Sturdy and healthy trees, lush grass and beautiful plantings enhance the appearance and value of any building. Part of the yearly lawn maintenance cycle in any homeowners association or condominium development is keeping the overall landscape in tip-top shape. The best way to ensure the health and attractiveness of your grounds is to follow fall and winter groundskeeping schedules and procedures.
Landscaping experts agree that condos and co-ops should follow a maintenance schedule that prepares grounds so that they can survive the wet autumns and freezing winters typical of our region. Some condo and co-op residents, however, might not understand why these procedures are necessary and wonder how much it will all cost.
A Good Place to Start
Before hiring a contractor, a board should know what services they want and/or need. Many fall and winter services will improve the health of their association's grounds, but are not entirely necessary if their budget does not allow for it.
"Once specifications have been devised, the association should invite several landscape maintenance companies to bid on the contract," says Dawn M. Greenleaf, landscape designer and consultant of Greenleaf Landscape Systems & Services in Red Bank. "That will enable them to tailor their services to the property's specific needs. It's also extremely helpful to check the landscaper's references and even visit some of the company's current contracted properties before making a decision."
Regardless of which company your association settles on after all the bids are in and assessed, there are a number of things most professionals include in their fall/winter maintenance plans. Landscape experts will generally agree that a good place to begin in the fall is with removal of fallen leaves from flowerbeds to minimize the loss of mulch. Next, your soil's pH should be tested to determine what type of dormant fertilization should be applied in late fall.