Boost Your Fall Business by Providing Much-Needed Tree Care - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

We recently updated our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use this website, you acknowledge that our revised Privacy Policy applies.

Boost Your Fall Business by Providing Much-Needed Tree Care

Depending on your location, your landscaping business may be slower during the fall and winter months, but your customers’ landscapes still need attention. One of the most important landscaping tasks during the cooler months is caring for trees.

Customers often forget that trees need TLC, just like the rest of their landscapes. But you can gently remind customers about what their trees need—and then sell tree care services during the autumn months.

Why Do Trees Need Fall Care?

When trees grow in the forest, they benefit from the rich soil developed by fallen leaves and other organic material that decomposes around them. But in a manicured landscape, trees miss out on those nutrients. Autumn is the best time to enrich the soil around trees and provide other services to help ensure root health and prevent pests and diseases.

Taking time to provide preventive maintenance for trees in the fall can prepare them for the winter and ensure they will be ready for spring, fostering proper growth, beauty and longevity.

What Do Trees Need in the Fall?

Various trees may need various types of care in the fall, depending on their size, age and surroundings. Most trees can benefit from some or all of the following types of care.

Prune. The best time to prune a tree is after its leaves have fallen. Without the leaf cover, it’s easier to see a tree’s branch structure and make better decisions about what cuts to make. Pruning should include removing any dead, broken or crossing branches or any other non-beneficial plant parts, such as sprouts emerging from around the trunk and roots.

Fertilize. The best way to make sure trees get the nutrients they aren’t able to get naturally from a manicured lawn is to apply fertilizer. A slow-release fertilizer mimics nature by steadily providing nutrients to the tree throughout the fall and winter. By getting access to needed nutrients, the tree can be better prepared to grow new leaves, roots and branches.

Mulch. In the fall, after leaves have fallen, it’s best to replenish mulch around the trees to provide a blanket of protection for the winter and to maintain moisture levels in the soil.

Protect. Newly planted trees or those with thin bark may need protective wraps during the colder winter months. When applying wraps, make sure they are not too tight around the trunk. Also, check to make sure wraps are not hiding pests.

Also, trees that have large or weak limbs may need cabling or bracing to reduce strain and stress during winter weather, such as high winds and heavy ice and snow buildup.

Remove leaves. While trees provide beautiful fall foliage, when the leaves have fallen, they must be removed in order to protect the landscape. Consider leaving some fallen leaves at the base of trees and covering them with mulch to help provide richer soil around the trees. However, to protect grass, leaves should be raked and removed from grassy areas. Consider composting leaves from the lawn and gutters, which can be converted into mulch that can help keep the soil healthy for the following year.

Selling Fall Tree Care Services

While these tree care practices seem like obvious beneficial tasks to carry out in the fall, these services may not be top of mind for your customers. This is why it’s important to establish strong relationships with your clients as the expert. You can craft a newsletter or informative blog posts that educate them on various tree-related topics.

Maintain constant contact with your client base so that mentioning the next season’s services comes across as normal. If you aren’t in regular contact with your customers, only reaching out to upsell will come across as spammy.

One way to increase interest in your fall tree care offerings is to provide seasonal promotions. You could offer discounts for those who sign up early or opt for a yearlong contract that covers services for each season.

Help your customers keep their trees healthy — and keep your business steady — with autumn tree care.

Nancy Jackson

Nancy Mann Jackson is a freelancer for NALP.