Project Stewardship

Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. takes pride in our great responsibility as stewards of the land. We are committed to preserving and promoting sustainable design, and to engaging in education efforts that result in ecologically responsible practices in our industry. This year we are taking that commitment one step further. We are pleased to introduce “Project Stewardship,” an initiative that will underscore our company’s focus on the process and progress that stem from a dedication to environmental protection. We make this commitment for our clients, ourselves, and the community in which we and our families have chosen to live. From the drawing table to the job site, these are the tenets of our strategy.

I. FLORIDA-FRIENDLY YARDS: Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. has always followed the ‘Right Plant, Right Place’ philosophy. We encourage our clients to pursue Florida-Friendly certification to help spread awareness about the benefits of an appropriate plant palette. Our goal is to certify 50% of landscapes we install by the end of 2011.

II. WATER-WISE IRRIGATION: Currently, every irrigation system we design and install is a low-volume, drip tube based system, meeting or exceeding Waterwise standards. Whenever possible we specify rain harvesting via cisterns as the water source for these systems.

III. FUEL AND EQUIPMENT REDUCTION: In an effort to greatly reduce fuel and carbon emissions, vehicular and equipment usage, and temporary horticultural resources, our Landscape Contracting Division has begun delivering most plant material directly to our clients’ job sites. Our Maintenance Division has rerouted all clients, reducing fuel usage and emissions, and has switched to exclusively four-cycle hand equipment, reducing noise and air pollution. In all divisions of Michael A. Gilkey, Inc., we make vehicle and equipment maintenance a top priority to avoid wastage and maximize efficiency.

IV. PAPERLESS COMMUNICATIONS: In the design studio, we are making every effort to send digital correspondence, recycle all paper and ink cartridges, and reduce plotter resources. Though we will not sacrifice hand-drawing on paper, we send digital files wherever possible and offer e-invoices to every client. We are exploring soy-based and other alternative ink products for all printers and marketing pieces.

V. BIO-INTENSIVE EDIBLE GARDENING: In 2010, the employees of Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. will create and maintain (and consume!) an in-house bio-intensive edible garden. The intention of the initiative is to educate our personnel on sustainable practices from the garden to the table, and to replicate these efforts for our future clientele.

VI. COMPOST INITIATIVE: In conjunction with our bio-intensive gardening initiative, we will be launching an organic composting initiative exclusive to our clients. When ready, the compost will be used for our gardens, and will be made available to participating clients.

VII. YARD WASTE RECYCLING: 100% of the yard waste from our Maintenance Division is immediately converted into mulch and compost. Our Landscape Contracting Division hand-separates construction debris so that materials such as plastics, brick, concrete, soil and vegetative debris don’t get dumped as general waste at a landfill, but rather reused and/or recycled whenever possible.

VIII. INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT: By adhering to the principles of Integrated Pest Management and a strictly pro-active maintenance strategy, our Maintenance Division reduces harmful fertilizer and pesticide usage. We monitor the landscape for pest problems, concentrating on plantings that have had pest problems in the past. We do not spray preventatively and apply pesticides only when pest insects are present and causing unacceptable damage. We spot treat only the problem areas, and use the least toxic materials possible for control of most insect pests. Our goal is to create a living, biotic yard.

IX. COATED SLOW-RELEASE FERTILIZERS: Our horticultural team works closely with Florikan to produce a custom-blended series of coated slow-release fertilizers, ensuring our clients’ plants are getting exactly–and no more than–the nutrients they need, when they need them. Slow-release fertilizers greatly reduce nutrient runoff by allowing small amounts of nutrient to the plant over a designated amount of time (usually 3 to 12 months). A non-coated fertilizer will lose a majority of its nutrients, much more than the plant can uptake, after the first rain. Slow-release fertilizers also limit spikes in plant growth that are harmful to the botany of the plant and, in many cases, require further chemical management.

X. BENEFICIAL BACTERIA AND FUNGI INTRODUCTION: In late 2009, we began a partnership with Biological Tree Services to create a new regimen of plant health care products for Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. clients. As a result, our Landscape Contracting Division no longer fertilizes plants upon installation, but nourishes the soil in which they are planted with micro-nutrients and beneficial fungi and bacteria. By nourishing the soil, we promote root growth and relieve the phosphorous lock that is common with fertilizer application. Plants are able to then make better use of available water and nutrients.