- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) - The sound of lawn mower blades turning in the early summer mornings and late afternoons is on the verge of slowing down for a while, but that doesn’t mean year-round lawn care businesses will be any less busy.

They’ll just be switching gears. Several of the year-round lawn care and landscaping businesses will be mowing less and working more on fall cleanup, such as transitioning seasonal flowers and flower beds, adding and replacing sod and mulch, and maintaining grass that can suffer under the falling leaves.

“We’re not bears so we don’t hibernate. We’re here to serve our customers all year long,” said Jessica Hollerman, who owns The Grounds Guys of Dothan with her husband Matt.

“Normally the leaves take over in the end of October, but you still don’t neglect your grass or your flowers because they still need care for their root systems. The leaves that fall work as an awesome fertilizer if they are mulched.”

Cannon Lawn Care owner Wellington Cannon said managing fall weeds is one lawn issue that is better handled when a yard is maintained year-round. Cannon said contracts with a company for annual lawn care are often more reasonable than paying someone for seasonal yard work.

“You can cut off lawn work during the late fall and not worry about it, but once you do that, in the spring there’s more work on you and more wear on your equipment,” Cannon said.

“Believe it or not your grass is still going to grow in the fall - just more of an even growth - and some fall weeds are coming in. You want to have regular maintenance throughout the year.”

According to Sibley Lawn Care owner Josh Sibley, fall cleanups include trimming bushes, hedges and trees, changing out mulch and putting in new pine straw.

“Fall’s not really fall until Sept. 23, but we started some of our trimming after Labor Day, which is kinda the unofficial start of fall,” he said.

“You don’t want to have half-sun plants where there’s shade or shade plants where there’s sun. You don’t want your grass covered with leaves, because it’s like putting your hand over your mouth and telling you to breathe good. Then when spring comes, you don’t want to just let your grass grow out of hand, and you want to put your weed and feed down. There’s something to do in your yard every season.”

In addition to typical yard work, Sibley said now is the time residents start getting their roofs and gutters cleaned to prepare for their holiday yard presentations.

Hollerman said The Grounds Guys offer pressure washing and also plan this year to offer holiday lighting.

“October is a great time to get the green slime and buildup that’s on the house, vinyl siding or bricks off,” she said.

Derrick Davis, who owns Davis Lawn Care, said the mowing portion of his business is seasonal but that he usually helps people with fall cleanup, which opens the door to maintaining his customers for when it’s time to cut grass again next year.

“Even if all you can do is pick up leaves until February rolls around again and you start cutting grass, it’s good that you have some of the same customers that have been with you for years,” Davis said.

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Information from: The Dothan Eagle, https://www.dothaneagle.com

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