This is a pro forma email we have been sending to all our clients/contracts,dont like to think that members are losing work purely because of freak weather conditions,you should be able to copy/adapt this letter to suit.Hope it helps,regards all,Paul
AL-PINE GARDENERS GROUP LTD
Qualified Horticulturalists& Specialists Maintenance Team
Visit us at:
MAINTENANCE UPDATE – JULY 2012
Typical! We have been informing all of our clients that due to the forecast hot summer and expected drought conditions garden bedding areas should all be mulched to retain moisture (there are other advantages). Even by our own standards of a typical British summer, so far we have had far more moisture than any of us could have predicted – even the Meteorological Office it seems.
This record breaking rainfall is having a significant effect on all of our gardens. Besides it preventing us from going out and enjoying our gardens it can cause the roots of certain shrubs and plants to rot, particularly in heavy soil or where there is poor drainage. We are keeping a careful watch for any such symptoms arising in your bedding areas during the course of our maintenance works. To help reduce the risk we are forking bedding areas to try and help with the drainage. Other than this there is little more can be done except perhaps to pray the rain relents a little.
As many of you will already know, grass should never be cut when it is wet. The effect of water on the grass and the cutting blade is to blunt both. Cutting grass when it is wet often means ripping the grass out rather than cutting it cleanly. The excessive moisture on the grass causes lawnmowers to get clogged which causes overheating of the motors. For larger areas, that require a ride on mower, the lack of grip on the grass can also cause the mower to leave muddy track marks on the lawns which causes even more damage. What can we do to stop our lawns from becoming overgrown? Well, as soon as we find a window of dry weather (even for a few hours) we have been racing round our various sites just trying to cut grass when the weather permits. We fully understand that so far this summer our lawns have not always looked as well manicured as we would like but we hope our clients understand that landscaping work is always subject to the weather.
Another disadvantage of so much rain is that flowers and blooms melt! The petals become wet and do not have a chance to dry out. The rain breaks down the fibrous structure of the flowers and they become limp and die. New flower buds are equally affected. Unless flowers are kept under cover there is nothing that can be done to prevent this.
We may have to accept that for this year it is going to be a bit of a wash out and we should therefore concentrate on cutting our losses and preparing for next year. Because of the heavy rain much of the goodness in our soil is being washed away from shrubs and plants which have a shallow root system and are therefore being starved of nutrients. Summer pruning can help especially for fruit trees and, we can also provide extra feed to help plants consolidate the summer growth ready for the winter and next summer.
On the other hand there are WEEDS!! They just love all this warm moist weather and have had a field day. This weather provides the perfect climate for weeds to grow about 3 times faster than normal. It is important to keep down the weeds as they consume some of the scarce nutrients available to shrubs and plants. When the weather has prevented us from cutting the grass we are focusing more attention on the bedding areas keeping them turned over. Fortunately, where beds have been mulched this helps to keep weeds from growing.
We are pleased to say that by far the majority of our clients have been fully appreciative of the difficulties the weather has presented to us all and have shown a welcome understanding and patience. For that we are most grateful. Thank you. We are also appreciative to our staff who have had to endure long hours working in atrocious and difficult conditions.
We cannot rely on our weather but you can rely on us doing our best to make the most of it.
Interesting _ i had already penned a letter to send as I was getting to 4 days behind last week, but Im now back upto a day and a half behind so May be able to wait.
I would keep such a letter brief tbh - To the point - Also I would not say the stuff about cutting wet grass, IMO thats incorect, a properly maintained and sharpend mower with good wet grass pick up should do no damage to wet grass and work fine albeit slower - The whole reason behind myself and many of us on here Owning Etesia mowers!
The problem comes when the ground under the grass is SO wet it cant take the weight of the person pushing the mower...... then boot prints and wheel marks!
"grass should never be cut when it is wet."
I would urge you to delete that comment from your letter. Apart from being factually incorrect it could undermine your credibility in the eyes of your more knowledgeable customers. Certainly a lawn should not be cut if the ground is waterlogged but a quality mower operating at full power with sharpe blades will have no problems cutting wet grass that has not been allowed to grow too long. Speed of mowing and poor collection are separate issues.
Indeed I would suggest the exact opposite in the current conditions - we have weekly clients where we are now mowing twice a week as the growth in seven days has become more than the mower can cope without dumping the cuttings back on the lawn especially if fertilisers were applied in the spring.
Paul I would consider scrapping that email. Firstly it is too long. Secondly the whole wet grass issue.
I simply don't understand how you can leave cutting to dry weather only; the thought of running around 60 sites during the brief dry spells just makes me feel sick! Sharpen the blades, cut low when it IS dry and mulch where possible where wet but not too long for a decent finish. I have had to postpone ONE grass cut this season and that was just yesterday. One job out of 60 every fortnight. I caught up on it today. My lawns all look decent and I have no complaints about wheel marks. It is all about management and tooling-up.
'Doth protest too much, methinks' - Shakespeare, no mug that boy! Good idea in principal Paul, but I would keep it short and sweet, the more detail you put in, the more questions you open up.
I was thinking about this today - I should have been firmer (as others have been) yesterday - You can cut sopping wet grass, in the pouring rain, and leave great results so when the sun comes out 20 mins later it looks great.....
Saying that mis-informs customers and can lead to situations where you get turned away when you do cut in the rain, with the correct kit you've shelled £thousands out on to do just that - cut wet grass without damaging it.
it has been raining here since about 2.00 am and it still raining . i been cutting hedges on days when i can not cut grass not sure much longer i can keep doing that for . also i got a strimming job for the town council thats been a good fill in on wet days but it not pleasent strimming in the rain
Thanks for your contributions chaps,will now confess that I didnt write the Weather email.This was done by our contracts manager who deals with all our contracts, accounts,insurances etc but is not hands on.I should of paid more attention and edited it but was to busy trying to catch up.Of course we cut grass in the rain but only when practical as it was yesterday(if you cut grass today Dan Ill take my hat off).
Having said that I feel you are missing the point somewhat,after my original rain pain discussion one member said he had lost 2 contracts and others were also struggling, so trying to help , I was encouraging members to contact their contracts to explain the effect of the extreme recent weather conditions.OK grass advice was slightly off kilter but other advice relevant if a tad verbose.
Incidently our mowers are hayters and etesias and all have been serviced/sharpened within last 3 months