Landscape, Irrigation, and Trees

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New 2019 Opt-Out Procedure

(1) Owners will NOT be allowed to opt out of lawn service (mowing, fertilizing, and weed control) and (2) owners will be allowed to opt out of bed maintenance (mulching, weed control, fertilizing, and trimming of shrubs) and such opting-out must be done by January 1 and will be enforced for the entire year. (This is due to much confusion and many changes during 2018 making landscaping services very difficult. Residents can still provide extra lawn services if they choose.) This was approved by the board at the October 26, 2018 meeting.

+ Committee Members

  • Tom McManus, chair, management coordination, irrigation mapping
  • Mike Norris, vice-chair, contract documents
  • Bill Wells, forester, trees, tree data base
  • Betty McAtee, Master Gardner, Master Naturalist, trees, flowers
  • Sandy Cheyne, trees
  • Joyce Anderson, Master Gardener, Master Naturalist, trees, flowers
  • Kathy McManus, trees
  • Barbara Ways
  • Dominick Mancinelli
  • Charles (Tom) Burton
  • Dan/Vicki Kober
  • Jim Arnts, secretary, irrigation/mapping, web page
  • Joe Brown, board liasion

Note: Approved Trees lists only apply for new or replacement plantings. Any existing common or resident area trees will not require removal. 

Click for Resident Approved/Prohibited Trees

Click for Resident Approved/Prohibited Trees

Click for Rec'd Shrubs

Click for Rec'd Shrubs

Click for Native Perennials

Click for Native Perennials

Click for Planting Guide

Click for Planting Guide


Contracted Services

Turf Management

+ Mowing

  1. First mowing shall be the first Wednesday of April of each year . The turf shall be cut to a height of 3.5” to 4” as conditions dictate using rotary-type mower or reel-type mower. Blades shall be balanced and sharp at all times.
  2. The total number of mowings in this contract shall be 23, with variances deemed appropriate due to weather or extenuating circumstances.
  3. Each occurrence of mowing shall be completed within a one day time frame, weather permitting, each Wednesday. In the event a mowing date is changed due to weather or any other reason, mowing will be executed on the next work day. If change is needed, contractor will contact SVHOA GM 24 hours prior to the start of the next mowing.
  4. Mowing patterns shall be employed to encourage upright growth and permit the recycling of clippings.
  5. Excessive clippings resulting from growth rates exceeding proposed frequencies, or that remain as clumps, shall be removed from turf areas.
  6. Clippings shall be removed from all paved or mulched surfaces after completed mowing at the end of the work day. No provision is made for debris disposal on site.
  7. Trimming around trees, shrubs, and foundations shall be performed with each mowing. Work shall be performed using hand labor or mechanical devices, at contractor’s discretion, to present a neat and trim appearance. Care should be taken to avoid “scalping.”
  8. During each mowing occurrence, the upper perimeter of each stormwater pond shall be mowed.
  9. The vegetation along the walking trail shall be trimmed back on both sides to at least 3 feet. Any branches shall be trimmed as needed. This service shall be performed 2 times/year (July, Nov).
  10. Contractor will develop a survey map of SV, noting areas of concern (wet areas, slopes, etc.), selecting the most suitable mower for the sites. These sites will be inspected by supervisors after each mowing. This map will be available to GM before first mowing.
  11. Contractor will verify the operating speed of walk-behind mowers are set at Level 3 (walking speed). Contractor will regulate as many riding mowers as possible to walking speed, and assure that all mowers operate with mulch kits. Supervisors will provide regular training and reviews with work crews in order to maintain appropriate speeds.
  12. Contractor will ensure that the strategy in place will consolidate mowing, edging, and blowing as a single component so that clippings are removed prior to the end of the work day in residential areas, including sidewalks and driveways. Contractor will conduct ongoing training and work reviews for personnel using weed-wackers to prevent damage to foundations and siding. Work crews will be advised to report any damage immediately to supervisors. They will notify GM by end of workday. If possible, the resident will be notified immediately.
  13. Bioswale and hill (Overture) shall be cut back in late June and November.
  14. Bioswales shall be edged and mulched in early spring.

+ Edging

  1. All concrete walks shall be edged using mechanical methods at every other mowing (12X/season).
  2. All accessible (non-parking) curbing shall be edged using mechanical methods at every other mowing (12X/season).
  3. Areas that cannot be edged using a mechanical edger, will be edged using a weed wacker every other mowing (12X/season).
  4. All dirt and debris resulting from edging operations shall be removed. No provision is made for disposal of debris on site.

+ Turf Care

  1. Residential yards:
    Application #1 (March-April): Fertilizer/Crabgrass pre-emergent (Prodiamine) ―Slow release polymer based granular nitrogen fertilizer 1.1 lb N/1000 sq ft.
    Application #2 (April): Broadleaf weed control (Lesco 3-way herbicide) post-emergent
    Application3 (Late Aug/Sept:- Broadleaf/crabgrass/nutdedge weed control, post-emergent at temperatures less than 85 degrees F., and with well- hydrated turf. Any additional need for post-emergent weed control shall be conducted using spot spraying at temperatures below 85 degrees F
    Application #4 (Sept): Single application .7 lb N/1000 sq ft, 70% control release, granular fertilizer All excess fertilizer/herbicide on sidewalks/streets shall be cleared from these areas.
  2. Common areas: Pond perimeters shall not be fertilized. All other common areas should be treated with fertilizer and weed control using same specifications as applied to residential yards.
  3. Lime Applications: No lime shall be applied for 3-4 years beginning 2014 as indicated by 2014 soil tests. Any future need for lime application should be substantiated by soil testing. Tall fescue grows best at 5.5-6.8 pH.

+ Soil Tests

  1. A soil test shall be conducted before April 1 as required and every 3 years thereafter.
  2. Contractor will follow sampling guidelines as outlined by MDA turf care. Samples shall be taken from all 4 construction phases.
  3. Soil samples shall be analyzed by an MDA approved lab. Results of the tests shall be presented to the GM, and a report shall be submitted in writing and shall include an analysis of test results, plus a curative program recommendation.

+ Weeds/Disease/Insects

Control applies to lawn areas
According to IPM guidelines, contractor shall monitor insect and disease problems and treat them according to MDA Best Practices. An employee registered as a State of Maryland Licensed Pesticide Applicator and trained in the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of major turf diseases and insect pests, shall at all times be on the alert for an outbreak of such pests. GM shall be notified immediately of an outbreak. Notification shall include recommended treatment and costs.

+ Aeration

(as required in common areas only)

  1. Established turf shall be aerated once per season to reduce damage resulting from compaction, and to improve turf receptiveness to seeding, fertilizers, pre-emergents, etc.
  2. Aerification shall be accomplished utilizing a core-type aerator or aerovator.
  3. Fall aeration shall occur between September 1 and November 30.
  4. The aerator tines shall penetrate the soil to a minimum depth of one inch.
  5. Aeration cores shall not be collected from turf.

+ Overseeding

(if applicable)

  1. Where applicable, mechanical over-seeding tall fescue grass shall be performed to strengthen weak areas of turf.
  2. Area requiring reseeding shall be reseeded at the rate of 3 lbs/1000 sq ft. All areas shall be reseeded with an approved certified seed, turf type tall fescue blend. Seed shall be clean, delivered in original unopened packages, and bearing an analysis of the contents, guaranteed 95% pure and to have a minimum germination rate of 85% at the time of planting. Weed content of all grass seed mixtures must not exceed .05%.
  3. Reseeding shall be incorporated with aeration and a top dressing of approximately 1/2” Compro or similar organic material.

Shrub Management

+ Pruning

(Residential front beds and common areas only)

  1. All deciduous shrubs shall be pruned as necessary (at least twice/year). Care shall be taken not to remove too much of the flowering surface branches. The shrubs shall not be “sheared,” rather pruned to maintain natural form. Pruning shall include removing dead wood, diseased wood, wood that is seriously infested with insects, weak wood that is not productive of bloom, excess suckers and shoots, and irregular growth.
  2. Evergreen shrubs shall be pruned/trimmed only as necessary to maintain their natural form.
  3. Pruning shall be done in May and September.

+ Fertilization:

Shrubs shall be fertilized only once/year in spring.
The fertilization program for shrubs shall provide the equivalent of .82 lb N/1000 sq ft per year (using Hollytone).

+ Plant Bed Weeds

(Control in Front beds only)

  1. All weeds are to be removed from beds as they appear.
  2. Chemical weed control shall be used in shrub beds only when hand removal is impractical.
  3. All weeds and grasses growing in the sidewalk and curb cracks shall be controlled with a non-selective herbicide when necessary.

+ Disease/Insect

  1. An employee registered as a State of Maryland licensed pesticide applicator and trained in the recognition and treatment of diseases and insect pests shall be on the alert for an outbreak of such pests. The GM shall be notified immediately of an outbreak.
  2. Insecticides and fungicide shall be applied by a State licensed applicator. Application shall be administered if IPM strategies warrant. Rates and timing shall follow manufacturer’s recommendations.

Tree Management

+ Pruning:

Applies to common area trees only.

Pruning shall be in accordance with US Department of Agriculture bulletin NA-FR-01-95 as revised in August 2012.

  1. The broken or lower branches of street trees will be pruned only in the fall, following leaf drop, unless branches present potential hazards. Branches shall be removed/ trimmed to a level of –7-8 ft above the applicable sidewalk.
  2. Tree pruning shall be performed to improve the health of the tree (prune in the correct season) for safety reasons and aesthetics.
  3. Pruning may be performed on street trees such that it does not harm or encourage diseases and pests, i.e. oak trees should not be pruned in the summer as it encourages “oak wilt” disease.
  4. Remove vines growing up trees and remove debris collecting beneath.
  5. Pruning practices shall be such that it does not harm the tree.
  6. Pool area: prune Crepe Myrtles in Winter such that their height is uniform with adjacent trees at approximately 20+/-2 feet.
  7. Trees on residential properties shall be the responsibility of the homeowner.

+ Insect and Disease Control:

Applies to common area trees only.

  1. The landscape staff shall at all times be on the alert for tree insect infestations and diseases. The contractor shall inform the Symphony Village Management verbally and in a written follow-up with in five days of discovering any tree issues. A certified Arborist under a separate contract will identify and/or address tree issues and their necessary remedial actions.
  2. When issues identified by Symphony Village through their Arborist, the contractor shallbe notified in writing to initiate a dormant oil spray program shall be initiated in late winter/early spring as needed to control insect infestations such as scale, aphids, and spider mites. In keeping with the requirements of this contract, the contractor shall meet the following:
    The principles of IPM shall be followed, with least amount of chemical being introduced into the landscape to control the infestation. No use of nicontinoids is permitted.
    All sprays shall be applied using an approved high-pressure tree-type sprayer.
    All spray chemicals shall be administered according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
    Only an employee registered as a State licensed pesticide applicator shall be permitted to apply these chemicals with written authorization of the GM.
    Spraying shall be done in the morning or evening hours when wind conditions are less likely to cause drift to buildings, etc. No tree rings shall be sprayed.


+ Use of Chemicals

  1. All chemicals utilized by the contractor shall meet all federal, state, and local regulations. Material Safety Data Sheets shall be provided as required based on usage
  2. Contractor personnel shall wear protective clothing and devices during all chemical operations as required by law and/or manufacturer’s directions.
  3. Contractor shall employ a State licensed pesticide applicator. Licensee shall be present on site during any chemical application.

+ Spring Clean-Up:

A general spring clean-up shall occur in March. This work shall include leaf removal and policing the grounds to remove trash and other over-wintering debris, including ponds and common area perimeter.

+ Mulch

  1. Mulch shall be top grade, double-shredded hardwood bark, free of all debris. Mulch shall be aged for a period of no less than nine (9) months.
  2. Mulch shall be applied to all previously mulched tree rings, shrub beds to ensure a depth of 1.0 inch to 1.5 inches once each spring. Existing mulch shall be raked and mixed with new mulch.
  3. All mulched areas shall be edged once each spring, creating a definite edge between turf and bed/tree ring. There shall be no encroachment of turf into mulched areas and no spillover of mulch into turf areas.
  4. All mulched areas shall be kept free of any grass clippings.
  5. Mulch will not be placed against the trunks or bark of trees/shrubs. A space of 1 inch to 2 inches should be allowed. This is an inspection item.

+ Leaf Removal

  1. All leaves shall be removed completely from lawn areas and walkways two times during the contract period.
  2. All leaves shall be removed completely from all mulched bed areas and tree rings two times during the contract period.
  3. Accumulated leaves shall be removed from the site at the conclusion of each leaf removal operation. No provision is made for disposal of leaves on the site.

+ Seasonal Colors

(Annuals: Spring and Summer and Fall)

  1. This specification shall cover all items of seasonal color installation and management
  2. The work required shall include all labor, supervision, equipment, tools, and materials to complete the work specified and in accordance with professional horticultural and ornamental practices.
  3. Soil shall be loosened to a depth of 4 inches. Organic matter shall be spread over the bed to a depth of 1 inch and incorporated into the soil, if applicable.
  4. An approved mulch of triple shredded hardwood mulch shall be applied to a depth of 1 inch over the perimeter of the planting bed following installation of seasonal color.
  5. Before planting, all non-biodegradable pots shall be removed. Spring, Summer and Fall annuals shall be installed using 6-inch pots. All existing roots shall be completely surrounded by soil and shall be below the level of the mulch. Plant beds shall be watered thoroughly following installation. Plant beds shall be treated with a pre-emergent herbicide (such as Preen) to aid in the prevention of future weed growth.
  6. All seasonal color shall be pinched as needed to remove dead flower heads.
  7. Planting beds shall be weeded as necessary. Water shall be provided by irrigation.

+ Perennials

  1. In early spring any dead vegetation in perennial beds shall be removed.
  2. In spring perennials shall be fertilized with an organic fertilizer (such as Espoma).
  3. Perennials shall be cut back after first bloom is spent.
  4. Perennials shall be thinned or divided as needed in summer to encourage second bloom.
  5. Perennials shall be cut back after first “killing” frost.
  6. Dormant ornamental grasses shall be cut back to ground level in early Spring in order to leave stems and seed heads during winter months for overwintering wildlife.


Contracted Services

+ Spring System Activation:

  1. The contractor first will collect all components such as backflow devices and pumps that may have been removed over the winter and install them to their regular locations.
  2. System will be energized (pressurized) from the controller, all zones will be checked electrically for continuity and all decoders are 'pinged' to ensure communication.
  3. The contractor will inspect and ensure the rain sensor is operational and will then activate every zone and inspect all components (heads). While walking the system, the contractor will make adjustments to arc and radius of the spray heads as needed.
  4. The contractor will note plant material type, head type and exposure to assist in proper programming of the controller and will record any broken, leaking, or missing components and notify the SVHOA GM of their findings.
  5. The contractor will create proposal(s) to perform any necessary repairs and any recommended upgrades or modifications that may improve the system.
  6. Once the system has been prepared for operation the contractor will create a watering schedule that will work within the community watering windows and also take into consideration any environmental factors that have been noted, such as plant type, slope, soil, etc. This information will be submitted and then once approved the watering schedule will be implemented.

+ Site Visits/Operation/Repair

  1. The contractor will perform a spring system activation during the first or second week of April each year weather permitting and plan on being on site for each normal week day (Monday- Friday), until the activation is completed and the system is performing satisfactorily.
  2. The entire system will be inspected each month. The system will be divided into 4 sections, thus, 25% of the system will be inspected during each weekly visit and a written report will be submitted to the GM. Each zone will be visually inspected and any broken, leaking, or missing components will be brought to the attention of the General Manager via completion of service repair tickets
  3. When walking through the zones, the contractor will make any minor adjustments to ensure adequate water coverage.
  4. The contractor will take meter readings and submit the information to the GM each month. Any needed repairs will be submitted for approval and then performed in a timely manner.
  5. The contractor will make any minor adjustments to the watering schedule based on weather and site conditions with the ultimate goals of water conservation and plant health.

+ Winterization.

  1. The system will be shut down and the mainline and all lateral lines purged of water using compressed air as is standard industry practice. The goal is to have shutdown completed no later than November 7 each year depending on weather.
  2. Depending on the equipment type and location, the contractor will remove components such as a backflow device and store over the winter. The controller will be placed in the 'off position.
  3. The contractor will provide the GM with the schedule for these and all activities listed above so the contractor can meet the General Manger's expectations and can notify the community of the contractor's progress.

+ "As Built" Irrigation Drawings

Original Dennison drawings. Known to be in error at some places.

Comments or Suggestions?

If you have any questions or comments for the Landscaping, Irrigation, and Tree Committee you can submit that here online. Note, this is for general comments only - it will not generate a work order that is required for action. The Committee will consider your suggestions at the next meeting; don't expect an immediate response.

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