Register free!

The Green Industry's Resource Center



Reply
 
Thread Tools   Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-09-2014, 04:41 PM
Simcoe Mt Service Simcoe Mt Service is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Goldendale WA
Posts: 9
Tips & Tricks for the Inland Northwest?

I'm new here and kind of new to commercial lawn care. I have a thread in the introductions section but I'm looking for info specific to my area. I'm located just past the east slopes of the Cascades, near the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. (about 100 miles due east of Portland OR) The USDA hardiness zone is right on the line between 6B and 7A with just shy of 18" of rain per year, mostly between October and May. Summer is normally dry, most times no rain to speak of after the 4th of July. Humidity isn't much of an issue here, the only time it gets muggy here is when we get thunderstorms. Mostly clay soil, heavy clay in places others not so bad. When it's hot, single digit RH's are common. Most lawns seem to be the bluegrass, rye, fescue mix.

So, knowing my local conditions what do you think my best strategy is for keeping things green? I'm thinking bagging only if really needed during heavy spring growth and normally mulching to try and hold moisture in the soil. So my questions are how often do do think aeration should be done? What's the best irrigation schedule? I think an inch per week done at one time is the best to promote root growth. Will the mulched clippings break down in the dry conditions? How much fertilizer, what kind and when? Same question about broadleaf herbicides, we usually get a bumper crop of dandelions in the spring. Crossbow works good to knock 'em out but what about keeping them in check.

I'll have more questions as I go along but thanks in advance for any insight you guys can give me.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-09-2014, 09:30 PM
TPendagast's Avatar
TPendagast TPendagast is online now
LawnSite Gold Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Wasilla, AK
Posts: 3,838
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simcoe Mt Service View Post
I'm new here and kind of new to commercial lawn care. I have a thread in the introductions section but I'm looking for info specific to my area. I'm located just past the east slopes of the Cascades, near the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. (about 100 miles due east of Portland OR) The USDA hardiness zone is right on the line between 6B and 7A with just shy of 18" of rain per year, mostly between October and May. Summer is normally dry, most times no rain to speak of after the 4th of July. Humidity isn't much of an issue here, the only time it gets muggy here is when we get thunderstorms. Mostly clay soil, heavy clay in places others not so bad. When it's hot, single digit RH's are common. Most lawns seem to be the bluegrass, rye, fescue mix.

So, knowing my local conditions what do you think my best strategy is for keeping things green? I'm thinking bagging only if really needed during heavy spring growth and normally mulching to try and hold moisture in the soil. So my questions are how often do do think aeration should be done? What's the best irrigation schedule? I think an inch per week done at one time is the best to promote root growth. Will the mulched clippings break down in the dry conditions? How much fertilizer, what kind and when? Same question about broadleaf herbicides, we usually get a bumper crop of dandelions in the spring. Crossbow works good to knock 'em out but what about keeping them in check.

I'll have more questions as I go along but thanks in advance for any insight you guys can give me.
How many of your prospective customers would you say irrigate or have in ground irrigation?
50% or more?

Do you know anything about irrigation?
If you do, get in control of the customers timer.

If you don't , do not mess with it.

The best is to have a dry day with no irrigation before you cut. So if they irrigate on tuesday morning, you can mow wed. fine.
But don't have them irrigating every single day, dry grass is easier/fast to cut and a mushy lawn will rut.

Generally, aerate once in the spring, once in the fall.
There are times you want to aerate more often with heavy traffic, but this doesn't happen often on a typical residential.

You're going to want to keep your cut heights between 3 and 3.5" don't do the 2" thing or you'll just turn it into a dust bowl or make it the thirstiest lawn in the state.

Mulching is good for organic nitrogen return, but there is no real harm in bagging either…sometimes too much thatch is bad too. I don't think either method is going to help/harm your moisture retention…you might be over thinking it a little.

Again…makes a big difference if most of your customers irrigate, or they don't?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-10-2014, 12:03 AM
SaberLawnCare SaberLawnCare is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: St Louis Mo
Posts: 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simcoe Mt Service View Post
I'm new here and kind of new to commercial lawn care. I have a thread in the introductions section but I'm looking for info specific to my area. I'm located just past the east slopes of the Cascades, near the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. (about 100 miles due east of Portland OR) The USDA hardiness zone is right on the line between 6B and 7A with just shy of 18" of rain per year, mostly between October and May. Summer is normally dry, most times no rain to speak of after the 4th of July. Humidity isn't much of an issue here, the only time it gets muggy here is when we get thunderstorms. Mostly clay soil, heavy clay in places others not so bad. When it's hot, single digit RH's are common. Most lawns seem to be the bluegrass, rye, fescue mix.

So, knowing my local conditions what do you think my best strategy is for keeping things green? I'm thinking bagging only if really needed during heavy spring growth and normally mulching to try and hold moisture in the soil. So my questions are how often do do think aeration should be done? What's the best irrigation schedule? I think an inch per week done at one time is the best to promote root growth. Will the mulched clippings break down in the dry conditions? How much fertilizer, what kind and when? Same question about broadleaf herbicides, we usually get a bumper crop of dandelions in the spring. Crossbow works good to knock 'em out but what about keeping them in check.

I'll have more questions as I go along but thanks in advance for any insight you guys can give me.
Your best strategy is going to work for someone else that is actually experienced in lawn care and learning from him.

This site is great for advice and tips, but seriously guys are too busy working on their business to come up with a battle plan for your business.

The questions you just asked are the type of questions asked in the homeowner section from homeowners asking for advice from pros.

Sorry to sound rude, but if you have no clue how to mow, and don't have an applicator's license, then you really shouldn't be running a business.

Now, if you insist on doing things your way and having someone else come up with a plan for your business, you're better off going to Gopherhaul's site, they tend to appease the guys that just want to buy a mower and cut grass and not really do the thinking part behind the business.

Good luck.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-10-2014, 12:08 AM
Simcoe Mt Service Simcoe Mt Service is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Goldendale WA
Posts: 9
My "big one" I have a bid on has an in ground system and another landlord I'm working on I think does hose & sprinkler and it sounds like I'd be taking care of that part as well. So, yeah about 50% on number of customers but the big lawn is about 2&1/2 acres under irrigation. It's a low income apartment complex but it's had a lot of recent work done so it looks pretty good and they seem to enforce the outside junk rules. The lawn itself isn't in bad shape but it has some thin spots and whatnot. I figure I can use it as a "reference lawn" for prospective customers if I can keep it looking good over the summer.

The reason I'm asking about moisture retention is the fact it gets DRY here in the summer. I'm thinking this could be a really dry year and irrigation water might be an issue. Around here if you don't water the grass is brown by mid July at the latest. That's why I'm asking about the water schedule because there is a good chance of water rationing and I want to get this lawn ready to ride out a bad dry spell if it should come to that.

I was thinking I'd aerate at the start and end of the season. I didn't see too many high traffic areas except around the playground so I'll watch that and maybe hit it mid season if it needs it.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-10-2014, 12:27 AM
Simcoe Mt Service Simcoe Mt Service is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Goldendale WA
Posts: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaberLawnCare View Post
Your best strategy is going to work for someone else that is actually experienced in lawn care and learning from him.

This site is great for advice and tips, but seriously guys are too busy working on their business to come up with a battle plan for your business.

The questions you just asked are the type of questions asked in the homeowner section from homeowners asking for advice from pros.

Sorry to sound rude, but if you have no clue how to mow, and don't have an applicator's license, then you really shouldn't be running a business.

Now, if you insist on doing things your way and having someone else come up with a plan for your business, you're better off going to Gopherhaul's site, they tend to appease the guys that just want to buy a mower and cut grass and not really do the thinking part behind the business.

Good luck.
I have a battle plan. I've mowed and trimmed a lot of grass over the years, just looking for a little advice on managing a large lawn. If you take a moment to look at my introduction thread you'll see I'm also a professional OPE mechanic. What I'm doing is trying to build a property management business because a lot of the properties in my area are owned by elderly folks or out of area investors.

Thank you for your advice and good luck to you sir.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump





Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.com™ - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:31 AM.

Page generated in 0.06615 seconds with 9 queries