Lawn Mowing Local endeavors to provide the perfect online journals on keeping your yard looking gorgeous. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we strives to cover the entire dimensions of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the journals below and find it useful in your yard.
(with Laura Miller) Hostas are popular shade-loving perennials cultivated by gardeners for their easy care and sustainability in a variety of garden soils. Hosta are easily recognized by their multitude of attractive foliage and upright flower stems, which bear lavender blooms during summer months. Should you use fertilizer for hosta plants? These beautiful, low-maintenance plants don’t need much fertilizer, but feeding hostas may be a good idea if your soil is poor or if your hosta isn’t growing and thriving as it should. Knowing how and when to feed hosta can improve their appearance in the garden and help them reach their mature height. Read on to learn more. Choosing a Fertilizer for Hostas Hostas prefer a garden soil rich in organic matter. Prior to planting hosta, amend the natural soil with compost made from animal manures and leaves. Hosta roots tend to spread horizontally, rather than vertically. Working compost […]
Lawn Mowing Local drives to provide the good pieces on keeping your front yard looking charming. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we aim to cover the entire spectrum of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the writings below and find it useful in your lawns.
Rhododendrons and azaleas make beautiful landscape plants. Their abundance of spring blossoms and distinctive foliage have made these shrubs popular choices among home gardeners. However, both of these plants require very specific growing conditions. These requirements can make it difficult to figure out what to plant with azaleas and rhododendrons. What to Plant with Rhododendron and Azaleas Light and pH compatibility are the keys to finding plants suitable as companions for azaleas and rhododendron. Like most members of this family, azaleas and rhododendron thrive in acidic soils. When choosing rhododendron and azalea companion plants, look for those that can tolerate a pH between 4.5 and 6. Additionally, both of these shrubs prefer filtered light or afternoon shade. Rhododendrons and azaleas can often be found growing under the canopy of oaks or in the shade of pine. These trees also prefer acidic soils, making them ideal companions for azaleas and rhododendron. […]
Lawn Mowing Local always provide the excellent content on keeping your front yards looking appealing. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we endeavor to cover the entire scope of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the journals below and find it useful in your front yards.
It happens so regularly that you would think we’d grow used to it. A procedure that was drilled into our heads as being essential to a plant’s survival turns out to actually be harmful. For example, remember when experts told us to protect tree wounds with putty? Now that’s considered detrimental to the tree’s healing process. The latest horticultural flipflop among scientists involves how to handle roots when you transplant container trees. Many experts now recommend root washing before planting. What is root washing? Read on for all the information you need to understand the root washing method. What is Root Washing? If you haven’t heard of or don’t understand root washing, you’re not alone. It’s a relatively new idea that container grown trees will be healthier if you wash all of the soil from their roots before you transplant them. Most of us were instructed firmly and repeatedly not […]
Lawn Mowing Local labors to provide the first-rate pieces on keeping your front yards looking good. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we dream is to cover the entire spectrum of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the writings below and find it useful in your back yard.
The decision clears the way for Florida growers to begin cultivating hemp later this month.
Lawn Mowing Local works to provide the finest blogs on keeping your yard looking gorgeous. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we push to cover the entire scope of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the online journals below and find it useful in your grass.
One of the world’s oldest and most amazing plants, ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), also known as maidenhair tree, was in existence when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Native to China, ginkgo is resistant to most insect pests and disease, tolerates poor soil, drought, heat, salt spray, pollution, and isn’t bothered by deer and rabbits. This fascinating, hardy tree can live a century or more, and can reach heights in excess of 100 feet (30 m.). In fact, one tree in China reached a grand height of 140 feet (43 m.). As you might imagine, fertilizing ginkgo trees is rarely necessary and the tree is adept at managing on its own. However, you may want to feed the tree lightly if growth is slow – ginkgo usually grows about 12 inches (30 cm.) per year – or if leaves are pale or smaller than usual. What Ginkgo Fertilizer Should I Use? Feed ginkgo […]
Lawn Mowing Local endeavors to provide the good journals on keeping your front yards looking impressive. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we endeavor to cover the entire dimensions of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the articles below and find it useful in your garden.
There are advantages to both liquid and granular fertilizer. The key is to know when to use each type. Using the correct style of fertilizer – and applying it correctly – will keep your clients’ lawns looking green all year long.
Here are a few things to consider when determining the most effective fertilizer for a given site application.
Layout of the Area.
Small, hard-to-navigate spaces may call for hand-spraying of liquid fertilizer, especially for crews that prefer to use machinery in their granular applications.
“We use liquid when we have to do hand applications – so those are going to be bump outs, small islands, hills, anything like that where we can’t get a machine into it,” says Dan Mausolf, general manager at Stine Turf & Snow in Durand, Michigan.
For large, flat areas, Mausolf’s crews prefer using granular fertilizer whenever possible. They typically spread the fertilizer using a metered, calibrated hopper available on commercial spreaders.
“It’s just faster and you can cover more area (with granular fertilizer) as opposed to liquid,” Mausolf says.
Terrain is a key factor in determining the right fertilizer, agrees Kyle Rose, business development office for The Green Team, which has offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Roanoke, Virginia. But because Rose’s teams typically spread granular fertilizer on foot using hand-crank spreaders worn over the chest – he prefers granular over liquid for hilly areas.
“We have a lot of hills at our branch in Virginia, so it’s hard for us to use push spreaders,” Rose explains. “A lot of times we prefer granular because we can be more precise and get those areas done. If you’re spraying liquid fertilizer on a hill, you’ll be slipping and sliding all over the place.”
Type of Application Needed.
In Sarasota, Florida, owner Michael Falconer’s Lawngevity crews typically use granular fertilizer for new starts and at key application times throughout the year in order to get “that really nice green lawn that your customer’s looking for,” he says.
“It has to do with the amount of nitrogen you want to put out,” he adds. “If you want to put a larger amount out – say, one pound of nitrogen per one thousand feet – you’re going to use granular. If you tried to use liquid at that higher rate, you’d probably get leaf burn. Liquid’s not good if you’re trying to put a heavier amount of nitrogen out.”
In between seasonal granular applications, Falconer’s crews prefer liquid fertilizer as their go-to tool for more frequent maintenance applications.
The advantage of using liquid for maintenance applications is that it allows crews to customize applications for each client, as needed.
“The big advantage is, you can pull up on a yard and if you’re going to spray it with liquid fertilizer, you can mix for what you see when you pull up,” Falconer says. “So if you pull up to a lawn and it has an iron deficiency, you could add a little iron to your mix . . . or if your lawn has insects, you (can) put the insecticide in there. (With liquid fertilizer) you do everything in one shot.”
There’s also the issue of correct application rate. Many crews feel it’s easier to calibrate the correct application rate when using granular fertilizer.
“In my experience, it’s easier to train people to put out the right amount of granular on a property as opposed to spraying liquid, just because everybody tends to walk in a different way or spray in a different pattern (with liquid),” Rose says.
“There are a lot more variables involved with spraying – you have to make sure your gun is calibrated properly. You have to make sure you’ve mixed at the right rate, and that it’s being agitated properly in your tank,” Rose adds.
Windy days can also pose a problem for liquid applications, especially if crews are using low-volume sprayers.
“A gust of wind can pop up, and (with liquid) you can end up spraying fertilizer where it’s not supposed to be,” Rose says.
To increase accuracy of spreading when using granular fertilizers, Falconer recommends using a properly calibrated professional spreader with a side shield, which he developed, to avoid spraying fertilizer into pools or into ditches or other waterways.
For his part, Falconer said it’s possible to achieve spray consistency with liquid fertilizer, but it calls for careful calibration of equipment.
“Every truck is calibrated for the technician,” Falconer says. Lawngevity crews do routine water “bucket tests” with their spray equipment at headquarters to check that they’re releasing around five gallons a minute – which “is about what a person will walk and spread over 1,000 square feet,” Falconer said.
Relying on granular as a primary fertilizer type means crews don’t have to wait for access to a tank truck.
“You can be more versatile with granular,” Rose says. “If you’re a smaller operation that has only three or four trucks, and none of them have a tank, you can still send all of those trucks out with granular products. But if you’re doing a liquid fertilizer, you can only send one guy out if you only have one spray tank.”
Using granular fertilizer with slow release can lead to longer activation periods – meaning crews won’t have to reapply fertilizer as frequently. The result: cost savings in crew labor time.
“With granular options, we can use a material that might last 60 days, might last 180 days, or even up to a full growing season here,” Mausolf says. “So there’s more options (with granular). There’s more consistent growth color, throughout the majority of the season. You wouldn’t get that with liquid. You can’t put that much down (in a single application).”
In some cases, there may be a cost-savings effect to using granular fertilizer, particularly when additives are factored in.
“Once you start mixing in potassium and phosphorous into the liquid (nitrogen-based fertilizer), it becomes really, really expensive,” Rose says. “So, it’s actually cheaper to add more potassium and phosphorus into the granular fertilizers than it is to the liquids.”
On the other hand, if you consider crew labor time, there could be a cost savings effect to choosing liquid fertilizer – due to the fact that fertilization, weed control, and insecticide can be done in one spray application, rather than three separate steps.
“When you’re all done applying granular fertilizer, then you have to blow off (sidewalks and driveway) and then (as a second step) you’d have to pull hose and spray weeds,” Falconer says. “Whereas if you’re just doing liquid, you pull hose, and spray weeds and fertilize all in one shot. So, (using) liquid does help our costs.”
Rose agrees that using liquids can mean less walkovers of a property.
“I think you can be more flexible with liquid. You can mix fertilizer, insecticide, and weed killer in one tank and just walk the property one time,” he says. “So, it can be a little more efficient, with a liquid, if you have multiple applications on a property.”
While there are advantages and disadvantages to both liquid and granular fertilizers, one key factor may ultimately tip the scales in the favor of granular: client perception.
Many residential clients appreciate that they can come home from work and literally see evidence that crews have been on site and have applied granular fertilizer. When liquids are used, there’s often no such visual cue that the work has been done.
“There’s always that customer perception – for whatever reason – (where they fear) they might be getting cheated,” Rose says. “If they come home and see that you’ve been there and see that granular product, it gives them peace of mind that the crew did what they were supposed to do.”
The author is a freelance writer based in Kentucky.
Thank you for finding us here at lawn mowing local and we look forward to seeing you again.
Lawn Mowing Local works to provide the first-rate pieces on keeping your yards looking good-looking. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we seek to cover the entire scope of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the online journals below and find it useful in your lawns.
What is porcelain garlic and how do you grow it? Porcelain garlic is a type of large, attractive hardneck garlic. The plump cloves, usually four to seven to a bulb, are easy to peel, delicious to eat, and store longer than most types of garlic. Let’s learn how to grow porcelain garlic. How to Grow Porcelain Garlic Growing porcelain garlic is basically the same as growing any type of garlic. Porcelain garlic performs well in most climates, with the exception of extremely warm regions such as southern California, Florida, and Texas. It is well suited for cold weather and tends to be larger when grown in chilly northern climates. Plant porcelain garlic in well-drained soil sometime in the fall (between September and November) when the soil is cool. Before planting, dig in a generous amount of compost or well-rotted manure. If you want fat, plump garlic, plant the fattest, plumpest […]
Lawn Mowing Local endeavors to provide the first pieces on keeping your back yards looking marvelous. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we dream is to cover the entire gambit of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the content below and find it useful in your front yard.
Hi, my backflow preventer sits in a low ground point. It always gets flooded after rain or sprinkler use. Since my soil type is heavy clay, it usually takes a day or two to get it seeped down.
I'm wondering if I can simply remove some soil under my backflow preventer, allowing it not to get submerged. I had the valve handles rust off, and requiring replacement by professionals…
There doesn't seem to be a leak since when i'm not using water, the water meter doesn't move.
Lawn Mowing Local aims to provide the good articles on keeping your lawn looking bright. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we seek to cover the entire area of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the blogs below and find it useful in your lawns.
By Brian Horn
In the past, Paul Welborn would have taken the lead on assembling his company’s career ladder. But not this year, as Welborn continues to learn to delegate at Lawn & Pest Solutions in New Albany, Ms. He’s put his managers on the lawn side of the business in charge of creating the steps a technician has to take to climb the ladder.
“A year ago, I would have put a lot of the information together and had them look at it and see what they thought,” he says. “Now they’re building out that information and I’m giving my feedback, which is the way it should be.”
Welborn has learned through the process that his managers are more than capable of taking on the responsibility, and saves him the headache of one more task.
He says they always had the ladder in their minds and operated as if it was official, but never had it in writing.
“It’s sort of the way we did it anyway,” he says. “But the value in it now, it’s putting it on a piece of paper and being able to put it in front of a guy and say, ‘Here’s your path. Okay, here’s the things you need today.’ Maybe we were pushing them towards some of these things, but it wasn’t a formal, ‘Here’s your plan, here’s a way you can attack this and continue to move up in the company.’”
In the details.
Allowing managers to assemble the career ladder has provided Welborn teaching moments. Technicians will have to take 7-10 tests to move to a new level. The tests are taken via training software the company uses.
The managers were in charge of formulating the questions technicians would have to answer to pass a test. One manager was asking entry-level technicians for knowledge that a technician who’s been there a year and a half would know. So, that manager was asked to create tests for the more advanced levels. And now that the lawn side has a foundation for a career ladder, Welborn wants to build one out for the structural pest side of the business.
“We’ve brought the pest manager in and he’s going to start giving some feedback of, ‘Okay, we can tweak this to better fit pest’ and make everything match up for their job responsibilities, versus a lawn tech,” Welborn says.
Right now, Lawn & Pest Solutions is 80% lawn care and 20% structural pest, but Welborn would like to grow the pest side. For 2020, they have mapped out a sales challenge where they will focus on growing one segment of that division a quarter – perimeter pest in first quarter, termite in the second quarter, mosquito third quarter, and then back to perimeter pest in the fall.
Since they started mapping out the contest in the first quarter, the pest challenge wasn’t too much of a priority, which was a good thing.
“Luckily (we didn’t have a) real strong contest in place for first quarter because our weather here has been rainy and very uncooperative,” he says. “So, our customer interaction or upsell ability has been very limited in the first quarter of this year.”
Paul is faced with several key challenges not the least of which has been the weather in February. Rain, and more rain, has affected their production goal drastically from a goal of $116,000 down to $18,000 for the month.
This has put quite a dent into their overall sales goal of $2 million. The team will have to hustle to get caught up and we believe this team will do just that. We will follow this team very closely as they make up this temporary setback.
Another key front is with people. In our last Harvesters’ Take, we shared that Paul had executed our retention game plan Perfectly with a key player and they have decided to remain on board! After deciding that the pay rate was probably too low for this high-skilled position, Paul made an adjustment but that was still lower than the offer they had received. After considering everything, this person stayed on board for two reasons:
• Culture: Lawn and Pest has an excellent culture! People feel engaged, challenged and part of a team that has strong core values and an excellent team atmosphere.
• Location: Yes, location! The excellent job opportunity this person received was a considerable drive to work each day while the Lawn and Pest location was very close. This was discovered during our meeting to learn why they were leaving. Once it was brought to their attention that they would spend more than an hour more per day driving to their new job, they agreed that a better work life balance was worth staying at Lawn and Pest.
• Lesson: Don’t undervalue the location of where you are based.
By Kim Lux
Frank Leloia Jr. says he feels his business, Custom Landscaping and Lawn Care, in East Brunswick, N.J., is improving.
Since the team’s initial meeting with the Harvesters in December 2019, Leloia says they’ve already made a number of changes.
“The biggest factor that we’ve worked on so far has been HR-related issues,” he says. “Harvester Steve (Cesare) has been working with our operations manager, Syril, to make sure we are fully compliant.”
Leloia says the company has performed a full I-9 audit, looked into EPLI insurance and restructured the company handbook.
The business has also done some hiring recently, which will help streamline operations and allow the company to better delegate tasks.
“We hired an operations manager just for our residential lawn care,” Leloia says. “That went along with our strategy to organize more internally. We feel this will make us stronger. Our retention and our recruiting should increase.”
Before the new hire, three employees were contributing to heading up the department.
“Now, with the hire we are more streamlined. We’ve essentially decluttered our organization chart,” Leloia says.
Along with the behind-the-scenes upgrades, Custom Landscaping has been striving to grow its commercial customer base.
“We’re out there chasing commercial accounts,” he says. “We’re very proud to say that we just got our sixth new commercial account. I think we should increase revenue by half-a-million dollars contractually.
“We’ve talked a lot with (the Harvesters) about how we can have better sales presentations put together,” he adds, “so that when we’re meeting with commercial clients, we want to be able to wow them and set ourselves ahead of the competition.”
To improve their presentations, the company has been holding mock sales pitches.
“Now we’re quicker on our feet,” Leloia says. “We’ve also been preparing more and our no longer just giving estimates. We’re more transparent in our contracts and we’re looking into incorporating some unique, video presentations, too.”
One of the goals set by the Harvesters was for Custom to have a 50-50 blend of residential and commercial accounts by 2022.
“Obviously it takes work, but the main thing they taught us is to have a target and identify what we want. At that point, we were able to focus on what we wanted and go get it.”
Leloia says to get to the 50-50 split, Bill and Ed urged Custom Landscaping to review its residential accounts and eliminate those that aren’t profitable.
“They wanted us to cut back a little on our residential accounts,” he says. “We haven’t cut back as much as they have wanted us to, but we’ve trimmed the edges of our less dense areas in order to make our denser areas more profitable.”
Frank and his team are going after more commercial work and leveling off on their residential work as we have agreed upon from our original Harvester visit. This will require a significant change in their mindset and what has been done here over several decades…. Frank is all in.
In order to take advantage of this market it will require some tune ups, changes and key action items if they are to be successful, here are some key points:
• Editing of Non-Desirable Residential Work: This will require a review and ranking of accounts coupled with some professional termination notices.
• Keep the Keeper Residential: The primary focus here will be to keep a dense route location to best serve the customer and to be most efficient.
• Learning How to Say No: Get a very clear selection criteria in place and know when to say no both with residential and commercial work.
• Build Killer Proposals: Build a proposal format that is more relational and less transactional and deals with solving their pains vs. selling and telling them how great we are…
• Estimating: Get a more formal estimating process in place using the Harvesters’ triangulation method: Crew Hours per Visit – Hours Per Task – Production Method – Compare to Similar Jobs
• Hire and Commercial Business Developer: Keep on the hunt full time with a business developer that is committed full time for selling commercial work.
It all starts with the leader in each organization. Frank is doing great and understands the importance of having a better balance of market types. Change is hard, especially if a business has been doing it one way for a long time. Frank has surrounded himself with good people and that is always a good start for the path of success.
Next take, we want to share how Frank got a top flight CFO on board at a most reasonable cost.
By Jimmy Miller
David Hawkins Jr. says his employees are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Of course, he adds that these measures are all things they should’ve been doing anyway: wiping down trucks at the end of the day, creating wash stations around the company yard and washing hands before lunchtime. But there’s only so much he can do to prevent the spread of germs and fear at his own company – clients are going to be equally concerned about the virus as well.
To this point, Hawkins Jr. says he hasn’t lost much business yet, which is a positive. He says his company has many long-standing relationships with clients that are handled differently now to maintain physical distance. No handshakes or hugs; just service and quick conversation.
“We just talked to them and we’re taking everything that we can do,” Hawkins Jr. says. “We want to keep our people safe. We’re one big family and try to do the right thing, which is not panic.”
Among the chaos caused by COVID-19, one thing’s remained constant: Harvester Ed and Bill call Hawkins Jr. and the Hawkins Landscaping crew, based in Frederick, Md., every three weeks to catch up on the progress made on the team’s objectives. They’ve had plenty of time to focus on big-picture stuff given that it was a mild winter, though that presents a variety of problems on its own. With $60,000 worth of salt still in storage, it’s taking up space where seed and fertilizer usually goes. Plus, it resulted in less business over the winter than usual.
“But that’s part of the animal that you deal with when you do when you do snow removal,” Hawkins Jr. says. “It seems it’s either feast or famine.”
They never took any days off over the winter though, and Hawkins Jr. says they got a head start on spring maintenance work since the weather was so mild. They also did some hardscaping work, and some of the clients they have for snow work ended up giving the go-ahead for more work this spring. Plus, through word-of-mouth advertising with the clients they already have, Hawkins Jr. says they’ve landed some extra accounts like a nursing home recently.
The word-of-mouth helps because he says their prices are probably higher than some of the larger competitors in the area, but referrals ensure that potential clients know Hawkins Landscaping will spend more time on the little details.
“That way we didn’t have to bid it out,” Hawkins Jr. says. “That’s worked out pretty good, and we’ve got a couple others like that in the works.”
Now they’re working through creating a mini budget and identifying 200 possible clients over time. Hawkins Jr. says it’s been a while since they’ve looked at the bigger problems like pricing out new materials properly because usually, with so much going on, they just buy the first ones they find right at last minute.
“That’s one of my problems. You get busy, and we stay busy year-round, so we don’t watch our numbers as good as we can,” Hawkins Jr. says. “Traditionally, when we first started, we would work on equipment, but as the business evolved, we ran out of that time. Now we might be even busier over the winters than in the spring.”
It’s been a year of very little snow for the Hawkins team, but that has allowed them to work more on the company than in it. In a good snow year there is plenty of cash coming in for the spring, but this is not happening this season, so it’s been all hands on deck selling work and working on the urgent items in their playbook.
As of this writing, they are in full production with cleanups beginning and design build work underway. At this point, they have a solid backlog of work priced at our 50% gross margin goal. We talked about morphing over into more commercial maintenance work but this has been slow, in that they prefer to be selective in the accounts they go after. They are working with Harvester Ed’s Be 2@200 Campaign, which should bear fruit later in the year. One thing for sure: They don’t want to do any HOAs.
From a financial standpoint, Kristi Hawkins is working on setting up the Harvest Mini Budget so she will be able to see at a click, what the gross margins are each month, for each department. This will really help (in real time) in making sure their estimating, pricing and efficiency is on track. Carol Hawkins is working on their field-to-office paper flow to better track the work. She is also reviewing what was purchased last year to see if there is a way to be more strategic and save money. D2 an D3, that’s father and son, are working to improve their proposal process to be sure their estimates are more accurate.
So, all in all it looks like a good start and we will monitor their progress along the way.
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Lawn Mowing Local goal is to provide the magnificent articles on keeping your garden looking exceptional. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we aim to cover the entire spectrum of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the pieces below and find it useful in your lawn.
Knowing the environmental conditions in your greenhouse — and being able to act when there is a problem — is more important than ever.