Thinking (reluctantly) of snow & ice in June
By Mike Jiggens
Here we are in the latter third of May (at the time of this writing), and I’ve got snow on the brain. It’s not that I’m looking forward to snow again any time soon – good lord, it seems like we just saw the end of it – but this is our snow and ice preview issue.
Within these pages we have a story that takes a closer look at the advantages of liquid de-icing strategies so that salt can be avoided, and we have a number of new winter products to showcase as well.
Wearing my professional hat, I understand that landscape contractors who engage in winter snow and ice management services are starting to think about the coming snow season and may want to consider other options beyond salt, and might also be interested in learning more about some of these new pieces of equipment that are showcased.
Wearing my after hours hat, though, I don’t want to see another snowflake until at least the last week of November. In fact, I’d prefer not to see another raindrop for the next few weeks.
Even though it doesn’t seem quite right to be thinking about winter before summer has arrived, we have a responsibility to our readers.
The Snow and Ice Management Association is holding its 22nd annual Snow and Ice Symposium in Grand Rapids, Mich. later this month and several Canadian contractors are likely to attend this close-to-the-border event. Technically speaking, we’re closer to the last snowfall than we are to the next (in most places in Canada), but it’s important to always be looking ahead. Issues such as the salt shortage experienced this past winter means advanced strategizing is essential.
I’m personally in no mood to be thinking of winter just yet. If I were, I’d simply hang out in the frozen foods section at my local supermarket for a half hour or so.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself by fast forwarding to winter and would prefer to see how our lawns, golf courses and sports fields fare this summer first. Come to think of it, I’d like to get through fall before winter arrives.
I learned long ago that this industry – whether it’s the summer or winter version of it – does not play things by ear. Advanced planning is imperative and those employed in this industry cannot be caught with their pants down at inopportune moments. The right equipment and materials must be close at hand at all times, whether it’s in response to an unexpected blizzard or a prolonged drought stress.
Publishing a snow and ice preview in June is really no different than having turfgrass conferences in January. It’s all about keeping one step ahead of the game and being prepared.
Thinking about summer in winter is much more pleasurable, however, than thinking about winter in summer. At least it is for most of us, I would imagine.
Our cover story this issue profiles an individual who wears two different hats for two different seasons: summer and winter.
Dave Boehmer of Guelph, Ont. was recently named by Sports Turf Canada as the country’s sports turf manager of the year. The lead hand of sports fields and winter maintenance for the city was honoured for the work he does during the summer months during which time he oversees the maintenance of more than 100 fields in the city.
It’s no easy feat to keep constant tabs on so many sports fields, and he credits his staff for being his eyes and ears when he can’t be everywhere at once.
Having come from the golf ranks, Boehmer brings plenty of agronomic know-how to the table and has implemented a number of strategies aimed at producing better playing conditions for the city’s customers – its user groups.
Congratulations to Dave and his staff.