Fall is a great time for a number of lawn and landscaping projects, including, of course, leaf clean-up and removal. But there’s so much more to this time of year than just fallen leaves. Still, landscapers must first overcome the fact that many of their clients have stopped thinking about their lawn and landscape at this time of the year.
The best way to keep them on track is to remind them of what services should be considered in the fall. Certain lawn and landscaping services can only be performed in the fall, such as planting bulbs, so you don’t want your clients to miss out.
Tackling yard drainage
Jack Moore, owner of Grassperson Lawn Care & Landscape in the Dallas/Fort Worth area says that he tells clients it makes a lot of sense to tackle yard drainage problems in the fall, when Texas sees more rain. It can be difficult to get to the bottom of these problems during dry spells in the summer.
“In the fall, we can pay close attention to runoff issues and make different suggestions for yard drainage solutions to our clients,” Moore explains. “Some drainage solutions do require tearing up the yard a bit—maybe extending gutter downspouts or adding a gravel-filled trench for better drainage in a low spot. Most clients would prefer to have this done in the fall or early winter when they aren’t using their yard as much.”
Aeration and overseeding
On the East Coast, the fall is the best time for aeration and overseeding because the cooler temperatures allow for the optimal growing conditions for the new seed. The soil is still warm, but the air temperatures are cooler, putting less stress on the new grass growth.
Joshua Malik, owner of Joshua Tree, which has offices in Allentown and Lansdale, Pennsylvania, says that clients should know that aerating in the fall will help give their new grass seed the best chance of survival and success. The timing is also optimal as the summer can take a hard toll on lawns.
“By the time that we perform aeration and overseeding, the lawn may have gone through a lot with both drought- and heat-stress,” Malik explains. “But aeration and overseeding can start to fill in some of the bare patches that might have been caused by these conditions.”
Malik says that they explain to their residential clients that aeration and overseeding are best performed together. The process of pulling cores of soil from the lawn and making holes, gives the seed the optimal seed-to-soil contact that it requires for germination. The cores of soil left on the earth will also begin to decompose and improve soil structure. All of this adds up to better turf growth.
Fall planting projects
Fall is also an excellent time for planting projects. Though your clients might be thinking that springtime is the time for planting, it’s important to educate them on the benefits of planting in the fall
For one, the ground is still warm, but the air is cooler, putting less stress on the newly installed plants. But plants are also about to go into dormant season, where their growth will dramatically slow down.
“This makes the fall a really great time to install sod, too,” adds Grassperson’s Moore. “In the spring, sod needs constant watering. But in the fall, when it’s close to dormancy, it’s not as intense. We often tell clients that they should consider sodding in the fall if the timing works for them.”
Of course, there are also many wonderful fall flowers that can be installed for seasonal color. And for many bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, fall is the only time for planting. Tell your clients they don’t want to miss this window to be able to enjoy beautiful springtime color.
Fall is a great time for hardscaping, as well. Typically, as a general rule, hardscaping can be performed up until the ground is frozen. In many parts of the country, this takes these projects right up until the mid-winter (and in temperate climates there is no stopping).
Moore says that he talks to clients about incorporating decorative stone to enhance their landscape. Additions like boulders and river rock will look great even into the winter months when some plants will go dormant, he says.
Educating your clients
At the end of the day, it boils down to making sure your clients know that fall is a great time for many projects. It’s important to keep the outdoors on clients’ radar.
“People start getting busy in the fall and might also spend more time indoors so these projects can fall by the wayside,” Moore says. “But making suggestions about ways to use that time to keep their property looking its best is mutually beneficial.”