Growing Your Green Potential

Growing Your Green Potential

Facilities represent the second largest expense of most companies, making it vital to growth that facility managers efficiently control and understand each location in their company’s footprint. Accurate planning decisions and foresight can make for more effective loss prevention and grow your bottom line.

Pennies in the Soil
A small investment into the foundation of your company could mean long-term growth and overall profitability. So what is your business’ foundation? The way you manage your outdoor assets might not spring to mind, but in reality those assets form the context for everything your organization does. It is the book cover upon which your business is judged and will either attract or deter your potential customer before they even step out of their car.

Your landscape is an extension of your business, and improvements will increase the property value and customer appeal. Planning for such a core asset is vital and a smoothly functioning, efficient plan for your exterior will free up your organization to focus on the important sale inside.

Visualizing Your Year-Round Green
The best growing season is quickly approaching and winter months will be prime for transplanting trees and shrubs, since many lie dormant in the cold. Therefore, now is the ideal time to develop a plan for your exterior.

A professionally designed plan will identify and simplify the necessary steps to seeing your “year-round green” even as you enter the rough winter months. It will keep you on track and save you from wasting time and money on costly mistakes. Everything from deciding whether to prune, move or eliminate overgrown shrubs to selecting the right plants according to color, growth patterns and maintenance concerns must begin with inventorying your current exterior assets.

Picture documentation is an excellent way to accomplish this. A facility manager who has been proactive in documenting their landscape will be able to plan remotely and know what lies beneath their soil even as the snow covers it – letting you see the “green” all year long.

Protecting Your Green
This form of documentation can also save you some year round “green” by preventing winter losses caused by problems such as freeze. “This is very important, because freeze is a formidable winter hazard,” explained John Sullivan of worldwide business property insurer and loss prevention expert FM Global. “During the last 25 years, we’ve insured more than 7,500 losses due to freezing conditions, totaling an estimated $1.075 billion (U.S.). Freeze can cause substantial damage and affect facilities throughout the middle latitudes, including subtropical regions where freeze is thought to be rare.”

There are a multitude of factors that contribute to freeze damage beyond plunging temperatures. Some of these include:

  1. The hardiness of your plants
    1. Hardy – Plants that will endure temperatures 32°F or below with little or no damage.
    2. Tender – Plants that are killed or severely damaged by temperatures of 32°F or below.
  2. The type of freeze
    1. Radiational – This type of freeze or frost can occur on calm, clear night when heat radiates from surfaces into the environment. Reducing radiant heat loss from plant and soil surfaces can minimize damage from a radiational freeze.
    2. Advective – These freezes occur when cold air masses move down from northern regions, causing a drastic drop in temperature. Windy conditions often accompany advective freezes. Although radiant heat loss also occurs during an advective freeze, the conditions are quite different from a radiational freeze because the low temperatures are liable to last much longer during advective freezes, and plant protection is more difficult.
  3. Length of the freeze – Persistent freezing temperatures can deplete heat stored in the soil that initially moderates temperatures around the plant.
  4. Healthiness of the plants – Obviously, healthy plants will withstand freezing temperatures better than sick ones. This is why professional care for your landscape during the summer growing season is so important. However you must be cautious not to prune or fertilize trees, shrubs and ground covers too late in the fall, because it can stimulate late growth that is not as cold hardy and therefore susceptible to freeze injury.
  5. The severity of temperatures changes – A sudden drop to below freezing temperatures from a period of relatively mild weather may cause damage even to hardy plants that might otherwise have suffered little or no damage. Whereas, a gradual decrease in temperature will harden off plants, allowing them to withstand freezing temperatures better.
  6. Location within landscape – The micro-climate of a location is the environmental conditions of the specific spot. There are located throughout your landscape. The educated placement of tender or less hardy plants can help them to withstand lower temperatures.

The Green Advantage
The care and planning of your landscape can be best tackled by the professionals. With their extensive and diverse backgrounds in horticulture and landscaping, they can guide your business through proper planning and elevated solutions. Let a professional put you in control of your best asset and ensure that even through a rough winter your facility’s exterior is playing a strong role in your organization’s overall success.