Landscape, Irrigation, and Trees FAQs

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+ Q. Who manages our Landscaping and Irrigation contracts?

Contractors report to the HOA management when they are on site. The contractors are given specific directions including work orders that need to be completed. Management has significant input from the Landscaping, Irrigation, and Trees Committee.

+ Q. What is the schedule for Landscaping work?

The schedule for Landscaping services is posted on our Home Page. The daily schedule changes due to weather and the Today’s Events calendar reflects any changes. Management also sends out an eBlast announcing upcoming services and any weather related changes. You can scroll to past or future dates on the Today's Events Calendar.

+ Q. Can I opt out of Landscape services?

In 2019,(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). (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. The opt out sign up period has passed for the 2019 season. Those that have signed up for opt out will be enforced for the entire 2019 season.

+ Q. How often can I opt out of Landscape services?

Residents may submit one (1) landscape opt-out form annually and may not revise the form during the season. This is necessary for management and the landscaping contractor to manage service to 395 homes; many landscaping contractors only allow all or nothing.

+ Q. Why must I accept chemical application or prove that this is being done?

All lawns should be chemically treated to avoid infestation of weeds such as crab grass to neighboring lawns. The goal in the future is for the entire community to be treated at the same time. If you choose to opt-out of chemical service you must sign a waiver confirming that service will be completed by you or a preferred contractor. Weeds do not respect property boundaries and control is a community effort. Herbicide labels can be reviewed at the HOA office.

+ Q. Can I get my own Landscaping Services?

Yes, you are free to hire your own landscaping service. For things like bed weeding and cleanup, you do not need to do anything additional. For personal landscaping services like fertilizing, weed control, and shrub pruning, you need to participate in the opt-out program (see FAQ relative to opt-out). You do not need to opt-out of services for side or rear landscaping that you are responsible for. Note: neither you nor the HOA gets any compensation for opting out of landscaping services which are part of the HOA Landscaping contract.

+ Q. Can I mow my own lawn?

No, in 2019 you can not opt out of mowing or lawn services.

+ Q. Do I need permission before I "landscape" my property?

Yes, but this is really a Covenant's question. You are modifying your exterior appearance and you must apply for architectural modification approval from the Covenants Committee. (see Covenants FAQ). Our landscaping services will provide the contracted care for any changes that you make to your front beds. You are responsible for the care of any landscaping added to the side or back yards. You are not permitted to personally landscape common areas that may be adjacent to your property.

+ Q. What is our Irrigation schedule?

The normal irrigation schedule for turf is M-W-F starting at 9 p.m. and continuing into the early morning hours of the next day. The schedule for landscape beds is Tuesday and Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. and lasting about 2 hours. The irrigation schedules are modified based on the amount of rainfall which is monitored locally in order to conserve water.

+ Q. When does the irrigation schedule start?

The start of the irrigation season is a joint decision between management, the irrigation contractor, and the irrigation sub-committee. It normally starts early to mid-June and is a function of previous rainfall. The irrigation system is de-winterized and checked out in April for irrigation in early May, if necessary.

+ Q. Can I view the Landscaping contract?

Yes, the landscape contract is available on the Governance web page.

+ Q. What are resident’s mowing responsibilities?

Residents are responsible for clearing their lawns of furniture, hoses, grandkids toys, etc. just as if you were going to mow the lawn yourself. Things that are difficult to mow around like shepherd’s hooks are discouraged. The landscape contractor is not expected to remove these items and may refuse to mow your lawn.

+ Q. Are all services included in the Landscaping contract?

The Landscape contract calls for specific scheduled services to maintain resident’s lawns and front landscape beds plus the community common areas. There are also priced enhanced services that are in our budget; the board must approve exercising these enhancements as recommended by the Landscaping Committee. The contract includes resident mowing, weed control (not including Bermuda grass). front bed edging, front bed mulching, and front bed shrub pruning. The contract does not include over-seeding or aeration of resident properties, resident tree pruning, nor mulching/fertilizing/pruning of resident side or rear landscape beds.

+ Q. What is being done about weeding for the front beds of resident's homes?

Plant bed weed control is included in the contract we have with the Landscape company. In the spring, both a bed pre-emergent and later a weed killer is applied to the front beds. Afterwards and throughout the season all weeds are to be removed from the beds as they appear. This will be normally completed at the time the grass mowing is performed. Chemical weed control shall be used in shrubs beds only, when hand removal is impractical.

+ Q. What if I have an landscaping complaint or suggestion?

If you have any landscaping issues, contact the HOA office and get a Work Order filled out. All work orders are addressed and you should receive a response as to the corrective action taken. Note: Management does not monitor nor respond to complaints discussed on ECHOES.

+ Q. What do I do if there is an issue with a common area tree?

A common area tree issue, e.g. swale tree, should be reported to the HOA office. A work order will be generated, if not a known issue, and management will make sure that the problem is addressed.

+ Q. Can I view the Irrigation contract?

Yes, the irrigation contract is available on the Governance web page.

+ Q. Where does our irrigation water come from?

We have four (4) deep water wells distributed around the community that supplies irrigation water. There is no connection to the Centreville water supply. We just pay for electricity to run the pumps and of course any repair costs.

+ Q. Do we have unlimited use of our irrigation water?

No, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) limits our water usage to 12 million gallons per year. We have a permit for this and must report our usage to MDE twice a year. Management does the reports to MDE.

+ Q. How is water usage managed?

The Irrigation sub-committee monitors our water usage weekly during the irrigation season and reports this usage to the Landscape, Irrigation, and Trees Committee and management. This sub-committee also monitors local rainfall from three locations in the community, watches the 10 day weather forecast, and provides recommendations for irrigation in the coming week.

+ Q. Why are some irrigation times longer than others?

Unlike homes, many of the common areas have rotator sprinkler heads. These cover larger areas and have a slower application rate and thus require about twice as much time as resident fixed sprinklers. As it is, the turf cycle takes about 8 hours to complete with five pumps working simultaneously for much of the cycle.

+ Q. Why are we irrigating while it is raining?

The irrigation system has a rain sensor which automatically shuts down the system after sensing ¼” rainfall. Thus the action is not instantaneous and it may be pouring rain and still be irrigating.

+ Q. Can we correct over watering between homes?

Overwatering or excessive wetness between homes is a function of several factors. Often the situation exists even before we initiate our sprinkler system for the season. Grading and drainage issues have been common throughout Symphony Village; couple this with the dense clay soil just beneath the turf. The installation of sprinkler heads between many homes only contributes to the water problem. There is no easy or cost effective solution to this issue. A Work Order, coordinated with your neighbor, may be submitted to alternate sprinkler heads between homes. But this alone may not totally satisfy the problem.

+ Q. What if I have an irrigation complaint or suggestion?

If you have any irrigation issues, contact the HOA office and get a Work Order filled out. All work orders are addressed and you should receive a response as to the corrective action taken. Note: Management does not monitor nor respond to complaints discussed on ECHOES.

+ Q. How many trees do we have in the community?

A total of about 1800 trees were evaluated, tagged, and reported by an arborist in 2017. These included street trees and common area trees. In addition we are responsible for perimeter trees that were also evaluated for problems that might endanger resident property. This tree map can be expanded and by clicking on a dot, all the information is displayed.

+ Q. Do we have an arborist?

The HOA contracted an arborist to evaluate about 1800 trees in 2017. That arborist is on call for any follow-up work. Landscaping, Irrigation, and Trees Committee has taken over maintenance of this data base including updates for any removed or replaced trees.

+ Q. Are perimeter trees an HOA responsibility?

Perimeter trees that abut some residences are part of the total Symphony Village land parcel and are therefore HOA responsibility. The HOA management is monitoring perimeter trees for potential danger to resident homes and alleviating any perceived danger. Management must deal with any such issues as many of the perimeter trees are part of protected woodlands that require a licensed arborist for any action.

+ Q. Are we replacing dead trees?

Yes, we are replacing any dead street trees that have been removed. Not all common area trees are being replaced as the developer planted some too close together or selected species that do not do well on the Eastern Shore. Tree replacement is expensive and the board needs to approve any such action recommended by the Landscaping, Irrigation, and Tree Committee.

+ Q. What trees are acceptable to be planted in common areas?

A sub-committee of Landscaping, Irrigation, and Trees generated a list of approved trees that are suitable to be used for replacement. This list consists of trees that do well on the Eastern Shore and the recommendations include consideration for mature height and invasiveness of roots. This list is on the Landscape, Irrigation, and Trees web page and this will be incorporated in the latest revision of the Architectural Requirements.

+ Q. What trees are acceptable to be planted on resident’s lots?

The Architectural Requirements specifies what trees and shrubs are acceptable to be planted on resident properties. Acceptable Resident Trees are a subset of the Approved Trees List which will be referenced in the Architectural Guidelines pending board approval. There is an Approved Trees List icon on the Landscaping, Irrigation, and Trees web page that will take you to that list.

+ Q. Why is my tree(s) not on the Approved Resident Tree List?

The Approved List only applies to new trees or replacement for dead trees. The list includes factors that were not necessarily considered by the builder or the previous Architectural Guidelines. You do not have to remove any existing trees.

+ Q. What shrubs are acceptable to be planted on resident's lot?

There is an Approved Shrub List icon on the Landscaping, Irrigation, and Trees web page that will take you to that list.

There is an Native Perennial List icon on the Landscaping, Irrigation, and Trees web page that will take you to that list.

+ Q. How are we controlling tree diseases?

Landscaping, Irrigation, and Trees deals with disease threats on a case-by-case basis. The biggest issue has been Emerald Ash Bore which has invaded the Eastern Shore. The community has over 60 Ash trees even though they weren’t a very good choice by the builder. The board approved emergency funding for an initial treatment in 2017 even though this wasn’t in the budget. We will continue to treat for Emerald Ash Bore every 3 years until the disease is no longer a threat in this area.

+ Q. Who manages the ponds?

HOA management now hires a professional pond management company to treat our three ponds. These ponds are part of the Centreville storm water management system and any actions must be approved by local government. The HOA is financially responsible for the three ponds including maintaining their integrity for storm water management.