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Avoiding the “Crazy Cycle”

What is the “Crazy Cycle” of landscape management?

Unfortunately, it’s all too familiar!

It’s interesting to see how truths from other areas of life can be applied to the world in which I live. Take CMMS for example – that stands for “Computerized Maintenance Management System”.  Take a look at this graphic called The Vicious Cycle of Reactive Maintenance™ from OMCS Asia-Pacific Sdn. Bhd. http://www.omcsap.com/ (Maintenance Analysis Designed for Results) – now merged with CWorks http://www.cworks.com.my/:

The Viscious Cycle of Reactive Maintenance

The Viscious Cycle of Reactive Maintenance

You can jump on this bandwagon at any point – the result is the same spinning “death spiral”.  It’s a downward spiral that continues to unravel as you keep on going.

How does this apply to a landscape?

Far too often, the BEST a landscape ever looks is just after the Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) is issued for the new building.  All of the plants are neatly aligned in beds, the mulch is spread evenly throughout, trees are staked, and everything is nicely in place.  The fact is that just after the C.O. has been issued should be the WORST the landscape ever looks.  As the plant material matures, the landscape continues to increase in both aesthetic and monetary value.  Think of a street lined by majestic Oaks which canopy over the roadway, forming a tunnel effect.  These trees were just small saplings when they were initially planted.  What would it cost to replace them today?

So, here’s a typical scenario:

  • New landscape is installed – everything looks fine.
  • Improper maintenance practices, inadequate maintenance funding, or a combination of both yield a compromised landscape over time – everything is not so fine.
  • Someone in management tours the facility, notes the poor appearance, and demands that something be done about it.
  • Knee-jerk reactions occur; some capital funds are invested in remedial landscape installation (i.e. adding some color to “spruce things up a bit”).
  • Remedial landscape is installed – everything looks fine.
  • The cycle repeats itself, “and the beat goes on”; over time more and more capital funds are expended.

Illustration of "The Crazy Cycle"

Illustration of "The Crazy Cycle"

The “Crazy Cycle” described above can easily result in a higher amount of capital expenditure (or “Landscape Leakage” as we like to call it) that would have otherwise been spent for ongoing maintenance and “nurturing” costs over the same timeframe.  It’s the old adage of “you can pay now, or you can pay later”.  The catch is that if you would have chosen to pay through ongoing maintenance, the resultant landscape would have been much more mature and viable by now than the struggling “crazy cycle” landscape condition that has resulted from the many ups and downs over time.

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