Gardening for the millennium is more specialized than ever. Your gardener has a big task on hand with just a minimum of time each week to accomplish it. As we all know, relationships can go sour if there's a lack of communication between the parties involved. So, when establishing a relationship with your maintenance gardener, don't assume that s/he automatically knows your preferences. Each landscape is not the same, so in turn, each homeowner must communicate their individual preferences to their maintenance gardener. Speaking to your gardener on a monthly basis, either by phone or in person, or even by leaving a note on the door, will help to keep a check on a variety of things.
Inexperienced gardeners breed inexperienced opinions. They may be eager to please but don't take their word as law. Take the time to do some homework and investigate certain matters on your own. Here are some questions we recommend that you ask when you're interviewing for a maintenance gardener. Or you may simply want to talk to the gardener you already have.
Can the gardener identify the plants in your yard as well as have some knowledge about them? Know the differences between deciduous plants and evergreens? Cool and warm climate grasses? Winter and summer annuals? The flowering times of your shrubberies? Is the gardener aware of how his work impacts the environment? Is the gardener willing to cut your grass according to its recommended seasonal height rather than to his own personal taste or convenience? Does the gardener see the value of changing the cutting pattern each time he mows? Will your bushes be trimmed to your preferred height? Are the gardener's tools operating at maximum performance? Will the weeds get pulled before they get too big or out of control?
Ground covers should be trimmed and kept out of walkways and shrubberies. All heavy pruning needs to be done in the spring and fall; however light pruning can be done year round.
Ask your gardener to commit to a monthly irrigation check. Such duties include: making sure that the sprinklers are hitting their target areas, ringing the sprinkler heads, removing debris from clogged sprinkler heads, and repairing them when needed.
Who can or cannot apply pesticides in your yard? In order for a maintenance gardener to be able to apply pesticides, he MUST have or the company he works for MUST have a Qualified Applicators Certificate and a Maintenance Gardener Pest Control Business Licence. Fines can run as high as $ 1,000 if he gets caught applying pesticides and does not heed to his initial warning to get licensed. A gardener who installs a landscape can only apply pesticides to the area he installed. He is exempt from having a license if he applies the pesticides ONLY to the areas he installed. He can apply pesticides to that area for the length of his guarantee period, which cannot exceed a year.
If you're unhappy with your gardener, don't just throw your arms up in the air and say, "the next gardener will be better," because unless you take on the interview process with the next gardener, the results will probably be the same.
'Better Care Through Integrated Pest Management'