Your commercial landscape experiences a lot throughout the year.
In spring, it experiences intense growth as temperatures warm up and buds bloom. Proper care, including adequate irrigation and pruning practices, and the correct amount of fertilizer so your commercial landscape survives summer’s rising heat, drought, and storms.
Then we have autumn. It’s a time of cooling temperatures when your trees, shrubs, and plants take a collective breath after going through the busy spring and summer months. They slow growth, regroup, and begin to prepare for winter. What’s more, the fall colors are on full display – ruby reds, intense oranges, golden yellows, deep russets, and vivid burgundies.
While you may be breathing a sigh of relief that you got through the biggest maintenance months, there is still work to do. In fact, before those leaves start falling, you can start fall landscape prep on your commercial site to prepare it for the next growing season. Doing the necessary work in autumn creates a solid foundation of value-adding, aesthetic-boosting property management. This includes proper tree and shrub care, turf preparation, and irrigation winterization on those properties located in cooler climates. This is also the ideal time to plan landscape enhancements and seasonal change-outs to stay on top of curb appeal as the season changes.
Fall is the ideal time for some landscaping guidance to ensure you are doing all the right things to keep your commercial landscape in tip top shape. Let’s look at some do’s and don’ts as part of this fall landscape guide.
This Fall, DO:
These are some essential tasks on your fall landscape prep list that can keep your commercial facility humming seamlessly through the season.
- Keep leaves under control and off of your turf. Sure, when they’re on the trees, fall leaves can be beautiful. But when they fall to the ground, they can clog gutters and drains, create slip hazards, and smother your turf, preventing it from getting the precious sunlight it needs to thrive. That’s why leaf removal is an essential fall to-do. Mulching leaves is a great way to put nutrients back into the soil and reduce carbon footprint. But if that’s not an option, be sure to collect them and dispose of them to help eliminate hazards and keep your property looking tidy.
- Trim perennials. Cutting back perennials not only ensures a neater looking commercial landscape, but it also provides more energy for plant roots. Storing more energy through the dormant season will help boost plant strength for the following spring.
- Prune your trees. Dormant pruning is one of the best ways to help reduce damage to your trees and the damage that can occur on your property. By removing weakened or damaged limbs that can break off in fall storms or under heavy snow and ice, you limit risks that come from tree or property damage or injury. It is also beneficial for trees by limiting the amount of fungal pathogens which invade wounds created by pruning cuts when done during the spring and summer months.
- Mulch around shrubs and perennials. Adding a layer of fresh mulch to commercial landscape beds can help insulate root systems during the harsh winter months. For a more sustainable option with this autumn landscaping tip, you can also use fallen leaves, making sure the layer of material is thick enough to provide the same benefit as wood mulch products.
- Prepare your turf. Aerating and fertilizing are essential fall landscape prep A summer’s worth of mowing traffic has compacted soil and depleted grass nutrients. Aeration helps loosen soil and creates a healthier environment for your turfgrass.
This Fall, DON’T:
Along with the essential fall landscape best practices, there are also some property management don’ts that you should consider for seasonal landscape care. They include:
- Forget about property safety. Reducing liability on your commercial property is just as important as maintaining curb appeal. Your guests, customers, and employees expect – and deserve – a property that’s as safe as it is beautiful. Each new season brings new hazards, so don’t miss the opportunity to clean up leaves, prune trees, and ensure your commercial property is as safe as possible. Schedule a walk through or assessment to take inventory of the potential risks on your facility as part of your property management.
- Let pests and diseases take hold. Pests like fall webworms can damage trees, and armyworms can damage trees and turf. Snails and slugs also breed in the fall. Proper plant health care and a proactive approach can help keep these bugs at bay, helping your commercial landscape finish the growing season on a high note.
- Leave water in your irrigation system. Frozen pipes, water lines, pumps, or other equipment can fail and cause significant damage, which may not be discovered until the spring. Properly winterizing your irrigation system in the fall can save you a large repair bill in the spring and summer.
- Neglect your green infrastructure. Check drainage areas, gutters, bioswales, and other green infrastructure components during fall to ensure that they’re operating properly and aren’t clogged with debris after a summer of mowing and any recent fall cleanup. Make sure your property can handle excess rainwater to prevent flooding and excess ice buildup when the freeze-thaw cycle starts.
- Get caught without a snow contract. Snow removal is a critical part of property management in northern regions of the country, and a-la-carte snow removal services can be expensive and unreliable, which can blow your budget. Choose a trusted snow removal service to keep your business up and running all winter long.