Trees, Turf & Shrubs
How Community Associations Maintain Common Areas

ISBN: 978-1-59618-023-9
2009, 28 pages
Author(s): Bette Weisman
Product Format: Book
Item #: 0239
Members-Only Sale: USD $10.00
Members: USD $15.00
Non-Members: USD $25.00
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A good landscape maintenance program is essential to the health and longevity of a community's trees, turf, and shrubs—and its aesthetic value. This concise guide explains how to develop that maintenance program and lists specific practices to apply to trees, turf, and shrubs. Find out how to hire the right contractors and how to delegate to a landscape committee. Includes a grounds maintenance checklist, sample lawn care calendar, sample landscape specifications, and advice for repairing damaged turf. Lists the advantages and disadvantages of staff maintenance and contractor maintenance. Discusses soil conditions, aeration, watering, pruning, fertilization, mulching, disease and pest treatment, and weed control.


Chapter 1—Developing a Grounds Maintenance Program
Appointing a Landscaping Maintenance Committee
Assessing the Association's Landscaping Maintenance Needs
Staff or Landscaping Professionals?
Outlining Landscaping Specifications
Turning Specifications into an RFP
Chapter 2—Turf Maintenance
Soil Condition
Common Causes of Poor Lawns
Chapter 3—Controlling Turf Weeds and Disease
Natural Weed Control
Chemical Weed Control
Disease Control
Chapter 4—Trees & Shrubs
Tree Pruning
Tree Fertilizing
Tree Mulching
Insect Control
Disease Treatment
Hiring a Tree-Care Professional
Appendix 1—Repairing Damaged Turf
Appendix 2—Sources of Information on Pesticide Alternatives
Introduction: Background and Key Points
Grounds maintenance is an important responsibility for community association boards. While other common areas, such as sidewalks, drains, roads, and painted surfaces deteriorate and depreciate in value over time, well kept turf, trees, and shrubs appreciate in value. A carefully developed and executed landscaping maintenance program helps protect property values.
Except in very small associations, the services of professional landscapers will likely be needed—to one extent or another—for a board to fulfill its responsibility to protect the association's landscaping asset. This guide provides a limited amount of general information on turf, tree and shrub maintenance practices. It isn't intended to be comprehensive or definitive. Rather, it is designed to provide enough information for boards to appreciate the nature of their responsibility regarding landscaping, help them organize and operate their grounds maintenance programs and contribute to their informed decision making.
Key Points
The board sets standards for grounds maintenance and is responsible for seeing that those standards are met. Grounds maintenance committees, professional managers and landscaping professionals provide valuable support to boards to maintain aesthetic standards.
Deciding whether to hire a contractor depends on the size and geographic area of the community and what resources the association has to do the work.
Boards must determine and prioritize the association's grounds maintenance needs, establish a formal landscaping maintenance program, specify what will be done and who will do it.
Boards, or a designated grounds maintenance committee, can delegate grounds maintenance tasks to association staff or independent contractors.
Many factors—climate, soil conditions, health of the plant, amount of use—determine what type and how much maintenance each type of planting needs.
Selecting the correct grass species for your area, mowing turf at the correct height, amending poor soil, fertilizing judiciously and watering appropriately will ensure good quality turf and minimize weed and insect invasions.
Healthy trees are an asset for any community, and proper pruning and fertilizing are integral to tree health.
Weeds can be controlled by natural or chemical methods. Chemical methods are quick and efficient, but harmful to the environment. Natural methods take time to show results and require more work.
Local authorities, including the state university, the local Cooperative Extension Services and the Internet are excellent sources of information about all aspects of landscaping and grounds maintenance.
Healthy trees and shrubs are assets to any community. Keeping them healthy, attractive, disease free and safe requires significant effort from association staff and tree-care professions.
Hiring a professional arborist or tree-care company is a good way to protect this asset, and finding one who is qualified is an important responsibility.
Healthy turf, trees, and shrubs enhance the property values of all owners and give them a strong sense of pride in their community.
If boards learn about the needs of and dangers to association turf, trees, and shrubs, it can fulfill it fiduciary duty to protect assets by maintaining the health of community landscaping for many years, supporting community growth and enhancing the quality of life for association residents.

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