Landscape Maintenance FAQ

1. What does it mean to live in a maintained neighborhood?

If you live in one of 14 single home RCA maintained neighborhoods, the RCA has contracted for landscape services for your neighborhood with Brightview Landscaping. This cost is included in the neighborhood fee portion of your HOA quarterly fees. Brightview Landscaping will provide the required services to maintain healthy and attractive landscaping for your home. The details of these services can be found on the Riverwood website here. Please understand that the Brightview crew members are not personal gardeners. If you live in an incorporated neighborhood (condo/villa) your management company has contracted with a landscape maintenance company to service your neighborhood.

2. I live in an incorporated neighborhood (condo/villa) and the plants along my entryway look bad. Who do I call?

You will need to contact the management company for your neighborhood as it is their responsibility to hire and manage a landscape contractor. You cannot contact the landscape company directly.

3. I live in a self-maintained neighborhood but I don't want to do yard work – what do I do?

You most likely would have received information at the time of sale from your realtor as to the companies used that provide your landscape services. Contact them directly to discuss your needs. You can also ask your neighbors or neighborhood President who they recommend.

4. I live in a Brightview maintained neighborhood - how do I use HOA Connect and what is it for?

Brightview HOA Connect is the online customer service request (CSR) system that you can use to report a problem, or ask for additional services. To sign up please visit the Riverwood website and follow the instructions to register HERE.

5. I live in a Brightview maintained neighborhood and some of my shrubs are starting to look shaggy – should I call the landscaper to have them come shape them up?

Your landscape trim crew comes in to your neighborhood on a regular basis and will get your shrubs back in shape at that time. They cannot accommodate requests for unscheduled trimming. Tickets submitted for trimming out of rotation are automatically pushed to the next rotation. In Florida, plant material can grow very quickly and as soon as the trim crews leave a neighborhood, the shoots that were just under the area trimmed are going to start pushing out. If a few unruly tips really bother you between trimmings, you can easily snip them off yourself.

6. I heard that if I put in a customer service request on the Brightview HOA Connect it’s an automatic $65 charge. Is this true?

No, it is not. Brightview HOA Connect is a communication tool that the Brightview account manager reviews on a daily basis. If you request additional landscaping services the account manager will contact you to discuss the services and quote you a price. If you have a non-emergency irrigation issue and you want immediate same day service, yes, there will be a $65 service charge. If you have an irrigation issue that you indicate is not time sensitive, an irrigation tech will respond within three days and if it is a covered service, there will be no charge. Confusing? Yes, it can be. Please visit the landscaping page on the Riverwood website to better understand irrigation charges and what is a covered (no charge) service.

7. Why do I still see weeds if I pay to have my property maintained?

The detail crew makes regularly scheduled visits to your neighborhood. They hand-pull larger weeds and spray for smaller weeds in your landscape beds. Unfortunately, Florida is a challenging environment in which to try to control weeds – often times mother nature works against the landscaper and our frequent summer rains can preclude the use of herbicides or lessen their efficacy. Add to that hot, sunny days and weeds seem to grow inches overnight. Weed pressure lessens substantially in the drier cooler months and gives the detail crews a chance to catch up.

8. Why can't I fertilize in the summer?

The fertilizer ban during the summer rainy season was enacted by Charlotte County (and neighboring SWFL counties) in an attempt to limit the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus introduced into waterways through runoff. It is an attempt to help control algal blooms that are thought to be fed by fertilizer runoff. Your landscape contractor is not allowed to apply fertilizer between June 1 and September 30.

9. I have dead flowers on the annuals I planted – why don't the landscapers clean them up?

Maintaining annuals (or any specialty plant) is not a covered service. It is the resident’s responsibility to maintain annuals, which means extra watering if needed, deadheading and removal from the beds when they are worn out. Many residents chose to brighten their landscaping with annuals and if you pick low maintenance varieties, they are not difficult to maintain yourself.

10. One of my shrubs is dead – will the landscapers take it out as part of their contracted services?

The Brightview trim crew will not remove a dead plant from your landscape beds during routine maintenance. That is an owner responsibility, however if it is a larger plant that requires some muscle power contact Brightview to price the removal. In self-maintained neighborhoods you may be able to simply ask your landscaper to remove the plant depending on your contract.

11. I love my flowering shrubs but sometimes the trim crew cuts off my flowers- what do I do?

Plants that are actively flowering are usually not trimmed during rotations – but that is not a hard and fast rule. To clearly communicate to the trimmers not to trim a shrub, tie red ribbons in several visible places on the shrub to let them know to skip that shrub. Please note that tying just one ribbon on the front of the shrub is not enough if it’s a corner shrub. Sometimes the crew comes from the back of the house and around the corner and sees the ribbon too late, so make sure you have several noticeable ribbons tied to the plant. You can readily purchase a roll of flagging tape from a home improvement store. Additionally, if you live in a Brightview maintained neighborhood, you can submit a ticket requesting the crew to not trim those particular shrubs.

12. I really enjoy puttering in my yard and don't mind trimming my own shrubs, but I don't want to mow or edge beds – is this possible in an RCA maintained neighborhood?

Yes, and the way to handle that is to contact Brightview using the HOA Connect and request to be put on the No Trim List. When the trim crews come through the neighborhood, they will by-pass your house. You will still get mowings, weedings and edgings, but they will not trim your shrubs.

13.I am a snowbird and when I am here I like to trim my own shrubs – but when I am gone for six months I want the landscaper to do it. How do I do this?

If you live in an RCA maintained neighborhood, contact Brightview using the HOA Connect and request to be put on the NO TRIM LIST for the months you are in residence. When the trim crews come through the neighborhood, they will by-pass your house. You will still get mowings, weedings and edgings, but they will not trim your shrubs. Very importantly, when you are ready to head back north be sure to once again use HOA Connect and request to be taken off the NO TRIM LIST. Your landscaping will be fully maintained while you are absent for the summer months. If you do not notify Brightview to take you off the NO TRIM LIST your yard will NOT be trimmed while you are gone and there will a charge to bring your yard back under control upon your return.  If you live in a self-maintained neighborhood you will review with your contractor how you want your landscape maintenance handled.

14. How does the No Trim list work in an RCA maintained neighborhood – can I go on and off when I feel like it?

Unfortunately, no. The No Trim list is effective for seasonal changes several months at a time. It was never intended to enable a homeowner to frequently change their preferences from trim to no trim and back again. It is difficult for the trim crews to manage frequent changes and often results in an unhappy resident.

15. Since I like to trim my own shrubs, can I get a refund for the landscaping services I don't use?

No, you cannot receive a credit for services you choose not to use. It is part of your quarterly neighborhood fees and cannot be negotiated house by house.

16. I live in a neighborhood with lots of trees that drop their leaves in late winter, early spring. What's up with that and who is going to clean them up?

The Live Oak trees which we have so many of in our older neighborhoods push out new growth in late winter at the expense of the older leaves. These older leaves are shed often in a matter of a few weeks. If you live in an RCA maintained neighborhood with heavy leaf drop, Brightview will conduct additional leaf pick-up/blowings. Brightview will notify those neighborhoods of the dates of leaf pick-up.

17. The palms in my backyard have dead fronds – does anyone trim the palms for us?

If you live in an RCA maintained neighborhood, Brightview will trim palms over 15’  but less than 55’ in your neighborhood twice a year. Please see the Landscaping page on the Riverwood website for details on how the different palm varieties are trimmed and which palms are not trimmed here.

18. Who is responsible for cleaning up Riverwood after a storm or wind event?

1.      Common Areas - If there is a large amount of fallen branches and debris after a weather event Riverwood would contract with Brightview for storm clean-up of the Common areas. Crews would be diverted from their normal scheduled tasks until the cleanup is completed. If the amount of debris is not overwhelming, the RCA could decide to not contract for storm cleanup but let the crews pick up as they work through the common areas, at no extra charge. The RCA would ask that residents be patient as it may take a while for common areas to be cleared. Once the larger debris is removed, smaller debris can be easily mulched and returned to the landscape by the lawnmowers.
2.      Residential Property - Residents are responsible for the clean-up of storm debris on their property. Whether you live in a maintained or self-maintained neighborhood, it will be up to the resident to make arrangements for debris removal on their private property. Residents can for an additional cost have Brightview clean their property of storm debris and if you reside in a self-maintained neighborhood you will need to contact your landscaper or some other service provider. Also, whether you live in an RCA maintained or self-maintained neighborhood you will need to bring your storm debris to the curb for Waste Management pick up or have another contractor of your choice pick up the debris. Please note that residents need to follow the guidelines for yard waste removal when using Waste Management, although there is some latitude following a storm. After a storm that creates large amounts of debris, it may take Waste Management a couple of weeks to get all the curbside piles of debris picked up. Please be sure to check with them for the timing of pick up.

19. Why can't I clean up the messy preserve area in back of my house?

Preserves are identified areas of Riverwood established by several local and state governing entities along with the original developers to ensure conservation of lands that protect ecosystems that provide clean water to Florida residents and protect native species. Preserves around your home may not be cleared or trimmed to maintain or provide a ‘view’ from your home. Please visit the Riverwood website Environment page here for more information on our preserves. Failure to heed the guidance provided on the website may result in substantial fines, penalties and remediation costs to you! The CDD and RCA offices have maps of all the preserves. Please stop in to see where they are in your neighborhood!

20. Why is the grass so tall around the edge of the lake in back of my house?

The tall grass around the edge of a lake is required to be there to act as a buffer for the lake. It helps to prevent excess runoff and debris from entering the lake.

21. How do I get a tree removed from my property?

Approval by the Modification Committee is required prior to the removal of any tree that is over four (4) inches in diameter. You will need to submit an RCA Modification Request Application along with a Charlotte County Tree Permit or a statement from a licensed arborist. In most cases, a replacement tree is required by Charlotte County after a site visit. Criteria for approval of tree removal: 1. Diseased, dead, or severely damaged trees. 2. To promote the growth of other trees in the area. 3. The tree canopy is over the roof of a house; possibility exists that structural damage may occur. 4. The root system is encroaching upon a structure foundation, sidewalks, driveways, sewer or water systems.

22. I discovered a dead armadillo in my landscape bed. Will the landscaper remove it for me?

The removal of a dead animal is the homeowner’s responsibility.

23. My landscaping is a mess – something has been nosing around in my beds, uprooting plants and making holes. Should I call the landscaper?

It sounds very much like damage from an armadillo. They can be pesky little critters. You will need to call a wildlife pest removal company for assistance. Animal pest removal is the responsibility of the home owner.