Ultimate Guide to Landscape Maintenance

Finding a great landscape maintenance contractor can be so difficult. The list of services offered tends to either be so limited that you need to call three other companies to get all the work you need done or so exhaustive you are left having no idea which services your property needs and which it doesn’t.

Excellent property management includes several different components. You need to care for your lawn, your plants, and your property as a whole. Within each of these areas, there are many services that can help your landscape shine. Let’s look at all the services we offer as a part of our landscape maintenance division and which you might need for your property.

Lawn Care Services

Lawn care services deal with only your turf. These services help to maintain growth and keep your grass healthy. Curb appeal really starts with the appearance of your grass! Surprisingly, the return on investment for lawn care services is high. Even though maintenance services need to be done year after year, having a healthy, thriving lawn pays off.  Learn more here.

Lawn Mowing, Trimming, Blowing

Lawn mowing, trimming, and blowing occur weekly during the growing season. Before mowing begins, any trash or debris is cleared off of your turf. Professional grade lawn mowing equipment and expert team members mow your lawn to the correct height and leave those beautiful fresh mow lines. Team members then trim where your lawn meets any obstruction, pavement, or landscape bed. Areas like ditches, where large commercial mowers cannot reach, are also trimmed with our commercial line trimmers. Finally, our team cleans up all grass clippings using backpack blowers to leave your property looking perfect.

Turf Edging

Along with weekly lawn mowing, turf edging is an important added service. Any area where grass touches concrete or pavement needs to be edged to create a crisp line and prevent overgrowth onto sidewalks. Edging is done bi-weekly during peak season.

Lawn Fertilization

In order to have the lush, green lawn everyone desires, turf fertilization is necessary. Fertilization applications can be done between 3-6 times per season, depending on the contract you select. Granular fertilizer is utilized throughout the season. Lawn fertilization typically takes place from April-October, and applications are scheduled between 4-6 weeks apart for optimal results.  It is important to not miss the first or last fertilizer application as they both provide essential nutrients to your turf. It is also important to note that this fertilizer is professional-grade, not something you can easily pick up at a hardware or garden store.

Organic Fertilization

Many homeowners like to opt for organic lawn fertilization programs. While organic fertilizer is a great option for some lawns, for others it is not the best fit. It is important to know that organic fertilizer does not contain any weed killer, as there is no truly effective organic weed killer available.

Weed and Crabgrass Control

Weed and crabgrass control are built into the traditional lawn fertilization programs. The first application of fertilizer contains crabgrass control in order to prevent growth throughout the season. As crabgrass is an annual weed, it requires treatment every Spring. Weed control is built into all applications to help battle weeds before they take hold in your lawn. If necessary, technicians can spot spray weeds throughout the turf as well.

Grub and Disease Control

Sometimes due to weather conditions like excessive heat or moisture, problems like grubs or turf disease can begin to overtake your lawn. As these issues arise, lawn care experts take note of the issue and can add insecticde applications to your lawn care program. Experts can also provide guidance on adjusting watering times for sprinkler systems as needed.

firepit with neatly mowed lawn at commercial property

Core Aeration

Core aeration is done to bring back the flow of oxygen, water, and nutrients to your lawn. Thousands of small soil plugs are pulled out of the turf in order to create space and help with soil compaction. This process strengthens root systems and can really help turf health as it allows for fertilizer to work more effectively. When the plugs are left in your grass and are mowed over, they are ‘mulched’ into the soil and grass and the nutrients contained in the plug are dispersed back into the turf. This service is typically done once in the fall.

Overseeding, Slit Seeding, and Sod

Turf seeding is an option that can be added to properties that truly need it. Many times, it is paired with core aeration as the holes made by the aerator allow for great homes for new grass to germinate. Overseeding can be done to simply to create a denser lawn or if you have an older lawn that needs new life. For creating completely new areas of turf, slit seeding or sod installations are both great options. Slit seeding creates thousands of tiny trenches in the dirt and places seeds into those trenches. Sod installations are immediate gratification as already matured and grown grass is installed like carpet to your space.

Plant Care

After your turf is well maintained, we turn to care for the plantings on your property. Plant care can get really complicated if you are trying to DIY. Different plants, even different varieties of the same plant can require different care. Check out our plant care guide or one of blogs on pruning if you want to give it try on your own!

Horticulture Services

Horticulture is defined as the art or practice of garden cultivation and management. For most landscaping companies, horticulture services are comprised of weeding, pruning, and trimming.

Weeding can be the most time-consuming of all the horticulture services. We attack weeds both chemically and manually. The most important tool in battling weeds early in the season is applying a pre-emergent when putting mulch down each season.

Depending on your plant and tree types, pruning may be necessary to help your plants thrive. Pruning is defined as selectively removing branches from a tree or shrub to help promote healthy growth. Pruning perennials, like roses, can help them to bloom over and over again in a season. Trimming is very similar to pruning but is done mostly for cosmetic reasons. If you like a neat look to your landscape, bushes or trees can be cut into a more clean-looking shape.

Dormant Oil

Dormant oil is a natural pesticide that protects plants but does not damage them (or their fruit) or the environment. The oil can help protect plantings from disease and pests. It is sprayed before plantings go dormant for the winter seasons.

Summer Foliage Spray

Summer foliage spray can be applied to plantings to help prevent disease and pests, as well as to fertilize the planting. As its’ name suggests, it is applied in the warmer months, but temperatures need to be below 75 degrees for it to be effective and not cause detrimental effects from excessive heat.

Deep Root Fertilization

Deep root fertilization is a specialized formula of fertilizer given to help restore trees or plantings that are struggling. The treatment is injected into the root base around the tree or shrub and is filled with nutrients and organic matter.

Plant Fertilization

Plant fertilization can be performed several times a year. Just like your lawn is fertilized, plants can be fertilized to help encourage growth and blossoms. Our experts can also inspect your plantings for general plant health. If your planting is struggling, we can apply a specialized treatment to combat pests or diseases.

Annual Flower Installation and Removal

Annual flowers, meaning flowers that do not return year after year, can be chosen and planted into your container gardens or landscape by professionals. While this is certainly a task that you can DIY, sometimes it is nice to have different varieties planted. Designers also make sure to choose plantings that complement each other. This service can also include rotating of plantings-early Spring, Summer, and Fall, as well as removal services.

Seasonal Perennial Cutbacks

Flowers and perennial plantings need to be cut back seasonally. The purpose of cutting back plants is to help them survive and not get damaged over the winter season, to encourage new growth, and to encourage plant health. Cutbacks can be done to encourage a normally wild plant to stay more shaped as well if that is your preference.

Seasonal cutbacks can be one of the trickiest outdoor tasks. Cutting the wrong plant at the wrong time can limit blooms or growth in the following year. Seasonal cutbacks, in either the Spring or Fall, are included as a part of regular horticulture services. If you do not already pay for horticulture services, this is a service you can add to your Spring or Fall Clean up.

Burlap Installation and Removal

Plantings near roads or walkways that have high traffic, and therefore are salted frequently in the winter months, should be wrapped in burlap for protection. In addition to protection from salt and winter damage, burlap can also help prevent winter deer damage. The wrap is installed before snowfall and removed at the end of the winter season.

Full Property Care

Many landscaping companies offer additional services to assist homeowners or property managers with the other outdoor tasks they need to be completed. If you have an outdoor task you need to be accomplished, it never hurts to ask if your landscaping company can take care of that job for you, so you don’t have to call another contractor.

TruNorth strives to provide full-service maintenance services, so that your entire property looks great, not just the lawn for example.

Fall Clean-up

Fall clean-up is a very important outdoor task to complete in Northern Michigan. If leaves are left on turf or hardscape surfaces, they can damage grass or leave stains on stone. A typical Fall clean-up consists of removing all twigs, branches, and leaves from landscape beds, turf, and hardsurfaces. These leaves and debris can be taken away from your property or disposed of in an area you prefer to create a compost source.

Many clients like to add additional services to their Fall clean up such as burlap installation, seasonal planting cutbacks, final fertilization, and final lawn mowing.

landscape maintenance crew rake leaves

Spring Clean-up

Spring clean-up tasks prepare your outdoor space for the Spring and Summer seasons. Very rarely are all leaves off of our trees in Northern Michigan before snow falls. Because of this, there will be a few remaining leaves and twigs to clean up in the Spring. Any plantings that you chose to leave up for winter interest should be pruned back and landscape beds should be cleaned out. Sometimes plantings or trees have damage from the winter months to them that needs to be addressed.

Many clients like to add additional services to their Spring clean up such as burlap removal, seasonal planting cutbacks, fertilization, pre-emergent weed control to landscape beds, re-establishing of natural bed edges, and mulching.  If you select a full-service contract, these services that are ‘add-ons’ included in your contract.

Landscape Bed Edging and Mulch Installation

The best way to freshen up any property is by installing mulch. Learn why we prefer mulch for landscape beds that contain planting instead of stone. Mulch installation is not necessarily difficult for a homeowner or property manager to complete themselves, however, it is a ton of physical labor and time commitment. Also, if you are not careful in how you apply mulch, a mulch volcano can be created which is dangerous for plantings.

Mulch installation typically includes redefining and cutting natural edges and putting down a layer of pre-emergent weed control to help snuff out weeds before they can even take root. A fresh layer of mulch is then put down to your landscape beds, tree circles, etc.

commercial landscape maintenance crew edges landscape bed and installs mulch

Hardsurface Care

Hardsurface care provided by landscaping companies can cover a variety of services. For homeowners, patio sealing is considered hardsurface care. To learn why patio cleaning and sealing is so important, check out this blog.

For commercial properties, hardsurface care refers to the sidewalk, parking lot, and entrance areas. This service can be catered to what your property needs. For our current clients, we offer the following hardsurface care: trash removal in the parking lot, spraying cracks for weeds, and clean up of salt/sand from the winter months.

Beach Maintenance

For both residential and commercial properties, beach maintenance can be a whole lot of work. Though our beautiful lakes are crystal clear and clean, many times grasses and environmental debris like branches frequently wash up on the beach. This can make enjoying and using your beach difficult.

Beach maintenance can be done weekly, bi-weekly, or even yearly. All debris is raked up and removed from the site, leaving your beach ready to use.

Selecting a Landscaping Company That’s Right for You

Selecting a landscaping maintenance company that offers all the services you need can be tough. To help you navigate this decision, we’ve written this article for commercial property managers and this article for residential homeowners.

We believe that you should be able to make one call to have all of your outdoor property needs taken care of. That’s why we offer full-service landscape maintenance plans at TruNorth. From lawn mowing and fertilization contracts to beach raking and annual planting agreements, we are prepared to offer a landscape maintenance plan that works for you!

Ready to have the best-looking property on the block in Grand Traverse or Leelanau County, MI? If so, meet with our team of experts, choose a solution to improve your property, and get ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautiful outdoor space.

Get started today with a consultation!

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