Thursday, June 13, 2013

Landscape Service Companies: What Do They Know?

Many Glastonbury residents have turned over the bulk of their landscape maintenance tasks to a landscape or lawn service company. Services may include fertilizing, mowing, edging, leaf removal, spring and fall clean-up, snow removal and more.

One frequently overlooked area is the invasive plant management plan for the property. If you're lucky you don't need a plan. But if your property includes or borders a field or wooded area or there is an invasive plant problem nearby, odds are you will eventually have a problem if you don't already.

The most common and damaging invasive in Glastonbury is oriental bittersweet, with burning bush (winged euonymus) and Japanese knotweed next on the list. Wild grapevine also does damage and poison ivy is a nuisance but as native plants they are technically not invasive.

Landscape and lawn service companies vary widely when it comes to invasive plant expertise, as well as how (and even whether) they deal with problems like oriental bittersweet infestation. There is a good chance that controlling invasives (other than as part of the regular lawn maintenance) does not fall within your current service agreement.

When selecting a landscape service company you'll need to ask them specifically about their expertise in eradicating and controlling oriental bittersweet and any other invasives you want to get rid of. Ask the company if they offer such a service, how qualified they are, whether they have any necessary license(s), what the service entails, the cost, and what kind of result you can expect.

One way to determine a service provider's knowledge is to walk your property with the provider. Have them point out any invasive plant issues by identifying the plants and explaining what the control plan would be for that plant. If the provider overlooks or mis-identifies plants, or you are not satisfied with their plan, you may want to look for someone with more expertise.