The Big 10 Top Questions to Ask Your Landscape Pro

 Part of the job of a condo board is to keep your association’s grounds or lawn looking healthy and attractive. After all, curb appeal can do  wonders when it comes to appraisals and even the morale of your community  members. But most condo boards—whether urban or suburban—are populated by volunteers, few of whom are likely to be professional  landscapers or horticulturalists.  

 That being the case, they’ll probably depend on a professional landscaper to maintain and beautify the  grounds. We polled landscapers throughout New England to figure out what you  need to be asking the landscaper before you hand over your green space. Here  are their top 10 questions, in no particular order:  

 How do you apply your pesticide?Pesticide application to lawn and turf is becoming a big no-no, says Gary  Goldman, president of G&M Landscape in Sherborn, Massachusetts. “We are trying to make sure contractors are following a handful of LEED  (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) things,” he says. “It is important to ask your landscaper ‘how do you apply your pesticides and when do you apply them?’ We also try to push Integrated Pest Management (IPM is an approach to pest  management that relies on comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests  and of their interaction with the environment.). Landscapers should take the  time to evaluate the site and only spray what has to be done as opposed to  blanket spraying.”  

 How do you dispose of your material?If a landscaper is cutting grass and bagging it, it’s important to know where they are putting it, says Goldman. If there is a  pesticide in grass and it gets dumped in the wrong spot, who will be liable? “On our landscape we have to provide a statement as to where we dump our grass,” says Goldman. “The best way to get around that is to mulch the grass as opposed to bagging it.  I try to convince clients to do that. It is always best to tell landscapers to  mulch it and leave it on site.”  

 Can I see a copy of the landscape audit? A landscape audit is a site assessment that gives you the information you need  to transition to a sustainable landscape. It includes detailed inventory and  analysis of the landscape surrounding your property and provides guidance on  the how’s and why’s of creating sustainability on your site. “I like to put a 3- to 5-year plan together,” says Goldman. “As things mature, you need to identify problem areas, things that need to be  changed, how things should be pruned, when they should be pruned. Because  horticulturally, it all wraps up together. If the trees wrap up the lawn, you  are not getting proper moisture or sunlight. When that happens most people try to overcompensate by throwing more fertilizer  down—when that is the case, maybe just pruning the trees will help.” An audit doesn’t need to be done more than once every five years. It is just a plan to put  everything together so that you know what is there and how everything is  working, says Goldman.  

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