In a planned community setting, most, if not all, of the plant material is brought into the community and is not native to the site. Different species and plant types adjust in different ways to their new environment. Some plants thrive, and some do not. In fact, plants that are the same species and planted in relatively the same location can react differently to their new home immediately or after several years. When a plant is suffering, it may not show signs of stress or have visible damage before declining and dying. There are a variety of different factors that contribute to the demise of a plant: transplant shock, poor root structure, negligent care, vandalism or wrong plant for the location, just to name a few.
Once DLC’s crews are certain that a plant is dead, and not just taking a bit longer to recover from an external shock, it is removed. Concurrent with removal, crews cap irrigation emitters to prevent wasting irrigation water.
The goal of plant replacement is not simply to replace every plant that is removed; it is to fill voids in planting areas. Sometimes, mature plants naturally grow into open spaces, and new plants are not needed in an area where a plant was removed.
Ideally, new plants are planted when nighttime temperatures are over 55 degrees and daytime temperatures are under 90 degrees for a prolonged period of time. In most cases, plant replacement is most successful in the early spring and fall because temperatures and humidity allow the plant to establish itself in its new environment before the harsher weather arrives. When a plant dies during the summer heat, it is removed, and it can take the Association several months to replace. In some instances, replacement can be delayed further by budget constraints, plant palette modifications and nursery availability of size, quantity or species of desired plant material. The Community Manager or Board of Directors may delay replanting until adaptations are made to the landscape plan or until a bulk number of plants need replacement.