Landscaping at its best supports native plants and trees that flourish with minimal maintenance and climate-friendly practices. Such is the aspiration for Growing Climate Solutions Partner Cheney Landscaping, a family-owned business operating in Collier County, which at present, primarily tends to Ave Maria lawns with its electric fleet of mowers and machinery.
LaWayne Cheney, CEO of Cheney Landscaping, grew up appreciating the wild Florida habitats that surrounded his family’s farm in Immokalee – where he kicked off his career at the early age of twelve. We crossed paths with LaWayne during a site visit to the newly established Habitat for Humanity Whittaker Woods project in June 2021, and he immediately offered to help prep the site by moving thirty hefty trees to their new homes scattered around the neighborhood’s community walking path. Since that time, Cheney Landscaping has provided Growing Climate Solutions with an irrigated tree nursery that has fostered several hundred native and Florida-Friendly trees, priceless advice on the business of growing and planting, contacts to a local network of landscaping professionals, and transportation of materials and trees to and from planting and growing sites.
Cheney Landscaping advocates for use of native trees and plants that are well-suited to Florida’s variable weather conditions – which swing from hot and dry to rainy, wet months that leave landscapes saturated. Natives are adapted to extreme weather and require less care and less fertilizer – a key consideration as most fertilizers emit nitrous oxide, a strong greenhouse gas and a significant driver of climate change.
As part of Cheney Landscaping’s ongoing effort to support a healthy and resilient environment, the company grew and supplied thousands of natives to one of the area’s largest restoration companies for over a decade. Forests and trees – especially native trees – are affordable, important natural climate solutions. Trees take up carbon dioxide as part of their growing process, removing it from the atmosphere over an extended timeframe. Not only do native trees and plants help mitigate the effects of climate change in wild areas, but they also contribute to more resilient communities and developments. The shade from trees helps to counter the effects of hot temperatures, with studies showing shaded areas being as much as 25 degrees cooler than nearby paved areas in full sunlight. Public access to places to cool off in the shade will become increasingly important to support public health and local quality of life.
Cheney Landscaping’s plans include expanding its electric fleet of mowers and trimmers, citing the fact that they are much cleaner and healthier to use, and that costs are on par with fuel-burning counterparts. To further support environmental health, Cheney suggests strong adherence to careful pest control mechanisms that go above and beyond the typical “round-up license” requirements. And as for non-profit volunteer work, it will continue. Cheney believes community service is part of civic responsibility and enjoys staying busy – so don’t be surprised to see the Cheney Landscaping truck out and about town, lending a hand.