explained Troutman. “When you cut one stem off, you will have two sprouts.
Every time you sheer a hedge, you create a bunch of new growth that will grow
out quickly. But once you have established the shape you want, if there is a
branch sticking above that shape, you can reach down in the plant and remove
that single branch below the level of the canopy. That way the new growth
won’t shoot out through that canopy and you don’t produce this huge burst of
bud. If you do that, it takes less time to prune, you create less debris and you still
have a very attractive form. That can be huge dollar savings on a property.”
Plant & tree Makeovers
In the past, many properties utilized four-season color beds, but today’s
managers are switching from annuals to perennials to help boost a property’s
landscaping budget without skimping on aesthetics. Perennials offer plenty of
pop at a fraction of the effort.
“On our properties we had a significant number of annuals, so we’re replac-
ing those with perennials because they require less water and maintenance,”
said Mike McConnell, CPM and property manager with Colonial Properties.
“You have to change annuals four times a year and even though perennials
are not always completely perennial, you don’t have to change them out every
three or four months, so that cuts down on maintenance costs.”
Other properties are incorporating native plants with color beds or simply
replacing seasonal color beds entirely with native plantings.
“In the long run, I think native plants are more cost effective,” said Sandi
Scott, CPM, CSM, vice president/director of training at Cencor Realty Services
in Dallas. “It’s about taking a look at the overall long-term maintenance and
care of the plants. We still want our contractors out at the [shopping] centers
cleaning up, trimming plants, cleaning trash out of the landscape beds and
doing irrigation checks on a regular basis. But, hopefully through the use of
native plant materials, the maintenance can be scaled back so it won’t take
them as long on the property.”
Trees can also make a big impact on any property. Lush evergreens and decid-
uous trees will provide color and softness to a landscape with minimal effort.
“You can get decades out of a tree,” McCarthy said. “They are cost effective and if you do it right the first time, you’ll be saving money yearly on your
grasses and heartier perennials at
“Sustainable options require
[fewer] man-hours, less water and
less fertilizer,” Pence said. “And we’re
not putting nearly the amount of
chemicals in the ground.”
Additionally, using organic materi-
als may result in needing less land-
scaping materials overall.
“If you use good materials upfront,
you don’t have to keep amending the
landscaping with costly fertilizers
because the soil itself is a nutrient,”
McCarthy said. “It is when you start
with weak or lower grade materials
that you have to pump in costly fer-
Furthermore, in today’s environ-
mentally conscious society, sustain-
able solutions can attract tenants.
“Sustainable landscaping is used as
a selling point,” said McCarthy. “A
lot of people started doing it just for
good business practice and to be cost
effective. But, now it is a selling point
because putting ‘green’ or ‘
environmentally sustainable’ on anything is
a good selling point for any product,
it’s good to Be green
Sustainable landscaping solutions continue to gain popularity both for their
economic and environmental benefits. As their popularity and availability
grows, native plants, organic soils, fertilizers and xeriscaping have become
more affordable and are competitively priced with conventional plantings
and materials. An added bonus is that sustainable plants and materials often
require significantly less maintenance and water, which translates into savings
for property managers.
Gannon Management, for example, has saved about 20 to 25 percent in
landscaping and maintenance costs since installing native plants, ornamental
reduCe, reuse, reCyCle
Going green via landscaping extends
beyond plantings and materials. In
fact, Gatski Commercial Real Estate
Services in Las Vegas recently switched
from using plastic refuse bags for
landscaping debris to reusable fabric
burlap sacks. This move was not only
more environmentally friendly, but
it also saved the company $12,000 a
year in landscaping costs.
Many companies utilize chippers
and the like to transform landscaping debris into nutrient-rich mulch.
ValleyCrest, for instance, used to pull