All HOA communities have shrubbery, ground covers and granite. If you drive down any street you will see the plants cut into small round balls, triangles, and/or large round shearing with the trunks of the plants exposed by cutting the low branches to the plant. All these activities are not considered “sustainable” and harm the plants. Arizona Landscape Contractors Association (ALCA) has worked with the Arizona Extension Office to understand the research and to teach these sustainable practices.
ALCA has been teaching contractors sustainable procedures for over thirty years, however this information has not been widely spread to the general public when it comes to plant care. Contractors will only create a ‘sustainable practice’ when asked by the board members to do so. Landscape maintenance teams that come weekly usually have the equipment training but not seasonal plant care and are given a ‘trim cycle’ schedule instead of a seasonal trim containment method.
Unfortunately, it seems the majority of the public also believes that unless a plant is round and sheared, it is not tended to properly. However, research has proven over-shearing takes away the plants food supply to recoup from the shearing. Lifting the bottom branches takes the shade away from the root system and dries up the water supplied to the plant as well as promoting disease. As a reminder, ‘sustainability’ is the definition of preserving and conserving your assets and over-shearing provides the opposite effect.