Thursday, July 31, 2008

One very expensive mowing lesson

While I enjoy playing 9 holes from time to time, I’m not a good golfer. I usually play at a local municipal course. My favorite hole is #5, a long par-5 with an expansive fairway that’s pretty difficult to miss. Even by me.

But I miss it on occasion nevertheless, and, a couple of years ago, darn near took out the windshield of an approaching Buick with a wicked slice. The driver of the car, I’m pretty sure, never realized what a close call he had. Now I wait until no cars or trucks are approaching before I tee off on #5.

That memory came to mind as I read a recent article in the Vineland (NJ) Daily Journal.

The article reported on the $725,000 settlement of a lawsuit brought by a motorist who was injured when a golf ball flew through his car window. The ball was launched not by a golfer but by a commercial mower during the routine maintenance of a nearby residential lawn.

The court ruled that the homeowner and the mowing company shared some of the blame for the plaintiff’s injuries because they should have surveyed the lawn and removed the ball before allowing the mowing. They were ordered to pay $37,500 each. The golf and country club got rocked for $650,000 because it did not have netting in place to keep golf balls from leaving its property.

Click on the headline to read the article. — Ron Hall

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reel Earth-friendly mowing

Despite relocating their business from Seattle to Meridian, Idaho, a couple of teenage boys are finding success with an environmentally friendly landscape company. From the Idaho Statesman:
Last year, while living in Seattle, Blake, 17, and Brandon Skenandore, 16, started Join Earth Green, a zero-emission lawn care business, which is green-speak for "people-powered push reel lawn mower."
"We call it the bad haircut that saves the planet," said Blake. A push reel mower may not give a golf course-worthy trim, but it is better for the lawn, the environment and the pocketbook.
In their first year of business the brothers picked up more than two dozen clients. "A gas mower creates as much pollution as running eight cars. We saved 22,000 car miles in pollution in our first year," Brandon said.
Since moving to Meridian five months ago, the brothers have been looking for new clients, not only to earn money, but also to do their part to improve air quality and the environment.
— Mike Seuffert

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brickman employees die in bus accident

Two Brickman employees died in a freak accident on a sightseeing bus on July 11. The Loudon Times reported the story:

Josh Stoll, 24, of Sterling, and Mike Feiock, 35, of Centreville, struck a metal rod under the 11th Street overpass as the sightseeing bus headed down Dwight D. Eisenhower Freeway from a tailgating party at RFK to Nationals Stadium for a baseball game.

"I was right next to them on the bus," said Sheila Christensen, an administrator at landscaping firm Brickman Group, where the two men also worked. "We had gone through two other underpasses and they had reached up with their arms extended and touched the underpass. That's why we didn't know there was any danger, because we had already gone under two and there was plenty of room. When they saw the bridge coming, they didn't duck because it was the same height as the other two."

Christensen said that the 11th Street underpass, however, had a "steel pole" that was not immediately visible and apparently protruded from under the underpass ceiling.

Our sympathies to the victims' personal and professional families. — LM Staff

Fert prices going higher, higher

I hope that Wayne Horman of Scotts Turf-Seed is wrong but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Horman was quoted in The Capital Times newspaper (Madison, WI) as predicting that the price of fertilizer is going to skyrocket.
He said that urea has gone from costing $200 a ton last year to $790 a ton., and it may approach as much as $1,000 a ton.

Is the lawn care industry as we’ve come to know it going, going, gone?

It’s time to reinvent the lawn care business model.

Click on the headline for the article in The Capital Times. — Ron Hall

Thursday, July 03, 2008

More good deeds

I don't think this industry get's enough credit for all the good work it does. Not only do landscapers and lawn care operators keep our lawns looking beautiful, but the people who make up this industry continue to be extremely generous. There's Green Care for Troops, our recent post about Hope In Bloom, and now this from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Scott Reinblatt, founder of Big Blue Sky Landscaping, is behind the all-day landscaping event in which his company will mow, trim, edge, and organically fertilize a lawn for $125, money that will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Homeowners will also receive a landscape management care guide, sponsors say."
The event will take place on July 12. The goal is to raise $2,500 for breast cancer research. Think about helping out or holding a similar event in your community. Not only is it good for some PR, but it's good for the soul.
— Mike Seuffert