The following story illustrates how a simple change in your gardener’s job description can help owners and body corporates avoid large and costly repairs.
I was recently asked to renovate the front garden of a unit complex in the Noosa area. I had been recommended by the regular maintenance gardeners who didn’t have time in their budget to do more than mow, blow and a quick clean.
About 20 years ago the garden had been nicely landscaped but now it was a mess!
Over the years “weed” trees had been allowed to get established and now the retaining wall was badly cracked and the tree roots had invaded the whole garden. Previous gardeners had not recognised the seedlings of invasive trees and had allowed them to grow and establish!
What should have been a quick and easy facelift of new mulch and fresh shrubs turned into a costly and difficult repair. Permits were obtained from council. Tree surgeons were engaged to remove the large trees which were far too close to the buildings. We then pruned and saved where possible the shrubs which had grown long and leggy due to the shade of the bigger trees. We added soil conditioners and fertilisers to start to build soil life. Shrubs and groundcovers were then planted and mulched to complete the work.
The damaged wall has only been patched at this stage because of the high cost of replacement!
Almost all the costs could have been avoided by recognising the seedlings that came from seeds dropped by birds and bats and hand pulling them when they were small. Simply by adding this job to the gardener’s priority list the body corporate could have saved in excess of $10,000
Even if the gardeners didn’t know the names of those trees, they are easy to spot. They are the ones growing twice as fast as anything else, the ones coming up too close to the wall or under the eave. They are the view blockers and the path crackers. Simply, they are the out of place plants! When the gardeners are weeding the gardens the young seedlings of weed trees can be simply pulled out with all the other weeds. The gardens we visit annually often have weed trees that have come up in the previous 12 months and even then they are relatively easy to remove.
The saying “A stitch in time saves nine!” is very true in this case.