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22 May 2019
Landscape Contractors Satisfied With Propane Mowers 1

Landscape Contractors Satisfied With Propane Mowers

More than 85 percent of contractors using propane commercial lawn mowers in their fleets are likely to continue adding propane equipment to their businesses, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).

Propane Mowers

(Source: PERC)

Of these contractors, nearly all started their transition to using propane by installing a propane conversion kit on existing equipment, a quick and inexpensive path for contractors to reduce fuel costs and downtime on nearly any brand of commercial lawn mower.

“This latest data is proof positive that contractors who make the initial transition to a propane mower are satisfied with their purchase, and frequently end up purchasing or converting more equipment to propane,” said Jeremy Wishart, PERC director of off-road business development. “The fact that most contractors start out using a propane conversion kit and end up staying with the fuel just shows that the initial investment is often offset by a quick return on investment and leads to long-term use as contractors observe the fuel’s benefits.”

The survey was answered by 374 landscape contractors. Through conducting surveys of contractors, PERC hopes to gain a better understanding existing perceptions and purchase habits toward commercial propane equipment in the landscape market.

Most of the contractors who use propane equipment also responded that they have used it for at least three years, and in that time, observed that their propane mowers have performed as well or even better than gasoline mowers.

A similar survey was conducted by PERC in 2016. In the years since, fewer contractors overall are finding propane unapproachable, with 82 percent of respondents to the recent survey saying they were neutral or favorable toward the fuel. In contrast, the number of contractors responding they were unfavorable toward propane dropped by more than 60 percent compared to the 2016 survey, with just 14 percent of all respondents in the recent survey saying they were unfavorable toward propane.

Additionally, propane mowers received far fewer unfavorable responses than new electric mowers. Where fewer than 14 percent of respondents said they were unfavorable or very unfavorable toward propane, 62 percent of respondents said they were unfavorable or very unfavorable toward electric commercial mowers.

With the data, PERC also identified an opportunity to continue improving contractor experiences with propane: awareness of PERC’s Propane Mower Incentive Program remained low among contractors not using propane equipment. The program offers contractors up to $1,000 for each new, dedicated propane mower purchase or $500 for each new qualified propane conversion kit, making it a great way for contractors to reduce an initial investment and see savings faster. Knowledge of this incentive actually increased the likelihood of purchasing propane mowers for 57 percent of contractors surveyed.

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20 May 2019
STIHL Contra Chain Saw Marks 60 Years Since Invention 2

STIHL Contra Chain Saw Marks 60 Years Since Invention

“To ease people’s work with and in nature” was the vision that the engineer Andreas Stihl had when he founded his company Waiblingen, Germany in 1926. One product that successfully carried the company founder’s vision to the world starting in 1959 was the STIHL Contra chain saw, which hit the market 30 years after the first STIHL two-man gasoline-powered chain saw. The first gearless STIHL one-man chain saw was a milestone for the world of forestry and for the company. In 2019, the chain saw and power tools manufacturer celebrates the 60th anniversary of the “legendary Contra” — the pride of collectors and owners alike.STIHL Contra chain saw

In 1959, Andreas Stihl achieved a technological breakthrough. The Contra, a gearless one-man chain saw, made forestry work significantly easier. Equipped with a chipper-tooth chain and a diaphragm carburetor capable of working in any position, the chain saw offered unlimited flexibility without having to manually change settings. Thanks to its compact and streamlined design, the Contra weighed in at just 12 kilograms while also being more efficient than its predecessors, with engine performance of 6 hp (4.4 kW) and a maximum speed of 7,000 rotations per minute. As a result, it was lighter and more efficient than any other product on the market, allowing forestry operations to increase their productivity by 200 percent.

STIHL Contra Helped Power Company’s Growth

After its official launch, it did not take long for the Contra to gain recognition as the one-man gasoline-powered chain saw with the highest cutting performance. Its successful start on the German market would soon give way to a global sensation. The Contra’s success ushered in a new era at STIHL, helping the company achieve a double-digit increase in revenue. With all signs pointing to prosperity and growth, the rapid expansion associated with the gasoline-powered chain saw’s success made it both possible and necessary to increase the company’s capacities.

In the years that followed, STIHL would build new production facilities and an additional new plant in Waiblingen. In the following 10 years, the company’s workforce grew from roughly 640 employees in the year 1959 to over 1,500 in 1969. Production volume also saw marked growth.

STIHL Contra chain saw

Collector’s model, heavy zinc die-cast design, painted in original colors, plastic base, transparent cover, made by Schuco

Based on the technical foundation laid by the Contra, STIHL has worked constantly in the years since to further improve the safety, ergonomics, environmental friendliness, and performance of its chain saws. From the anti-vibration system first installed in the Contra in 1965 and the QuickStop chain brake to catalytic converters, emission-reduction technologies and the launch of battery technology for chain saws 10 years ago, STIHL has constantly been raising the bar. The latest milestone is the STIHL injection technology, which is featured in the STIHL MS 500i gasoline-powered chain saw – the world’s first mass-produced chain saw with electronic fuel injection.

 

 

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15 May 2019
Village Green Launches "100 Years, 100 Tree Service Hampton Roadss" Campaign 3

Village Green Launches “100 Years, 100 Tree Service Hampton Roadss” Campaign

Village Green, a Detroit-based property management company serving more than 90 cities throughout the U.S., has kicked off a major community service initiative by partnering with The Davey Tree Service Hampton Roads Expert Company. Together, as part of a “100 Years, 100 Tree Service Hampton Roadss” campaign, the companies will plant 100 trees benefiting neighborhoods and the environment in honor of Village Green’s centennial celebration.community service

The “100 Years, 100 Tree Service Hampton Roadss” initiative was kicked off at an Arbor Day celebration on April 26 at the Ronald McDonald House in Detroit, and will be replicated at other Ronald McDonald Houses and city parks throughout the country. The campaign is rooted in the belief that the company should honor the past while planting for the future. The founder of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton grew up in Michigan, in many of the same communities where Village Green got its start a century ago.

The partnership with Davey, a Village Green national supplier partner celebrating 120 years in 2019, has been key to Village Green being able to execute on this ambitious goal. One of Village Green’s core tenets from day one was to provide for and give back to the communities which it serves.

“Village Green is a company that understands its role in the community extends well beyond the front doors of the properties we manage,” noted Diane Batayeh, CEO, Village Green. “By planting trees in the communities in which we serve, we seek to share our ‘life in the green’ mentality while providing a gift that can provide joy to these incredible organizations that seek to serve others.”

A like-minded organization in both history and community-driven background,Kent, OH-based Davey recognized Village Green as a partner with a similar sense of community. For Davey, giving back to the community also comes with the added benefit of beautifying the landscape.

“Here at Davey, we value our partnership with Village Green,” said Jim Gabbard, branch manager, The Davey Tree Service Hampton Roads Expert Company. “When we were asked to participate with them in their ‘100 Years, 100 Tree Service Hampton Roadss’ campaign, it was our pleasure to give back in such a wonderful way.”

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14 May 2019
Reels provide strength and protection in corrosive environments 4

Reels provide strength and protection in corrosive environments

The Spray Non-Corrosive (SNC) Series from Hannay Reels® is a line of reels that provide a significant advantage in strength and protection in corrosive environments. Designed specifically for lawn care, agriculture, horticulture, pest control, and other spray-related industries, they can handle a variety of applications, including water, pesticides, and fertilizer mixes.
reels
The SNC Series is constructed primarily of 304-grade stainless steel (SST), including discs, axle hub, and welded frame. Non-SST components include the drum (aluminum), swivel joint, and bearings (plated)—all are upgradeable to SST.

Comparable in weight to aluminum construction, the lightweight, low-profile SNC Series can handle hoses with an inside diameter of 3/8″ through 5/8″ and up to 500′ long. Standard inlet is 90° full-flow swivel, 1/2″ FNPT threads; standard outlet is 1/2″ FNPT threads; and standard pressure is rated to 3000 psi (207 bar). Higher pressures are available.

Users can choose to have their reel outfitted with manual/crank or electric-powered rewind. Manual (direct crank) reels include both a pin lock and three-position cam-lock drag brake. Electric rewind reels (denoted by letter “E” at end of model) feature a plated chain/sprocket drive with guard. The motor for the power rewind is offered in 12VDC or 24VDC, as well as 115VAC. Additional SNC Series options include four-way roller guides, as well as lightweight aluminum reel stacking kits.

“We’re eager to continually engineer new, innovative solutions for spray applications. With more than 85 years of experience in the industry, we remain the leaders in custom hose and cable reel solutions,” said Jennifer Wing, Marketing Manager at Hannay Reels. “Customers deserve dependable products to keep their businesses running day in and day out, and we strive to provide that product every day.”

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13 May 2019
Landscapers Impatient for Impatiens? Your Time Has Come. 5

Landscapers Impatient for Impatiens? Your Time Has Come.

By Christine Menapace

After eight long years, landscapers will soon be able to answer “yes” to clients who want to bring back Impatiens to their landscapes. With a limited launch this year and a full launch in 2020, new Beacon™ Impatiens from PanAmerican Seed offer high resistance to the downy mildew that decimated this popular plant back in 2011. They come in six core colors: bright red, violet, salmon, coral, orange, and white; as well as two mixes.

“We’ve been very happy,” Beacon global product manager Lisa Lacy tells Turf. “For the landscaping market and globally there’s been a lot of loss… it was a long road bringing it back… it was a lot of diligence and cross testing… over a million plants were screened.” Of course, the only goal wasn’t just disease resistance, “it also had to be a good looking Impatiens,” notes Lacy, who experienced the heyday, decline, and now reintroduction of the Impatiens market. “I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this… it’s a product gift.”

impatiens

Beacon Impatiens in White

Does she expect Impatiens to reach their former popularity? She says it’s a good question and one that’s been asked a lot. “In general the feedback has been high interest,” she says. Beacon is easy to grow, and consumers already know what to do with Impatiens, she says. “There’s no learning curve.”

Once a favorite of landscapers and clients alike, the shade-loving flower Impatiens walleriana fell victim to Plasmopara obducens, a water mold that led to a widespread outbreak of Impatiens downy mildew (IDM), about eight years ago. Unfortunately, IDM, which is airborne and can overwinter, leads to plant collapse and it hit worldwide, spreading quickly. With little chance of planting Impatiens wallerina with confidence, growers, landscapers, and gardeners alike abandoned it for other colorful shade alternatives like Begonias, Coleus, and New Guinea Impatiens (which aren’t susceptible to IDM).

PanAmerican Seed, however, dedicated itself to bringing back this garden staple with breeding efforts and collaboration that spanned the globe in search of a disease-resistant strain. “Beacon Impatiens is truly an effort years in the making. Since the early days of the devastating disease, greenhouses have been waiting for the chance to bring Impatiens back,” says Anne Leventry, president of PanAmerican Seed. Collaborating on the project was a team in The Netherlands, led by breeder Ruud Brinkkemper, and a crew in the United States consisting of Lacy, plant pathologist Dr. Colleen Warfield, and many others.

impatiens

The telltale sign of impatiens downy mildew (IDM) on the undersides of Impatiens leaves

“With a plant structure, flowering time and flower size that is similar to existing Impatiens series, Beacon is easy to incorporate into production planning,” says Lacy. “There’s no special plant culture required for Beacon to be successful.” It should be noted too that “high resistance” is not just a marketing term. It’s a designation from the International Seed Federation that the “plant highly restricts the growth and/or development of the pathogen/damage it causes under normal pressure…” It’s also a step above “intermediate resistance.”

What about all those colors Impatiens once had? Lacy laughs. “We asked ourselves, ‘How many colors needed to come back for a launch?’ Super Elfin had about 22 or 23 colors… we’re definitely planning to add colors, more pink, rose, lavender.” Given the new disease resistance, are there breeding restrictions in terms of color? While the market will no doubt guide color decisions, Lacy comments, “Rudd [the breeder] doesn’t think there’s any reason we can’t get back to a whole range of colors.” That’s good news for those with exacting clients!

impatiens

Beacon Coral (on left) outperforms a susceptible competing variety (at right) in a side-by-side field trial in Venhuizen, the Netherlands in Summer 2018. (All photos courtesy of Beacon Impatiens)

 

As mentioned, a limited supply of Beacon Impatiens is currently available, with a full launch next year. Visit this link for a list of “Where To Buy” locations.

For a list of PanAmerican plants that excel in landscape applications, as well as other landscaper-specific help, visit www.panamseed.com/landscape.aspx. It offers: a link to plant suppliers; a regional plant selector; a plant calculator that determines the number of plants needed per square foot; as well as a customizable “Landscape Sell Sheet” to help clients choose suitable plants.

Menapace is a professional freelance writer and editor with over 25 years of experience in publishing, journalism, copywriting, and marketing.

 

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