After your commercial landscaping company comes to visit, the green space by your business always looks fine from your doorway. The grass is cut, edges are trimmed and the garbage is gone.
But have you ever ventured out for a closer look? Even if you are not an experienced gardener, there are several obvious signs that your landscaping company may not be taking as much care as they should.
Check Your Trees. Your business’s trees are the first place to look for indications your landscaping company is not providing the upkeep you are paying for. Since Calgary’s growing season is so short, and the winters often so harsh, a healthy tree is a precious thing in our city. Unfortunately, landscapers often abuse them.
Check the bottoms of your trunks for signs of bark being removed or stripped off. These wounds are often caused by weed whips, and can be very hard for a tree to recover from. They allow pests in and take a lot of energy to heal, and so if you notice them you should be concerned about your trees’ health. Damage such as this needs treatment to promote healing, so it may be time to hire a professional arborist.
Another sign your trees may be unhealthy or damaged are what are refereed to as “shooters” coming out of the ground around the trunk. Shooters are essentially roots that are growing up instead of out, and they are actually a defensive mechanism for the tree. If your trees are surrounded by shooters, then it is feeling threatened for some reason, and it could be damaged or in competition with another plant. Shooters can’t simply be mowed or weed-whipped away…they need to be dug out and carefully snipped off as deeply as possible, otherwise they will continue to come back.
Finally, look up. If your trees have broken or scraped branches, and the person mowing your grass has a ride-on mower with a roof about the same height, then you can put two and two together. Ask that they stay further back from the trees and allow the weed whippers to (carefully) take care of the rest.
Check Your Turf. Look closely at your grass…what lies beneath can reveal all! Commercial landscaping companies should send a garbage-picker out first to clear the way for the mowers and weed whips. If not, garbage tends to get run over, shredded up, and spread around by landscaping machinery. If your grass is filled with tiny bits and pieces of paper and refuse, then you know your landscaping company is not cleaning up before they work.
As well, extra-thick thatch (the thin carpet of dead grass that lies on top of the soil to protect grass) can cause grass to grow patchily and thinly. If your grass seems slightly anemic and there are yellow spots where dead grass has simply suffocated out the new stuff, then your company isn’t power raking in the spring and is waiting too long between mowing.
Finally, check for scalping. Scalping is when a mower takes a hill at an inopportune angle and leaves behind an extra-short patch that is readily noticeable. Tires spinning on wet grass can also cause scalping. Both are indications that your mower is driving too fast.
How Often Do They Visit? Grass tends to grow most quickly in Calgary during the months of June and July, and then taper off during August. The reason for this is that your grass is reaping the benefits of latent moisture retained and provided by snow, combined with fresh spring rains. By the time we reach August, we have (hopefully!) been at sustained warm temperatures for a while, and the moisture in the ground has slowly evaporated. It’s not uncommon to have to water more in late summer and early fall, however many take the time as a respite from mowing weekly or even more often.
If the grass at your commercial business has this type of growing season, then it is most likely healthy and you don’t need to worry about it. But if your grass is out of control most of the time, and needs to be cut more than four or fives times a month, it’s likely it’s being heavily overwatered, and you’re overpaying for visits. Ask your landscaping company to time your sprinklers to go off less often. You’ll save money on your water bill AND your landscaping bill.
Are They On Time? You have to be on time at your job, so why don’t your landscapers? Most reputable companies work on a schedule, and although they may be slightly behind or slightly ahead at times, they should be showing up at approximately the same time each week (or every two weeks, depending). Lawns and gardens actually appreciate consistency, and respond better when cared for reliably.
How Long Do They Stay? Yes, the point of a commercial landscaper is to get the job done faster than you could, and they all have the tools and machinery to do it. Often they arrive in a flurry of activity, with trucks, drive mowers and an army of weed whippers. It’s a lot of noise for a little while, then, poof, they’re gone.
Expert commercial landscaping takes time and skill, and the faster isn’t always the better in our business. The reasons we at Mirage are so knowledgeable about the bad habits of commercial landscapers is because often we end up having to repair their work when we take over a contract. We find all manner of things – trees still planted in their cages, improper mulching, overly aggressive irrigation, and so on. We take our profession as seriously as you take yours, and will always treat your business and your property with respect. Get a quote today!