By Craig Ransavage
While spring signifies opportunity for many, in the landscape business, spring can feel like a lull. Snowstorms are few and far between for snow contractors, and lawns are just starting to green up and aren’t ready to be mowed. The challenge starts with staying busy, but the roots of that task are deeper than that. Spring is a time to kick start profitability, as well as get ahead of your competition.
Without putting too much pressure on, spring is a time to make hay, and some additional turf care services can fill in the gaps and provide extra value to your customers.
Dethatching removes layers of dead grass, roots and debris that can build up over the winter between the soil and the growing grass. This removal keeps the grass greener and healthier while minimizing the chance of disease.
Especially if you didn’t dethatch in the fall, spring is an ideal time to clear out the clutter and give the turf some room to work and grow. As far as timing goes, it’s best to dethatch when the turf has started to green up a little bit so you don’t tear up dormant turf.
Regardless of whether you have warm or cool season grasses in your area, spring aeration is beneficial to turf. After harsh winters in the north or stress in the south, soil can get compacted, stunting root growth and not allowing nutrients to get down into the soil. Aerating your customers’ lawns loosens up the soil, letting the turf breath and get access to what it needs. That extra wiggle room lets air get into the soil, as well as fertilizer and water, and it provides more room for the roots to grow deeper and stronger.
As a business, aeration is an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition and get more work during early spring. For different properties, there are different kinds of aerators, including walk-behind, tow-behind and stand-on models.
For best results for spring aeration, there are ideal times to aerate different grasses. For cool season grasses, the best time is between March and May, but you should wait a little longer for warm season grasses. Avoid aerating warm season grasses during spring green-up, and not until after their first spring mowing.
While spring may not be the ideal time to overseed, you can still do it successfully, especially if your customers are looking to get a jump on summer turf renovation. If you do decide to overseed in the spring, be sure to coordinate your efforts with your fertilizer and herbicide programs. Concurrent application of seed and herbicides is generally not recommended because the herbicides may cause poor seedling establishment. It is best to delay herbicide treatment 4 to 6 weeks after new grass seed germinates. If you choose to overseed in the spring, be sure to follow proper seeding and treatment practices.
These services don’t just get the turf ready for the season, they keep your business moving and set you apart from the competition. Like the first lawn on the block that greens up while all the others are brown, you can stand out in the crowd by adding these to your arsenal.
Craig Ransavage is product manager for RYAN.