The only person that hates brown grass more than a homeowner is their lawn care provider. With oppressive heat and drought covering much of the country still, many lawn care business owners are running out of options when it comes to non-watering customers.
This blog will explore how you, as the business owner, can offer helpful suggestions and recommendations that will address your customers watering concerns and restrictions.
Here’s 4 ways to help customers with brown lawns:
Encourage them to Go Automatic
If you’ve identified that your customer is not watering their lawn simply because they don’t have the time, encourage them to have you install an automatic watering system for them.
Here’s some food for thought - the least expensive automatic watering option would be to set up a hose timer connected to sprinklers. The downside to this option is that homeowners who don’t have time to water their laws usually don’t have the time to drag a hose out between mowings and set timers to activate the sprinkler system, either. What you can suggest however, is a ‘maintenance-free’ option in which you would set up the hose system and timers after regular mowings so your customer wouldn’t have to do anything. Just make sure to adjust rates accordingly.
An underground irrigation system requires higher up-front costs, but it’s cheaper and easier to maintain than a hose timer irrigation solution in the long run. That’s especially true for customers who are willing to pay a lawn care provider to take down and set up hose timers every week. If you’re not able or willing to install underground irrigation, talk to a subcontractor about options before approaching your customer.
Educate Customers about Best Watering Practices
More and more homeowners are afraid to water their lawns because of concerns about water conservation amid record drought and heat. Educating these customers about best watering practices may help them realize that a little water can actually go a long way.
Many lawn owners are unaware of the following tips for best watering practices:
- Don’t Over Do It: Lawns need an inch and half to two inches of water per week so, placing containers around the yard will help homeowners monitor water saturation.
- Frequency Matters: Watering a little bit each day leads to shallow root systems, and watering too much at one time leads to disease but watering every three days (depending on rainfall) should be about right.
- Time Your Watering: Watering early in the morning before the day’s temperature is at its hottest helps prevent surface loss through evaporation.
These watering tips are probably obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how uninformed many lawn owners are about best watering practices. They’ll appreciate your guidance.
Sell Dry Season Lawn Packages
As record heat and drought covers much of the country, many homeowners with yards have to balance city watering restrictions and requirements from homeowners associations to maintain a green lawn. These customers will appreciate dry season lawn care packages to rehab and maintain their lawns when watering just isn’t an option.
Dry season lawn care should actually begin before the dry season does. Reducing thatch and compaction, eliminating use of nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, allowing grass to grow longer, and leaving fresh clippings on the lawn’s surface will help prepare a lawn in the lead up to dry season.
Then, during the dry season, aeration, dethatching, regular waterings, reduced trimming and reduced traffic will help a lawn weather the summer heat before regular maintenance follows.
Discuss Low-Water Grass Blends
Lawn owners that don’t water frequently find themselves overseeding grass or completely replacing dead sections of grass. If that’s the case, they may appreciate learning about low-water grass blends that may hold up better in the future.
The issue here is that common types of grasses like Kentucky Blue and Bentgrass are said to have come from parts of Europe that see lots of rainfall and don’t hold up well in lengthy dry conditions. Thus your non-watering customers may appreciate learning about these lower-water blends (below) when it’s time to reseed:
- Zoysiagrass: A slow-growing, shade-tolerant grass that holds up well to traffic and has numerous strains that hold up better in drought.
- Bermudagrass: Ideal for subtropical climates in the south. Bermuda grass grows fast, holds up well and many varieties are drought tolerant.
- Buffalo Grass: Native to Midwest prairies, Buffalo grass withstands cold, grows slowly, and most varieties are drought tolerant.
For non-watering lawn owners that are stuck in their ways, or don’t have the option to water because of city restrictions, a drought tolerant grass blend can make all the difference.
Lawn owners have a number of reasons for not watering their yards; a busy schedule, watering restrictions, and a desire to conserve water are a few of the most common. These customers will appreciate helpful solutions that address their specific reason or concern for not watering. Automatic watering systems are great for lawn owners who don’t have time, dry season lawn care packages will help lawn owners who can’t water because of city restrictions, and suggesting drought tolerant grass blends when it’s time to reseed will help those who just don’t water their grass for whatever reason.
Finally, education is key. Communicating with your customers about best watering practices is a great idea and good business practices to have.