How to Avoid Common Lawn Mower Mistakes

How to Avoid Common Lawn Mower Mistakes

Your lawn is only as healthy as your lawn mower. The mower is a crucial piece of equipment for maintaining a good looking yard, yet many people only think about it when they’re pulling it out for use. Taking a little extra care to avoid common mower mistakes can lengthen the life of your lawnmower and help you get better cutting results.

Mowing Erratically

It’s easy to forget your lawn needs to be mowed, but taking half an hour to give it a quick trim every week or so is better for both the lawn and mower. It’s a mistake to wait two or three weeks for a cut unless that’s how long it takes your lawn to grow to one inch in height. Stick to a regular schedule, regardless of the time interval, so the mower doesn’t have to struggle to cut high and thick grass. It also reduces the shock of losing more than a third of the grass blade’s height.

Forgetting About Maintenance

Lawnmowers, especially gas powered ones, need nearly the same kind of maintenance as your car or truck. Don’t forget about checking for:

  • A clogged deck after each cut and before each new use of the mower, since tangled roots, vines, and dry grass can damage parts.
  • Tire pressure, since the mower works harder and is more likely to damage your lawn with soft tires.
  • Oil levels so that the engine stays lubricated and cool during use.
  • Air filter debris and dust.
  • Dull blades, which tear grass and damage it.

To maintain strong and sharp blades and minimize wear on the engine, schedule your mowing for the driest part of each week. Cutting dry grass gives you the sharpest and cleanest cut for healthy growth and a strong rebound.

Cutting Wet Grass

To maintain strong and sharp blades and minimize wear on the engine, schedule your mowing for the driest part of each week. Cutting dry grass gives you the sharpest and cleanest cut for healthy growth and a strong rebound. Cutting wet grass also increases the chances of clumping, which increases your cleaning time to clean the deck after you use the mower.

Running At Low Speeds

Most mowers offer multiple speed settings to help you get a closer cut around edges and flower beds by giving you finer control. This has led some mower users to think that it’s bad for a mower to run at full speed. However, the engine’s performance is optimized for its primary speed setting. You’ll get the most even cut and best fuel efficiency by sticking to full speed as much as possible.

Improper Storage

Make sure you drain the gas, remove the battery and clean the deck and blade before putting your lawn mower up for the winter. Improper storage may cause issues when you go to mow for the first time in spring.

Ready to invest in a new mower and give it the best treatment from the start? Discuss your options for a brand new lawn mower by calling us here at Commercial Lawn Equipment. We have all the landscaping supplies and tools you need to create a perfect lawn.

Interested in new equipment? We offer 0% financing! Contact us.

How to Keep Weeds Under Control

How to Keep Weeds Under Control

Is 2017 the year you finally offer a seasonal guarantee on a weed-free lawn to your customers? With the right pre-emergent herbicides applied to your lawn in February, this dream can become a reality without sinking your business with the cost of upkeep over the summer. Pre-emergent fertilizer offers a one-two punch of weed control and growth stimulation that will finally get even the most stubborn turf weeds under control. Continue reading

Gas vs. Battery Power: Which is Best for Your Lawn Care Needs?

Gas vs. Battery Power: Which is Best for Your Lawn Care Needs?

Lawn maintenance professionals have a difficult balancing act; they need to offer competitive pricing, do an outstanding job that keeps the clients coming back and still make a profit. This leaves them ever searching for equipment that is efficient, long lasting, easy to use and cost effective. With improved battery and motor technology in the forefront these days, many landscaping professionals are beginning to wonder if the time is right to make the big move to battery-powered tools. Continue reading

A Guide to Starting Your Own Lawn Care Business

A Guide to Starting Your Own Lawn Care Business

In today’s economy, few things are certain, especially when it comes to employment security. That’s why many people are taking their financial fate into their own hands, and starting a business. For those who are considering opening a landscaping business, the team at Commercial Lawn Equipment would like to offer the following tips on how to get your enterprise up and running Continue reading

Will Your Mower Be Ready For Spring? Schedule Routine Maintenance Now

Will Your Mower Be Ready For Spring? Schedule Routine Maintenance Now

Professional landscapers know the importance of scheduling regular maintenance of their tools and machinery. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business, at least not a very profitable one. Your lawn mowers, trimmers and blowers are the backbone of your landscapers toolkit, and you’d be hard-pressed to make a living without them.  Continue reading

Add a Fertilization Program to Your Landscaping Business

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The benefits of adding a fertilization program to your landscaping business are obvious from the client side. Greener grass, healthier plants that grow faster and an overall more luscious yard are highly valuable customer satisfaction benefits. Integrating a fertilization program into your landscaping business also has the added benefit of increasing your area of expertise and allowing you to be a one-stop solution for your clients.

Adopting a fertilization program for your business can mean increased recurring revenues and higher gross margins than landscaping alone can provide. You can generally expect about a 40 to 60 percent gross margin by integrating commercial fertilizer into your business. That’s a gross margin that can be reinvested continuously into your company.

While lawn care may seem like a small ticket item next to design and build, you can expect about five years of recurring business from your fertilizer customers, bringing you little checks that build up quickly!

Commercial Fertilizer Products that Make It Easier

Exmark has several products that make applying commercial fertilizer a breeze. The Stand-On Spreader-Sprayer has revolutionized fertilizer application with a number of industry-leading innovations:

  • It was esigned with no belts and a durable hydrostatic drive system to increase up-time and make routine maintenance easier
  • It includes an agitation system in the 20-gallon tank to keep materials in suspension and provide a consistent, smooth stream of fertilizer
  • It features a simple, powerful “Lean to Steer” control system to make operation more efficient

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If you’re going to invest in a fertilization program, be sure that you’re investing in the best possible equipment to keep your long-term cost efficiency high. Making application faster and easier means you’ll spend less time working and reap the benefits of a perfectly fertilized landscape, i.e. customers thrilled with their lush, green lawns and ready to renew contracts for the coming year.

When to Apply Fertilizer

Fertilizer application must be performed in a timely fashion, or the results simply won’t be what your client is looking for. Generally speaking, you can break the fertilizer schedule into six cycles:

Round One: February to March

Use a 19-0-6 fertilizer with .25 percent barricade and 25 percent sulfur-coated urea (SCU) or a 19-0-6 with .125 percent dimension and 25 percent SCU. You could also use a 0-0-7 fertilizer with .426 percent barricade along with a 16-0-8 one with Escalade W&F.

Round Two: Mid-April 

Use a 13-0-5 fertilizer with .25 percent barricade and 25 percent SCU or a 13-0-5 with .125 percent dimension and 25 percent SCU.

Round Three: Late May into June

Use a 5-10-31 fertilizer with 10 percent iron or a 14-0-7 with 50 percent organic fertilize

Round Four: July to August 

Use a 14-0-7 with 50 percent organic fertilizer.

Round Five: September to October

Use an 18-20-3 starter fertilizer with 25 percent xcu.

Round Six: November to December

Use a 32-0-8 fertilizer with 30 percent xcu and 3 percent iron, as well as a 32-0-6 with 30 percent mesa.

Commercial Fertilizer in Tennessee

Be aware that the Tennessee Department of Agriculture regulates commercial fertilizers. The TDA reviews and approves product labels and obtains samples from the field to ensure that label guarantees are met and customer expectations are achieved.

If your fertilizer is found to be deficient — as in it does not meet the guarantees made, etc. — you may face penalties, including, fines, revocation of registration, seizure, condemnation and sale.

Landscaping businesses must apply for registration of commercial fertilizer with the TDA. Each brand and grade of fertilizer that you register must be accompanied by an “8.5 x 11” photocopy of your product labeling. All guarantees and label claims must be clearly visible. For “Ag Use” of commercial fertilizers, you must pay an annual registration fee of $25 per brand and grade.

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Safety Tips to Help Prevent Operator Error on a Landscaping Job

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No landscaping company can keep up with customer demand without heavy duty commercial equipment like zero-turn mowers and power trimmers, but these tools can also cause injuries and property damage. Make sure your entire team knows how to stay safe while maintaining lawns and landscapes by training them on these five tips.

Use the Safety Features

The roll cages, debris shields and automatic shutoff controls can only protect your employees and any bystanders if they’re used properly. For example, failing to fix a broken debris chute cover could result in a homeowner or customer losing a car window to a flying rock. Set a schedule for testing all the safety features on the mowers, hedge cutters and other tools to make sure they’re still protecting your employees.

Choose Different Equipment

Each landscaping challenge is best tackled with a specific tool. Taking the time to switch from a zero-turn mower to a push mower or handheld grass trimmer can prevent both property damage and injuries. Don’t take a mower closer than two mower widths to a hazardous area like the edge of a pool or a steep slope, even if the model has a zero-degree turn radius.

Watch Your Slopes and Speed

Even the slightest slope can sap the traction out of a large piece of riding equipment like a tractor or mower. Train the equipment operators to always slow down and take their time when going up, down or across a sloped area. It’s best to avoid slopes altogether if the grass is wet or there’s concern over soft ground potentially sliding down a hillside. Even when using equipment on level, dry ground, operators need to control their speed when using a zero-turn radius mower because quick turns can cause a rollover in any condition.

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Practice the Controls

Everyone expected to use a piece of equipment needs to train with it in a quiet and safe environment before going out on the job site. This is especially true for mowers and cutting equipment with sensitive controls. Train your team on a flat and open section of ground so they can get a feel for turning and disengaging attachments before they accidentally tear up a newly planted flower bed at a client’s home.

Use the Fuel Shutoff Valve

Finally, make sure everyone is aware of useful features like fuel shutoff valves on gas powered equipment. These small valves allow the team to cut off the flow of fuel, and no equipment should be loaded without the shutoff valve switched on. Cutting off the fuel supply makes transporting and storing landscaping equipment much safer by reducing fumes and spills. Fewer gas spills translates into a greatly reduced risk of explosion or fire.

In the end, training everyone to follow the best safety procedures will pay off. Accidents cut into the bottom line, whether you’re paying for employee injuries, homeowner property damage or equipment replacement. Take care of everything you buy from Commercial Lawn Equipment to enjoy years of reliable use.

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