Most of us have all visited a cemetery once in this lifetime, or at the very least passed one on the road driving to a destination. While cemeteries are places where loved ones can finally be laid to rest, they are also places for the living to visit and commemorate. Most cemeteries are very well-kept and taken care of so that the living can feel comfortable and at peace with such a sensitive situation. Cemetery maintenance is a major task and one that lawn care companies take extremely seriously. Basic mowing and landscaping are only one aspect of cemetery lawn maintenance. There are also quite a few challenges that are unique to landscaping such an area. For many landscapers, cemetery mowing is far more complex than just mowing your average yard. Here are a few basic cemetery maintenance tips for anyone who is ready to embark on this feat.
Commercial Landscaping Vs. Cemetery Mowing
For anyone who has already taken on commercial landscaping, it is a completely different bag compared to cemetery landscaping. For starters, cemeteries are very complex and deserve a specific amount of attention versus just a regular commercial space. You’ll likely already be dealing with a space that is exponentially larger than your regular commercial space. But in addition, there are certain things that you’ll need to consider before you mow. For instance, being careless while mowing a cemetery can result in damage that is expensive. Damage can occur to tombs, headstones, and other important markings in the cemetery. So being extra careful is only one facet of cemetery mowing.
You’ll likely want to put together a big enough team to tackle certain cemeteries. Since most cemeteries are extremely large, you will want to have the right amount of people to effectively maintain. The last thing you’ll want when cemetery mowing is rushing through a project with limited or careless staff and making mistakes that cannot be undone or cause unnecessary damage.
Basic Cemetery Maintenance Tips
- It’s important that before you begin the task of landscaping and mowing a cemetery you first consult with the cemetery owners to explore a good plan of attack. Start by finding the best time for you to perform cemetery maintenance. This will vary cemetery by cemetery, but more often than not, landscaping will likely be required during times when the cemetery is closed to the public.
- You’ll want to make sure your landscaping tools are ready for this type of project. This includes adjusting the wheels of the lawnmower to accommodate proper mowing height. Basic rules for mowing height inside cemeteries are no more than a third of the lawn’s height cut. But also keep in mind that this might change depending on the cemetery’s preferences for height as well as mowing style and types of grass.
- A general rule of thumb is to ditch the riding mower and opt for a push mower inside of a cemetery instead. Not only can you have better control over where you’re mowing, but you’ll also be able to maintain a proper distance of one foot from grave markers. Within the one-foot marking, use a lawn trimmer instead. Choose the lightest gauge nylon string within these trimmers so that you can still maintain care and control. In addition, you can also use hand shears to finish the work around the headstones with care.
- Make sure your bumper guard is attached. This can easily help prevent unnecessary knicks and scratches that can occur to granite headstones.
- Be careful when trying to control weeds within cemetery maintenance. You’ll want to stay away from using herbicides because many contain chemicals that can severely damage headstones.
- Keep an eye out for gravel walkways throughout the cemetery. Running over these pathways with a mower can end up throwing rocks, which can chip or damage tombs or headstones.
Cemetery Landscaping Tips
With basic mowing covered, landscaping can require a whole new set of skills. For instance, depending on where the cemetery is and what season you’re in, you might be asked to tackle a variety of projects on the grounds. One important project can include pruning trees and other vegetation in the area. Keeping the cemetery tidy and free from branches and other growth can be very important to the overall look. In addition, you might be asked to plant new grass over newly established graves. This will be important to speak with the cemetery owners regarding the turnaround time for new grass for new graves. It might be an immediate need, or perhaps there is a timeframe that will need to be discussed in advance. Each cemetery you end up maintaining will have different needs and requirements, so staying organized with each will be extremely important.
In addition, you might be asked to provide planting services during certain seasons. Most cemeteries pride themselves on not just keeping a well-manicured space, but also one that is floral or bright. Speak with the cemetery owners about the types of flowers, plants, and bushes that will add a bit of life to the space. This might include choosing brighter flowers, more fragrant flowers, or other particulars that can offer a sense of comfort to any visiting individual.
Issues When It Comes To Cemetery Maintenance
Perhaps by knowing in advance the basic cemetery lawn maintenance issues that most landscapers face, you can avoid them throughout your projects. A few of the common issues faced include:
- Pests and other insects. Failure to control things like fire ants and the like can enjoy up destroying the grounds.
- Over pruning or inexperienced pruning. When certain plants within the grounds are over pruned, they will not only destroy the beauty of the plant but also hurt the integrity of it growing back next season.
- Trees or plants that grow around headstones or tombs. Before a tree takes root, keep an eye out for any that can damage the integrity of gravestones and remove it quickly.
- Incorrect mowing techniques. Anybody with riding mowers, anyone in a hurry, or anyone cutting too close to the headstones will end up causing irreparable damage.
Do you have anything you want to add about basic cemetery lawn maintenance? Make sure to sound off in the comments section! As always, if you need some help with your cemetery mowing in Texas, make sure to give us a ring as Handsome Lawn Service.