pachysandra dilemna

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by ohiolawnguy, Feb 27, 2002.

  1. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    i tried to search this question, but did not find exactly what i was looking for.

    one of my customers has three basic areas of pachysandra in their front yard. every fall, when we go to do the leaf cleanupps, we remove the majority, but not all of the leaves. 2 of these beds, but not the third one are in great shape.

    the third one which i will be referring to has poor soil(lot of clay), and doesnt do very well. every year, the customer
    complains to me hat i dont remove all the leaves out of the bed.

    i try to explain to her that my reasonings are as follows:

    1. if we remove all of the leaves, and have a poor winter,(no snow covering pacysandra) the plants will freeze, and be sucseptible to wind burn.

    2. look at the other 2 beds, i never take all of the leaves out, and even with their not so great soil content, they grow and spread by rhizome extremely well.

    what i mean by taking most but not all of the leaves out is taking about 80% of leaves out leaving some as a buffer, or blanket for winter. in the spring, all the leaves are then removed.

    so, she decides to call the ohio state university extension. an ohio state graduate, and representative comes up from columbus, ohio(she knows some people who have influence to get them to drive 2 hours just for this) and he debunks my whole theory. he states that if i leave ANY leaves in the bed, thaat will contribute to fungus problems, and hurt the plants.

    I uderstand his reasoning for this, but pachysandra survived in the wild for a long time without help from mankind. nobody removed the leaves then.

    i also understand that he is probably more qualified in this area than i am. but, since he lives in columbus, and doesnt experience lake effect winds, and snow, that he may not understand the effects which these conditions can cause.
    columbus, and akron/cleveland could almost be considered two different climate zones for this reason. in my opnion.

    please give me your thoughts, and input on this subject whether you agree with me or not. if i am totally wrong on my theories, feel free to say so, and explain why.

    thank you very much,

  2. fshrdan

    fshrdan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    I completely agree with your way of thinking. I remember reading an article about a very important old oak tree that was having some problems. After alot of troubleshooting and tissue analysis, they ended up injecting the tree with micronutrients. The same micronutrient that would have stayed in the cycle if the area wasn't intensively maintained, and the leaves weren't continually removed.

    But... she wants the leaves removed, so remove them. And then sell her a nice thick ERTHfood mulch job to protect the plants in winter and enrich the soil. Doing this will be good for the plants, her peace of mind, and your bank account.
  3. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    therein lies the problem fshrdan. she believes that mulch is a complete waste of time, and money-go figure.

    her husband agrees with my reasoning. but, if i keep his wife happy, i keep him happy. know what i mean? :)

    maybe i should try to force the issue with regards to mulching.
  4. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Ohio State said all this without a soil sample and a tissue sample? Fungus problems?? And he can see this????? Did they give her a letter stating these facts???? I'd sure like to see it!

    I'd do a soil sample and tissue sample sending them off to the Universty and to your local extention agency. when you get them back in writting you can then know what to do.
  5. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    all information i received was based on
    hearsay. he said this, he said that. i know of no soil or tissue sample being done by him, and dont know if inforation was in writing or not. if so, i was never supplied a copy of his findings.

    i wasnt even present when the representative was there, but once she went over my head, and i was informed of his theory, i just said i will do it her way this year.

    i will get a soil, and tissue sample done once the season is under way. our contract with them doesn't commence until
    april 1st. would it be considered reasonable to charge them for these tests?

    again, thanks for the input.
  6. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    I don't know how good of a customer she is, but I would do the test just for my own information. I'll be the first to admit I don't know every thing about every plant and fungus they can contract. But contacting your local extention agent might get you the cost for it and then you can decided.
  7. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    if the customer is that fussy... then just clean all them leaves out and if the pachysandra dies... its her damn problem. i have learned that sometimes there is no reasoning with people... if they want it (right or wrong) I do it. That simple... why make more headaches for yourself...
  8. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 565

    If you want to keep the costumer ask her to write down how she wants them taken care of. Then do it her way but tell her that you will not be responsable for any loss. Document what you do and when you do it and when it dies you get to charge her to replant.

  9. Kevin@Siteworks

    Kevin@Siteworks LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Ohiolawnguy.....I have family that live in the Cleveland area. They have two huge beds of pachysandra at their place and have never had a problem with it. They clean the leaves meticulously every year. Pachysandra is an evergreen and thereby not affected by the cold and snow. I should probably tell you they live one mile from the lake, so they take a beating in the winter. Pachysandra is susceptable to stem rot however, so if she wants the leaves removed then make her happy. Just my two cents...
  10. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    I thought i would let you folks know that after 6 years, i finally talked this customer into having us put down 8 yards of mulch around the house. :) sometimes being persistent does pay.

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