Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

Phipps Conservatory Displays Vertical Gardening
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh has created a display of LiveWall green walls to showcase  vertical gardening as an option for growing local produce in urban areas. Founded in 1893, Phipps has been Pittsburgh’s green oasis for more than 120 years. The conservatory is a green leader among public gardens — widely recognized for its leadership and commitment to sustainability including environmental conservation, renewable energy, green building design, and healthy living. LiveWall, LLC is the leading designer of practical and sustainable living wall system solutions for vertical gardening. In the spring, beets, carrots, collard greens, kale, and kohlrabi grow on the green walls. Summer plantings include basil, rosemary, thyme, celery root, and various peppers. Starting in 2015, Phipps tested LiveWall Inspire Living Wall Panels alongside several other living wall systems on the south facing wall of its Production Greenhouse Facility. The standardized panels are 4-feet wide and 7-feet, four inches tall. Each has 24 molded plastic modular planter boxes. After completing initial testing, Phipps installed nine more Inspire standard panels.

Billy Goat’s Next Gen Hydro-Drive Sod Cutter Released
Billy Goat’s Next Gen Hydro-Drive Sod Cutter now features an exclusive laser clad cutting blade which provides a hardened leading edge and offers three times longer blade life. The blade has a uniquely coated edge with proprietary powder material. When tested in harsh sandy conditions, the blade showed 0.04 grams of edge loss over 180 hours of use compared to the same loss on other blades at only 60 hours of use. By retaining sharp blade edges longer, operators save blade replacement downtime and enjoy a cleaner cut, easier handling and effortless advancement.

Portland, Maine Moves Ahead With Pesticide Restrictions
A Portland City Council committee has signed off on a pesticide restriction ordinance, according to the Associated Press and WCSH 6. City officials say Portland’s ordinance would align the city with other communities around the state and country that restrict synthetic pesticide use. They say the goal of the ordinance is to reduce exposure to residents, pets and wildlife. The City Council’s Sustainability & Transportation Committee unanimously approved the ordinance after a public hearing on Thursday. It could now head for a first reading before the full council on Nov. 6, followed by a public hearing and vote on Nov. 20. The proposal would prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides except for some circumstances. It would also establish a Pesticide Management Oversight Committee to help inform the public and businesses.

Briggs & Stratton Introduces Expanded Line Of Commercial Series V-Twin Engines
Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power has introduced an upgraded and expanded line of Commercial Series V-Twin engines. The light-duty commercial line now includes nine models, ranging from 16 to 27 gross horsepower. Briggs & Stratton’s patented Integrated Cyclonic System offers air handling to help the Commercial Series stand up to demanding, high-debris applications. A rotating debris-chopping screen cuts debris into smaller pieces while a robust fan forces the debris particles down and away from the engine. The engine’s large cyclonic air cleaner filter lasts for 250 hours of operation and requires no tools to replace. In addition to enhanced features, Briggs & Stratton expanded the horsepower range to include 16-, 18- and 20-gross-horsepower models with optional rewind start.

CASE and Michigan Dealers Donate Equipment to Team Rubicon and Habitat for Humanity
CASE Construction Equipment, RPM Machinery, Southeastern Equipment, Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and Team Rubicon teamed up for a heavy equipment operator training and socio-economic improvement project—named Operation Fearless Mary—in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan. RPM Machinery and Southeastern Equipment donated the use of several skid steers and excavators, while Team Rubicon brought in 72 volunteers and 20 new members from across the U.S. for the operation. The ongoing project involves the redevelopment of the Roosevelt Park neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Slated for completion in 2022, the comprehensive renewal project required the removal of approximately 7-million pounds of debris, and upon completion will include single- and multi-family homes, retail, green space as well as a new high school that will house more than 500 students from the local community.

NALP Introduces New Company Accreditation Program
After years of development, the National Association of Landscape Professionals has worked with its contractor members to create and launch the new Landscape Industry Accredited Company designation. Just as Landscape Industry Certified is the mark of distinction for individuals – now companies can set themselves apart from the competition with this new national designation that will demonstrate your company’s professionalism.

Briggs & Stratton Launches And Unveils InfoHub at GIE+EXPO
Briggs & Stratton has developed and piloted an IoT device and web-based platform tailored specifically for business owners seeking ways to monitor both equipment and crews in order to reduce downtime and drive more revenue. InfoHub for Commercial Turf, by Briggs & Stratton, launched at GIE+EXPO, gives landscape owners and managers the intelligence they need to be smarter about scheduling jobs, preparing bids and even deploying crews and equipment. The data is fed from a cloud-based platform to the InfoHub portal. Armed with this real-time data, owners can drive more efficiency and profitability to the bottom line and make dynamic decisions to respond to uncertainties like weather rescheduling. In research conducted by Briggs & Stratton, as part of the InfoHub development process, many landscape business owners reported dissatisfaction with current data insights solutions and some even reported tracking information manually. InfoHub also provides visibility to profitability by job and by crew, so cutters can determine whether they are making money, or losing money, on a job.

Delaware Valley University Turf Management Students To Install New irrigation System
Students in Delaware Valley University’s turf management program will be getting some hands-on experience while improving their campus. On Thursday, Oct. 26, 14 students in the Irrigation Technology class will install a new irrigation system for the university’s putting green. Turf Equipment and Supply Co. donated supplies such as sprinklers and pipe for the project. Two industry professionals will visit the class to guide the students. Mike Hartley, irrigation sales manager for Turf Equipment and Supply Co. and George Ley III, president of George E. Ley Co., a company that installs golf course irrigation systems, will be working with the students. Some of the tasks include digging up the old sprinklers, cutting and fusing pipe, wiring, and using a vibratory plow to bury the pipe.

Doosan Bobcat North America Donates Equipment to Four Vocational Schools
Doosan Bobcat North America has donated seven Bobcat machines to four regional vocational schools for their service technician training programs. The training programs provide top instruction for service technicians and students on how to troubleshoot, service, repair, and rebuild compact equipment, and learn advanced equipment technologies. Multiple pieces of Bobcat equipment, including compact track loaders, compact excavators, all-wheel steer loaders and VersaHANDLER telescopic tool carriers, were delivered to the following regional training centers:

  • Conestoga College – Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • Madison Area Technical College – Madison, Wisconsin
  • Minnesota State Community & Technical College – Moorhead, Minnesota
  • State University of New York – Cobleskill, New York

Read last week’s industry news roundup: Annual GIE+EXPO Comes To Louisville Next Week