Department of Defense

Plant Perennials Instead of Annuals on Military Installations

CURRENTLY: Maintenance of military installation grounds is necessary to keep up appearance and provide safe environment. Services performed under grounds maintenance contracts like cutting grass, caring for trees, flowers, and shrubs are VERY costly depending on installation size/population, climate, # of buildings, special events, political significance, etc. Most grounds maint contracts have allowances to buy new Annuals (plants/flowers that bloom one season) and labor to plant, maintain, and remove them when they die. More surprising, installations pay contractors to DIG-UP Perennials (plants/flowers returning yearly), REPLACE with Annuals temporarily, and REPLANT the same Perennials after the Annuals died out.

 

PROPOSAL: I recommend military installations eliminate wasteful practices and reduce allowance for Annual plants/flowers in grounds maintenance contracts. First, quit paying contractors to perform “duplicate” work by stopping the wasteful Perennial “dig-up—replace—replant” cycle. Next, redesign contracts to convert a majority of Annuals to suitable Perennial substitutes. A sample phased-in approach could be where Phase 1 reduces money spent on Annuals and associated labor by 50%, and buys new Perennials and associated labor instead; Phase 2 reduces costs for new Annuals and Perennials by 25%, and Phase 3 reduces costs for new Perennials by another 25%.

 

BENEFITS: Military installation appearance is preserved and grounds are still well maintained. Gov’t stops paying for duplicate/repetitive contracted labor. Plan reserves 25% budget to buy Annuals for special events. Money can be saved in first season, but most savings will come later since factors like contract expiration and planting season impact implementation. Savings example: If grounds maint contract allows $12K for new annuals and labor to maintain, the conversion of 50-75% of Annuals could save $6K–$9K per installation. If 100 installations implement, the gov’t could save nearly $1M, and so on.

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