Heavy spring rains have landscapers playing catch-up

Map: www.weather.comMap: www.weather.com

Recent spring showers across much of the country – many of them record-setting – have landscapers scrambling to catch up on lost time and lost revenue.

In Texas, of course, where floods over Memorial Day weekend left two dozen people dead and prompted a federal disaster declaration for some counties, the entire month of May was the wettest on record. And the Dallas-Fort Worth area set a record for its wettest spring (March through May) with more than 25 inches of rain.

While no business challenge can compare to the human tragedy caused by the flooding, it’s no surprise that many landscaping companies in Texas and elsewhere are struggling as so many work days are rained out. The sight of overgrown lawns – at residential, commercial and public properties alike – has grown common in Fort Worth as maintenance companies scramble to catch up. Recognizing this, the city of Fort Worth has eased its 12-inch mowing code.

“This is just a mess; we all know that,” the city’s code compliance director, Brandon Bennett, told WFAA-TV, the ABC affiliate there. “If it’s a neatly manicured landscape and someone that regularly mows their lawn, and they haven’t gotten to it for a while, we’re going to be lenient about that 12 inches.”

Landscapers in Illinois are also recovering from a wet month. Rockford received nearly 9 inches of rain in May, more than 2 inches above normal. “This weather has our lawn crews behind, mowing every five days. Grass has grown tremendously,” Landscape Unlimited owner Tim Key told WREX. “We are still generating revenue, but every time you back up a week or two weeks, it’s kind of rough,” Key says. “When we are working, the guys are at the shop or working overtime, so it’s costing us more money.”

Key says every day it days rains sets his crew back three days.

Employees at another Rockford business, Hernandez Brothers Professional Landscape, told WREX that rain days can quickly go from hundreds to thousands of dollars in lost revenue. “Last week it was like raining the whole week, so it really does a have a big impact on the way we work,” said office manager Betty Garcia.

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