In This Issue
Turf and Ornamental Business
A Winning Combination
Top Four Benefits of Turfgrass
Did you miss it?  
Did you miss reading about the benefits of using Hydretain during the fall? Click here to learn more! 
Ask Our Agronomist
Q:  What are the benefits of using a biostimulant, such as CytoGro, in the winter?

ACytoGro is an excellent product to use in the fall for the preparation of turf for winter for two reasons: 

 

First, university research has shown that CytoGro helps turf resist frost damage in the fall.  Turfgrass treated with CytoGro have been shown to survive frost events with minimal damage.

 

Second, CytoGro will help the turfgrass plant grow a more extensive root system that will store carbohydrates for the winter dormancy.  The greater amount of carbohydrates stored in the fall the better turf survives winter.  This will allow the turfgrass to emerge from dormancy in the spring in much better condition.


Jim is a leading and respected
 voice in the arenas of
 horticulture and soil science.  With 30 years experience as both a commercial representative, consultant and scientist, Jim lends enormous credibility to all of Ecologel's products.
 
Have a question for our agronomist?  Click here to submit it.
Conservation Corner
#6: Aerate your lawn at least once a year to remove excess thatch and help water move through the soil. Applying  Hydretain after aerating can help to protect turf from wind damage and desiccation.
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Welcome to our fall issue of Ecologel's Solutions, an Ecologel quarterly e-newsletter.  Thank you for subscribing!

 

We are excited to announce that the voting for our 2014 Hydretain Photo Contest is now open! The voting period will remain open through 5:00pm EST on October 23rd, 2014. Winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes will be determined by popular vote of the public. All winners will be announced on Friday, October 24th at the Ecologel Booth (#347) at the GIE+ Expo and online.

 

To view all entry submissions and cast your vote, visit www.hydretain.com/photos.  


 

Happy Reading,

The Ecologel Team

Turf and ornamental business 2014:
W
ere you challenged?

money_grass.jpg

As the growing season is winding down and nearing the end for most areas of the country, it is time to assess success or lack thereof. Were there agronomic challenges or, as in most cases, was it an easier than normal year? Whatever the case may be, now is the time to retool and reload for a busier and more profitable 2015.  Continue reading

For many Texas landscape managers the last few years have brought on challenges related to drought and water restrictions, but for Robert Congdon drought has not been a factor in the trials he has faced as the Estate Manager for a private, 40 acre estate in Parker, TX. The property, once home to old pastureland and a farmer's dumping ground, is now plagued by poor soils and a rocky substrate. These conditions have made it difficult to maintain green, healthy turfgrass through the heat of the summer. But this year, a new combination of products has resulted in a property that, according to Robert, "hasn't looked this good during August and September for the last 10 to 15 years."  Continue reading 

 

The Benefits of Turfgrass
house-yard.jpg
While turfgrass often gets a "bad rep" for being a water-guzzler, individuals often fail to recognize the many benefits associated with turfgrass. Turfgrass is more than just an aesthetic addition to your home value or a great place for kids and pets to play, it is also an invaluable part of the environment and the ecosystem. Here are the four top benefits of turfgrass... Continue reading

 

Upcoming Trade Shows

October 1-2 The Landscape Expo
San Mateo, CA 
October 23-24Green Industry Expo
Louisville, KY - Booth #347
October 29-30 The Landscape Expo

Long Beach, CA

November 19 Carolina's GCSA
Myrtle Beach, SC - Booth #414 
November 19-20Irrigation Association Show
Phoenix, AZ - Booth #2016 
December 9-11New Jersey Turfgrass Green Expo
Atlantic City NJ 
 
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
-Native American Proverb 
 
Full Articles
BusinessTurf and ornamental business 2014:
W
ere you challenged?

By Kevin Lewis 

 

money_grass.jpg

As the growing season is winding down and nearing the end for most areas of the country, it is time to assess success or lack thereof. Were there agronomic challenges or, as in most cases, was it an easier than normal year? Was labor or equipment the source of struggle, or maybe the still slowly rebounding economic recovery? Maybe it was just uniquely cool weather patterns with timely or excessive rain patterns that led to some projects and programs being put on hold, resulting in lower than expected jobs. In many regions, atypically mild climatic conditions gave way to great growing conditions for turf and landscape plants. Additionally, these more favorable weather patterns kept plants thriving with far less disease pressure, reducing the need for pesticide applications and reducing turf loss and subsequent re-grassing that many plan their bottom line around. Perhaps your business is relatively new, and you are looking for ways to expand. Better yet, maybe business was booming, and you are interested in the next level of service to take you to an early retirement. Whatever the case may be, now is the time to retool and reload for a busier and more profitable 2015.

 

Addressing challenges mid-season will be difficult, but as the end of the year closes in we can take a step back to determine what worked, what didn't and build from there. In some cases, the answers are right in front of us. These can range from better routing or job planning to more precise calibrations of application equipment. Of course, every year brings more wear on tools and equipment, leading to costly repairs or replacement. Or was labor the 200 pound weight holding you back from the next level? Whatever the case may be, fixing any of these problems during the fall/winter seasons will help you get off to a good start in 2015.

 

In other cases, investigating new business potential should be at the forefront of your strategy as you look to sink your roots deeper into your service area. There are a variety of opportunities that give us the potential for increased revenue, and they range from some of the simplest practices to unique endeavors designed to bolster your bottom line. Of these aspects, the most basic services to increase revenue include things like soil testing and irrigation system auditing. These tasks can be performed by those of most skill levels, require little training and can catapult your image as green industry professionals, earning the respect and trust of your clients.

 

Additional opportunities encompass techniques to increase overall plant health. Today and tomorrow's regulations and public perception on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are forcing many to investigate less invasive methods of maintaining high quality turf and landscapes. Offering services to promote plant health can reduce some of those pesticide inputs, increasing your image of environmental stewardship. Some of these ideas include: drainage installation, proper pruning for light infiltration and air flow, removal of struggling plants or turf and replacement of hardier species or varieties, adding or improving hardscape areas where traffic makes plant growth difficult, and the list goes on.

 

Lastly, offering products that help reduce water requirements while helping plants survive periods of low moisture can dramatically improve plant vigor. Healthier plants can withstand and outgrow some insect feeding, create a more competitive environment to crowd out weeds or just be stronger to resist some disease pressure. Hydretain can help with all of these scenarios while also reducing irrigation dollars and conserving water. Furthermore, there are options like plant biostimulants which will help increase root mass for better nutrient uptake and stress tolerance. Additionally there are many types of unique fertilizers and soil conditioners that can help you achieve your goals of setting yourself apart from the competition, while being able maintain and build your client base.

 

When considering ways to increase your bottom line, reach out to your local Ecologel or BioPro expert to examine any or all of these exciting opportunities!

    


Kevin Lewis is the Northeast Technical Sales Manager for Ecologel Solutions, LLC.  Kevin earned an Applied Sciences degree from Ohio State in Turfgrass Management.  As a former Class A Golf Course Superintendent (GCSAA), he oversaw all aspects of course management.  Kevin also partnered in launching a lawn maintenance company and was licensed as a commercial applicator in the State of Ohio for Turf, General Weed control, and Aquatics.  

WinningCombination
A Winning Combination
 By Sarah Spatola 
 

For many Texas landscape managers the last few years have brought on challenges related to drought and water restrictions, but for Robert Congdon drought has not been a factor in the trials he has faced as the Estate Manager for a private, 40 acre estate in Parker, TX. The property, once home to old pastureland and a farmer's dumping ground, is now plagued by poor soils and a rocky substrate. These conditions have made it difficult to maintain green, healthy turfgrass through the heat of the summer. But this year, a new combination of products has resulted in a property that, according to Robert, "hasn't looked this good during August and September for the last 10 to 15 years."

 

Robert's experience on site began over 15 year ago when he was hired as general contractor. They spent over 4 years extensively adding-on and remodeling the main house. After the project was complete, the owners retained Robert to maintain the home and outside structures. Over time, Robert's position evolved, and he is now responsible for the entire estate, which includes two houses, three outbuildings, fifteen acres of turfgrass and expansive gardens.

  

When it comes to maintaining the turfgrass, Robert's biggest challenge is caused by what's both in and under the soil. "We have a lot of areas that don't have substantial soil. Several sites may only have 4-5 inches of soil over limestone rock. Those are our biggest problem areas. The property was also old farm land and we have learned that in the past a lot of trash and debris was dumped there. We would typically have a lot of brown spots and dry areas. No matter how much water we put on them, it would hit the limestone and disappear."

 

In April, Robert began a new turf management program, which consists of regular applications of Hydretain and CytoGro along with applications of the BioPro fertilizers, EnviroN and EnviroP. Since making the switch, both Robert and the property owners have noticed a substantial difference in the quality of the landscape. "We have seen a significant change since switching to this program. The spots that normally completely dry out are much healthier and green. They stayed green all summer long. The homeowners have said that it has never looked better - it has to be the program. We were on a different program before and I am much happier with the results of this one." In addition to having happy employers, the new combination of products have also given Robert the benefit of time, "Not having to monkey around with turf and irrigation has allowed us to spend more time on other projects."

 

Beyond turf maintenance, Robert has also used Hydretain for a sod installation. "We use the Hydretain when we sodded a very large area with St. Augustine, and it has thrived." With these results, Robert intends to continue expanding his use of Ecologel products, beginning with mandatory applications of Hydretain in gardens next spring.

  

Sarah Spatola is the Marketing Coordinator for Ecologel Solutions, LLC.  After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida, Sarah joined the Ecologel team in November of 2009. 

SeedingTurfgrass
The Top Four Benefits of Turfgrass

By Kiersten Spindler

 

house-yard.jpg

While turfgrass often gets a "bad rep" for being a water-guzzler, individuals often fail to recognize the many benefits associated with turfgrass. Turfgrass is more than just an aesthetic addition to your home value or a great place for kids and pets to play, it is also an invaluable part of the environment and the ecosystem. Here are the four top benefits of turfgrass: 

 

1. Temperature Moderation 

A study performed by James Beard at Texas A and M University concluded that the "daily canopy temperature of a green bermudagrass turf was found to be 38 F cooler than that of an adjacent brown dormant turf" (Golf Course Management). This same study also noted that the bermudagrass was 70 F cooler than a nearby field covered in synthetic turf. Because of this cooling effect, turfgrass has the ability to change the overall temperature of urban areas by as much as 10-12 F. This can save energy by reducing the amount of energy required to cools homes and offices in urban areas. In fact, eight average sized lawns has the same cooling effect as 70 tons of air conditioning, compared to the average 4 ton home air conditioner unit (Ohio Turfgrass Foundation). 

 

2. Natural Filter 

Turf has the natural ability to trap and hold runoff. Without turf, the pollutants carried in this runoff, including lead, hydrocarbon, grease, oils, household and industrial waste, and more, will make their way through storm drains and eventually get dumped into lakes, ponds, rivers, or oceans. Turfgrass has the ability to catch and filter these pollutants, degrading them before they reach larger bodies of water. Turfgrass also protects soil from water erosion, as healthy roots hold the soil together. 

 

3. Noise Reduction 

Anyone who's visited a concrete jungle knows how sidewalks, asphalt, and buildings can amplify sound. In such urban areas where turfgrass is rarely seen, at times, the noise can be almost unbearable. Turfgrass has the uncanny ability to absorb hard sounds better than even gravel or bare ground. For instance, "a grass area of 70 feet distance on a roadside can abate obtrusive vehicle noises by 40%" (Beard). 

 

4. Oxygen 

We're all familiar with the grade school model depicting a plant converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Now, picture that one plant on a much larger scale. Turfgrass provides much of the oxygen we breathe on a daily basis. In fact, "a 50-feet by 50-feet area will provide enough oxygen for a family of four" (OTF). Additionally, not only does turfgrass take in carbon dioxide, it also absorbs sulfur dioxide, a compound that can reduce sunlight.

 

Turfgrass is a necessary and beneficial part of landscape. While some residents may be concerned about supplying a growing lawn with enough water, there is a misconception about how much water a lawn actually needs. Irrigating lawns only when necessary and not on a pre-set schedule allows for the development of a deep, healthy root system. Also, raising your mower height will shade soil, reducing the amount of evaporation. Finally, applying products such as Hydretain can help to reduce watering needs and keep moisture where it's needed most - in the root zone. When properly managed, turfgrass will reward you with a number of invaluable benefits.

 

 

Kiersten Spindler is the Social Media Manager for Ecologel Solutions, LLC.  She has been with the company since 2011.  Before joining Ecologel, she earned her BA in English from Barry University in Miami, FL. She is currently pursuing her MA in the same field.