More GIE + EXPO equipment launch previews

More GIE + EXPO equipment launch previews

With GIE+EXPO’s final day underway, there is still much to see. Here are just some of the exciting equipment launches that have come out of the show.

riensCo launches Mammoth 850 at GIE + EXPO and more

AriensCo has a wide range of lawnmowers and snowblowers on display this year. This includes the new Mammoth 850 multi-attachment vehicle. This unique ride-on multi-attachment vehicle is the first of its kind and is designed for applications that require substantial snow and ice removal operations. 

“We designed the Mammoth 850 for customers who manage snow removal for municipalities, universities, commercial landscaping, large parking lots,  and other intensive applications,” said Stephen Ariens, director of product management, snow, at AriensCo. “With a powerful engine and four-wheel drive steering, operators are able to cover sizeable surface areas much more easily and efficiently than pushing a vehicle. And with several attachments available that utilize our electric quick-connect system, the Mammoth 850 is an incredibly versatile vehicle that can handle a wide array of tasks.”

In addition, new Ariens special edition snow blowers have also debuted at the show and will only be available at Ariens dealerships. The Kraken Edition, Professional Mountaineering Edition, Professional Alpine Edition, and Platinum Great Lakes Edition all include several special features

Gravely has also introduced a new stand-on mower, the Z-Stance. The Z-Stance carries the Gravely promise of power and quality for landscaping professionals. It’s ideal for landscapers that may be new to the industry and want a professional stand-on mower for its comfort and visibility, or for seasoned pros that need a complimentary machine to their already existing fleet.

The Z-Stance carries the Gravely promise of power and quality for landscaping professionals. It’s ideal for landscapers that may be new to the industry and want a professional stand-on mower for its comfort and visibility, or for seasoned pros that need a complimentary machine to their already existing fleet.

“Stand-on mowers are the fastest-growing category in the lawn equipment market. They offer great comfort and visibility on the job site for operators,” said Grant Wilson, product director, Gravely commercial. “The new Z-Stance is a professional mower with simplified operations for a more inclusive set of users.”

New Holland Construction launches largest, most powerful compact track loader to date

New Holland Construction has launched the C362, its largest and most powerful compact track loader to date.New Holland Construction

Skid steer and track loaders have become an essential tool and necessary investment for landscape business operations. To support these customer needs, New Holland Construction has launched the C362, its largest and most powerful compact track loader. With 114 gross horsepower, a rated operating capacity of 6,200 lbs., and a breakout force of 12,900 lbs., the C362 is ready to tackle any project.

The patented New Holland Super Boom vertical lift design optimizes the C362 for lift-and-carry operations. With greater dump reach and height, customers can easily load high-sided truck boxes or hoppers. Full 360-degree visibility comes with the C362’s low-profile Super Boom arm and shoulder design, an integrated rear camera, and new LED front work lights. Operators can see even more with the C362’s large glass door, lower front-door threshold, and a see-through area on the cab roof. No matter the job, the C362 provides maximum efficiency and safety.

The low-profile undercarriage design eases cleanout, reduces noise, and increases durability. It also provides an extended track life and smoother ride due to the steel-embedded tracks rolling on the rubber instead of steel.

The in-cab 8-inch LCD display gives operators a quick look at engine settings and performance information. The EZ EH custom screen settings allow for easy navigation and quick operation adjustments. The display also provides greater visibility to the rear of the loader for an efficient, safer operation.

The C362 is also built with electro-hydraulic controls featuring multiple speed and sensitivity settings, including creep mode and automatic straight-line tracking. Creep mode, a slow-speed option, gives the operator greater control for slow-speed operations such as trenching and cold-planing with speed thresholds of one to 100 increments. Automatic straight-line tracking improves productivity and precision as it keeps a straight working and traveling path in uneven terrain.

Hustler Turf introduces three brand new products

Hustler Turf has announced three brand new products: the Zevo, the Surfer Pro, and the Super SF stand-on. For model year 2022, Hustler also refreshed its existing FasTrak and FasTrak SDX models. 

Hustler Turf’s newest all-electric unit is the Zevo, which boasts a fabricated 42” deck with similar construction as the Dash XD. This compact sit-down mower is targeted for single-yard use; it has two speeds – 5 miles per hour for the trim/learning mode and 7 miles per hour for regular mowing. The Zevo can mow up to 1.5 hours depending on terrain and grass conditions; when properly maintained, the batteries should last its user for up to five years.

The Surfer Pro is a stand-on mower with a compact footprint and 34” or 48” deck options. It is a great trim and tight area mower with the ability to easily fit through fence gates, plus it takes up minimal space on a trailer.

The Super SF stand-on mower is an all-day machine. It is the biggest, fastest and strongest model in the family of stand-up units offered by Hustler. This mower can reach up to 15 miles per hour with stronger Hydro-Gear transmissions, 26” rear-drive tires, and a 40-horsepower engine option. The Super SF is equipped with Hustler’s newest deck – the VX – in 60” or 72” and holds nearly 14 gallons of fuel, allowing the operator to spend more time mowing and less time fueling.

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GIE + EXPO equipment news roundup

GIE + EXPO equipment news roundup

With GIE+EXPO 2021 now in full swing, there is plenty of excitement around new equipment announcements. Here is a round-up of some of the GIE+EXPO equipment news.

Exmark unveils 144-inch Lazer Z Diesel

At GIE, Exmark has unveiled its largest, most powerful commercial zero-turn mower, the 144-inch Lazer Z Diesel. Capable of cutting up to 11.5 acres per hour, the new machine sets a new standard for productivity.

According to Exmark product manager, Lenny Mangnall, the 144-inch machine is exactly what the company’s customers need in light of ongoing labor shortages and an increasingly competitive marketplace for landscape maintenance professionals. He said the machine’s increased productivity can replace up to three 72-inch mowers and operators. 

The new Lazer Z Diesel features an incredible 144-inch UltraCut rear discharge flex wing cutting deck, which pairs a 48-inch center deck with two 48-inch wing decks. Capable of articulating20-degrees up and 15-degrees down, the floating wing decks minimize scalping while enabling maximum productivity when mowing in uneven conditions.

The deck uses six matching blades and a rear discharge design to deliver maximum productivity and impressive finished cut quality. To ease transport, both wing decks fold hydraulically to ease loading and unloading and reduce required trailering space. This enables the 144-inch Lazer ZDiesel to fit on industry-standard trailers that are designed for 72-inch machines.    

John Deere celebrates 25 years of manufacturing ZTrak

John Deere celebrates 25 years of manufacturing ZTrak commercial zero-turn mowers.John Deere

John Deere celebrates 25 years of manufacturing ZTrak commercial zero-turn mowers and commemorates the launch of the F620andF680 zero-turn mowers in 1997. The brand continues to build on its commitment to effective and efficient commercial landscaping offerings with the recent launch of the Fastback PRORear-Discharge Mower Deck, offering time-saving solutions for professional landscapers.

John Deere will continue to remain dedicated to offering customers solution-based designs that aid in increased performance and customer satisfaction.

To commemorate the anniversary of the ZTrak, John Deere is featuring a 25th-anniversary unit front and center at the show with a special decal on all MY2022 ZTrak Z900 series units to highlight the milestone. To see more of the latest ZTrak models, visit Booth #1110 or explore the John Deere virtual showroom.

Dewalt previewing a range of 2022 outdoor products at GIE

Dewalt will preview a range of new outdoor power tools at GIE + EXPO this week. Designed to tackle tough landscaping and maintenance jobs, new DEWALT outdoor products include the 60V MAX* 20-In. Chainsaw (DCCS677Z1), 20V MAX* Pruner (DCPR320), 2x20V MAX* Rear Wheel Drive Mower (DCMWSP255U2) and an Electric Jobsite Pressure Washer (DWPW2100).

“The landscaping and outdoor industry is rapidly changing, with more robust and innovative technologies powering equipment,” said Christine Potter, Vice President, Outdoor Product Development for Stanley Black & Decker. “We are doubling down on our electrification technology to continuously transform outdoor solutions to battery power while delivering the quality and performance professional users expect from DEWALT. All of our new products were designed with the pro in mind and are tough enough to tackle the most challenging outdoor projects.”

To see the products in person, visit Dewalt booth #7068.

Lesco launches a new line of spreaders and sprayers

SiteOne Landscape Supply launches its new, exclusive Lesco ride-on spreaders and sprayers, including the Lesco 100, 200, 300, and 600 Applicator Models. Featuring 100 percent stainless steel frames and coated peerless transaxle to resist corrosive granular chemicals for added life, these new rugged Lesco ride-on spreaders are ideal for a variety of application needs.

Featuring a low center of gravity for excellent performance, even on sloped terrain, the Lesco Model 100 is ideal for projects that do not require a liquid application.

The Lesco Model 200 releases both dry and liquid material and features a dual setting spray system with 3-foot and 10-foot settings for multiple applications. It also has a narrow width of 35.5 inches to allow easy access through gates in residential areas and condominium complexes.

With zero-turn drive and a variable spray system, the Lesco Model 300 delivers coverage widths of 2-, 4-, 6- or 8-feet for use in several applications. Dual liquid spray tanks also provide a total capacity of 24 gallons for up to 2.2 acres of coverage.

Visit the SiteOne outdoor booth during GIE-EXPO (Booth # 7428D) to demo the new Lesco spreaders and sprayers to receive 5 percent off any Lesco equipment purchased by November 30, 2021. 

Honda Power Equipment features an interactive outdoor display

Honda Power Equipment is featuring an interactive outdoor display, #6046D, with the newest models in the Honda award-winning product lineup. The Honda Power Equipment team will educate and demonstrate its comprehensive power products portfolio and how quiet, fuel-efficient and top-performing Honda models make jobs easier for customers around the world. This includes generators, lawnmowers, pumps, tillers, trimmers, and snowblowers.

In the spotlight are the Honda FRC110 (mini tiller) and FRC800 (rear-tine tiller) models powered by Honda GX commercial-grade engines, ensuring quiet, powerful, efficient operation. User-friendly controls are conveniently located and designed for maximum safety and an advanced design provides for a low center of gravity during operation.

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GIE + EXPO is underway: Look for these highlights

GIE + EXPO is underway: Look for these highlights

GIE is officially underway and there is a lot to look forward to during the show. Here are a few highlights that you don’t want to miss.

2021 Hardscape North America Installer Championship total prize value tops $38,000 

The Hardscape North America Installer Championships competition is set for October 21-22, and the stakes are higher than ever with the total prize value exceeding $38,000. The competition is intended to test and recognize the skill, dedication, and passion of hardscape contractors from Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Up to 16 teams will have their understanding of industry best practices and guidelines tested in a race against the clock and other top installers in the industry.

New hands-on drone zone

This year, the new drone zone will give attendees the chance to fly a drone right on the exhibit floor within a 4,000-square-foot netted area. Test your ability on a flight simulator, then step into “The Zone” and fly a drone with an expert trainer. 

Open all three days in the North Wing, “The Zone” will offer hourly sessions on using drones for marketing, water management, thermal imaging, multi-spectral analytics, GIS mapping, and more. 

TurfMutt adoption event being hosted on Thursday

On Thursday, attendees can take a break from the show floor to visit and potentially event adopt rescue dogs in Freedom Hall, through a partnership with the Kentucky Humane Society. At GIE+EXPO 2019, 15 dogs found forever homes. Be sure to visit between 11 and 2 pm.

New post-show attraction: Kentucky Derby Museum

GIE+EXPO attendees will receive free admission with their badges to the Kentucky Derby Museum on Thursday, October 21 from 5 to 8 pm. The Kentucky Derby Museum offers a taste of Derby action with walking tours of the racetrack grounds, two floors of family-friendly interactive exhibits, and “The Greatest Race,” a 360-degree film experience.

New UTV Driving Experience debuts in Outdoor Demo Area

For the first time, GIE+EXPO will have a UTV Driving Experience where attendees can drive and compare the latest vehicles while you put them through their paces on curves, hills, rocks, bumps, and maybe even a little water and mud. Attendees 16 or older with a valid driver’s license will be able to drive alongside a representative of the manufacturer who can answer all of your product questions – load capacity, features, price, and more.

Stop by the UTV Driving Experience and enter to win $15,000 toward the purchase of your own UTV.

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LandCare celebrates its rebirth and significant changes during shareholder gala

LandCare celebrates its rebirth and significant changes during shareholder gala

In 2015, LandCare, the nationwide commercial landscape firm operating in 23 states, underwent significant changes including rebranding, restaffing, and restructuring. Since that time the company has seen growing success—something they celebrated at a recent gathering of 120 management shareholders, and their significant others, from across the company.

Many in the industry might remember when ServiceMaster bought LandCare USA in 1999 and rebranded it as TruGreen LandCare. As various companies were bought and rolled into the brand, it became a mismatch of various leaders, team members, and cultures. When CEO Mike Bogan took over the LandCare helm, it was struggling.

“LandCare was effectively reborn in 2015,” says Mark Hopkins, EVP for LandCare.

“The company was losing money at that time so the first order of business was to stop the bleeding,” Hopkins recalls. “Before we made any changes, we evaluated the business and thought about what should be stopped—and what should be started. Establishing a core set of values was one of the first things that we started. We also established a mission, rebranded, and retooled—in some cases making leadership changes. By the time we were through, there was not one area of the business that we did not evaluate. We made changes throughout including from the way we estimate to the way we interact with customers.”

Hopkins says that today, decisions are guided by what is best for the company’s employees and customers.

“Since our leadership employees are the controlling shareholders of the business, it’s easy for us to put support for our employees first and know that good results will follow when we do,” Hopkins explains. “It’s what can happen when the business is owned and run by landscape professionals who grew up in the industry.”

Changes for the better

The event was a shareholder meeting but also a celebration.LandCare

In 2019, the senior leaders at LandCare formed a group of the company’s managers and ‘friends and family’ investors to purchase the business from its private equity owners.

“My most important goal is to ensure long-term consistency in our culture and a stable, supportive environment for serving our customers,” explains CEO Mike Bogan. “It’s extremely gratifying to know we control the company, have constancy of purpose, and will share the value created in the business with those that work to build it every day. Not everyone can say they know what color their trucks will be next year, or more importantly, what their culture will feel like, but we can.”

There have been many changes for the better over the past seven years when LandCare first re-branded.

LandCare has expanded to four additional states in the midwest; introduced the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) to support the advancement of women in the company; created the Tangerine Employee Relief Fund (TERF), an internally funded assistance program; launched the LandCare Education Assistance Fund (LEAF), providing scholarships to first-generation college attendees who are children of employees; and, has committed to ongoing companywide professional and personal employee development programs.

All of these programs are geared around a common theme of focusing on those who drive the company’s success – LandCare’s team members.

“I’m so proud of the people all across this company who drove these accomplishments,” says Robert Barber, EVP of Operations.

Celebrating the success

For many in the company, this event was the first time they had gotten together since the pandemic began.LandCare

There was a lot to celebrate when shareholders gathered in San Diego this past September. The event was the first of its kind for LandCare. The celebration was designed to honor the hard work of team members across the organization to rebuild the company since 2015.

The recent gathering was the first time many had traveled since the beginning of the pandemic and was a welcomed opportunity to finally gather with friends and colleagues. The celebration included a welcome reception, small group dinners, tours and activities around the city and a gala at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, with a special video presentation honoring their journey, followed by dinner and dancing.

“We are so driven to look ahead and focus on continuous improvement, it was nice to take a moment to reflect on our success so far, and to recognize how much opportunity lies ahead for the business and each of our team members individually,” says Barber. “Even more special was sharing that moment together with all of our leaders and their spouses. I can’t imagine what this event will look like a few years from now, but it is going to be incredible.”

Hopkins agrees that it was nice to take time to celebrate.

“The pandemic has delayed opportunities for us all to spend time together and many team members had not seen each other in a long time,” Hopkins says. “We are celebrating how far we’ve come but also recognizing that as a company we must always be changing and evolving to keep up as the world changes. We will continue to face challenges and need to come up with solutions. Still, it was wonderful to take time to acknowledge all that we’ve accomplished to this point.” 

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Going paperless? It may not save the trees, but it will boost your productivity

Going paperless? It may not save the trees, but it will boost your productivity

The push to go paperless is nothing new. It’s been touted as an eco-friendly choice for many years now. While saving trees might be the reason why a lot of companies make the leap to a digitized way of doing business, the truth is, there are other benefits that may be more important.

Does going paperless really save trees?

Actually, the idea that going paperless really saves the trees has been disputed in recent years.

For one, today’s paper is often made from recycled materials meaning trees don’t need to be cut down every time new paper is made.

Plus, the commercial value of forestry materials like paper has turned trees into a valuable renewable resource. That means, trees are well-cared for and frequently replanted in order to be used as needed. Needs like paper give forestland owners a reason to maintain their land. If that need goes away, they’re more likely to sell for non-forest uses like development.

Instead of going paperless for the trees, better reasons to consider a digital solution over paper are increased productivity and cost savings.

You’ll save more money than you might think

Nanette Seven, vice president of Include Software, says that when landscape business owners consider the potential cost savings of eliminating paper—they’re typically only thinking about the paper itself. And since a ream of paper really isn’t that expensive, it might not seem worth it.

“But a paper-run business has many added expenses beyond the paper like ink, postage, storage, and even associated labor costs,” Seven points out. “When you start to add up these costs, they can become a lot more expensive than people tend to realize.”

Seven says that there’s also the physical space to think about. A business run with paper spreadsheets and client files must have numerous filing cabinets to keep track of everything. There could be account files, financial files, employee files—and often more.

“Businesses that are paper-heavy, usually have a lot of dedicated space to use for filing,” Seven says. “That is space that could be freed up and much better used in a paper-free business.”

Landscape business owners often don’t realize how “freeing” letting go of paper can be.

Improving productivity

Besides the cost associated with a paper-run business, there’s also the matter of accessibility. Being able to quickly pull up account information or client information is frustrating if paper files are still the primary source of organizing this data.

“Digitizing these files can make accessibility so much easier,” says Seven. “With landscape business software, you can pull up information anytime—and anywhere. There’s no more missing or misplaced information.”

The same is true for other purposes that you might use paper for—like invoicing customers or having employees submit their hours or various other paperwork.

“All of this is made much easier with technology,” Seven says. “By digitizing that information, you can now have easy access to it, no matter where you are.”

Clients prefer it too

Becoming a digital business is something that your clients will also appreciate, says Seven. In fact, many of them might expect it in this day and age. They want to be able to access their account information and pay their bills in an easy way.

But so often, many landscapers are still leaving paper invoices on the door.

Instead, Seven suggests integrating “customer portal technology” into your website, where clients can see all of their stored account information.

“With customer portal technology, you can give your clients access to their account and make it easier to pay bills,” Seven says. “Whereas a paper bill can get forgotten, with a portal, you’re more likely to get paid quickly. A customer portal might also give them a place to ask questions or request services.”

Research has pointed toward the fact that we’re in an era where customers prefer “self-service,” and this caters toward that trend.

Paper-free for the win

No matter what your initial reasons for going the paper-free route, there are definitely some key benefits that you can expect from the decision. While it will take some time to enter all of the data into a software system, once you do, you’ll likely never want to go back to paper again.

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From brooms to blowers: 11 attachments for clearing snow

From brooms to blowers: 11 attachments for clearing snow

Winter weather is close at hand, so it’s time to start thinking about snow-clearing equipment.

Contractors have a variety of attachments to choose from to equip their construction equipment or pickup trucks to remove snow and ice from roads, parking lots and other surfaces.

Here are 11 attachments to consider:

Bobcat’s hydraulically driven angle broom attachment (pictured above) can handle quick cleanup jobs without damaging pavement surfaces. The bristles’ waved design creates a cleaner path and can sweep more snow or debris in one pass. Reverse bristle rotation is available on the 68- and 84-inch angle brooms for sweeping leaves, snow and debris away from corners, curbs, buildings and obstacles. The standard orange heavy-duty bristles are designed for longer life and better visibility. The attachment is available for Bobcat’s M and R series compact track loaders and skid steers and Bobcat Toolcats.

Virnig’s V60 Steel Edge Snow PusherVirnigVirnig’sV60 Steel Edge Snow Pusheroffers a hybrid snow blade and pusher for scraping hard-packed snow. It is designed to maintain full down pressure on the cutting edge. The blade’s edge adjusts automatically. The blade need only be reversed or replaced. It has 6 inches of total wear. A 9-inch-tall tapered shoe helps lift the pusher over obstacles, and AR400 steel pads increase durability. Side-to-side oscillation allows the pusher to maintain constant contact with uneven surfaces. It also features trip-edge protection, beveled inside gussets for increased side-plate strength, and improved frame bracing for greater rigidity.

Doosan Snowpusher
Doosan snow pusherDoosanDoosan’sbucket-mounted snow pusherattachment is designed for the company’s 13- to 20-metric-ton wheel loaders and toolcarriers. The attachment comes in two versions: 12 feet wide at 2,200 pounds and 14 feet wide at 2,400 pounds. The pusher is designed to be an alternative to buckets and traditional plowing for clearing parking lots and roads. Features include a 47-inch moldboard for high-capacity snow removal, a 1.5-inch rubber cutting edge to protect surfaces, high-grade steel skid shoes, a 12-inch push beam and three bucket-mount support tubes to help keep the snow pusher rigid.

Fisher Storm Boxx
Fisher Storm Boxx snow pusherFisherFishermade itsStorm Boxxpusher plows for large construction equipment, such as wheel loaders and backhoes. Models are available at 12, 14 or 16 feet wide. A two-piece steel trip edge is designed to deliver a cleaner scrape of hardpacked snow and ice. It also protects the operator and equipment when hitting hidden obstacles. Floating attachment plates allow side-to-side movement and smooth out bumps, keeping the pusher in continuous contact with the surface. It is also designed to be easily attached to various equipment.

Hilltip Salt Spreader
Hilltip salt spreaderHilltipHilltip’s newIceStriker 2000-3300 SSA/SSCstainless-steel salt spreaders are designed for three-quarter-ton trucks. The device can spread bulk sand and gravel, bulk/bag salt, sand-salt mixes and fertilizers. It is offered in three sizes: 2, 2.65 and 3.3 cubic yards. The stainless steel wards off corrosion, and Hilltip also immerses its hoppers in an acid bath to ensure corrosion-free welds and surfaces. An inverted “V” with a vibrator helps prevent bridging. The stainless-steel flip-up chute is designed to spread salt in environments with high humidity, and a tarp kit helps keep spreading materials dry.

Hitch Doc Hydraulic Snow Blower9200
HitchDoc hydraulic snow blowerHitchDocHitchDoc’s allhydraulic snow bloweris designed to reduce your carbon footprint. The company has eliminated the diesel engine, crankcase, shear pin and air filter, as well as the need for diesel exhaust fluid. The hydraulic blower is quieter and offers better visibility and balance. It is 9 feet wide and weighs 5,200 pounds. It is designed for wheel loaders of 2 to 4 cubic yards equipped with hydrostatic transmissions.

JCB Snow Blower
JCB Snow BlowerJCBTheJCB snow blowerrange features a two-stage design with the ability to throw snow 25 to 40 feet. A poly-lined chute and deflector can be adjusted to direct the snow discharge. The 25-inch standard flow shroud openings quickly dispense with high volumes of snow. The direct drive hydraulic motor design reduces the number of moving components for less wear and longer life. The blower includes adjustable skid shoes, a bolt-on replaceable wear-resistant tapered steel edge and quick release coupling. It is available in widths of 60, 72, 78 and 84 inches in either standard or high flow.

Pettibone Speed Swing445F Snowblower
Pettibone SpeedSwing 445F with snowblowerPettibonePettibone’s Speed Swing 445F rail crane is now available with aCreepDrivesystem from Poclain Hydraulics that allows it to run high-flow attachments like snow blowers and power brooms at slower travel speeds on or off the rails. The CreepDrive can deliver up to 33 gallons per minute of hydraulic flow. It comes with a display interface for controlling rpms and an integrated rocker pedal for traveling the machine forward and in reverse up to 2 mph. The Speed Swing 445F provides 180-degree boom rotation and has a spacious, climate-controlled operator cab.

Snow Ex Heavy Duty Snowplow
SnowEx heavy-duty snowplowSnowExSnowEx’sheavy-duty straight-blade snowplowgives skid steers commercial-contractor performance. It is available in four blade widths. The plow is built with a formed base channel for extra durability. Six vertical ribs, two angled Power Ribs and a quad design provide added torsional strength to prevent blade twisting. The A-frame is constructed of tubular steel to handle the toughest jobs.

Western Prodigy Skid Steer Snowplow
Western’s Prodigy Skid Steer SnowplowWesternTheProdigy snowplowfromWesternfeatures wings that automatically move with no additional wiring or controls. It has a universal skid-steer mounting plate. Once the pins are engaged, the plow is ready. The plow uses the onboard hydraulics system of the skid steer to lift and lower the blade. An oscillating mount that provides 6 degrees of total side-to-side oscillation is optional to improve scrape and cutting-edge wear while reducing damage to the terrain.

Razor Arrow Snow Blade
Winter Equipment Razor Arrow snow bladeWinter EquipmentWinter Equipment’s Razor Arrow Straight Blade System is designed to give Western Pro Plus plows longer blade life and improve cutting. It features two, 4-1/2-foot Razor blade sections, two Plow Guard Juniors and grade 8 hardware. The two Plow Guard Juniors prevent uneven and premature wear on the plow’s wear bar. The Razor Arrow system includes a two-piece, pre-welded blade with 5/8-inch abrasion-resistant cover plates. The cover plates are welded to a tungsten carbide insert cutting edge for increased wear life and surface footprint. Built-in wear indicators help to track wear life. 

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Selling landscaping as a crime deterrent

Selling landscaping as a crime deterrent

If you are working with commercial properties or HOAs, then you might know one of their biggest worries is crime. Vandalism, destruction of property, or even theft are real concerns that might keep property managers or HOA board directors up at night. But as a landscape contractor, the work you do can play a potential role in reducing crime.

Both your company and your clients can benefit when you talk to them about using landscaping to reduce crime. Here are a few key talking points to discuss with your clients. 

How can landscaping reduce crime?

Vandalism is one of a property manager’s biggest worries.

Although the landscaping might not be the first thing your clients think of when it comes to making their property safer, the fact is, it can definitely play a role.

“Your clients might not be thinking about landscaping in terms of safety, but it is beneficial to mention the potential impact to them,” says Andy McDuff, vice president of Landscape America in Wrentham, Massachusetts. “A well-landscaped property can be a safer property for several key reasons.”

Lighting enhances safety

First and foremost, McDuff says that lighting can play a huge role in deterring crime. After all, no potential thief or vandal wants to get caught in the act.

“A property that is well-lit is much safer than one which is not,” says McDuff. “When you talk to clients about landscape lighting upgrades, make sure they understand it not only adds aesthetic appeal but can make their property safer.”

McDuff also points out that properties which have security cameras installed will be able to better capture video if the property is well-lit. If it’s too dark, the cameras may not be able to capture important details such as license plate information or details about the trespasser’s appearance.

Trimming and pruning discourages crime

In terms of security cameras, keeping branches and overgrown shrubbery from blocking them is also important. It does no good if the property is well-lit with functioning security cameras, but it’s blocked by an overgrown limb. 

“Properly trimmed trees and shrubs also make a landscape more open which can create more visual security,” says McDuff. “Potential trespassers may be less likely to sneak onto a property in which they can’t hide in the brush.”

Overgrown or messy properties could even appear as though they are abandoned—or at least convey the idea that nobody is closely watching them. This can increase the likelihood of crimes like vandalism.

Talking to clients about the benefits of landscaping

All of this boils down to talking to your clients about some of the benefits of landscaping—beyond just aesthetics. So often, your clients are in the mindset that landscaping just about looks. But there are benefits that stem far beyond that. Potential crime prevention is a benefit that most clients probably aren’t thinking about.

It’s not just about maintenance, either. Even the addition of landscape enhancements like plants and flowers can have an impact. It makes the property look well-cared for and that conveys a sense that there are “eyes on it.” It’s not a neglected property where someone could sneak on with no consequences.

In fact, McDuff refers to a report out of the University of Washington which found that there is less graffiti, vandalism, and littering in outdoor areas with natural landscapes compared to spaces that have no plants.

At the end of the day, crime is a big deal on properties and anything that can play a role in reducing it is likely to be a welcomed addition. You can take time with your clients to discuss ways that landscaping can make their property safer. It might be a custom solution that is needed to get the best results.

No matter what the plan, it will mean a lot to your clients that you care about helping them to make their property safer.

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Time is running out: Plant spring-flowering bulbs now

Time is running out: Plant spring-flowering bulbs now

As the cooler temperatures of the fall season have fully set in throughout many parts of the country, the last thing that your clients might be thinking about is spring color. But now is the time to plant bulbs that will produce beautiful blooms once spring rolls around.

By adding bulb planting to your service lineup, you can offer your clients more value during their fall mulching services. It’s not uncommon for clients to forget that now is the time to install certain spring-flowering bulbs. Even if they end up being the ones that install them, they’ll appreciate your foresight and knowledge on making this timely recommendation.

Certain spring flowers mean planning ahead

A lot of people don’t realize that certain spring flowers, which grow from bulbs, need to be installed during the fall. It’s important that you talk to your clients about these choices now as bulbs need to be installed before the ground freezes. The fall weather—while the soil is still warm, but the air is cool—offers the best conditions for bulbs to become established. It also helps that the ground is still workable.

If your clients are getting any sort of fall flower installations (such as mums or ornamental kale), or they’re having fall mulching done, you can add an easy upsell by suggesting bulbs. Of course, even more valuable than the little bit of additional profit you could make will be the fact that you reminded clients about the importance of installing these plants now. Oftentimes, clients ask for these plants in the spring when it is too late. They’ll remember your goodwill in reminding them to install bulbs while they still can.

Tips on installing bulbs

Since bulbs are not yet in bloom when they’re installed, it can be difficult to get the landscape design just right. But you should follow the same general rules that you do when installing flowers that have already bloomed.

This includes grouping similar colors together and thinking about spacing.

You’ll also want to think about the plant’s future growth needs. For instance, if you are installing daffodils, which are early bloomers, you might think about which areas of the property will get the most sun before the trees have their full spring leaves.

Considering the soil conditions is also important. Bulbs prefer soil that drains well and will not perform well in plant beds that have standing water. If the soil is too soggy, the bulbs will start to rot and may never grow.

Success with bulbs definitely boils down to some forethought and planning.

What bulbs to install?

There are a lot of choices when it comes to bulbs that bloom in the spring. But some of the most common are tulips, daffodils, irises, and crocus.

You can talk to your clients about what colors or even flower types that they prefer. Many people will have definite preferences. 

Of course, it’s important to remember that many of these plants, including daffodils and tulips, can be poisonous to pets. That should also be part of the discussion if you have clients with cats or dogs who roam the yard.

Springtime payoff

By thinking ahead now, you can help ensure that your clients have beautiful early color to enjoy in the spring. As winter weather begins to shift to springtime sun, the early blooming of many of these bulb plants is always a welcomed sight. The gorgeous colors will have your clients thanking you that you reminded them to get their bulbs in now.

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What is CRM software, and do you really need it?

What is CRM software, and do you really need it?

As your lawn and landscaping business grows, you might be wondering what type of investment in software could help facilitate that growth. One such option is CRM (customer relationship management) software—a tool that helps businesses to manage both existing customer and prospective customer data.

But do you really need CRM software?

If you’re like a lot of businesses, you might have used tools like Excel, Outlook, and Quickbooks to keep track of your customer (and prospective customer) information. But as you’ve grown, you might have realized that these types of tools simply aren’t substantial enough to support your growth.

Upgrading to a CRM software

When you have a lot of clients and prospective clients, a tool to manage their data is important.

Chris Heiler, founder, and CEO of green industry marketing agency Landscape Leadership says that there are a lot of reasons to invest in CRM software. For one, piecing together what he calls a “franken-ware” solution of tools can mean that information is not easy to access and potentially lost. That’s why he feels that all companies—regardless of size—should implement CRM software.

However, Heiler says that this doesn’t necessarily mean making a huge monetary investment. In fact, the CRM software that he finds most valuable is HubSpot—and HubSpot offers a number of free CRM and sales tools.

“There are a lot of options for CRM and plenty of them are great,” he continues. “However, we feel that HubSpot offers some of the best—and many of them are completely free.”

For the sake of transparency, Heiler says that Landscape Leadership is a HubSpot Solutions partner. But Heiler says that he’d be recommending it to clients either way.

Free HubSpot tools for lawn and landscape business owners

Heiler recently wrote a blog about the free HubSpot CRM tools that he likes best, which can be read in its entirety, here. He says that a number of both “essential” and “advanced” HubSpot tools are free-of-charge and details all of them in the linked blog. These includes options like contact management (a tool to easily manage contacts and data), tasks (a tool for storing, tracking and managing “tasks” to be completed), and email templates.

“One of the best aspects of these free tools—and about HubSpot in general—is that it is all highly customizable,” Heiler says. “In working with clients in the past, we’ve found they’re frustrated over the lack of customization in the CRM system they were using.”

Heiler points out that these free tools are not a “free trial,” meaning that you can only sign up for a temporary amount of time. Instead, these tools are offered for free indefinitely—with the hope, of course, that you’ll want to upgrade to use more features.

“Many of our Landscape Leadership clients do end up upgrading to add more valuable tools or overcome limits imposed in the free version, such as how many email templates you have access to,” Heiler explains. “However, the free version is a really great place for companies to get started and ultimately grow into something larger. Having used HubSpot ourselves for many years, it’s a really effective system that can help businesses to grow.” 

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Product roundup: Briggs & Stratton unveils Ferris IS6200 zero-turn mower

Product roundup: Briggs & Stratton unveils Ferris IS6200 zero-turn mower

Briggs & Stratton has introduced the Ferris IS6200, a mower that will bring the company back into the high horsepower diesel market for the municipal/institutional and rural groundskeeping markets. Powered by a Cat 48 hp turbo diesel engine on a 72” deck, this mower can handle the toughest conditions.

The IS6200 features a 3” color display screen that maintains and monitors the performance and operation of the mower. With patented suspension technology, the mower is able to handle uneven terrain with a consistent, quality cut. This technology is similar to the shocks on a car.

It also utilizes rear swing-arms and front controls arms with large adjustable coil-over shocks to minimize caster chatter.

With the company’s trademarked iCD cutting system, every component works together to achieve superior cut quality at higher speeds. It also features a two-belt deck engineered to extend belt life and reduce downtime.

Christin Wam, director of marketing, turf & consumer products at Briggs Stratton says that early reception to the Ferris IS6200 has been terrific as it is filling a need in the marketplace.

Wam adds: “We’re excited for even more customers to see it in action at our outdoor space, booth 6500, at GIE + Expo.”

SiteOne launches new Lesco renovation products for aeration and overseeding

SiteOne Landscape Supply has launched its new Lesco renovation products including the Pro-Aer 30 and Pro-Aer 36 stand-on aerators as well as the Pro-Aer 24 walk aerator and Renovator 24 seeder. 

The Pro-Aer 30 and Pro-Aer 36 models are available both with or without a seed box and featuring a chain-free design to eliminate the cost and hassle of expensive breakdowns. They are powered by a Vanguard V-twin engine and supported with a three-year commercial limited warranty. The integrated seed box model eliminates the need for post-aeration and seed application so that projects can be completed in a single pass.

The Pro-Aer 24 walk model features dual-hydros for easy operation and increased productivity. And the Renovator 24 seeder is a productive powerseeder featuring a dual-hydro static drive and counter-rotating blades to cut through tough soil conditions.

“The addition of the new line of Lesco renovation products truly makes SiteOne a one-stop-shop for all turf maintenance and improvement needs,” said Nick Schomer, Senior Category Manager of Equipment at SiteOne. “This exclusive new line of products, combined with excellent financing options through SiteOne, offer a unique opportunity for landscape professionals.”

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