Ornamentals not "poor relation" despite missing out on seasonal workers scheme

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The Seasonal Workers Pilot, launched in 2019, has been extended and expanded for an additional year with 30,000 visas available for those wanting to come and work on UK farms for a period of up to six months – but ornamental workers are not included.

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Ferris iCD deck the same as Velocity Plus

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Stopped at the local Ferris dealer to look. I liked the ISX 800 with 52 inch deck power by the B+S 26 HP. The owner, who did sell Scag until a couple of years ago, said the deck is the same as the Scag Velocity Plus. Not really buying into the same deck as Scag. Any one have experience with the ISX 800 cut quality or input in general?
Thanks

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Potted Bear Lime Trees

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Q: I purchased a potted Bears lime tree for my

The post Potted Bear Lime Trees first appeared on Walter Reeves: The Georgia Gardener.

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[Equipment] Failure Is Not An Option

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<![CDATA[Winter is upon us and that means your snow and ice management equipment will be getting a workout.

Equipment Trader, an online classified advertising service bringing equipment buyers and sellers together, offers professional snow and ice management contractors 11 useful tips for maintaining your equipment this winter and to ensure it’s ready to go the distance when you need it to perform.

 

Inspect Equipment Daily
Because extreme temperatures can significantly impact your equipment, start to increase the number of visual inspections you perform as the weather cools down, conducting daily inspections during the freezing winter months. Inspect the electrical wiring, hydraulic hoses, batteries, tire pressure, and the undercarriage, looking for signs of wear, damage, or clogged debris.

© adobestock

Change the Oil
It is advisable to conduct a complete oil change before and after the winter season. As the weather changes, you want to use oil that is appropriate for the outside temperatures, including engine, transmission, hydraulics, and final drive lubricants. Low-viscosity oil flows more easily in the cold and puts less strain on your engine, making synthetic oil a preferable choice in the winter months (though it is more expensive).

Check the Oil
Even if you switch to synthetic oil during the colder months, always check to make sure the oil is fluid enough for proper flow before starting your machine in extreme cold. You may also consider having your local service shop perform a fluid analysis, which can help determine how oil, coolant, and fuel is used in your vehicle and can help you set an optimized maintenance schedule, during winter and all year-round.

Keep Batteries Charged
Batteries can lose up to half their strength in very low temperatures, meaning your equipment’s battery is working overtime in the cold. Regularly check the battery’s electrolyte levels and, if they are low, be sure to not overfill with water. Doing so can dilute the electrolyte and increases the risk of freezing. If you are storing the machine in extreme cold, the battery should either be insulated or removed and stored indoors at room temperatures.

Check & Replace Hydraulic Hoses
In colder temperatures, hydraulic hoses can become inelastic and may even crack. To avoid cold-related damage, warm up the hydraulic system for up to an hour before operating the attachments, then half-throttle the engine and engage attachments for a few moments before full operation. Even with those precautions, it’s a good idea to have spare hoses, seals, mounts, and fittings available during freezing weather.

Warm the Engine
Before using your heavy equipment in colder temperatures, run the engine until it reaches operating temperature, which helps ensure the intake and exhaust valves will not stick. Starting fluid can facilitate starting, but use caution as it can ignite too early and damage your engine. Block heaters can also accelerate engine warming. Once the machine has run for a while, cycle through the equipment’s functions, which distributes warmed oil to each of the machine’s moving parts.

© adobestock
 

Check Tires & Traction
Cold weather causes tires to lose air more quickly, decreasing fuel efficiency and making the engine work harder, so check your equipment’s tire pressure at the beginning of every shift. Using dry nitrogen to inflate tires in freezing temperatures can prevent the formation of ice crystals that contribute to deflation.

Use Caution Driving and Parking
In poor conditions following winter precipitation, maintain traction and control of your machinery by removing as much snow and ice as possible from the jobsite and then taking operations slowly. When parking, clear off any snow or ice from the tires and park on planks to avoid the tires freezing to the ground.

Keep the Tank Full (with the Right Fuel)
If ignored, fuel tanks and lines can freeze overnight in extreme cold, so drain the water from the separator and refill the tank with fuel at the end of each day. Fuel treatments may also be added to thaw frozen filters, liquify fuel that has thickened in the cold, and remove moisture from the lines and tank. You could also consider winter blend diesel, which lowers the temperature at which the fuel gels, but follow the OEM’s fuel recommendations, as the wrong blend can damage the engine.

Follow Safety Best Practices
Make sure your windshield and windows are kept clean and clear during the colder months, as frost and condensation can create dangerous blindspots. Ice can form on steps, grip plates, and grabs, so be careful to not slip when entering and exiting equipment, while also avoiding touching frozen metal with your bare skin as it can cause serious injury. Upgrading your equipment’s lights to LEDs can additionally improve visibility and endurance in winter conditions.

Smart Storage
Before storing your equipment, clean the undercarriage of the machine, which may have collected not only snow, but also salt or other de-icing chemicals that get placed on roads. Ideally, equipment will be stored in a heated facility to protect it from the elements and allow for faster and easier start-up. Short of being indoors, machinery should at least be covered to hide it from precipitation. If your equipment is stored long-term over the winter, detach any attachments so the hinges and joints avoid unnecessary wear from the constant pull of weight and gravity.
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Fixate On Your Finances

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<![CDATA[Any extended periods of downtime this winter are the prime times to take a hard look at your finances and review the money coming in, the money going out, and the money set aside for lean times. Snow Magazine’s finance and accounting writer Mark Battersby outlines seven areas for snow contractors to focus in on during seasonal downtime.

Take Stock Of The Operation’s Assets
Disposing of unneeded, unwanted, obsolete equipment or other property deserves some thought as part of year-round tax planning. There is, after all, no point in letting excess equipment take up space when it could be contributing to the operation’s bottom-line.

“Selling, donating those unwanted assets to a charity or actually abandoning them, creates cash and/or tax write-offs,” Battersby says. “Don’t forget to document each event, keep receipts and physically abandon assets, not merely store them away.”

Employee Or Not An Employee
California’s controversial new law for freelancers and others in the so-called “gig” economy is spreading the worker classification issue to more states. And the IRS also continues to challenge whether workers are employees or independent contractors.

Independent contractors are not subject to withholding, relieving the employer of liability for payroll taxes.

“Workers, for their part, can avoid higher tax bills and lost benefits by knowing their proper status,” Battersby says “For those uncertain whether workers are classified correctly, the IRS can provide a determination letter telling how it views the operation’s workers – as employees or independent contractors.”

In addition to using IRS Form SS-8 to request a determination of worker status, an employer can apply to the IRS if it has been erroneously classifying workers as independent contractors. This application for “530 relief” allows the operation to get relief from liability or payment if it has been classifying workers as independent contractors in error.

Shopping For Another Banker
Despite bank branches disappearing in record numbers and the growing number of financing options, credit card processors and other services available from a variety of sources, every small business still needs a bank. However, despite how important banks are to small businesses, the majority of businesses appear to be experiencing significant challenges when it comes to banking services.

According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 business owners, only 9% of small business owners say their current bank meets all of their needs. What’s more, a whopping 69% of small business owners don’t believe their current bank is meeting all of their needs and, thus, would be willing to switch banks.

A credit-card processor may offer less-expensive fees and the fast-growing Web financing community might offer more attractive rates. But only banks allow a business owner or manager to negotiate lower rates based on the number of services they utilize.

“Banks want your business,” Battersby says. “But while they’ll sometimes offer significant cash bonuses for opening a business account, remember, no matter how appealing that cash bonus might appear, it is the operation’s day-to-day banking needs that count. In the long term, meeting the needs of the business will have a bigger impact on the health of the business than any immediate cash benefit.”

Coping With Reality
What better time to take a closer look at the operation’s cash flow? Every business owner should have a plan for periods of tight cash flow, upcoming projects and financing needs.

“With this in mind, it is no surprise that the best-performing businesses in past downturns had strong balance sheets and were even taking on additional debt to purchase more assets, expand or even acquire competitors – all relatively inexpensively,” Battersby says.

Make The Most Of Customers And Clients
The importance of increasing the number of customers the operation has can’t be overemphasized. After all, the unexpected loss of a big customer, contract or project can impact even the most financially stable business. And it is unfortunate that customers are usually the first to go during tough economic times.

“An economic downturn or recession means that now is the time to take care of loyal customers, since they could also bring new customers to the business,” Battersby says. “Telling customers how much their business is appreciated or rewarding them through discounts, loyalty cards and gift certificates can reap big dividends.”

Win A Competitor’s Customers
Any business hoping to prosper in tough times must continue to expand their customer base – and that often means drawing customers away from the competition. This can be accomplished by offering more or something different than the competition does.

“Providing better customer service is often viewed as one of the easiest ways to outdistance the competition,” Battersby adds.

Find A Pro
Now might be a good time to shop around for a pro. While most business owners and managers know their operation inside and out, there are highly technical matters of law, accounting, management and marketing that are usually best handled by outside experts.

The first step to finding the right tax professional requires an inventory of what you – and your business – actually need in the way of services and advice, and equally important, how much you can afford to pay for that advice or services,” Battersby says. “The best way to find someone to render needed advice or guidance is via a referral from business associates, your banker or an attorney.”]]>

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accounts

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How much would you pay for 100 accounts mixed in with commercial/residential? Not sure if it matters, but I am from Mass. Thank you.

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CambridgeHOK appoints Ian MacKenzie to head up engineering and design

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Horticultural facilities specialist Cambridge HOK has appointed Dr Ian MacKenzie to head up the company’s expanding engineering and design division.

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Britain's biggest compost seller set to end bagged peat sales

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The first multiple retailer to set a date to stop selling peat-based growing media can be revealed.

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Registration open for Landscape Lighting Conference

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Registration is now open for the Landscape
Lighting Conference, presented by the Irrigation Association. Experts will discuss the latest trends and best practices used in the industry, and products will be put in the spotlight during the lighting product showcase.

Below is the conference schedule. The event runs Monday, Jan. 11 from 12-4 p.m. EST. Cost for members is $99, while nonmembers pay $119. Prices increase by $30 on Dec. 23 and onward.

  • 12:05 p.m.

Opening Session – State of the
Lighting Industry

Ryan Williams, Director of
Marketing, FX Luminaire

  • 12:30 p.m.

Panel Discussion – Shoot for
the Top: How to Create & Maintain a Successful Lighting Business

Moderator: Chris
Pine, President, Irritech Training Inc.

Panelists:

Michael Deo, Owner/President,
NatureScape Lighting

Robert Hobart, Owner,
Britescape

John Pletcher, Owner/Principal
Designer, Natural Accents LLC

 

  • 1:10 p.m. | Break

 

  • 1:25 p.m.

Panel Discussion – Speaking
From Experience: Successes & Failures

Moderator: Dan
Puthuff, Director of Channel Management, Horizon Distributors Inc.

Panelists:

Jim Ply, Principal, Oak Crest
Landscape

Keith Rosser, Owner, Landscape
Lighting Pro of Utah

Scott Sim, Moon Glow
LightScapes

 

  • 2:10 p.m.

Panel Discussion – Taking It Up
a Notch: Advanced Installation Techniques/Specialty Lighting

Panelists:

John Higo, Illumicare Group

Kevin Smith, National Trainer,
Brilliance LED

Andy Thomas, Owner, Viewpoint
Lighting

 

  • 2:55 p.m. | Break

 

  • 3:10 p.m.

Landscape Lighting Technology
Product Showcase

Presentations from FX
Luminaire, Brilliance LED, Illumicare Group Limited and Letzgo Products Inc.

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Coxreels offering roller bracket for Challenger Series reels

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Coxreels now offers roller bracket assemblies for the Challenger Series. The function of the roller bracket, as it is on other models such as the 1125-Series and the 1175-Series, is to assist in guiding the hose during both extension and retraction. The roller bracket assembly is available only in a 4-way upper roller format, due to the compact size of the Challenger platform.

For 12” disk Challenger models, the roller bracket assembly is available for 8” wide drums and 12.5” wide drums. For 17” disk Challenger models, the roller bracket assembly is available for 8” wide drums, 12.5” wide drums, and 18” wide drums.

Coxreels has been manufacturing professional-grade hose, cord and cable reels since 1923 – offering a full product line serving the industry.

For further information on Coxreels roller bracket assemblies, contact Customer Service at 800-269-7335 or visit www.coxreels.com.

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