If you are going to hire a professional landscape service to help with your landscape maintenance needs, it’s important you understand the different types of services. Some of the most common services are explained here.
General Bed Maintenance/Detailing
This service includes weeding, ground-cover trimming/controlling, debris removal, removal of spent blooms, monitoring and removal of browning leaves and branches. This is a must-have service because it ensures your yard maintains its curb appeal throughout the year.
A more in-depth cleaning which includes everything in general bed maintenance and the addition of perennial and grass dividing, bed edging, mulch raking, and seasonal perennial trim down. These services are like “deep-cleaning” of the landscape one to three times per year.
Pruning and hedging at the correct time of year for each type of plant are paramount to plant health and bloom performance. By hiring a professional, you have plants pruned at the optimum time for their species. (Hydrangea are a perfect example of a plant that should be maintained by professionals or avid gardeners.) Pruning is done to maintain shape or size, remove spent blooms, remove dead/diseased limbs, and to promote growth. Hedging is typically shaping plants into geometric forms. Both are important to the landscape.
Landscape Plant Protect and Feed (Also known as Plant Health Care: PHC)
Plants feed from the nutrients in the soil. Some plants are what we call “heavy feeders”. This means they pull a lot of nutrients out of the soil. Boxwood are “heavy feeders”. Proactively adding a plant feed/protect program to your landscape plan, you’ll receive feedings specific to your plants and soil. You’ll also receive disease and pest prevention for the common issues to prevent them from happening. This can include black-spot, other forms of mildew, bag-worms, aphids, etc. This is dependent upon your service package, but is important for thriving plants.
Lawn Protect and Feed
Lawn chemical programs both feed the turf and protect against a plethora of pests and diseases such as grubs, brown-patch, and several fungal issues. Most programs are a 5 to 7 step program that are applied at the ideal time of year for your turf. Weather patterns and irrigation affect turf, so those things must be considered in conjunction with your turf program. Additional applications are sometimes needed during super-wet years to control moisture related issues.
Irrigation System Start-Up/Shut-Down
Irrigation start-up and shut-down are included in most maintenance contracts. Although everyone starts up their irrigation system in the spring (when they have one,) not everyone has their system winterized. By not having the water blown out of the lines, the water can freeze and expand during cold temperatures causing damage to their system. The damage is often more expensive than just maintaining the system and having it winterized properly. Some contracts also include a monthly check-in for optimum usage/water efficiency. High Prairie’s contracts do include this pro-active step. By monitoring, we can adjust for optimum plant health and observe any repairs that may need done.
Seasonal display can include annual flowers for spring, summer, and fall. It can also include holiday greens and holiday lighting. These services add an extra layer of impact to landscapes and an excitement for the season changes.
Mulching is typically done once or twice a year depending upon the contract. Although many consider mulch visually pleasing, mulch has several horticultural benefits: root insulation, weed minimization, and water retention.
Leaf removal can be customized on most contracts to mirror a client’s expectations of quantity of visits. Some clients only want one or two a year. Those clients will have leaf build-up between visits since their provider only comes twice. Some clients prefer up to seven removals a season so that their property stays fairly clean all fall. This option is fully customizable.
On average, most mowing contracts range from 28-32 mows in the mid-west. Mowing prices often include the string-trimming, edging, and blow-off of hard surfaces.
Keep in mind, not all landscaping services are going to offer all these services. You have to take the time to find a company that provides the services that are most important to you. This will ensure you achieve the desired results for your landscape.