Wednesday, September 27, 2006

120 bans in place — but who's counting, huh?

Check off picturesque Comox, British Columbia, as the latest Canadian community to ban the use of synthetic pesticides for lawn care, the 120th community in Canada to do so. As usual, opponents of commercial lawn care pounded on the alleged risk associated with using special chemicals for purely aesthetic reasons. Comox is a seaside city of about 12,000 people on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Anti-lawn care forces are now aiming at other small communities in the beautiful Comox Valley. Look for the councillors in the nearby towns of Courtenay and Cumberland to feel the heat from the vocal anti-pesticide coalition — Chances are they will become numbers 121 and 122. — Ron Hall

Friday, September 22, 2006

Anti-Lawncare D Day approaches

November is the projected kickoff launch of "The Year of the Safe Lawn" aimed at alerting the American public to the potential environmental harmn caused by tradtional lawn care products. The campaign is being spearheaded by HGTV host Paul Tukey and is planning to address the issues of pesticides, water and fossil fuel use on turfgrass.

The effort is being undertaken by a coalitiion of for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations, which have begun raining money for a big promotional campaign during 2007. Although I couldn't find it on the web site (, a "Safe Lawns" Conference is reportedly being planned for March 2007. And you know what the group will be looking for — lots and lots of press. — Ron Hall

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Take your office on the road

In the landscaping business, you spend most of your day away from the office, either on the job or on the road. With that in mind, Ford is making it easier to do office duties right from your truck.

Check out this article from the Detroit Free Press on a new portable computer system that links into your F-Series trucks, allowing you to "place online orders, calculate and print bids and modify blueprints from the cab of their pickups."

It sounded pretty useful to me. Then again, Ford is also laying off about 1/3 of its workforce, so it is hard ot say anything nice about them at this moment. What do think?

— Mike Seuffert

Monday, September 18, 2006

Time to reduce the number of huge flying rats

Beautiful to see in the sky, unwanted destructive guests that don't know when to leave on our grounds.

Take heart fellow grounds pros; a new rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services this past August, and that subsequently has become law, takes aim at the exploding populations of “resident” Canada geese.

The law allows states to let:

- Senior communities plagued with resident geese destroy nests and eggs without federal permits,
- Private and public airports to take birds without federal permits for safety issues,
- County and local governments in coordination with state officials, take birds that are a public health threat to reservoirs, athletic fields, parks and public beaches,
- States eases existing hunting restrictins in the Atlantic Flyway region (includes entire area edast of Mississippi River), including allowing a summer season in August.
The plan is to reduce the existing population estimated at 1.3 million birds to 650,000.
“This day has been a long time in coming,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), vice chairman of the Fisheries Conservation and Wildlife Subcommittee.

We say Amen to that. — LM Staff

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Did you start out like this?

A big rave for this young man.

Josh Boersma really knows how to "run" a business. When the 18-year-old seniort at Ankeny High School near Des Moines, IA, leaves school at noon he puts on his business owner hat (Boersma Lawn Care) and spends several hours mowing or fertilizing several of his 13 accounts.

Then it's off to cross country practice, which typically lasts until the sun sets.

Josh figures he works 18-25 hours weekly at his lawn care business. He says he's undecided about making lawn care a career, not just yet anyway. More likely, he'll study business or accounting at a university, he says.

By the way, Josh is the best cross country runner at this school and working hard to compete at the state meet.

Click on the headline for a nice article about Josh in the Des Moines Register newspaper. — Ron Hall

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reflections on 9/11

I think we will always remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. On this five-year anniversary of the attacks, let's take a few moments to remember all the heroes — from the NYPD and FD, to the passengers aboard United 93 — who gave their lives that day.

Here's a column I wrote for Landscape Management on how I remember that fateful day. — Mike Seuffert

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chainsaw murderer spooks landscapers?

People referred to him as "Crazy Chris," and if what he's accused of doing is true, crazy falls just a click or two short of describing this whacko.

Christian C. Nielsen, 31, (aka Crazy Chris), a cook at an inn near Newry, ME, is accused of killing and dismembering, with a chain saw, three people and killing and burning another at the Black Bear Bed & Breakfast. The killings are believed to have taken place over several days.

Two young landscapers — Ryan Wheeler, 22, and his half brother Ian, 18— are believed to be the last people to have seen some of the victims alive and also to have an encounter with Crazy Chris before his arrest. Dead are the 64-year-old innkeeper, her daughter, 35, and two guests, a female, 43, and a male, 50. It was Maine's worst homicide in 14 years, said police

 “I was weed-whacking right next to the house and he (Crazy Chris) was coming in and out and walking all around. All of the sudden, I happened to look up and he jumped me right there,” Ryan Wheeler was quoted in the Boston Herald newspaper. “He was less than three feet from me. I jumped and I was like, ‘Whoa. You jumped me.’ And he said, ‘What? When I was looking at you from the window?’

For all the grizzly details, click on the headline and follow up with these links:

Monday, September 04, 2006

Elvis has left the house, but ServiceMaster is moving in

ServiceMaster, parent company of TruGreen ChemLawn, TruGreen Landscare and Terminix, is moving the 120 managers and executives remaining in its longtime headquarters in Downers Grove, IL, (a Chicago suburb) to Memphis.

And why not? It's principle operating divisions, including about 2,000 employees, are already based there. Did we mention ServiceMaster's new chairman and CEO, J. Patrick Spainhour, recently purchased a home in the Memphis area? It's expected to make the announcement of the move in October. — Ron Hall

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Knotty knotweed dilemma

Council members on Bainbridge Island, WA, said that chemical pest controls were verbotin on public properties . . .That was until a week or so ago.

Because the island was being swallowed by knotweed, they softened their stance somewhat and approved the use of the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup). Knotweed is a nasty non-native invasive weed that is so aggressive that it's even crowding out other nasty non-native invasive weeds on the island, which is located in the Puget Sound near Seattle.

The lawmakers directed that the herbicide be injected into the stems of individual knotweed plants, and are seeking volunteers to help with the project.“It'll take a lot of work,” commented one city official. I guess you could call that an understatement considering that knotweed (several varieties) is growing just about everywhere on the island. The weed is in the buckwheat family and looks an awful lot like bamboo. - Ron Hall