Drought Cuts Into Landscaping Business

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - A chance of rain this weekend is just what local lawn care services have been hoping for.

Volunteer TV’s Kim Bedford checked with some landscaping professionals to see how this drought is drying up a lot of business.

If you've walked through your yard lately, you've probably heard that crunching sound of dried up grass.

That means business is hurting right now for lawn mowing services because there's just nothing there to cut.

"We're struggling along,” PJ's Lawn Service Supervisor Randy Stillman doesn't have many house calls today, but he's getting a little work in at the Hardin Valley Conoco. "Today we're weeding the beds, trimming the bushes, you know, we mowed what we needed to be mowed, you can see it's just pretty barren."

Stillman says this drought has drained the business. "This time of year, mowing is a big chunk of our income and I've gone through yards I haven't cut in a month just because it's not growing."

Nearly 80% of PJ's income stems from mowing lawns and Stillman says their income has almost been cut in half. "I pull up and they tell me, no, it doesn't need to be mowed this week."

The longer the rain holds off, the fewer customers they see. "Normally about 60-70 a week and that's dropped down, you know, we're doing maybe 30-40 now,” Stillman says. "If there's nothing to cut, there's nothing to cut."

East Tennessee hasn't had a good soaking of rain in about two months.

"I've only been in Tennessee for 13 years and this is the worst I've ever seen it. I've never seen a drought last this long,” Stillman says. "I've lost almost 40-something pounds in about two months, if that tells you anything."

PJ crew men and every other lawn care service are doing the same thing. "Pray a little bit every night for a little rain, so it'll cool things down, make it a little easier for us."

We also checked with some larger companies, such as Jeff’s Landscapes, who say they've had to lay off four workers this month because the need for service just isn't there.

So, a good amount of rain is important on so many different levels.

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