Even after 10 years in the lawn care business, Nick Brummel continues to seek out ways to separate his company from the competition.
“If a customer calls to complain about weeds, they’re already discouraged,” says Brummel, who owns Brummel Lawn & Landscape in Kansas City, Missouri. “Instead, we want to provide our customers with a positive experience.”
The company covers a 100-square-mile radius, working with mostly commercial sites and some residential properties throughout the Kansas City metro area. Accounts include homeowners’ associations, hotels and condominiums.
“We want to be proactive, and sometimes that means more expenses up-front, but if you’re using quality products, those savings add up over time,” he says.
Brummel started using Defendor® specialty herbicide on all of his properties this spring. With warmer-than-usual temperatures, he and his crew were able to start making applications the week of Feb. 22. The first round was completed a month later.
Defendor is a postemergence herbicide that can be applied at preemergence timing. It is designed to perform in cold temperatures and will control dandelion, clover and other high-anxiety spring weeds before they have a chance to bloom. Brummel used Defendor primarily to control dandelions and applied it at 0.09 fl. oz./1,000 sq. ft.
“A lot of our competitors had callbacks this spring,” he says. “We were fortunate that we didn’t have to deal with that and could instead focus on other areas of the business during that busy time.”
In the second round, they used a granular version of Dimension® specialty herbicide to control crabgrass, and then they spot-sprayed any existing broadleaf weeds.
“It’s great to have options,” Brummel says. “Plus, we weren’t as rushed during the first application. We were able to spend more time making applications to ensure better coverage.”
Brummel says they tried a different preemergence crabgrass herbicide in the past, but it stained driveways and equipment yellow, and they saw a lot of breakthrough. They are now 100 percent Dimension and make the bulk of their applications in March or April.
“This product combination has made us more efficient,” Brummel says. “And it has allowed us to be more cost-effective.”
Instead of complaints or callbacks, he says his customers are commenting about the turf quality and lack of weeds. One apartment manager told him this was the first year she didn’t have to call and ask them to come back and re-treat.
“Sometimes in this industry we can be shortsighted when it comes to paying costs up-front. We don’t see the big picture,” Brummel says. “Defendor as a broadcast is more expensive than spot-spraying with other postemergence herbicides, but we don’t have to deal with the additional costs associated with re-treating.”
State restrictions on the sale and use of Defendor and Dimension specialty herbicide products apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.