As many people are returning to normal, the question that lies ahead is “how have the recent changes brought about by COVID-19 impacted the future of the landscaping industry? This is something I’ve been wondering since the start of the outbreak. While the state of Alabama deemed that landscaping was an essential service (thank goodness for my business), I can’t help but wonder how things will change moving forward.
With much of the population literally dying of boredom, many people have turned to gardening and landscaping to pass the time and improve the curb appear of their property. This is something that was always a hobby of mine, and obviously something I have continued throughout the quarantine, however, my concern is that the landscaping industry will take a hit as more people realize that they are capable of maintaining their own properties and that they may in fact even enjoy doing so. I grew up passing time by working in the yard. The concept itself is almost second- nature to me. Growing up, it was always a family affair and it was something that we all bonded over. Many families have been exposed to this hobby while spending so much time at home the past few months. I am happy that they have found happiness in a hobby that I love, but I am concerned for those whose job it is to help others with their landscaping needs.
During this strange time, I have seen my neighbors planting new flowers in their front gardens and being more in tune with the overall health of their landscaping. Homeowners are watering their grass more, cutting the grass and edging, and planting new plants for the upcoming growing season. These tasks were often done by professional landscapers who were paid big bucks to do these jobs. With the excess time on their hands, many people are finding that these landscaping chores are actually far more doable than they ever imagined. So what does that mean for the big landscaping companies? Well in the short term, I anticipate that many people will continue to tend to their own landscaping needs and the need for these large landscaping professionals will diminish over the next few months. More and more people are slowly returning to work, and as their spare time dwindles, I anticipate that they will eventually find that they do not have the time or care to continue with their new found landscaping hobbies. In the industry as a whole, the professionals may suffer. However, this will only be short-term and they will find that their business will slowly return to what it used to be. This will clearly take time, especially since many people have been laid off or had their hours cut back significantly, and they are in no position to be spending extra money on landscaping chores they are capable of doing themselves. As time goes by and the economy flows, most homeowners will become more comfortable with paying the extra money for someone else to service their yard.
Auburn, AL is located in Lee County. As of today, Lee County alone already has over 45 cases of the Corona virus and the numbers will continue to rise. As global concern over the corona virus grows, landscaping companies should prepare for how to handle a possible outbreak in their area and urge employees who are sick to stay home. Companies are continually updating their clients on what the corona virus will mean for your business, plus events and policies are changing by the moment. Here in Auburn, AL, we are not on any sort of lockdown or stay at home order, but most of our restaurants and social gathering spaces have been closed or forced into offering take-out and delivery only options. For now, most all landscaping in Auburn AL needs in the city are being handled as usual. Many teams of landscapers are taking extra precautions by offering tele-services and leaving invoices at your front door for you to pay online later. While I prefer the traditional southern way of introducing yourself at the front door, this is not something many landscaping companies are choosing to do during this time in Auburn, AL. This is simply for the safety of the landscapers and of all clients.
There is growing concern that Auburn, AL may be put on a stay at home order soon. If this is the case, only business deemed essential will be allowed to operate and only people working for these businesses will be allowed to go to work. One of the big questions floating around the landscaping industry here is whether or not landscaping is an essential business. If landscaping were deemed to not be essential, this could be detrimental to many, if not all, of the small- business landscaping companies here in Auburn, AL. Many companies would be forced to layoff employees. We would be entirely out of work for weeks if not months. Many of us rely on landscaping to provide food and shelter for our families, and many people and lives would be hurt by a decision like this. When and if the economy does return to normal, many months from now, many of our existing customers will be long gone. The seasons will have changed and many landscaping projects will no longer be necessary. Small landscaping companies in Auburn, AL will not be able to rehire many of their employees and residents of Auburn will be hurt by this move. This will cause lasting damage.
On the other hand, if landscaping companies are considered to be essential businesses, we could use this time to continue to flourish and keep our beloved city of Auburn, AL beautiful. The National Association of Landscape Professionals has said it will be keeping tabs on each state’s stance on whether or not landscapers are essential. They will also help fight to keep our doors open. Given that most landscaping work is not done in large groups or by people working in close quarters, you would think that landscaping companies would be able to get by without further spreading the virus.
As you already know, my name is Elton Adams and I love landscaping. From maintaining my lawn to growing herbs from my vegetable garden, plants and grasses are my passion. This past winter I took it upon myself to do some landscaping around my yard to prepare for spring planting. I’ll take you through the steps that I took, and which areas of my yard I chose to focus on.
First I cleaned out some debris. I swept across my lawn and picked up any fallen twigs or tree limbs that may have fallen during winter storms. These twigs are the perfect place for pests to stow, so it’s important to clean them up to prevent pests from seeking shelter in your yard. Be sure to clean out your flowers beds as well. If you have rose bushes, pay special attention to them because their foliage is known to foster disease over winter months.
The second thing I did was till my vegetable garden. While many of you may not have a till laying around, there are other things you can use that will get the job done just as well. After the final harvest, I was sure to pull out old vegetables and plants so I was able to till the entire plot. If you’re like me and you like to compost, now would be a great time to add a layer of compost to help nurture your soil for the next planting.
Not all winter cleanup comes directly from the yard. This is the perfect time of year to clean out your gutters as well, as they can drop leaves and other debris into your yard if they are not properly maintained. Be sure to check for proper drainage and to clear out any blockages with a small garden trowel. Then rinse your system with a hose to ensure it is finally working properly.
Another seasonal hack I have is to aerate my soil in the off season. Aerating helps to break up the soil which keeps water from pooling and guarantees that nutrients will reach the roots of the plants over the winter season. Think of this as using a scrub wash on your face. You are removing any blockages and ensuring the nutrients of your facial wash can reach deep into the layers of your skin, just as you are doing to your lawn. Much of the soil in Auburn, AL is very dense, so aerating yearly keeps my soil happy and healthy. A garden fork can do the job for small yards, but larger yards may require a walk-behind aerator which you can find for rent at your local hardware store.
It’s also important to feed your lawn during its off season. This is a landscaping hack that can apply to almost anyone with any size yard. You will want to be sure you are sending your yard into the off season with the nutrients it needs to survive the long, cold sleep. Adding a winter lawn fertilizer should also encourage root growth and ensure a green lawn come spring.