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Find Income During A Drought


Savvy turf care professionals can find a silver lining even in a drought. Want in on their secret? Follow these quick and easy tips to generate income when temperatures are high and water is in short supply.

SiteOne March 6, 2018

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A true test for any business is to produce income when unpredictable conditions force lawn care professionals to diversify or change their planning in sometimes rather drastic ways. Lawn care professionals face some sort of environmental change each and every year—either it's too wet or too dry, or warm too early or a late frost comes unexpectedly.

Slight modifications are needed in timing of applications or types of products used, but in most cases, the changes don't interrupt the final goal or business plan. However, environmental changes can be so severe that drastic changes are required. For example, drought conditions in some parts of the United States are forcing lawn care and landscape professionals to make drastic, if not business-saving decisions. New ways of generating income need to be found if the companies want to keep key employees or even just stay alive. The more the conditions worsen, the more creative business owners become. Sometimes businesses must diversify into markets and/or arenas that they never thought of before.

With this in mind, the following suggestions are offered to help lawn care professionals generate income during drought conditions.

Soil Testing

Soil testing provides the turfgrass manager with a way to provide service to clients throughout the entire year. Results can be used later during product application, assisting the operator in balancing the proper amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, as well as lime and sulfur. We recommend that soil tests be done annually so that changes can be monitored over a number of years.

Application of Lime or Sulfur

Based soil test results, applications of lime may be needed to correct pH levels. Applications of pelletized dolomitic limestone during periods of drought will not cause injury to the turf. Please advise your customers that limestone particles may be carried to low lying areas if a large amount of rainfall occurs over a short period of time. CAUTION: Sulfur should NOT be applied during periods of drought or while the turfgrass is under stress conditions. Rates will be given on the soil test results form.

Spraying Dye in Mulch Beds

Applications of Mulch Magic will freshen up faded mulch beds without adding additional mulch. This method involves less labor than adding additional mulch and can be done by one employee.

Spot Treatment of Weeds in Parking Lots and Driveways

Using a nonselective herbicide such as glyphosate on unwanted weeds growing in cracks of parking lots and driveways can be a good source of additional income. This can be done at anytime during growing season and weeds can be found on most every property. Be careful not to use a product that might run-off and cause plant injury once irrigation is applied.

Coloring of Dormant Turf

Coloring dormant turf is a quick and easy way to make brown grass green. Facilities that depend upon appearance, such as hotels, business parks, amusement parks, professional ballparks, banks, etc., want the greenest turfgrass and will pay to have it. LESCO Green will turn dormant grass green without damaging the turfgrass.

Removal of Dead Trees and Limbs

Although times of drought are not appropriate times to prune healthy plants, it is a good time to prune dead wood and remove dead trees. The removal of dead trees should be done by qualified arborists, but anybody can quickly learn the proper way to prune out dead wood in trees and shrubs. Plants will benefit from the pruning once the drought period ends.

Algae Control in Ponds

When water levels are low, sunlight can reach pond bottoms, increasing the occurrence of algae blossom. Treating ponds can keep them clean and algae-free. Please check product labeling for precautions and rates. Some states may require special permits to treat ponds and waterways. Check with your local extension office for regulations.

Controlling Birds with Flight Control

When turfgrass is dormant and mowing is less frequent, bird-controlling products, like Flight Control, can be very effective. Once one landscape has been treated and the geese move to a neighboring area, your salespeople should be able to knock on each neighboring door to promote your services and keep the income flowing.

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