landscape maintenance:
The difference between hard pruning versus using hedge shears is significant when not shearing the correct plants. The more you improperly prune your plants, the more often you will need to be outside pruning them. Keeping the significant pruning to hard pruning in the winter will make a difference in how time consuming your plants are throughout the rest of the year.
Clearing low-hanging branches and overgrown plant material will open up lines of sight into your property, decrease potential hazards and eliminate safety concerns of individuals hiding in your plants.
With the weight of a commercial mower and mowing in the same direction each week, your turf is prone to having a matted look, unhealthy and unsightly grass. You can help fix that by alternating your mowing pattern each visit encouraging standing turf.
Fertilizer can be a great resource for your turf and plants, but too much of it can harm your landscape. Commonly referred to as fertilizer burn, having too much can cause yellow, brown or dead sections. Additionally, the more you apply fertilizer, the more dependent your turf & plants become on that particular fertilizer to look and stay healthy. Leaving your grass clippings is a great way to naturally fertilize your lawn. Organic fertilizers are also a great way to have a more balanced and sustainable landscape.
Annuals are a great way to add seasonal color to your landscape, whether they are around entrances, signage, walkways or plant beds giving a fresh and updated look to a potentially older property.
Cleaning up the landscape debris after you are done maintaining your property, instead of blowing it into the street or a native area will help you to be more responsible as a community association manager or owner and it will make your property and the surrounding areas more appealing and help to reduce pollution problems.
Having a mulch bed around your trees helps protect the trees’ trunks from mechanical damage caused by mowers and trimmers and improves the overall appearance of the property. Mulching your beds throughout the property can help nourish your plants, increase curb appeal & reduce weed infestation.
One mistake seen frequently is people using the wrong equipment for the task at hand. Whether it is hand pruners, string trimmers or mowers, be sure that you or your service provider is giving you the proper and best resources for maintaining your landscape.
Misunderstanding the pitfalls caused by regular landscape maintenance can lead to long-term failure of your landscape. Focusing on the ‘big picture’ of your property and where you want to take the landscape can have a lasting impact on your budget, overall aesthetic and how much effort is required to keep the property looking good long term.
(Editor’s Note: This blog article first appeared in the May 2018 issue of Community Associations Journal.)
Tim Hawkins is the owner of Brookstone Landscape & Design. Having been involved in the landscape industry for over 15 years, he takes pride in developing solutions and opportunities for people! In his free time, he enjoys running marathons and spending time with his family.