SHORT CUTS

SUFFOCATING BENTGRASS

Do your greens look tired in hot weather even when you irrigate sufficiently? The answer may lie in the soil gas profile. High temperature and soil moisture results in elevated soil CO2 and decreased soil O2 levels that can be detrimental to bentgrass on golf course putting greens. Roots need O2 for respiration and give off CO2 in the process. Gas exchange from the soil to the air must occur to allow O2 infiltration and avoid CO2 buildup. That's why soil aerification is important.

Researchers at Clemson University artificially elevated CO2 in a USGA specification bentgrass putting green to learn more about soil atmosphere effects. They found that root mass and depth decreased by 40 percent when the CO2 level was raised above 2.5 percent for 20 days, but turf quality did not visually suffer. When the soil CO2 was raised to 10 percent, visual quality became unacceptable. The researchers warned that high soil CO2 could predispose turf to other stress factors.

PGMS CONFERENCE AND GIE

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The 2002 PGMS (Professional Grounds Management Society) National Conference and Green Industry Expo (sponsored by PGMS, Associated Landscape Contractors of America and the Professional Lawn Care Association of America) will be held on Nov. 13-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. Choose from more than 60 educational sessions, expand your network, enjoy a pre-conference tour of Opryland, visit the diverse Expo and Outdoor Demonstration, learn how to become a Certified Grounds Manager and relax with peers during the society's welcoming reception (Thursday, Nov. 14) and awards dinner (Saturday, Nov. 16).

OPE SHIPMENTS UP FOR 2002

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) Economic Forecast for consumer equipment and certain commercial turf products, revised in August 2002, shows a modest increase in shipments for the 2002 model year. Although such variables as corporate bankruptcies and the Wall Street meltdown have had a negative impact on the industry, there are several offsetting positive factors such as low interest rates, low inflation and an expansionary fiscal policy.

For Model Year 2002, most products are expected to rebound but the recovery will be slow: Currently, walk-behind mowers are forecast to increase by 1.9 percent and all riding units (rear engine, front engine and garden tractor) will increase by 2.4 percent. Moreover, when compared to last May's forecast of a 4.1-percent decline for walk behind rotary mowers and a 4-percent drop for all riding units, the outlook for Model Year 2002 looks even brighter.

Adding to this good news were positive late season sales resulting from the kick-in of house building over the last two years. This was due largely to lower interest rates, which helped improve the market even in the face of drought conditions throughout the country.

NEW DATES FOR OPEI EXPO 2003

The OPEI Board of Directors announced a landmark decision to change the dates of the International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Exposition (EXPO) to October 18-20, 2003. This unanimous vote for fall dates is a radical departure for this show, which has, during its nearly 20-year history, traditionally convened in late summer. Bill Harley, OPEI President and CEO said, “This is a major decision with many positive implications and it was based on a tidal wave of concurring voices from all of EXPO's major stakeholders.”

Just after EXPO 2002, Sellers Expositions conducted an attendee survey by fax of dealers and landscape professionals with these results: 90 percent of responding dealers and 81 percent of responding landscape professionals preferred October dates. Warren Sellers, president, Sellers Expositions, said, “The results of these surveys are an undeniable mandate to move EXPO 2003 to October, and we look forward to implementing this positive change.”

MORE TO THE STORY

In response to the September article by Steven Loewen, “Loaded Questions,” Preston A. Leyshon, equipment manager for Chapel Valley Landscape Co., offered the following comments:

“You may want to make sure your readers know about exact CDL [commercial driver's license] requirements … I understand different states have differing interpretations of requirements (although they should not); however, as I know the CDL laws here in Maryland (and they should be same in all 50 states), any trailer with GVW [gross vehicle weight] of 10,001 [pounds] or greater being towed, will require a Class A license, regardless of the truck. [These weights are determined by]:

  • Manufacture weight (plate on frame, or door); or

  • Actual operating weight (actual weight of those wet leafs); or

  • Your registered tag weight (you can choose to under-tag weight on your truck or trailer, and “save money,” or you can choose to over-tag and may “not get a fine,” at scale house).

“The heaviest weight of the three is used by the enforcement agency, same for trucks.

“Fortunately, most maintenance trailers are 10,000 [pounds] and less, but we have here at Chapel Valley many trailers for use with backhoes and skid steers, which are built and tagged at 20,000 GVW. Truck wise, any truck 26,001 GVW (or truck and trailer combo) and over requires a class B license, unless the trailer is over 10,000 GVW, then it requires a class A.

“On a different topic, not addressed in article: With any CDL, [the driver must have a] valid medical card, which lasts for two years. And, if you follow the DOT Federal Regulations for commercial folks like us, all drivers with combination weight 10,001 and over, must also have a medical card.

“Now does everyone I know, follow that? No. Not many follow this, until after they get caught.”

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