Grand Winner and Irrigation Components/Systems Category Winner

Grounds Maintenance announces the results of its second annual Innovative Product Award competition. The Grounds Maintenance Innovative Product Award honors excellence in new product development in the golf and green industries. This prestigious award showcases the most innovative product introduced after September 1, 2004, and recognizes the talent and commitment of the people involved in every aspect of development, from concept through sales. The awards were given to inventive products that ensure professional grounds managers are able to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Grounds Maintenance is proud to bestow the Innovative Product Award Grand Winner to Rain Bird Corporation, for the Pressure Regulating Filter, which also won the Irrigation Components/Systems Category. This award, as well as the following Category Winners, were selected by Grounds Maintenance subscribers. For those subscribers who participated by voting, thank you from the editorial staff at Grounds Maintenance.

Providing contractors and specifiers with the market's only one-piece filter pressure regulator, Rain Bird Corporation's Pressure Regulating (PR) Filter simplifies installations and offers users unmatched durability. Combining two parts into one compact unit simplifies the design and installation process by reducing the number of parts and connections, which also increases its reliability because there is less risk of leaking at the time of installation as well as over the life of the system.

In addition, the two-piece, compact PR Filter Control Zone Kit comes fully assembled, reducing installation and maintenance time and making each job easier and less expensive. Awareness for this new product is very high because Rain Bird is already in the market with filters, regulators and Control Zone Kits.

Responsible for the development of this product are Janet Reilly, marketing manager and project manager; Kirk Allen, lead project engineer; Ray Feith, senior designer; John Thompson, senior principal engineer; John Buiatti, senior manufacturing engineer; Samir Shah, engineering manager; and Dave Laybourn, current product manager. Seeing the need to reduce the size of the filter and pressure regulator that are needed for a drip irrigation zone, they wanted to show contractors that when installing drip irrigation, they can dig smaller and fewer holes for the valve boxes. The Pressure Regulating Filter is offered with a low flow valve as a Drip Control Zone Kit. Also, the new kit has only two parts, instead of the traditional three parts needed (valve, filter and regulator). Because of the two parts, there is less chance of a leaky connection and the kits come pre-assembled.

“With one less part to assemble, the new zone kits are a definite time and space saver during installation. During operation, they are proven to be trouble free. This has resulted in faster production rates and less callbacks for [my company],” said Al Luchterhand, owner of Sun City Landscapes, Inc., Las Vegas, Nev.

“This is a great product that will ease my installations. It will even fit in a 10-inch round (valve box),” said Mike Scheck, design/build contractor of Naturalistic Gardens, Alpharetta, Ga.

Rain Bird has been in business since 1933.

Cultivators Category Winner

TurnAer 4 Aerator, Turfco Direct, Minneapolis, Minn.

Turfco Direct has once again raised the bar for aerator maneuverability and ease-of-use with its TurnAer 4 model.

The TurnAer 4 features Turfco's Diff-drive with dual braking action, which allows aerator turning without stopping, with the tines in the ground. In tests, the Diff-drive system increased productivity by up to 30 percent when compared to conventional aerators.

The TurnAer 4 handles much like a trim mower, allowing unsurpassed mobility when aerating around landscaping features. Plus, because less lifting is involved, operators can productively aerate for longer periods of time.

The TurnAer design was developed with the input of Turfco's professional landscape customers nationwide. Because customers work directly with the manufacturer at Turfco Direct, their needs helped shape the performance criteria for the TurnAer. Since no test conditions can truly mimic real-world commercial use, this customer testing and evaluation process helped speed the TurnAer 4 through prototyping and into production, allowing Turfco Direct to quickly offer this aeration innovation to all of its customers.

The TurnAer is innovative because it dramatically reduces the time and effort associated with turf aeration. Unlike traditional walk-behind aerators, the TurnAer allows corners to be turned with the aeration tines in the ground, which greatly increases aeration speed and worker productivity. Plus, because customers deal directly with the manufacturer with Turfco Direct, they are supported by a team whose singular focus is meeting their renovation equipment needs.

Fungicides Category Winner

Heritage TL, Syngenta Professional Products, Greensboro, N.C.

Syngenta has developed a liquid formulation of its leading strobilurin fungicide — Heritage — exclusively for the turf market. Heritage TL offers control of the same turf diseases as the original Heritage WG formulation, but with enhanced efficacy and application flexibility.

Research shows Heritage TL has a faster uptake into the leaf, coupled with more uptake from the roots and subsequently greater delivery of active ingredient into the leaves. Heritage TL controls the toughest turf diseases, including anthracnose (preventive only,) Pythium, fairy ring, snow mold, and brown patch.

Heritage is the only systemic strobilurin available to the turf market, resulting in up to 28 days of outstanding preventive control. In addition, Heritage TL has tank-mixes easily with other products, has no odor, mixes clear into solution, and won't clog tanks and spray equipment.

Joseph DiPaola, Ph.D., golf market manager and Dave Ross, Ph.D., technical manager of Syngenta Professional Products and Victor Lo, Ph.D., senior staff chemist, Syngenta Crop Protection are responsible for the development of Heritage TL.

Heritage TL required nearly three years of development, and a significant investment of finances and Syngenta's global resources and expertise.

Syngenta employs 19,000 people in 90 countries. Corporate head-quarters for Syngenta is located in Basel, Switzerland. NAFTA headquarters for Syngenta is located in Greensboro, N.C.

Hand-Held Equipment Category Winner

HT2510 Hedge Trimmer, Shindaiwa, Inc., Tualatin, Ore.

The Shindaiwa HT2510 hedge trimmer is powered by a high-torque 1.1-horsepower, 24.5cc-engine and is designed for the demanding commercial market. The Shindaiwa HT2510 features excellent balance from blade tip to rear handle and operates in all positions, all day long.

The HT2510 features the patented Shindaiwa C4 Technology engine — an innovative design crossing the lightweight, high torque, multi-position 2-stroke and the low noise, reduced gas emissions, and improved fuel economy of the 4-stroke.

The pan-Pacific Shindaiwa engineering team located in Hiroshima, Japan and Tualatin, Ore., is responsible for the development of this product, as well as a legion of field testers around the U.S. Shindaiwa routinely solicits customer input for new products during the developmental stage. An important component is the rigorous field testing of new models resulting in superior Shindaiwa products on the market today.

“Impressive” and “Excellent quality” are a few of the responses received from customers regarding the Shindaiwa HT2510 hedge trimmer. Customers especially rave about the tremendous power-to-weight, excellent balance, low noise, self-adjusting and durable StaySharp chrome-plated blades, and the super fast blade speed.

Herbicides Category Winner

Surge Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf, PBI/Gordon Corporation, Kansas City, Mo.

Surge Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf is the first product for turf managers containing the protox inhibitor sulfentrazone. Sulfentrazone provides a different mode of action with a fast visual response (fastest available in a water-based amine). Weeds turn brown, dry up and blow away within a few weeks. This quick visual response lets contractor clients know that their weeds are dying — quickly — reducing call-backs. Formulated with phenoxies for broad-spectrum control, Surge not only controls many difficult warm-weather weeds such as spurge and knotweed, it also suppresses yellow nutsedge. Low odor Surge is designed for use by professional grounds managers and contractors.

Over ten years of testing formulations to find the optimum product ratios and almost three years of pending EPA registration time went into developing Surge by Formulations Laboratory Personnel and Research and Development Team Personnel.

Surge Broadleaf Herbicide is innovative because of its a fast visual response. Weed control activity is quickly visible allowing lawn care professionals and landscape clients to see that their weeds are dying, which eliminates many call backs for contractors.

PBI/Gordon Corporation has been in business since 1947 and employs 250 people.

Insecticides Category Winner

Allectus, Bayer Environmental Science, Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Allectus insecticide from Bayer Environmental Science combines the power of two industry-leading insecticides to give lawn care professionals and golf course superintendents unprecedented control of all major insect pests both above and below the surface, with a single product. With the unique combination of active ingredients, imidacloprid and bifenthrin, Allectus delivers a one-two punch that produces highly effective preventative and curative control and is the only broad-spectrum insecticide to control pests both above and below the surface. One application provides up to 12 weeks of residual control; two applications give season-long protection. Allectus is available in granular and liquid formulations.

Responsible for the development of this product are Dr. Nate Royalty, technical development manager, insecticides, and Dr. Mike Ruizzo, former business manager, insecticides, and current national account manager, Bayer Environmental Science, in partnership with researchers from FMC.

Customers are finding all sorts of uses for Allectus. There are reports of great ant control on golf greens and tees, outstanding chinch bug control in Florida and overall excellent control of the normal white grub and surface feeder pests — in both golf and lawn care. This product offers maximum flexibility in application timing and the greatest operational efficiency by reducing two applications to one.

Mowers (Contractor/Institutional) Category Winner

Rear-Discharge Deck, Hustler Turf Equipment, Hesston, Kan.

The Hustler Rear-Discharge Deck features a counter-rotating RH blade that produces excellent clippings distribution that is better than any competitive rear-discharge deck. The unit spreads clippings across entire width of cut. Dual-trim capabilities are included for increased productivity and safety.

The front wall of deck is adjustable to allow for better and quicker cutting in rough-cut applications and taller grasses such as Bahiagrass. The deck is noticeably quieter in operation. Rear discharge technology requires less horsepower to operate because clippings are not being passed from one blade to the next. Rear-discharge decks are available for select Hustler Super Z and the Super Z Diesel units.

Counter-rotating RH blade improves the quality of the discharge pattern. Front wall of deck is adjustable to fit mowing conditions from rough cut to fine cut.

Hustler's engineering department decided to adapt rear-discharge technology to the Super Z mowers. Hustler has been in business for 45 years and it employs 375 people.

Seed Establishment Systems Category Winner

Sea Spray, Turf Seed, Inc., Hubbard, Ore.

Sea Spray is the industry's first commercially available variety of seeded Seashore Paspalum. Turf-Seed, Inc. spent years developing a viable seed-yielding cultivar in volumes sufficient for commercial use, resulting in a variety that grows into a dark-green, low-mowing, salt-tolerant turf. It can be irrigated with effluent water, is ideal for temperate-to-hot and humid coastal climates, and provides excellent drought tolerance and good shade tolerance. It also can be used to clean up polluted or contaminated waters or soils, and to transition into wetland sites or other environmentally sensitive areas, minimizing the potential for point and non-point source pollution or contamination.

Prior to Sea Spray, the variety was only available as sod, sprigs, stolons or plugs making it expensive to establish. With the introduction of Sea Spray, turf managers now have a more economical solution to establishing seashore paspalum. Seed also enables overseeding to be successful and makes established paspalum easy to repair.

The variety has extreme salt tolerance and the ability to thrive in temperate to hot, humid coastal climates. Sea Spray prefers soil with moderate to high salinity with a pH range of 4.5 to 9.0. It is designed for use on turfgrass areas irrigated with effluent water or those that are subject to naturally high saline conditions.

In addition to excellent tolerance to saline or recycled water, Sea Spray also affords excellent drought tolerance and should be watered only on an as-needed basis after establishment.

Sprayers/Spreaders Category Winner

Turbo TeeJet Induction (TTI), Spraying Systems Co., Mobile Systems Division, Wheaton, Ill.

The new Turbo TeeJet Induction (TTI) spray tip from TeeJet Spray Products provides excellent drift resistance without compromising spray pattern distribution. Ideal for use in areas near residential property, open water or other susceptible plants, the TTI utilizes a unique pre-orifice design to control drift. Smaller droplets in the spectrum are eliminated and large, air-filled drift resistant droplets are produced. Other TTI spray tip features include a wide-angle flat spray pattern, excellent spray distribution, economical polymer construction, quick removal of the pre-orifice for easy cleaning/inspection and a wide range of capacities.

The main people responsible for the product development of the TTI were Gary Paulsen, Steve Pearson, Marc Arenson and Eric Greenawalt.

After extensive evaluation of two previous nozzle designs, being the Turbo TeeJet and the AI (Air Induction TeeJet), the engineers at Spraying Systems Co. took design features from both nozzles and combined them into the TTI. The main goal of the TTI was to meet and exceed the very stringent drift regulations in Europe and other parts of the world. A large number of designs were considered and tested before finally getting the desired results. Extensive distribution and drop size analysis were performed on these designs to maximize the nozzles performance. Evaluation of flow paths, venturi effects and atomization characteristics were all part of developing the TTI nozzle and after several years of work the TTI has come to fruition.

Miscellaneous Category Winner

Futerra F4 Netless, Profile Products LLC, Buffalo Grove, Ill.

Erosion control blankets control erosion and enhance seed germination for slopes, walkways and athletic fields. However, their netting and threads pose environmental and safety hazards by ensnaring maintenance equipment and entrapping wildlife.

Until now. Profile Products' Futerra F4 Netless Revegetation and Erosion Control Blankets have eliminated nets and threads posing these hazards. F4 Netless weighs 30 percent less than alternative ECBs and has the highest germination rate. With 98 percent erosion control effectiveness, F4 Netless assists with Phase II compliance by bonding to soil surfaces, preventing washouts and seed migration for up to one year, and is easy to install.

Marc Theisen and Kevin Spittle recognized the need for a netless erosion control blanket that eliminates the negative environmental, aesthetic and maintenance impacts of nets and threads that can entangle plants and animals or snare maintenance equipment.

Customers like the fact that they no longer have to pick up the blanket to mow because of the nets. They also like that these lighter, F4 Netless blankets are easier to install. In addition, because of the high environmental standards that exist today, our customers like that Futerra F4 Netless blankets are the right things to use for the environment.

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