Lawns get a lot of use in the summer, as a result, lawn care tends to take on a primarily summer focus. Once the evenings cool off a bit and the kids head back to school, many homeowners are ready to dial back on the maintenance.
However, as a lawn care professional, you know that just because the grass is growing more slowly that doesn’t mean it needs less care. Fall is the perfect time to aerate, reseed and fertilize in preparation for the dormant winter months ahead.
A professional fall lawn maintenance package promotes good turf root development, enhances the plants’ storage of energy reserves and helps the grass retain color longer – and it can mean all the difference in the amount of repair and recovery the lawn needs in the spring. The expertise and equipment required to successfully execute fall lawn maintenance tasks, within the relatively short, ideal time frame, is a key selling point for busy homeowners who recognize the benefits of these services.
Many homeowners do not realize how beneficial regular aeration is for a lawn – or that fall is an excellent time to perform this task.
- Explain how hollow-tine core cultivation combats soil compaction and thatch buildup and allows more water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the turf root system.
- The hassle of having to rent an aerator (and actually doing the work, if the yard is large) can cause many homeowners to avoid this important task, so including this service in the fall maintenance package gives you the opportunity to significantly improve the health of the client’s lawn, providing a real long-term benefit.
The aesthetic benefit of overseeding a lawn with cool-season grass in early fall is usually evident to homeowners, especially for those in the southern region, as the combination of cool-season grasses ensures a lush green lawn through the cooler months while the warm-season grasses are dormant. But overseeding also offers other benefits that potential clients often find convincing.
- Homeowners frequently view reseeding as a way to repair bare patches, but one purpose – and a major selling point – of fall overseeding with a cool-season seed blend is to prevent thinning through the cooler winter months, so less repair is needed come spring and summer.
- A thick, healthy lawn is the best defense against weeds, as turfgrass will easily outcompete weeds when the conditions favor the grass.
- Overseeding with a cool-season grass mixture that is actively growing through the cooler months, as opposed to having only a dormant warm-season grass in warm-season turf areas (see growing zones map), makes the lawn more resistant to wear and tear.
For those in southern regions, the seasonal lawn care package offering should also extend into the spring, providing homeowners support in the transition back to warm-season turf. This is not always a straightforward DIY project, given the competition the overseeded cool-season grass creates for the original warm-season turf.
Most homeowners know they need to fertilize their lawns in the fall, but the execution is often somewhat haphazard.
- It’s easy to apply too much or too little, or at the wrong time in the plant life cycle, so clients appreciate being relieved of this concern.
- Fertilizing in the early fall will promote the lawn’s recovery and growth. A second application in the late fall (November) can be added in the northern regions to further ensure healthy regrowth the following spring.
- Some clients may be opposed to the use of conventional chemical fertilizers, particularly if they have small children or pets, so make sure you have natural and organic options to offer as well.
The bottom line
Fall lawn maintenance services allow you to reap the clear business benefits of increased fall earnings while bringing significant improvement to client lawns. By offering aerating, reseeding and fertilizing services to new and established customers, you can help prepare their lawns for winter, and ultimately, for the following spring and summer.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bryan Ostlund with Grass Seed USA. Grass Seed USA is a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists that seeks to inform and educate residential and commercial customers about the benefits of grass and best practices for responsibly growing and maintaining healthy turf. To learn more, visit www.weseedamerica.com.