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FAQ’s – Living Asset Management

Frequently Asked Questions

The condition of my landscaping has been declining since it was completed.  What can cause this to happen?

Answer:  This can occur as the result of one, or any number of the following reasons:

  1. Improper maintenance techniques
  2. Inadequate staffing by the maintenance vendor, both in terms of quality and quantity
  3. Inadequate funding for maintenance operations
  4. Wrong plants in the wrong place
  5. The landscape was over-designed for the available maintenance operating budget
How can I be sure that I’m getting the proper amount of labor from my maintenance vendor to properly care for the landscape?

The BSA Living Asset Management Program™ can apply its Zero-base Manpower Budget template to your property to ensure the project is properly staffed in accordance with your landscape’s specific needs.  Too much manpower is a waste of money, and too little manpower puts your living assets at risk.

Why are some plants in my landscaping looking and growing fine, yet plants right next to them are wilting and dying?

In all probability the plants have disparate soil, light, or moisture requirements.  In other words, the ones that are struggling are incompatible with the environment in which they are planted.  Ensure against this problem by only utilizing “right plant right place” design and horticulture techniques.

My landscape maintenance vendor applies fertilizer, and yet nothing seems to grow, or worse many plants die.  How can this be corrected?

The BSA Living Asset Management Program will conduct soil and water analyses, and will provide the proper fertilizer formulation and application rates tailored specifically for the needs of your landscaping, which mean significant cost savings in materials and labor.

It seems that vendors all price their work differently.  How can I get comparable bids from multiple landscape maintenance vendors?

The BSA Living Asset Management Program™ can develop a detailed specification outlining the technical requirements that will govern your landscape maintenance vendor’s performance.  The specification includes bid forms so each vendor will provide you the necessary information in an “apples-to-apples” format for easy analysis.  The vendor’s labor information can then be measured against the BSA Zero-base Manpower template to ensure your living asset will have the proper amount of labor applied to its care.

I’m all about the “green” movement.  Are there alternatives to the use of harsh chemicals to combat pest in the landscape?

Yes.  The BSA Living Asset Management Program™ can guide you in a multi-step Integrated Pest Management regimen that has been tested and proven to be a “green” alternative to the use of harsh chemicals in our environment.

I’m thinking about developing a project.  How can I be sure the landscaping will be both environmentally and financially sustainable?

Hire a qualified landscape architectural consultant.  When BSA is selected to design a project we immediately begin applying “living asset management” principles at the start of the assignment.  We commit to creatively design within all three landscape budgets:

  • the design budget
  • the installation budget
  • and the annual maintenance budget.
Is there such a thing as a maintenance-free landscape?

No.  All plant and turf species, even native varieties, require some level of maintenance.  While there are clear opportunities through the design process, and steps that can be taken during the installation process to ensure a low-maintenance landscape, there is no such thing as a maintenance-free landscape.

Does it matter how my irrigation system is designed, or can I simply throw water around for full coverage?

Yes, it matters a great deal. It’s up to all of us to conserve water whenever possible.  Your irrigation system should be designed in a way that employs hydro-zoning.  Hydro-zoning identifies the individual zones that exist in the area to be irrigated.  Different areas of your landscape have different water needs.  Each of these areas is called a “hydro-zone”.  These zones should be irrigated separately from one another to keep from drowning some plants while others are dying of thirst.  For example, a grass lawn will almost always need more water than a shrub bed.  Plants in the shade of a house need less water than those in direct sun. Tropical plants need more water than desert plants.  The fact is over-watering plants can be as harmful as under-watering. Many plant diseases are the direct result of over-watering, particularly fungus and molds.

Water is a valuable resource.  What should we be doing to mindfully use the water we need while conserving the water we have?

The most important thing we can do to conserve water resources is to carefully manage the water we use and how we use it.  Water management, by definition is the activity of planning, developing, distributing, and optimizing use of water resources under defined water policies, plans, and regulations.  Effective water management strategies and techniques include:

  1. Jurisdictional regulations and restrictions
  2. Centralized control systems
  3. Proper design techniques including hydro-zoning
  4. Specification of appropriate hardware including pumps, valves, and nozzles
  5. Weather station applications
I have a large site now and am considering purchasing other sites.  Is there a way to link all the irrigation systems together for greater efficiency?

There are a number of key features and benefits that can be derived from a centrally controlled irrigation system:

  1. Water Savings – Effective Evapo-transpiration (ET) based system management can ultimately result in water savings of 25-45% per year, depending on current management practices.  As an additional source of savings, pipeline breaks are automatically detected and isolated, preventing excessive water loss.
  2. A Healthier Landscape – A central control system helps ensure your landscape receives the right amount of water.  Good irrigation management can reduce leaching and runoff, and healthy plants will reduce pest infestation and disease.
  3. System Monitoring – System monitoring can incorporate many different sensors such as weather stations, flow meters, rain gauges, and wind sensors.  These sensors monitor site conditions and report to the central computer.  The central system automatically responds if any field conditions are outside the pre-defined limits set by the system operator.
  4. System Control – A central control system allows all actions to be carried out easily and efficiently from a centralized location.  Control actions such as adjusting watering, or stopping irrigation in the event of rain or high wind can be automatically accomplished without requiring a technician to visit individual sites or controllers.  A weather station can be connected to the system to precisely calculate the amount of water required based on climatic conditions.  Rainfall intensity is monitored and compared to the soil infiltration rate to determine how much rain actually makes it to the plant root zone, thus optimizing irrigation.
I hear a lot of talk about water restrictions.  What’s it all about and what agencies are responsible for enforcement?

That varies, depending on your location.  Here in Florida, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is involved in managing the quality and quantity of water through its relationship with the state’s five water management districts; Northwest Florida WMD, Suwanee WMD, St. Johns River WMD, South Florida WMD, and Southwest Florida WMD.  Florida DEP is also responsible for the adoption and implementation of The Florida Water Policy and the The Florida Water Plan.  The Water Management District’s watering restrictions are designed to ensure the efficient use of water for landscape irrigation.  The restrictions allow enough water to maintain healthy landscapes year-round.  The mandatory restrictions specify the time and duration watering may occur for residential and non-residential locations.  These days depend on whether the address ends in an odd or even number, and on the time of the year.

Does landscaping have a life-cycle, and if so how can I mitigate high costs of that life-cycle?

Yes, landscaping does have a life-cycle and the best way to mitigate high life-cycle costs is to make wise decisions  from the outset of a project.  Typically, landscape plants in Florida have a 20-year life cycle.  In order to ensure each plant achieves its maximum potential in the landscape, at the lowest possible ongoing cost, care must be taken to ensure that plants are specifically selected for the geographic location and are compatible with existing soil and water chemistry.  In addition, it’s critical for the designer to get the right plant in the right place when designing the landscape, and for the contractor to install the plants properly.  Long-term costs can be determined, identified, or mitigated by conducting one of the following analyses:

  1. A life-cycle cost analysis is an economic method for assessing the total cost of ownership of an asset. It involves translating all expenses associated with asset ownership over a prescribed “life cycle” period into current dollars. These include costs arising from owning, operating, maintaining, and ultimately disposing of an asset.
  2. A life-cycle input analysis characterizes and assesses both quantitatively and qualitatively the effect of existing conditions on an asset.
  3. A life-cycle improvement analysis characterizes and assesses, both quantitatively and qualitatively identified design processes and solutions that possess the potential to reduce life-cycle costs.
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