If you own a lawn care company, you know it’s about much more than yard work. In “The Business of Lawn Care” series, we discuss topics related to managing and growing a company in the lawn care industry.

As a lawn care professional, you’re well aware of the ongoing labor shortages in the industry. While recruiting is part of the solution, it’s also a long-term solution. In the meantime, you can work to make your existing crew more efficient with the labor you have. Start by evaluating the efficiency of your program and application equipment.

Standard granular fertilizer programs involve four to seven applications throughout the season, with nitrogen levels fluctuating between each. The Labor Efficient Program (LEP) from EC Grow is an efficient alternative to this status quo. With EPEC controlled-release fertilizer technology, these programs allow your crew to deliver steadier nitrogen levels with fewer property visits.

LEP includes two options, both of which require just three applications a year. Each application delivers a single granular fertilizer coated with another product to maximize its effects. To learn more about coated fertilizer, click here. The first LEP option includes fertilizer coated with Dimension (dithiopyr), while the second option has a fertilizer carrying prodiamine. For more information about the difference between these two active ingredients, click here.

Beyond the first application, both LEP options contain the same coatings: grub control on the second application and Armament on the third. The second application occurs in June, providing insect control via imidacloprid. In September, the final application of the season improves nutrient uptake via Armament technology.

LEP works because of the controlled-release technology it involves. Each fertilizer in the program contains polymer-coated urea (PCU), which prevents all the urea from releasing immediately. Instead, it releases slowly to deliver a steady amount of nitrogen to the lawn. Nitrogen levels stay between the minimum and maximum threshold throughout the season, allowing you to make fewer applications with more consistent results. LEP also provides more steady growth, preventing growth surges and allowing you to mow less frequently. 

In addition to providing superior results, LEP is better for the environment. The controlled release of PCU prevents nitrogen from converting to ammonia or nitrate, which can pollute the atmosphere and groundwater, respectively. The efficiency of EPEC technology also means you’re applying less nitrogen overall, reducing the environmental effects of production and packaging.

Another option to make your crew more efficient is equipping them with more productive equipment. Steel Green Manufacturing’s SGXL is an excellent machine if you service large residential lawns, commercial properties, or municipalities. With a 120-gallon liquid capacity, the SGXL is a highly efficient multifunction applicator. In a time trial, the SGXL covered a 4-acre property in 30 minutes. That makes it more than twice as productive as the SG52, at 1 hour and 15 minutes for a 4-acre property.

The SGXL and LEP are two solutions to the problem of labor shortages in the lawn care industry. Reevaluating your current program and equipment just might reveal an opportunity to maximize labor efficiency without adding a single employee.