First impressions matter. When guests, potential investors, and future employees visit your establishment, what they see on the exterior begins to shape their opinion about your business and brand long before they enter the building. For this reason, exterior maintenance is an essential component of maintaining brand image.
Owners and managers may immediately think of paint, pressure washing, signage, lawn care, and general building upkeep when they think of exterior maintenance. However, there is an equally important element of this necessary process that is often overlooked. If left unmanaged, it can be costly to correct: vegetation management.
Vegetation Management Definition and Benefits
Vegetation management is the general term used to describe the targeted control and elimination of unwanted vegetation – what most people commonly call weeds. Although they may be considered simple eyesores, weeds actually can cause many problems that go beyond aesthetic concerns.
Unwanted vegetation can serve as harborage areas for rodents and birds, as well as biting and stinging insects such as wasps, bees, and mosquitos. These pests can cause damage to your building and equipment, harm guests and employees, and possibly create a much larger and costly situation to correct.
Weeds can also spread in the form of harmful plants such as poison ivy, ragweed, thorn-covered vegetation, and invasive plant species. In addition to the obvious health threat to guests and employees, these invasive plants can also cause structural damage if left untreated for too long. Having a proper treatment plan can significantly reduce these risks and extra maintenance requirements.
Removing unwanted vegetation can also enhance your overall property safety. Clearing away brush, ground cover, and weeds reduces the risk of slips, trips, falls and unseen hazards. It also allows for clear visibility and movement, makes maintenance easier, and can help improve visibility for security efforts. Uncontrolled vegetation can provide cover for potential criminal activity. Vegetation management clears the line of sight, ultimately decreasing a wide variety of risks.
Overgrown vegetation: A dangerous fire hazard
Additionally, vegetation in close proximity to establishments can also serve as additional fuel in the case of a fire or may even be a fire agent in the summer as it can become dry and easily ignited.
In areas facing drought conditions or prone to wildfires, the abatement of weeds and vegetation may be required by law. For example, some areas of California are mandating that residents and businesses clear weeds and brush from their properties; if they don’t, they may face fines or additional costs that cities will charge for doing the work.
Spring and early summer are the perfect times to be proactive in developing a vegetation management plan, before temperatures rise, pests become more active, weeds to grow faster, and the risk of brush fire increases.
The Top Overlooked Component of Exterior Maintenance
An effective vegetation management system protects brand value by enhancing the appearance of a building while also addressing potential pest and safety concerns.
Customized solutions can be designed for any size property and any industry. View Rentokil Steritech’s full brochure to see how a vegetation management system could enhance your establishment.
For additional tips on vegetation management, review the article “Top 5 Landscaping Practices to Deter Pests from Your Facility and Grounds” that Rentokil Steritech’s Dwayne Hess contributed to Professional Retail Store Maintenance Magazine in 2016.