Updated: Oct 6, 2020
9 Tips For Stellar Lawn Care Product Results
Manufacturers spend significant resources to make sure their products work as intended and are respectful of the environment. However, this responsibility is shared with the lawn care operators who use them. We asked several lawn care product manufacturers how lawn care operators can achieve optimal results. Here are their suggestions for improving performance:
1. Use better adapted varieties. When selecting turfgrass, look for cultivars that are pest-resistant and bred to withstand the conditions in your area. They will look better with less input, saving you labor and product.
2. Practice good diagnostics. Proper scouting and pest diagnosis is a crucial first step toward correcting any lawn care problem. Soil and tissue testing is also an excellent practice. “From a fertilizer perspective, testing really is the only way to know what actually is in the soil and plant and what they need,” explains Chris Gray, product marketing manager for LebanonTurf.
3. Research. “Educate yourself about your alternatives,” suggests B.J. Harrington, marketing manager at Control Solutions, Inc. “Read university research and any available literature. The product labels are a good place to start. Much information is provided on the EPA registration label that will tell how friendly products are to the environment, pets and applicators.”
4. Follow label directions. “Applicators should know the label inside and out. Too often, when we get product complaints, it’s a matter of a problem that could have easily been avoided had the applicator followed label directions,” says Jason Fausey, weed scientist at Nufarm. Keep in mind, too, that failure to follow lawn care product label directions not only leads to poor results, but in many cases is a violation of the law.
5. Use equipment properly. Maintain and calibrate all application equipment, and use spreader guards when applying granular products to be sure you are applying the correct amount of product.
6. Educate your crews. Take the time to make sure each of your employees knows the importance of proper application techniques and how to achieve them.
7. Test products on your own. Manufacturers do their best to test their products under a wide variety of conditions, but they can’t test everywhere. It’s up to you to determine how a product will perform in your local area. “When you decide to test a product, use solid trial methods. This includes using a check or untreated area. Make frequent observations, take pictures and keep good notes,” suggests Jim Spindler, director of agronomy at Ecologel Solutions, LLC.
8. Educate your customers. “Education is key,” says Tom Linnen, portfolio marketing leader for Dow Agro- Sciences Turf & Ornamental. “When you engage your customers, customer retention improves. Talk to your customers about what they can do to support your efforts and ultimately help create a healthier lawn. You should be addressing proper mowing height and lawn mower maintenance, as well as the importance of weed control, aeration and fertilization.”
When you speak to your customers, remember to keep it simple. Use straightforward language and visual aids. Many manufacturers offer excellent marketing materials that get the basic idea across with information graphics and photos of key weeds, diseases and turf pests. Use them, and supplement them with stories from your own experience.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. “I always recommend that lawn care operators be knowledgeable about every product they use,” Gray says. “This means, a good majority of the time, asking questions.” Sales representatives are great resources, as are your local extension agents. Many hold off-season educational events for lawn care operators.
Take advantage of these opportunities. You may also benefit from attending industry conferences and/or online forums, where you can learn from experts and experienced lawn care professionals with whom you are not in direct competition.