Q&A: 5 Common Commercial Landscape Questions, Answered
Q: When Should You Remove or Replace Shrubs on Your Property?
A: Removal or replacement of shrubs depends on the type of shrubs on your property, their placement, and the condition of the plants – are they overgrown, appearing unhealthy, not in ideal locations for healthy growth, in need of constant pruning or hedging? If yes, removal or replacement may be necessary.
As shrubs age, they tend to lose their fullness and grow at a slower rate, especially if in high-traffic areas – around doors or walkways, lining sidewalks, against buildings, etc. – where severe pruning is required to prevent overgrowth. Other factors, like plant type, sun exposure, and maintenance techniques, also affect the plants’ lifespan.
If your shrubs still have some life left but have become overgrown for a too-small area, are producing fewer leaves, green growth, and/or blooms, they can often be revived by hard pruning – cutting them back significantly to stimulate new, healthy growth. It’s important that pruning is done at the right time of year (depending on plant type) and only as often as needed.
If the shrubs are not in an optimal location for continued growth or unhealthy and visually unappealing, or if pruning isn’t recommended, removal or replacement may be a better option. Your commercial maintenance contractor should choose plants ideal for your property, placing them in areas where natural pruning is possible, allowing for healthy growth. This will increase the lifespan of the plant, make removal or replacement less frequent and keep maintenance costs down. Plant growth regulators may also be used in some cases to extend plant life by slowing down growth.
Q: Should You Upgrade Irrigation With High-Efficient Components?
A: Irrigation systems undergo regular wear and tear and components should be repaired and replaced as needed. But when is it time to upgrade your property’s irrigation system with high-efficient components?
The biggest factors when deciding to upgrade are functionality and efficiency. Is the irrigation system providing plants on the property the water they need while keeping costs low? If the answer is no, it may be time to replace certain components, such as nozzles.
A popular option for irrigation nozzles are rotary stream sprays. These components allow for longer run times, using a slower, steady application, reducing water usage and preventing evaporation and run-off.
Q: How to Choose the Right Trees for Your Property When Removal or Replacement is Needed
A: Oftentimes trees are planted in areas not suitable for long-term growth. If too close to buildings or in parking lots, for example, as trees grow their roots may become invasive and cause structural damage, or become safety hazards if not maintained properly. Trees can also take nutrients and water away from other plants in the landscape, not allowing them to thrive.
When deciding on new trees, your account manager and/or landscape designer should recommend trees suitable for your property, less prone to disease and pests, and placement that won’t interfere with other plants and structures. You could also consider not replacing removed trees if changing the look of your landscape – to a drought-tolerant plant palette for example. This could cut down on long-term costs associated with landscape, like maintenance and water.
Q: Are Organic Fertilizers and Herbicides as Effective as Traditional Products?
A: In most cases, yes, organic and non-toxic products are just as effective but results are dependent on several factors, such as plant type and the specific issue being treated. Weeds, for instance, are not as easy to control with natural pre and post emergents; the options are still somewhat limited and could elicit more alternative methods of weed control, like pulling weeds, resulting in increased manual labor on the property.
Hybrid (bridge) fertilizer products, which are a more organic option, may be recommended since they utilize slow-release ingredients, meaning less application needed with maximum effectiveness and a longer residual.
Q: Is Electric-Powered Equipment Recommended Over Gas-Powered?
A: Electric-powered landscape equipment is growing in popularity as improvements in technology are made, properties are moving towards more sustainable solutions, and city requirements are regulating use of gas-powered tools.
The downsides to electric-powered equipment are the costs associated with the tools (more expensive investment initially, additional batteries, equipment management, and manpower required by landscape crews). If the goal of the property and management company is to lower their environmental footprint though, the return will outweigh the cost in most cases.