How to deal with weeds and gravel.

In some areas, xeriscaping is very popular as it conserves water usage. When done properly, a yard that is xeriscaped can look fantastic, but it needs to be tended too. If it doesn’t get the care it needs, you are destined to have a property that has a base of gravel and is full of weeds. In other areas, gravel and weeds become a problem for driveways, patios, walkways, etc. There are various methods to battle weeds and remove them if the area is overgrown. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we will hear from some professionals on how they make their weed removal jobs profitable, by being efficient with their process.

One new lawn care business owner wrote “we are starting a landscape business in Arizona and not terribly familiar with the desert landscaping. They use decorative gravel instead of grass in most cases around here. We’re finding that most people have backyards that are completely overgrown with weeds (sometimes waist high) and the yards are sometimes 100% gravel, not even a patch of grass.

I myself am feeling a little overwhelmed. This can take anywhere from 8 hours of work and sometimes even 2 days depending on the size of the lot. Does anybody have any tips? I’m looking for the most efficient use of our time and resources and tips on how to charge for this. We want to be sure to not charge ourselves out of the running but be FAIRLY compensated for the hard work in this heat (sometimes 110 degrees). We’ve found that we severely underbid for a few jobs so far.

I know in the rest of the country there can be gravel driveways so please apply the same logic if you don’t live in the southwest. You’d be helping me so much!!!”

A second lawn care business owner responded “to keep weeds out of decorative gravels… We typically pull the large growth weeds as well as spray the area with roundup.

In some cases on first time cleanups, I will line trim the overtaken gravel, blow the trimmings into a pile and bag for removal. Then spray with roundup, let it set in for a day or two. Return visit, and rake/blow out the remaining dead clumps of weeds.

This method has always proven to work well, its not an immediate effect, there is the time delay, but all of my customers have been happier in the long run as the weeds almost never come back.”

A third shared “the heat and dryness can work against your herbicide. The ground temp is probably very hot. Read instructions about spraying temps. Try spraying just before sundown when possible.

The plastic barrier under the gravel is damaged where weeds have grown. Be prepared with some plastic/fabric barrier. Move the rocks and cover the big holes or weeds will return quickly.

Some weeds are desert plants and hard to kill. They might take higher concentrations or repeat applications.

Desired plants near gravel are trouble since they drop leaves on it and might be too close for some herbicides. Oleanders and pine needles are hard to clean from gravel. Teamwork can help there. One guy moves the gravel around with a rake while another one blows that area at the same time.

You can move most gravel from the sidewalks back into the yard with a blower. This is fast.

Use the top of a heavy rake (tines up) to flatten gravel when there are ruts or foot prints. I might try dragging a piece of plywood around on big areas.

Grass, especially Bermuda which is popular in hot places, grows roots under the barrier. Maybe it is seeking condensation moisture from the ground there. It is hard to get out of gravel.

Think about trying a pre-emergent herbicides on a gravel yard.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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