The Big 10 Top Questions to Ask Your Landscape Pro

 Part of the job of a condo board is to keep your association’s grounds or lawn looking healthy and attractive. After all, curb appeal can do  wonders when it comes to appraisals and even the morale of your community  members. But most condo boards—whether their urban or suburban—are populated with volunteers, few of whom are likely to be professional  landscapers or horticulturalists.  

 That being the case, they’ll probably depend on a professional landscaper to maintain and beautify the  grounds. We polled landscapers throughout New Jersey to figure out what you  need to be asking the landscaper before you hand over the keys to your green  space. Here are their top 10 questions, in no particular order:  

 Do you perform organic maintenance and practices? The New Jersey Pesticide control code requires that all pesticides used in New  Jersey be registered with the Department of Environmental Protection prior to  use and additional laws that are equally tough on pesticides are in the  pipeline. Pesticide applications to lawn and turf is becoming a big no-no, says  Susan Cohan, a landscape and garden designer in Chatham. “The state of New Jersey is making it more and more difficult to apply chemical  based pesticides or fertilizers so organic maintenance is very popular right  now,” says Cohan. “People who are employing organic lawn care are beginning to experience a lot  more business because you can’t apply certain fertilizers anymore, you can actually be fined. A co-op board or  association should certainly ask their lawncare professional about their  organic practices.”  

 What type of post disaster or extreme weather cleanup do you offer?2011 snowfall totals reached record breaking numbers across New Jersey last year  so Garden State residents should know what type of postdisaster maintenace  their lawn care professionals offer, says Cohan. “New Jersey gets a lot of extreme weather like snow, sleet, ice and flooding. The  winter of 2011 was particularly harsh,” says Cohan “Every place is different. Sometimes snow removal is included in the contract and  it’s a flat rate. Some companies have an inch limit on snow cleanup. It’s important to know what the company’s threshold is and how you will be charged once it is reached.” Arkansas has tornadoes, New Orleans has floods and California has fires and New  Jersey has snow, every region has a potential natural disater to contend with  and you should have a cleanup plan in place, says Cohan.  

 Can I see a copy of the landscape audit? A landscape audit is a site assessment that gives you the information you need  to transition to a sustainable landscape. It includes detailed inventory and  analysis of the landscape surrounding your property and provides guidance on  the how’s and why’s of creating sustainability on your site. “I like to put a 3- to 5-year plan together,” says Goldman. “As things mature, you need to identify problem areas, things that need to be  changed, how things should be pruned, when they should be pruned. Because  horticulturally, it all wraps up together. If the trees wrap up the lawn, you  are not getting proper moisture or sunlight. When that happens most people try to overcompensate by throwing more fertilizer  down—when that is the case, maybe just pruning the trees will help.” An audit doesn’t need to be done more than once every five years. It is just a plan to put  everything together so that you know what is there and how everything is  working, says Goldman.  


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  • It's unclear to me whteher these people did this as a favor or as a paid job.If it was a paid job then tipping is not necessary. In this case, the helpers have some sort of financial arrangement with the landscaper and he is responsible for their direct remuneration, not you.If these people volunteered to do this work for you out of the goodness of their heart, give them a couple of Cokes and some dough-nuts and a hardy, well-meant thank you.In other words, don't tip landscapers. Let's not get that started.I am firmly against tipping in all industries even restaurants, barber shops, taxi cabs, bell hops, etc. No matter what you tip, these people will never think it is enough, and they assume you are obligated to do it. Somehow, it has been instituted into the public consciousness that some people have the unwritten right to an undisclosed portion of your money just because they came into contact with you. Screw that.References :