“Green” means several things to a grounds manager. It's the color of the grass, leaves, and other growing things. It refers to the growing movement to protect the environment. And, it's the color of money—something of which there's never enough.
Good grounds managers can juggle all these things, and more, while making the most of resources. One way is by using versatile, efficient equipment.
Attachments can turn a single machine into a veritable Swiss Army Knife of functionality. Some mowers can be fitted with a number of tools. The mowing deck can be replaced with various implements. So there's only one engine to maintain, and the vacuum collection systems, edgers, turbine blowers, aerator, sprayers, and snow-removal systems keep equipment productive in every season.
High-tech tools are becoming part of a grounds manager's arsenal. GPS also is getting more popular with grounds maintenance crews. Systems record where herbicides have been applied, in what volume, the target, and rates. This avoids missed areas or duplicate applications.
Departments also purchase equipment that reduce manpower requirements. “When we purchase mowers,” says Ray Olsen, director of public works for South Brunswick Township, N.J., “we select larger cutting models, where only one man is required to operate.”
Grounds managers also benefit by networking and sharing ideas with peers, researchers, and educators. Collaborating can turn a solid program manager into an industry leader.
Bull Hog attachments can be connected to a skidsteer or excavator, drawing power from the machine's hydraulics. The mulchers can be used to clear invasive plants, clear brush, groom trails, prepare no-till planting sites, and manage roadside vegetation. The maximum cutting widths of the various models range from 34 to 117 inches. Fecon Inc. www.fecon.com..
Turf establishment method
GreenArmor offers a more effective, less expensive alternative to riprap, concrete, and other hard materials. The system combines a turf reinforcement mat with flexible growth medium to protect sloped surfaces from hydraulic lift and shear forces, and to encourage rapid turf establishment and long-term reinforcement. Profile Products LLC. www.profileproducts.com..
Effective in managing tall-growing grasses, Journey herbicide can be used in a broad range of vegetation management applications, including weed control, grass release, and seedhead suppression. It offers residual control that can help the establishment of desirable, low-growing grasses such as bermudagrass. BASF Corp. www.basf.com..
Versatile brush chipper
The Tornado 15 can chip wood as big as 15 inches in diameter, or process piles of tree trimmings. Its standard reversing automatic feed system lets the operator easily stop the feed system and move material away from the drum; this enables the chipper to get back up to full speed quickly, which increases the unit's fuel economy and productivity. Morbark Inc. www.morbark.com..