Times are changing...sort of

There's a cliche, that you've probably heard. It goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." I guess there's truth in that saying, because here at Grounds Maintenance, things are changing. But they're also staying the same. And, I hope you'll agree, that's a good thing.

Dr. Mark Welterlen, after 12 years as editor and then editor-in-chief, is handing over the reigns. This isn't exactly a farewell tribute, though, because Mark will continue his involvement with GM as its new publisher. Though Mark's role will change, GM can still take advantage of his unparalleled understanding of the grounds-care industry.

To regular GM readers, I probably don't need to introduce myself. For nearly six years, I've served on GM's editorial staff, first as technical editor, then as executive editor. Needless to say, I'm excited to become editor. But one thing makes me especially happy: I don't have to give you that little speech. You know...the "I'm really looking forward to learning about your industry" speech. That's because grounds care was my line of work long before I came to GM. I have worked at various times as a park horticulturist, a licensed pesticide applicator and advisor, and even a mowing-crew member (I won't say how long ago that was!). I worked in this field for the same reason I studied it in college--it's what I love. I feel privileged now to serve this industry as GM's editor.

Our mission at GM has always been to provide the best practical information available to the turf and landscape industry. No one understood how to do that betterthan Mark, and if I merely continue that tradition, I'll be successful. But as we all know, this industry is rapidly evolving. Grounds care isn't static, and GM won't be either. Except for one thing. I'll never forget why you read GM--for "how-to" information you can put to use in your operation.

Change also is a key aspect of this issue, which focuses on establishment. Nowhere has change been more apparent than with turfgrass varieties. In fact, it's a turfgrass breeders' job to create change. Their success is obvious if you compare early turfgrass varieties with today's elite types. But as you'll see in our feature, "Seeds of Change" (page 14), the best is yet to come. One of the true pioneers in turfgrass breeding, Dr. C. Reed Funk of Rutgers University, discusses the early work in turfgrass breeding that led us to the present. Another notable figure in the turf industry, Kevin Morris, executive director of the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), takes us into the future, examining where current breeding programs are headed and the factors that are likely to drive future development.

One of the most common tasks in landscaping is planting trees. The basic idea--dig a hole and drop the plant in--hasn't really changed. But the equipment that landscapers use to perform this task has. Increasingly, the landscape industry is taking advantage of powered augers. Tight labor supplies have forced operators to look for more efficient ways to perform the tasks, and powered augers provide a means to mechanize that most-basic of landscape jobs--digging holes. Learn more about augers in this month's Equipment Options (page 34).

Augers may do a great job of digging holes in which to plant trees, but there's a lot more to transplanting than digging holes. When I worked as a park horticulturist, I had the task of transplanting a dogwood growing in our nursery to a spot outside the park department office. To preserve as much of the root system as possible, my coworker and I proceeded to dig an enormous root ball. After meticulously wrapping and tying it in burlap, we discovered we were unable to lift it. It was too heavy! Some rope, a pickup truck and a hydraulic lift got the tree moved. But not without doing so much damage that we'd have been better off digging a smaller root ball in the first place. Miraculously, the tree survived. Learn the right way to transplant a tree in this month's "How to" (page 28), by Patrice Peltier and Dr. Gary Watson, of the Morton Arboretum (Lisle, Ill.).

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