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About Our Ongoing Native Landscaping Maintenance Program

We perform vegetation maintenance on most of the restoration projects that we install.

It kind of depends how we get the projects, whether they were bid on or just proposed to the client outside of any formal bidding process. But I would say most residential and corporate and even public sector projects have a management (maintenance) contract associated with them.

Some of our clients like to do the maintenance themselves, but most of our clients choose to have PRI crews  maintain their sites.

What Native Landscape Maintenance Entails

Maintenance is extremely crucial to the success of any sort of native landscape restoration project, especially the first three years. That’s when the native species are trying to establish themselves.

In the first year or so, you can compare the growth of your native landscape to an iceberg.  You see very little growth above ground, but the roots are growing at a high rate and far exceed the above ground growth of the plant.  It is these extensive root systems that makes the plants so hearty and often drought tolerant.  However, because there is little above ground growth initially, opportunistic weeds move in and cause problems.

To combat these pioneering weed species, we typically need to mow the site two to three times during the first growing season. These mowings prevent the weeds from flowering and producing more seed.  Perhaps more importantly, the mowings help reduce the competition and shading created by the weeds. It is important that sunlight is able to reach the young native seedlings.

In the second growing season, there might be another mowing, but at this point it evolves more into spot control, where our crews walk the site (or utilize ATVs on larger sites) and target certain invasive species, either by spot mowing them or by spot treating with herbicide.  It’s more of a patchwork maintenance approach as the native plant species are beginning to get established and take hold.

The third growing season is more of the same. It’s typically three to four visits during growing season where our crews come out and basically comb the site and treat these problem areas.  It should be noted that herbicide is only used when dealing with perennial weeds.  Biennial and annual weeds are controlled mechanically – hand pulling, chopping or mowing.  By the end of the third growing season, the native landscape is well on its way and typically looking very good.

There are always exceptions, but after the third or fourth growing season maintenance needs tend to wane.  This is when you can start to further reap the benefits of having a low maintenance landscape. But it always important to continue to monitor the landscape to make sure that problems don’t arise.

No landscape is ever completely maintenance-free, but native landscapes require far less inputs of time and money than traditional landscapes.

Mike Evenocheck, Director of Sales & Marketing