It is important during times of economic hardship to separate what is a necessity from what is a luxury. Something that is of necessity or necessary is defined as absolutely essential or needed to achieve a certain result or effect. A luxury is defined as something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort. Often times it is not cut and dry which is which in our complex society today. Things cannot simply be taken at face value but need to be evaluated for their significance and future ramifications whether path A or path B is chosen. The purpose of this article is to attempt to explain the importance of keeping up with property maintenance and the possible problems that may occur if things are let go for a period of time. Three important factors, but not the only important factors, that we must consider in regards to our property maintenance are fertilizing our lawns, use and proper installation of a "water saving" irrigation systems, and shrub maintenance.

It is common belief that scheduled fertilizations of lawns are important for a vibrant green lawn that we can all show off to our friends. The question arises, " Is this all that fertilizer is important for…only for a neighborhood ego booster? ". To evaluate this question, we must first decide if it is a luxury or a necessity. Looking back at our definitions, we see that a luxury is something that is conducive to pleasure while a necessity is absolutely essential. We know that a nice lawn is conducive to pleasure, but is fertilizer absolutely essential? Fertilizer does more that keep the grass green, it keeps the grass healthy as well. Fertilizers keep the lawn green by feeding it essential minerals that it may not be getting naturally depending on the quality of soil, ph of the soil, etc. Also, some fertilizer contains certain properties that kill or prevent unwanted fungus from growing in your lawn. Why is this important? You may ask yourself what may happen if you do not take care of you lawn for a given period of time. Grass is a living organism. It needs certain things to survive, just like we do. By robbing your lawn of nutrients that it needs, you are essentially starving your lawn. If the lawn is starved and dies, you, the homeowner, are faced with a decision. You must decide if you want a new green lawn, or a baron desert. The first of the two is the more desirable for most homeowners. The point of this scenario is that if you neglect your lawn, the results could be devastating to your lawn and a costly item to repair.

Similar results could occur if your lawn does not receive the proper amount of water. Irrigation systems today save both time and effort. Attractive landscaping requires a substantial investment as well as careful maintenance. Your automatic sprinkler system protects that investment by assuring a healthier, longer living lawn and longer living plants and shrubs. Your custom-designed sprinkler system will automatically deliver the proper amount of water to each area of your landscape. A key aspect to this is that there will be no more wasteful run-off. Many times in our busy lives we begin to water our lawns and forget to move the sprinkler, or even worse, we water parts of our lawns and neglect other areas because we have to run off somewhere. The system is run by a timer, which makes sure each area of the lawn will receive the proper amount of water. Setting the timer early in the morning minimizes water loss due to wind and evaporation. Installing a rain sensor, which shuts the sprinkler system off when it rains, can save water as well. This is one of the many features of an irrigation system that allows us to say that it is a fully automated system. Once it is installed, it is virtually worry free. Watering your lawn and shrubs is a very important part of the life and beauty of your personal environment. This is an area of your landscape that, if neglected, will lead to costly repairs. With an irrigation properly installed, not only will you have the proper care of your lawn, you will save time, money, as well as water.

The third and final topic is the importance of maintaining the shrubs on you property. Shrubs are a very expensive and important part of our landscapes. If you have ever visited a garden nursery, which most homeowners have, you have seen exactly how costly different shrubs can be. Even the smallest shrubs can boast a hefty price tag. This price tag usually does not include any installation charges and it definitely does not consider any personal costs such as the time spent caring and nurturing the shrubs after they have been installed. Once the "total price" is displayed in front of you, shrubs seem a lot more that just some vegetation in your yard. One can see the reason we refer to them as an investment. Any investment needs a safety net. With financial investments, people diversify. Diversification is their safety net. If something crashes or performs poorly, their investment is safe because they took the care to purchase different types of investments. With regards to your shrubs, there are three things that can make up your safety net. First is watering them. As you know, organic things are made up mostly of water. Just like humans, they need water to survive. Second, often times, the soil we plan our shrubs in is not the ideal environment for that particular species to grow strong in. Many times, these shrubs need food, vitamins and minerals, which the environment is not providing for them. Consult you landscape professional for the environments for different shrubs. Give them the proper water and food they require and they will boast sharp, vivid colors. Finally, trimming your shrubs regularly ensures that your shrubs are both on a proper growing cycle and do not become overgrown. Many people think that nicely trimmed shrubs are purely aesthetic. This train of thought is incorrect. While nicely trimmed shrubs are the capstone to a good-looking property, there is another reason, which may lead to many other problems. This reason is that they may become overgrown. Right now you're saying, "That sounds aesthetic". At face value it is, but think about what will happen if they do become overgrown. First, depending on how space out the shrubs are, they may overgrow into each other. When this happens, light is blocked from hitting the areas of the shrub that are touching. When this happens, the sun does not synthesize the chlorophyll in the plans and that area of the shrub will die. Once this happens, that area of most shrubs will never produce foliage again. Another problem that may occur if shrubs become overgrown is that once they are in that condition, it is difficult to return them to both the shape and size that you want them. It could become a costly relationship between you and you landscape professional. If they become to overgrown, beyond the point of repair, the only recourse may be to remove the overgrown material and purchase, install, and nurture more shrubs. This is the scenario that we are trying to avoid, because it is the most costly to the homeowner.

In short, during economic hardships, it is still important to maintain the property that you have already invested so much money into. It may seem like the sensible thing to put off a project or task to save a buck, but is that what your really doing? What is really happening? In reality, you're postponing payment. People don't realize the price of the "late fee". That late fee is the all of the money that it will cost to repair the damage that occurred during the time that the property was neglected. It's a roll of the dice. You may get out of it with a few minor repairs, but is the gamble worth the possibility of having to replace your entire landscape?

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