From extreme drought to flash flooding, climate change has brought a range of challenges for homeowners in Florida — and they’re looking to lawn care professionals for answers.
If you’re a lawn care professional who lives in Florida, here’s the answers to your customers most common questions and concerns:
Educate Lawn Care Customers About Best Water Conservation Practices
As homeowners grow increasingly desperate to revive their lawns during dry spells, they often make poor watering decisions that don’t help their yards and waste precious drinking water.
Have your customers follow these general guidelines for water conservation:
- Don’t Over Water: Lawns need about an inch of water per week; irrigate a lawn once or twice a week to ensure it gets that amount. Have customers place container to measure water levels and prevent over watering.
- Taller Grass: Allowing grass to grow taller before dry seasons approach helps it develop a stronger, deeper root system that is more tolerant to drought.
- Don’t Fertilize: When yards begin to brown, some homeowners make the mistake of applying fertilizer to green it up again. Grass growth slows or stops during drought to conserve nutrients; applying fertilizer actually makes browning worse.
- Don’t Bag Clippings: Grass clippings left on the lawn’s surface after a cutting return valuable moisture and nutrients to the existing grass’s root system.
- Timing: Watering after the sun sets prevents evaporation.
Educating your customers about best watering practices will help them retain green lawns and conserve water. It will also make your job easier when you go on a service call because their yards will be in better shape.
Put Together Service Packages to Repair & Maintain Drought-stricken Yards
Many Florida homeowners don’t know how to revive a drought-stricken yard, and homeowners associations (HOAs) often penalize those who fail to do so.
Putting together service packages to help repair and maintain yards in dry conditions will give your customers a simple way to make their lawns look great. It might even save them money by not having to pay HOA fines, too.
Here are services to group together in a service package to rehab drought-stricken lawns:
- De-thatching: Using a thatcher to remove dead, dry vegetation from surface of a lawn allows what little moisture there is to penetrate the ground and reach the roots.
- Aerate: Use a power aerator to poke holes in the ground so moisture can seep directly into the roots.
- Fresh Cut: Grass growth often slows or stops during drought, but mowing as needed with freshly sharpened blades will prevent ripping blades of grass, which leaves rough edges that quickly turn brown.
After a yard is rehabbed, or a dry season ends, put together service packages to help customers keep things green:
- Fertilize: After two weeks of solid lawn growth, apply a well-balanced fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen, but make sure very hot, dry weather isn’t expected to return as it could harm the lawn.
- De-weed: Treat individual weeds, not an entire yard, with a herbicide so that more moisture and nutrients are available for the grass.
- Maintain: Regular mowing, aeration, thatching and watering should resume after a yard is rehabbed.
Service packages that help rehab and maintain customers’ yards will keep your phone ringing before, during and after dry season.
Landscaping Solutions to Help Customers Deal with Flash Flooding
Climate change is a huge challenge because it brings a mix of extreme weather conditions that include both drought and flash flooding.
Talk to your customers about landscaping features that will help control flash flooding and will make their yards look great at the same time:
- Swales: Depressions in the ground that direct water runoff to gardens, dry wells or retention ponds, the bottoms and sides of swales can be lined with stones or deep-rooted plants to control erosion and help direct water better.
- Rain Garden: Rain gardens are similar to swales, but they’re designed to temporarily retain water rather than to move it; deep rooted plants are ideal for rain gardens.
- Heavier Mulch: Light mulch quickly floats away and leaves a mess after flash flooding clears out; heavier mulches made of hardwoods can prevent that.
- Rainspouts: Installing rainspouts to direct water coming from downspouts will prevent water from pooling near the foundation of homes and decks.
While no home can be entirely protected from flash flooding, simple landscaping features can help control excess water and make a yard look great.
Drought and climate changes present a range of challenges for your lawn care customers. Educating them about best watering practices and putting together service packages to help them repair and maintain a healthier lawn will not only keep them satisfied, it will make your job easier. Furthermore, landscaping features that help to control water accumulation during a flood can also help to keep their homes and properties safe and looking great.