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Cold keeps lawn-care companies on sideline

– For the dozens of local companies that dedicate spring and summer to mowing lawns and completing landscape projects, this weekend’s warmer weather couldn’t come soon enough.

Cory Leeper, co-owner of Leeper’s Lawn Care, said the business is running about three weeks behind schedule mostly because the ground is too cold to do much work.

Until the soil temperature reaches about 60 degrees, grass won’t grow and there’s no need to pull out the lawn mowers, Leeper explained.

“Right now, we’re at 32 or 34 degrees, and that’s still pretty cold,” he said.

And although most mowing wouldn’t begin until the second week of April, Leeper said March is typically reserved for spring cleanup projects and mulching – both of which have been delayed.

Leeper said the delay isn’t likely to affect the business financially, especially after a big winter of snowplowing.

“This is the most snow revenue we’ve had ever,” Leeper said. “It was pretty well nonstop for us, and as it worked out, it was about every weekend from that first storm Jan. 6.”

For others that haven’t dipped into the snowplowing business, money could get tight.

“This year it’s definitely going to affect income a little bit,” said David Wright, owner of Fort Wayne Lawn Care. “The good thing is it’s giving me a lot more time to prepare.”

Wright’s workers don’t plow snow, and he can’t afford to hire help until the grass starts growing.

“I’ve prepared accordingly, and I don’t hire anybody until I know it’s time to get started mowing,” Wright said.

Once the mowing season begins, Wright said he’s interested to see what the winter’s weather means for the spring and summer terrain.

“I think it’s going to be very muddy and as far as grass growth, I think it’s going to grow like crazy,” he said. “I think we’re in for a busy summer.”

jcrothers@jg.net

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