Looking forward to ‘normal’ spring
By Mike Jiggens
Like anyone else, turfgrass professionals are looking forward to the end of winter and the start of growing season. In most regions of Canada, that time is just around the corner.
These professionals have chosen careers in this field largely because they have a natural love of the outdoors. Although the winter months periodically require them to spend some of their time outside, that’s merely an off-season add-on and not their primary reason for wanting to be out in the sun and fresh air.
During the off-season, they have attended industry conferences and trade shows to better educate themselves, learn about new technologies and to see what new products might be helpful. There is something about these industry events that reignites the enthusiasm they have for their careers and the “can’t wait for spring” attitude that is consequently fostered.
Sometimes the new season begins on the right foot and sometimes it doesn’t. In the golf industry, a well-insulated, snow-covered course will produce a better head start for the superintendent than one that was ice-covered for a lengthy period of time. It wasn’t that many years ago when the latter significantly delayed the start of golf season as greens had to be either re-sodded or re-seeded, throwing a wrench into superintendents’ normal routine.
In the world of landscaping, a wetter-than-usual spring can adversely affect the timing of mowing. This was the case in Ontario not too many years ago. Mower operators had to be careful about rutting their customers’ lawns while at the same time having to contend with excessive growth that required multiple mowing visits.
This year, we hope, will be one that is more typical for everyone.
What may or may not happen during the coming growing season is difficult to predict at this time. Might the spring be wetter than usual? Will we experience extended drought during the middle of summer? Will disease and weed pressures be more abundant? Will there be issues among employees? There could be any number of possibilities that could make professional turf upkeep somewhat more challenging than other years.
Sometimes a challenge has a silver lining. It can test a professional’s mettle, giving his clients or customers an indication as to how he’s able to fare under unusual situations and if he’s able to produce the same quality results, in spite of whatever adversity he might face.
A little bit of adversity can sometimes be a good thing for a turfgrass professional to face. Not only does it test his mettle, but it also staves off complacency and allows him to put his continued education to work.
One thing turfgrass professionals do time and time again is overcome adversity and find a way to produce quality playing surfaces or front and back yards that stand up to the most discriminating critics.
Tight budgets might not allow the professional to work with some of the new “toys” he’s had his eye on, but perhaps he can make a case for some or initiate a plan to upgrade his toolbox in the not-too-distant future.
In this issue, we present some offerings that could prove helpful in terms of spring start-up. One story deals with tips for seasonal engine checks to ensure the year gets off to the best possible start.
Another story takes a look at the various technologies that landscapers can use to make their companies more efficient and profitable. These are technologies that weren’t around a decade or so ago and might be a little difficult for some old school professionals to grasp or fully comprehend.
But they’re perhaps right down the alley of some of the millennials working for these companies or who might be owners themselves. Younger generation contractors who have already been introduced to these software programs and apps have already embraced them, and they are poised to forge ahead with their businesses.