To Mulch, or Not to Mulch…. That is the question.

To Mulch, or Not to Mulch…. That is the question.

To Mulch, or Not to Mulch….

That is the question.

It’s All About Mulch

Every year it seems as if more and more facility managers are challenged with delivering budget savings. One of the most common areas to search for these savings falls into the service lines where traditionally highest costs are found, which almost always brings the search to landscaping. Under a similar premise when you break down the anatomy of a landscape contract one of the greatest expense’s there is, is the value associated with mulching. Which all too often has led to the question, To Mulch, or Not to Mulch?

Many have already been faced with this question and no doubt many more will be in the future. The attributes of mulch are many and honestly aside from being a cost driver, the negatives are few, If, or should we say, when, you are faced with this decision you should consider the following.

The Pros

Aesthetics

By and large this is the true driver behind mulching. No other individual landscape service makes as much impact as does freshly installed mulch, it’s the true sign that the seasons have changed and that your properties are ready for the year ahead.

Brand Advantage

With many choosing to prioritize cost savings over curb appeal, mulching is actually an opportunity to separate from the competition. When viewed from the eye of a consumer they are far more likely to frequent businesses whose properties are maintained at a higher standard than those which are not.

Horticultural Advantages

While most recognize mulch for its visual attributes it provides some very real benefits to the landscape. When installed to an adequate depth mulch will help to prevent weed growth and provide significant reduction in the amount of water loss related to evaporation and transpiration. By reducing water losses, a plants ability to withstand droughts or decrease dependence on irrigation is greatly increased. Since mulch is an organic product as it naturally breaks down adding nutrients to the soil contributing to improved soil and plant health.

The Cons

Cost

While the positives are many, the reality is that mulch is labor intensive to install and a costly material to supply. Outside of the costs associated with weekly services mulching is almost always the largest cost driver within a landscape contract.

Durability

Mulch requires renewal on a regular basis, in most cases at least annually, so the cost impacts carry on. Since it is generally lightweight in nature it tends to not stay in place, meaning heavy rain, foot traffic and wind can often displace mulch onto sidewalks and other areas where it is not intended.

Will You Mulch?

As the competitive nature of business will no doubt carry on it’s only a matter of time before most all Property Managers are faced with this choice or a similar one. While the answer is rarely a clear one, it is best to have a full understanding of the attributes and impacts of your choices.

Contact Us

For more information about commercial landscape programs that cater to the national retail market, or to consult with our Subject Matter Experts:

call (866) 571-4609

or email our Business Development Team at:

Sales@FerrandinoandSon.com.

Late Season Snow Tactics

Late Season Snow Tactics

Late Season Snow Tactics

Late Season Snow Tactics

While the “First Day of Spring” may have passed, the reality that winter might not be fully behind us is very real. It never seems to fail that once we all think winter is in the rear-view mirror that one last snow storm rears its head, bringing us back to pre-treatments, clearing, deicing applications and that one last stress on the ever-unpredictable snow budget.

From a high-level view, snow and ice are just that, and the methods we use to mitigate them remain the same, at least for the most part. With that said late season snows may present some challenges that we don’t face in grips of winter.

Equipment

As the seasons change the crews that are delivering snow services are also in transition. This means plows and salters have often been removed and stored. Sites that have dedicated equipment in place may have seen that machinery removed. Be sure to have an open dialogue with your suppliers to ensure they have a solid plan in place in the event that winter weather returns.

Deicing Materials

By the time spring rolls around local providers are carefully monitoring their inventory of deicing materials and have likely minimized the amount of product that they will maintain in inventory until next season.

s

Weather Forecasting

In spring the sun has begun to rise higher in the sky warming both air and ground temperatures. It’s important to pay close attention to forecasted accumulations and storm timing. Often you could see several inches of accumulation on grassy surfaces with little to no accumulations on hard surfaces like walks and drives, especially if snowfall is anticipated during day light.

h

Make A Plan

Spring snow can be tricky and often the best way to keep sites safe is through using deicing products to prevent or minimize accumulations as opposed to clearing them. Gain a strong understanding of what to expect, the most cost-effective solution may be only clearing or deicing, many times both are not required.

Hauling

Even in the largest storms of late season resist the urge to haul snow offsite. The chances are warmer weather will soon follow and even the largest piles of snow will quickly melt away.

Heavy Snow

A commonality with almost all spring snow events is that the snow itself is heavy. Be prepared for the landscape to impacted, limbs will break and fall, plants will be damaged, and often power lines are compromised. Consider having landscape crews at the ready to clean up behind these events.

The change of seasons is inevitable, and late season snow storms are almost always part of the migration from winter to spring. Understand that these storms have intricacies and challenges of their own. Consider all the factors when developing your strategy on how to best address these events.

For information about commercial snow and ice management call or email at:

(866) 571-4609
sales@ferrandinoandson.com

Tis the season….For Landscaping

Tis the season….For Landscaping

landscaping

With the light of warmer temperatures and spring becoming clearer at the end of the winter tunnel, the start of landscape season will be upon all too soon. For those in the more tropical climates this may signal the start of a more active growing season, but for the majority of the country it means it’s time to put old man winter to bed and to kick start those dormant landscapes. Depending on where you are when to schedule a Spring Clean Up will vary, but typically this is taking place in March or April, after the threat for accumulating snow has diminished.

Across the landscape season there are several milestone services that occur, but the one that starts them all is the Spring Clean Up. So, what should you expect to see in that first spring service and why are they happening?

Accumulated Debris

To really put the clean in clean up the first thing to look for and expect is for bed and lawn areas to be cleaned of any accumulated debris. This would include the removal of any leaves, trash, branches or other types of debris that has accumulated over the winter.

Pruning

Winter has a way of wreaking havoc on plants, and often snow or snow removal activities can damage even the healthiest of plants.  As part of the Spring Clean Up look to have any damaged branches removed and it’s reasonable to anticipate that any smaller items that have died will be removed completely.

Plant Fertilization

As the days grow longer and temperatures begin to climb plants leave dormancy and begin to actively grow. While the Spring Clean Up work will be a few weeks ahead of plant growth it’s important to give them the nutrients they will need. A complete, low nitrogen product is a great choice.

Bed Edging

One of the things that promotes a crisp and clean look to the landscape is well defined edges to planting beds. Manually re-defining the areas where planting beds meet turf will provide that feel of organization.

Cutting Back Perennials

Often times the remnants of last season’s ornamental grasses or perennials will linger into the spring. To invigorate new growth in these species and to keep in the theme of cleaning the landscape these plants should be cut back and the old dead material removed.

As the seasons change, so will our focus. While surviving snow was last month’s mantra, the days ahead will shift to building curb appeal and kicking off the start of landscape season. The first step to a successful one is an effective Spring Clean Up.

For more information about commercial landscape maintenance programs that cater to the national retail market, call (866) 571-4609 or email our Business Development Team at sales@ferrandinoandson.com