You’ve invested considerably in plants, seed, mulch and labor to install your native planting…now what? Success in sustainable landscaping and ecosystem restoration projects depends, not only on quality installation, but equally on the maintenance they receive post installation.
Maintenance should begin immediately after planting and will be most intensive through the establishment period, which could be 1 to 5 years depending upon the type of project it is. Establishment maintenance may include temporary irrigation or hand watering of installed trees, shrubs, and plugs; mowing of seeded areas by tractor or by hand; spot herbicide applications to control perennial weeds; hand pulling when mowing isn’t possible or appropriate; re-planting seed or plants in under performing areas; and may include the re-application of mulch when needed.
You’ve invested considerably in your project… now what? You steward it! Management, maintenance, & stewardship all mean the same thing. Your project will succeed or fail depending on whether it is stewarded properly. We have years of data & know it costs less to install/steward a site than it does to landscape/maintain it.
Stewardship begins immediately & will be most intensive through the establishment period. That is the first 1 to 5 years depending upon the type & scale of your project. Stewardship tasks include watering, mowing, spot herbicide applications, & prescribed fire. Long-term stewardship will be less intensive as the site becomes dominated by native perennials. The more you invest in stewarding the site the better it looks & performs.
North American ecosystems are not fire tolerant they are fire dependent. To replicate this historic process, we utilize fire as a stewardship tool. Prescribed fire is not a magic wand. Fire is best described as a spring/fall cleanup. It removes the debris & lets the sunshine in. It also allows us to access the bad plants earlier & easier.
Once a site is healthy, regular burning by our highly trained & experienced crews will help manage weeds, increase plant diversity, and enhance the beauty of the site. Small landscapes are not burned. A spring/fall clean up is performed.
We use the term prescribed fire, because as ecologists we use fire to attain specific ecological outcomes. Prescribed fire & controlled burn mean the same thing.
During the planning stage of a project the goals are determined. Monitoring based on those goals lets you know if they are being achieved. It is science-based, data-driven & repeatable. This approach produces numbered values that can then be used to measure performance & inform on-going stewardship decisions.
Projects that require permits or regulatory approval often call for monitoring until the project receives sign-off. All projects can benefit from some level of monitoring to inform the buyers about value & site management progress.
Monitoring can be used to present reports to boards, associations, municipalities… to show the success & value of the project. We regularly present monitoring data to stakeholders whenever required or requested.