Improvements to make current ZTR's more user friendly

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When I’m mowing I'm constantly thinking of improvements that I would like to see on current ZTR's that would benefit us. Improvements that would help us be more efficient and productive in this line of work.

Compared to the auto industry and other industries, with the technology available today the advancement in mower technology seems to be lagging far behind. A few small tweaks on being made but nothing major. I admit that each company is adding their latest improvements but there is no…

Improvements to make current ZTR's more user friendly

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Former MLB pitcher Jim Abbott kicks off Irrigation Show

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LAS VEGAS – Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott pitched in the gold medal game for Team USA in the 1988 Olympics. He threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993, and he eventually had a career with four different teams in 10 seasons. It was certainly an admirable professional career.

But he still remembers having to learn how to throw and catch a baseball. Because Abbott was missing a hand, the transfer from his mitt to his throwing hand could’ve been clunky and awkward. Over time, he adjusted accordingly and it worked out well for him.

“I couldn’t play the game the way everyone else played it,” Abbott said during his keynote speech at the 2019 Irrigation Show. “That wasn’t a choice – that was a need.”

During his presentation, Abbott told hundreds of attendees at the Las Vegas Convention Center that everyone else in the building was also seeking ways to find new ways of doing things. That is, after all, why they attended a show: to learn about other methods and new products in irrigation, not to remain with the status quo. Using an acronym ADAPT – adjustability, determination, accountability, perseverance and trust – Abbott talked about the importance of “turning over the card.”

He remembers seeing the first baseball card with his face on it. He proudly showed some of his teammates and family members, but then he realized that eventually, everyone looks at the back of the card. That’s where the statistics from previous years were listed – the good years and the bad.

 “If you were to see a career card for me, you would see that my baseball playing days held a little bit of everything,” Abbott said. “I come here this morning to tell you that we can do something about the challenges that come before us. Challenge takes on a lot of forms. What are you going to do about it? What action are you going to take?”

Couldn’t attend the Irrigation Show? Here’s just a bit of what he said:

MAKING THE SWITCH. Abbott said his life had always been about learning new ways, new strategies. He remembers his second grade teacher who taught him how to tie his shoes without one of his hands, a method he still uses today. What Abbott found particularly striking is that his teacher had worked at night on his own to try and figure out how a method that would work. “It was the smallest little adjustments that would open the biggest doors,” Abbott said.

DEALING WITH CYNICS. Abbott reminded attendees that, “when you bring a new idea home, you’re bound to get some skepticism.” Whether that foreign concept is a new irrigation skill or a one-handed pitcher throwing in a game, Abbott said there’s always going to be people who say “no” without hearing out the idea with open minds.

Abbott told a story about his high school football days, when he was a quarterback. During his senior season, his team was one win away from a postseason berth against the crosstown rival. Win, and they’d make it to the playoffs; a loss would knock them out. During a pep rally at school that day, opposing players had snuck into the high school with long socks on one of their hands to mock Abbott, making it look like they didn’t have a hand like him.

Abbott said he wasn’t sure if the hazing was meant to intimidate him or change how his teammates viewed him, but either way, the tactic was ineffective.

“Those things can work,” Abbott said, “only if you let them.”

STAYING STRONG. “In baseball, even a casual fan would know: What’s the difference between a good pitch and a bad pitch?” Abbott asked. Then, he answered: “Not much.”

Just five days before Abbott threw his no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians, he faced that same lineup and pitched a total dud. The lineup bashed him for several runs and knocked him out of the game early. Frustrated, Abbott left the dugout after throwing a fit and ended up running around the streets of Cleveland in a huff. What he missed was his team coming back to score 11 runs and winning the game despite his blunders. Abbott’s manager called Abbott into his office and asked him why he wasn’t celebrating with his team. He advised the pitcher not to ditch out on his teammates ever again.

Days later, Abbott’s catcher met with him before the next game and told him to forget the other team entirely – he just had to trust his own abilities and try his best. A few hours after that, Abbott’s teammates were celebrating one of his biggest career accomplishments with him – one that most pitchers will never experience at all.

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Are All Plants Good Presents – Things To Consider When Gifting Plants

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One of the nicest and longest lasting gifts is a plant. Plants add natural beauty, go with everything, and even help clean the air. But not all plants are appropriate for everyone. Plant gift giving etiquette should consider the receiver’s care ability, mature size, possible allergies, pet and child toxicity, and more. Some plants can be an absolute nightmare, which is what you want to avoid when giving plants as presents. We’ll go over some plant gift considerations so you don’t accidently make a blunder you’ll regret. Are All Plants Good Presents? Plants are a classic gift and appropriate for many occasions. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, graduation or even in sympathy, plants are an appreciated gift. There are things to consider when gifting plants, however, such as size, ease of care, etc. You don’t want to give someone a burden or a plant that could make someone sick. Even

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Are Citrus Leaves Edible – Eating Orange And Lemon Leaves

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Are citrus leaves edible? Technically, eating orange and lemon leaves is fine because the leaves aren’t toxic as long as they haven’t been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. While citrus leaves smell fabulous, most people aren’t crazy about their bitter taste and fibrous texture; however, they convey delicious flavor and aroma to a variety of dishes, especially orange and lemon leaves. Take a look at a few of these ideas for using lemon leaves and other citrus. How Can You Eat Citrus Leaves? Citrus leaves are often used to wrap meatballs, chicken breasts, roasted pork or seafood, which are then secured with a toothpick and grilled, steamed, or roasted. Orange leaf uses also include wrapping the leaves around chunks of smoked mozzarella, gouda, or other savory cheeses. Toss a citrus leaf into soups, sauces, or curries. Using lemon leaves is much like using bay leaves, often with spices such

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Oregon expands 120V Professional Series

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon announced today the expansion of the 120V Professional Series suite of battery-powered landscaping equipment with the addition of a self-propelled 21” commercial walk-behind mower and a new handheld blower. 

“Our new mower and handheld blower continue to round out our collection of professional-grade equipment, allowing our landscaping customers to leverage the Oregon 120V Professional Series’ quiet performance on even more jobs,” said Paul Vanderwal, Sr. global product manager for Oregon. 

The new BLH120VX handheld blower combines an air speed of 166 mph with volume of 530 CFM to boast a blowing force of 18.5N, all while maintaining a very civilized 56 dB(A) bystander noise level. And like all of Oregon’s 120V Professional Series, its weather-ready IP56 dust and water protection standard sets them apart from other battery equipment. 
 
“The handheld blower is perfect for the quick, grab-and-go jobs landscape maintenance professionals perform, with plenty of power and significant run-time,” said Vanderwal.
 
Oregon’s 21” self-propelled mower offers commercial durability with a 14-gauge high-lift steel deck and 2-speed heavy-duty transmission. The large-capacity 2.5-bushel rear bagging design also offers mulching capabilities and cutting heights from 1” to 4.5” in half-inch increments. This mower is designed for heavy use in all kinds of weather with the 120V Professional Series’ standard IP56 rating and a 2-year commercial warranty.
 
The new Oregon LMA 120VX is powered by a stout 4.4 HP peak power engine, developing 7.0 ft-lbs of peak torque that allow it to contend with comparable 197cc gas-fueled competitors. With Torque Boost technology that increases power when the mower senses heavier loads, the LMA120VX still maintains its low-noise profile, hitting a maximum bystander noise level of 61 dB(A) and dipping to 58 dB(A) with its battery-saving Stealth Mode. 
 
All Oregon 120V Professional Series tools are fueled by Oregon’s unique interchangeable 120V battery platform. For handheld tools, the platform places the large capacity battery in a comfortable backpack-style carrier for reduced tool weight, better maneuverability and overall ergonomics for operators. The 22N force backpack blower and the new 21” mower carry the battery on board. Available in two capacity levels, the BX975 is a 972 Watt hour power pack, while the lighter BX650 offers a robust 648 Watt hours. 
 
“Along with Oregon’s original suite of 120V Professional Series tools, the new 21” mower and handheld blower are impressing commercial landscapers throughout North America as they are shown through Oregon’s direct demo and trial programs,” added Vanderwal.
 

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SOLitude Lake Management acquires Aquatic Systems

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SOLitude Lake Management, a provider of lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management solutions, acquired Aquatic Systems in January 2019. All company service offerings and infrastructure were officially unified this month.

The rebranding of Aquatic Systems expands SOLitude’s existing operations across 12 Florida offices. Outside of Florida, SOLitude manages aquatic resources in 35 states.

Established in 1977, Aquatic Systems was a freshwater resource manager in Florida for over four decades. The company provided eco-friendly wetland and preserve management services, shoreline aquascaping and stabilization, water quality restoration, midge fly assessments, research, consulting and more. ASI also possessed three in-house laboratories used to examine water samples, identify algae and aquatic plant species and diagnose imbalanced water conditions.

Through the rebranding, SOLitude
welcomes 106 experienced professionals to the company’s team, which now
includes 445 biologists, environmental scientists and other lake management
experts. 

Former ASI clients should expect
to receive the same level of customer service under the
SOLitude brand and look forward to leveraging new, innovative service
offerings, including premium fisheries management, nanobubble technology,
mechanical hydro-raking, and advanced erosion control solutions. Clients will
also gain access to SOLitude’s Knowledge Bank, which
contains informative industry guides, scientific articles,
educational webinars, case studies and more.

“We are honored to join forces with one of the most reputable and accomplished freshwater management teams in the country,” said Kevin Tucker, CEO of SOLitude Lake Management. “The scientists at Aquatic Systems are respected across the industry for their extensive knowledge and experience, premium services, and dedication to preserving the health and balance of the environment."

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Garden Tablescaping Ideas: Tips On How To Create Tablescapes

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Whether acknowledging a special holiday or other major life milestone, there is no doubt that food plays a major role in how we celebrate these moments. For many, that means the creation of elaborate or traditional meals. While a delicious meal will bring family and friends together around the same table, many hosts wish to make the event even more special. This can be done in a wide variety of ways. However, one of the most common is by crafting an unforgettable tablescape. What is Garden Tablescaping? Tablescaping refers to the process of decorating the dining table through the use of fresh cut flower arrangements, candles, and/or other items. While elaborate tablescapes are common at events like weddings, they may also be set more casually. Garden themed tablescapes are especially popular throughout the summer months and into the fall. How to Create Tablescapes Taking inspiration from your garden is a

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Sustainable snow

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Sustainable landscaping practices are easy to define and put in practice, in part due to the vast amount of research on how methods impact the surrounding environment and the laws that legislate chemical usage. However, achieving sustainable snow and ice management practices is something the industry is still working toward. For environmentally conscious companies this means establishing and following our own guidelines in determining what’s best for our customers, our company, and the planet.

In the 25 years we’ve been providing commercial snow removal and landscaping services to customers, we’ve prided ourselves on being stewards of the environment. And for the most part, we’ve been successful in this endeavor. Unfortunately, the practice of removing snow and ice isn’t the best for the earth. Ice-management products like salt and liquid deicers are essential to keeping pavement safe for walking and driving. Likewise, each product has a different level of impact on surrounding watersheds and soil, as well as plant and animal life. It’s forced us to do our due diligence and to take a close look at the following.

Deicers and Ice Melt Dangers

Over the years, signs of pollution in our water and soil has caused more people to take a closer look at the exact toll road salt and deicers have taken on the environment.

For example, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that 70 percent of the salt applied to the roads near the Twin Cities makes its way into the region’s watershed. This impacts not only aquatic life, but it also takes a toll on municipal water systems.

Likewise, research shows bulk salt applied to pavement colder than 15 degrees Fahrenheit has little to no effect. For property managers and snow removal contractors, this means pretreating roads and walkable surfaces before they reach that temperature is essential. When done correctly, the result is less bagged ice-melt material on roads and walkways.

Chlorides Vs. Acetates Vs. Carbohydrate Deicers

In addition to rock salt, there are numerous ways the chemical makeup of your preferred deicer impacts the surrounding ecosystem.

The two main types of deicers are chlorides or acetate-based products. Without getting too far into the chemistry of these products, it’s important to understand that chlorides and acetates are both salts, but they are derived from different compounds—chlorides from hydrochloric acid and acetates from acetic acid. It’s this difference that determines the effect that the deicers will have on the surrounding environment.

Chloride deicers are widely considered to be the greatest polluters because they’re not biodegradable, which means they easily make their way into groundwater and soil. Plants that come into contact with chlorides can have a difficult time absorbing water and nutrients from the soil, causing them to dry out.

While acetate-based deicers are biodegradable and can result in much less runoff than chloride-based products, research shows they also make it more difficult for soil to retain water and air. Depending on the location the acetates are applied, this could result in structural vulnerabilities to concrete structures over time.

Carbohydrate deicers like beet sugars are often praised because they’re a natural, non-salt alternative to industrial deicers. However, they are not immune to shortcomings either.

For one, these products don’t melt ice, but rather lower the freezing point of ice more than salt can and helps bulk material to stick to roads better, requiring less applied. Therefore, it’s most effective when used alongside salt or liquid material rather than in place of it.

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Changing for good

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Increasing Sustainability: What Can We Do?

Looking to make a positive change? Then the initial step is to commit to reducing your impact on the environment while maintaining safety as the priority.

Simply put, deicer on the roads and walkways means fewer crashes and slip-and-fall incidents. That being said, there are many practices to implement that are better for the planet. Here are some to considers.

 

Alternative Fuels

At Schill we integrate alternative fuels whenever possible. For example, propane fuels our fleet of 100-plus lawn mowers, and many of the trucks and snowplows we use for snow and ice removal run on diesel.

While it wasn’t the case even 10 years ago, diesel is now the most carbon-efficient fuel for more modern, larger vehicles, as they can have 40 percent fewer emissions than vehicles that run on conventional gas.

 

Introduce Liquids and Blends 

No deicer or ice-melt product is without adverse effects, but liquid deicers and blended products can have a much smaller impact on the surrounding environment.

Adopt liquid deicer as a pretreatment on the properties you manage. This will not only save your customers thousands of dollars’ worth of bagged material, but you’ll be able to save clients thousands of dollars in plant replacements the next spring by using winter products that are less harmful to nearby trees and shrubs.

Natural products like beet juice and cheese brines — which, again, can still negatively impact the environment is — aren’t the most effective for commercial use because they aren’t as effective at melting ice and therefore still need to be combined with other ice melt products.

Instead, use blended products that will allow you to reduce the amount of bulk salt you’re using. For example, the liquid deicer we use is more effective than natural alternatives, therefore allowing us to use much less salt than they would.

 

Calibrate Equipment

Perhaps most importantly, the professional snow and ice management industry must take responsibility for setting standards for how much deicer is appropriate to use in certain situations. Therefore, use equipment that’s calibrated to make sure you know exactly how much salt or deicer is being applied, and you’re only putting down what’s necessary.

Calculate how much deicer needs to be used per snow/ice event based on road and ambient temperatures, as well as the efficacy of the product being applied.

Enter http://bit.ly/36U0781 into your browser and check out pages 17-19 HERE for Rock Salt Application Rate Guidelines.

 

We all want to be better stewards of the environment. Therefore, it’s important to talk with existing and potential clients about how sustainability can positively affect a company’s bottom line and improve corporate culture, and how they can partner with you through your best practices to make sustainability a reality in snow and ice management.

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Housing body seeks contractor to take care of entire tree stock

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A Greater Manchester housing provider is seeking bids for a £200,000, two-year contract to maintain its extensive tree stock.

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