blog banner

HOA Landscaping Schedules and Guidelines

Hiring a professional landscaping company for landscape maintenance is necessary for your HOA. Knowledgeable landscape contractors are vital to successfully maintaining Florida-Friendly Landscaping on community association properties. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss an ideal schedule for your HOA’s lawn and landscaping maintenance, as well as what guidelines look for when developing a contract and hiring a landscape maintenance company to perform contracted service. When it comes to landscaping, especially contracting a professional landscaping company, details make a difference, which is why it is imperative to understand what those details are and to make sure they are included in the contractual agreement between the property management or owner and the landscaping company. 

Regularly Scheduled Landscaping

1. Mowing, Edging And Trimming

  • The Contractor should be responsible for maintaining the lawns based on the maintenance requirements of the specific turfgrass species. 
  • The Contractor should mow the grass in a way that ensures a smooth surface look without leaving or scalping any uncut grass, consistent with landscape maintenance industry standards. HOA Landscape Maintenance | DTE Landscape
  • The Contractor should not trim more than one-third (1/3) of the leaf blade length at a time, and mower heights must be measured with mowers on a flat, paved surface. 
  • The Contractor should keep mower blades sharp to provide a high-quality cut and reduce negative effects on turfgrass health and mow in a different direction each time the grass is cut.
  • The Contractor should also complete all edging at the time of mowing, maintain grass at the recommended height, and report any detection of pests, turfgrass heat stress, or irrigation malfunctions.
  • The Contractor should not leave any distinctly visible clumps of clippings on the grass surface after mowing, dispersing any large clumps of clippings into the turf. Prior to mowing on individual properties, the Contractor must pick up and dispose of paper and other debris from the grass and around storm drains.
  • The Contractor should edge tree rings, buildings, plant beds, sidewalks, parking areas, fences, driveways, and other solid surfaces bordered by grass, using blade edgers or string trimmers as appropriate. 
  • The Contractor should use string trimmers to cut turfgrass around in-ground irrigation control boxes and near any water bodies to maintain access and visibility, avoiding harming plants with string trimmers.
  • The Contractor should remove debris and grass clippings on the same day that trimming and mowing is done, removing all debris and grass clippings from sidewalks, drives, streets, gutters, and surfaces or curbs, including those close to a stormwater catch basin or inlet. 
  • The Contractor should not allow debris or grass clippings to enter into any catch basin, inlet, or body of water, depositing grass clippings into the planted landscape.
  • During extended rainy or dry periods, the Contractor should mow as conditions dictate, coordinating with the Owner to set up an alternate schedule if weather conditions prevent edging or mowing on the scheduled day. The Contractor must not mow wet or severely drought-stressed turf.

2. Pruning

  • When performing pruning, the Contractor should use current techniques and standards approved by UF/IFAS and the International Society of Arboriculture
  • The Contractor should selectively prune to improve the health and structure of the plant, as well as to enhance flowering, fruiting, or appearance.
  • In performing corrective pruning, the Contractor should maintain the structural integrity, natural shape, and characteristics of the species. The Contractor should also disinfect pruning tools prior to and after each property and plant to prevent disease transmission.

3. Shrubs

  • The Contractor should lightly prune shrubs as needed based on the requirement of every species. For certain flowering shrubs, there are particular times when they must or must not be pruned. In general, the Contractor shall use hand pruners to trim shrubs to give them shape, fullness, and flowering. The Contractor should not prune spring-flowering shrubs until after the flowering period.
  • The Contractor should maintain shrubs to avoid contact with structures and provide clearance of 12-18 inches.
  • Using power shears, the Contractor should prune formal hedges but should ensure that the hedge’s top is maintained at a narrower width than the bottom to let sunlight reach lower foliage.
  • The Contractor should remove broken or dead branches upon observation. Selective removal of small sections of branches for insect pest control is acceptable, provided that the natural shape of the shrub is preserved. The Contractor should avoid pruning during or immediately after growth flushes.

4. Trees

  • The Contractor should utilize collar cuts to remove crosses or interfering limbs while maintaining the trunk of all trees without topping, hat-racking, heading, or shearing.
  • The Contractor should eliminate sucker growth at the bottom of trees manually, avoiding the use of herbicides.
  • The Contractor should perform aesthetic pruning by removing dead and broken branches as necessary to maintain the safety and neat appearance of trees.
  • The Contractor should maintain a minimum clearance of two feet between branches and all buildings, especially roofs. Trees near sidewalks and parking lots shall be maintained for clearance of pedestrians and vehicles.
  • The Contractor should monitor staked trees and remove support as needed to prevent trunk girdling.
  • The Contractor should notify the Owner or Association of diseased or dying trees that should be considered for removal.

5. PalmsHOA Landscaping | DTE Landscape

  • The Contractor should prune palms according to current recommendations from UF/IFAS.
  • The Contractor should only prune dead or browning leaves and shall remove palm flower and fruit clusters by hand saw without damaging live tissue to prevent seedlings.
  • The Contractor should make reasonable efforts to retain all leaves within a "9-3" frame, cutting leaves close to the petiole base without damaging living trunk tissue.
  • The Contractor should assess the discoloration of lower palm leaves for nutritional deficiencies.
  • The Contractor should not discard pruned material or palm leaves into any body of water.

6. Groundcovers

  • Groundcovers require minimal pruning. The Contractor should maintain and confine groundcovers within plant beds, ensuring they do not grow over paved areas.
  • The Contractor should remove all cuttings and debris after pruning, leaving the ground cover with an aesthetically clean appearance.

Down To Earth is a professional landscaping company providing landscaping designing and maintenance services all year round throughout Florida. Contact Down To Earth today to have a reliable company to manage your HOA’s lawn and landscaping maintenance needs.