Tyler Holt, owner of Golden Landscaping and Lawn in Orem, Utah, had a problem: It was too hot. As summer temperatures rose above 90 F, Golden Landscaping lacked a postemergence herbicide that could withstand the heat. At the same time, secondary water and reclaimed water sources were washing seeds on lawns and commercial properties, littering otherwise-grassy lawns with dandelions, clover and black medic.
To reduce callbacks and save on cost, Holt would need to implement both innovative business practices and a herbicide program that could stand up to heat and weeds alike. Read on to learn how Holt streamlined his business — and, in the process, cut his callbacks by nearly 95%.
Assessing the Problem
To tackle the problem at hand, Holt first needed to assess the situation. “Year-round, we used both pre- and postemergence herbicides, but we lost track of control because we didn’t have products that worked in the heat,” Holt said. “At best we tried to fertilize and spot-spray before it got too hot in the day, but our portfolio just wasn’t effective in those summer conditions. So, in the past, we didn’t perform a summer application.”
Holt and the team were diligent, but challenges remained. “We were servicing a large church at the time with a lot of congregants, and all it takes is one or two people to complain,” Holt said. “We started getting callbacks.” As time went on, fielding complaints became an increasingly expensive process. “We offer a full-service contract, so we need to avoid those callbacks. If it takes an hour to drive to the property and an hour to drive back, that’s two hours spent fixing a problem — not to mention the time spent spraying,” he said.
In the end, a single customer motivated Holt to consider new strategies. “We had someone call and tell us we would have their business for a long, long time if we could provide them with control each season. They said: ‘You guys would be rock stars if you could get rid of the weeds and dandelions in the grass,” he said. Holt accepted the deal — and began hunting for new solutions to avoid bringing in old, costly challenges.
Thinking Outside the Box
To upgrade his operation, Holt turned to a local distributor sales representative, who referred him to Corteva Agriscience Territory Manager Frank Santiago. “I came to our sales representative and to Frank and said: ‘There’s got to be some product out there that can help us,’” Holt said.
Fortunately, Santiago was able to point Holt toward Defendor® specialty herbicide. “We decided to try applying Defendor in late fall and early spring as a preventive solution rather than a reactive solution,” Holt said. “It was the first out-of-the-box solution we tried.”
The results? “We’ve been using Defendor for three years now, and we’re impressed with the product,” Holt said. “With typical postemergence spraying, you can kill existing weeds, but won’t stop new ones from blooming.” Now, the Golden Landscaping and Lawn team is able to manage dandelions and other weeds before they bloom.
Holt didn’t stop there, however. He also invested in Dimension® specialty herbicide, applying the preemergence herbicide in the fall to prevent excessive postemergence applications in spring, shifting some tasks away from that busy time of year. Together, Defendor and Dimension allowed Holt to service contracts more efficiently, reducing both the number of callbacks and the cost of multiple applications on the same property, while spreading out his workload.
Upgrading to GameOn® specialty herbicide
Although Defendor and Dimension provided Holt with additional control, Golden Landscaping and Lawn was still in need of a herbicide that allowed lawn care operators (LCOs) to spray throughout the summer. Enter GameOn® specialty herbicide.
Before GameOn, Holt was restricted by products that couldn’t be applied when temperatures exceeded 85 to 90 degrees. Because GameOn has no temperature restrictions, Holt can now rely on its efficacy to withstand the heat, reducing the risk of plant damage and liability.
“With GameOn, we’re able to play offense instead of defense,” Holt said. “Because the product works so effectively, I can count on my applicator to get the job done, and there’s greater insurance that it’s going to get done the right way.”
With GameOn, Holt has a product that delivers exceptional broad-spectrum postemergence weed control, providing him with a flexible solution for summertime blooms. “With this new portfolio, we’ve got a solution for the dandelions — and the heat — thanks to a product that tackles weeds and can withstand high temperatures,” Holt said.
Holt trusts Defendor, Dimension and GameOn not only because of the control they provide but also because they help stave off costly callbacks. “A callback might be hundreds of dollars. Our new portfolio might be a little more expensive than generic products, but it has saved me on both time and the amount of applications we need to do to get control. Overall, it’s less costly for my bottom line,” he said.
Being Open to Change
If there’s anything Holt wants other LCOs to take away from his experience, it’s this: “Be open to change. In our industry, things are changing very rapidly — the challenges we face now are completely different than the challenges we were facing 10 years ago.”
Holt admits that even he had some trouble adapting to change at first. “At first, I didn’t believe in changing our product portfolio or our strategies. You know how it is. You read about success, but everyone has their marketing campaigns,” Holt said. But he continued to listen and learn. For instance, Holt drove hours away to see multiple product trials, and he even called a video testimonial interviewee to verify if Defendor and other products were effective. “It was helpful to get that boots-on-the-ground viewpoint. I wanted to talk about what it was and what it did,” he said.
In the end, Holt took all the information available and decided to innovate. Looking back, Golden Landscaping and Lawn has never been better off. “In our line of work, our industry, we have a lot of issues we have to contend with,” Holt said. “Let’s tackle them instead of looking the other way. Some people shrug and say: ‘Dandelions are dandelions.’ I say: ‘Dandelions might just be dandelions, but it’s our job to adapt to them, look at them in a new light and provide our customers with the control they deserve.”