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Old 07-23-2013, 09:51 PM
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Liberty Lawnworks Liberty Lawnworks is offline
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Arrow The green industry's biggest flops/mistakes/regrets?

I thought this would be a good discussion, as in most industries, each manufacturer has one or two product roll-outs or strategies that leaves you wondering what they were thinking (i.e. 4-cylinder Camaro in the 1980s').

1.) John Deere's 800-series. As a runner-up, I might add the decision to put the JD emblem on Lowe's/Home Depot-grade junk lawn tractors and spoil a great company's reputation for quality.

2.) Lawn-Boy's discontinuance of the 2-cycle push (or self-propel) mower. These things were legendary. They could at least make a decent four-stroke push mower if the decision was really emissions-driven, but they can't even do that. The Insight series of push mowers was junk, as are the latest models that the new parent company (Toro, I believe?) is selling. Honestly, how hard is it to put a proven homeowner's grade engine on a sturdy deck with a blade under it?

3.) Stihl gas caps. Over-engineered, insufficiently tested. I'm tempted to add 4-mix to this one, as a lot of people feel that Stihl bailed out on the two-stroke market while the competition was finding ways to still make powerful, reliable equipment that met emissions requirements for people who don't want to worry about valves or making an already heavy machine weigh even more. They do make the best chain saws though, hands down.

4.) As far as the industry as a whole goes, I'm going to add the EPA's CARB gas cans. What a joke. Have the people writing the laws actually had to use one of these cans themselves? There is no reason why a simple plastic gas can in the 21st century should have safety locks or vapor control devices (unless they actually didn't cause you to spill more fuel than a traditional fuel can).

5.) Ethanol! I don't think we've seen the tip of the iceberg with this stuff's propensity to degrade engine and fuel system components, either in the green or the automotive industry. When enough people realize that it's just welfare for mega-farms in a handful of politically-connected states, we'll end this nonsense.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:39 PM
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foreplease foreplease is offline
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What a great idea for a thread! Good examples too.

Adding to your ethanol comment: I have always thought it was a bad idea to use anything from our food chain to make fuel. We can't eat the oil, after all.

I think the industry (golf primarily) jumped on the USGA sand-topdressing bandwagon too early (late 1970s) and without enough exploration and explanation of other methods. I think soils with high sand content are great but straight sand...I have tried it and am unconvinced. It is expensive to use and demanding in terms of maintaining it. I use a sand plus compost mix on athletic fields now wherever practical. I have one coming up soon that will be straight compost.

Looking forward to seeing the other examples pele come up with!
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:38 AM
Skipster Skipster is offline
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Originally Posted by foreplease View Post
I think the industry (golf primarily) jumped on the USGA sand-topdressing bandwagon too early (late 1970s) and without enough exploration and explanation of other methods. I think soils with high sand content are great but straight sand...I have tried it and am unconvinced. It is expensive to use and demanding in terms of maintaining it. I use a sand plus compost mix on athletic fields now wherever practical. I have one coming up soon that will be straight compost.
Sand topdressing and sand-based rootzones are used for a very specific purpose. The USGA Recommendations for a Method of Putting Green Construction do not call for straight sand -- they call for a rootzone mixture meeting a specific set of particle size distributions and specific physical properties. Among those physical properties is that rootzone mixtures be 1 to 5% organic matter by weight.

Topdressing with straight sand is common because sand serves to dilute organic matter in the upper portion of the rootzone, in order to reach that 1 to 5% goal.

If you're managing athletic fields, construction and maintenance standards are available from ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) and STMA (Sports Turf Managers Association). Those are different from USGA (US Golf Association) recommendations because they serve different purposes.

Trying to manage lawns the same way putting greens are managed is going to require putting green budgets and efforts.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:48 PM
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foreplease foreplease is offline
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Sand topdressing and sand-based rootzones are used for a very specific purpose. The USGA Recommendations for a Method of Putting Green Construction do not call for straight sand -- they call for a rootzone mixture meeting a specific set of particle size distributions and specific physical properties. Among those physical properties is that rootzone mixtures be 1 to 5% organic matter by weight.

Topdressing with straight sand is common because sand serves to dilute organic matter in the upper portion of the rootzone, in order to reach that 1 to 5% goal.

If you're managing athletic fields, construction and maintenance standards are available from ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials) and STMA (Sports Turf Managers Association). Those are different from USGA (US Golf Association) recommendations because they serve different purposes.

Trying to manage lawns the same way putting greens are managed is going to require putting green budgets and efforts.
Yes, thank you. I understand and agree. Typically my topdressing mix is testing out at 3-4% OM. Occasionally it contains a greater percentage of samd particle sizes on adjacent screens than what is ideal. For athletic fields it is fine and practical. Being able to provide the same mix from one year to the next has value.

Timing of sand topdressing on greens (primarily) is important, as I am sure you know. In terms of combating thatch and matching or offsetting the rate at which one's turf is producing it, as well as choosing a frequency and rate so that once diluted, OM remains in that 1-5 range requires a good eye, some good guesses, and good record keeping.

I built a good size green in my yard to USGA specs (very, very close) and maintained it for 17 years just to see if I could. Caring for it required an awful lot of time and materials - and water. Looking back at it now, I am sure it would have been easier to maintain had I used less sand. Then again, I did not need it to support 50,000 rounds a year lol.
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:39 PM
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alexschultz1 alexschultz1 is offline
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3.) I have had a hard time understanding what the engineers at stihl were thinking. What was wrong with the spin off caps??? The 4 stroke engines do build up a lot more carbon however I prefer the torque over my other 2 strokes. And sorry, husky makes the best saw, hands down
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:54 PM
Armsden&Son Armsden&Son is offline
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I don't put oil in my stomach so why would I put corn in my Lawnmower!!!!!!!!!! And..... great point about the gas cans.... I am lucky enough to have very generous In-Laws who bequeathed some oldies but goodies to me.. Here's another one that I know I will get slammed for but here it goes...... STANDERS????????????? Why? Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful standers on the market that give great cuts, Wright and Gravely come to mind. But why? In all honesty(and I have done extensive research on the subject being in the industry for over 15 years) the only thing a stander does better than a rider is mow hills. And the only thing a stander does better than a walk-behind is give you a ride(sulky..... duh!) Yeah, I guess they free up a little bit of space on the trailer but enough to take the industry by storm? I mean, come on! Listen to this quote from the May/June issue of one of my favorite magazines, Green Industry Pros..... "Campbell is also seeing strong acceptance of the stand-on concept among his younger customers. To them, standing up is something different and "cool." And because these younger contractors are still relatively new to the business, they aren't as stuck on the idea of sit-down mowing." Huh? Sorry, but I don't care what age somebody is..... Productivity and comfort are paramount when mowing all day and just like "The Twindstorm Dually"......... This FAD will surely pass......
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:01 AM
kawakx125 kawakx125 is offline
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Originally Posted by Armsden&Son View Post
I don't put oil in my stomach so why would I put corn in my Lawnmower!!!!!!!!!! And..... great point about the gas cans.... I am lucky enough to have very generous In-Laws who bequeathed some oldies but goodies to me.. Here's another one that I know I will get slammed for but here it goes...... STANDERS????????????? Why? Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful standers on the market that give great cuts, Wright and Gravely come to mind. But why? In all honesty(and I have done extensive research on the subject being in the industry for over 15 years) the only thing a stander does better than a rider is mow hills. And the only thing a stander does better than a walk-behind is give you a ride(sulky..... duh!) Yeah, I guess they free up a little bit of space on the trailer but enough to take the industry by storm? I mean, come on! Listen to this quote from the May/June issue of one of my favorite magazines, Green Industry Pros..... "Campbell is also seeing strong acceptance of the stand-on concept among his younger customers. To them, standing up is something different and "cool." And because these younger contractors are still relatively new to the business, they aren't as stuck on the idea of sit-down mowing." Huh? Sorry, but I don't care what age somebody is..... Productivity and comfort are paramount when mowing all day and just like "The Twindstorm Dually"......... This FAD will surely pass......
I am going to have to disagree with this one...standers are much more compact and lighter than a rider, and offer full view of the deck when mowing. I can duck under trees, get closer to obstacles, and turn around in smaller spaces. They are just as productive, if not more, on everything but very large, open properties. Standers are actually very comfortable, my back doesn't hurt after a full day on one. If i need to pick something up or get into trouble, i can just step off. Walk behinds are king of hills, no question about that, but they are slow. All 3 have their place in the industry, and for 90% of my mowing the stander is the way to go
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Old 02-25-2014, 08:31 AM
ExmarkBoy ExmarkBoy is offline
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Originally Posted by kawakx125 View Post
I am going to have to disagree with this one...standers are much more compact and lighter than a rider, and offer full view of the deck when mowing. I can duck under trees, get closer to obstacles, and turn around in smaller spaces. They are just as productive, if not more, on everything but very large, open properties. Standers are actually very comfortable, my back doesn't hurt after a full day on one. If i need to pick something up or get into trouble, i can just step off. Walk behinds are king of hills, no question about that, but they are slow. All 3 have their place in the industry, and for 90% of my mowing the stander is the way to go
Exactly! I've demoed a stander, and as soon as I can afford it, I'm switching from my Lazer to a Vantage. It's WAY more comfortable. A lot more efficient, too, for residential.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:36 PM
JoeandTob JoeandTob is offline
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  #10  
Old 10-30-2013, 11:57 AM
PenningsLandscaping PenningsLandscaping is offline
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Originally Posted by Armsden&Son View Post
I don't put oil in my stomach so why would I put corn in my Lawnmower!!!!!!!!!! And..... great point about the gas cans.... I am lucky enough to have very generous In-Laws who bequeathed some oldies but goodies to me.. Here's another one that I know I will get slammed for but here it goes...... STANDERS????????????? Why? Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful standers on the market that give great cuts, Wright and Gravely come to mind. But why? In all honesty(and I have done extensive research on the subject being in the industry for over 15 years) the only thing a stander does better than a rider is mow hills. And the only thing a stander does better than a walk-behind is give you a ride(sulky..... duh!) Yeah, I guess they free up a little bit of space on the trailer but enough to take the industry by storm? I mean, come on! Listen to this quote from the May/June issue of one of my favorite magazines, Green Industry Pros..... "Campbell is also seeing strong acceptance of the stand-on concept among his younger customers. To them, standing up is something different and "cool." And because these younger contractors are still relatively new to the business, they aren't as stuck on the idea of sit-down mowing." Huh? Sorry, but I don't care what age somebody is..... Productivity and comfort are paramount when mowing all day and just like "The Twindstorm Dually"......... This FAD will surely pass......
I used a stander a few months ago and will never get on one again. It was a piece. I just think if you're looking to increase productivity buy a ztr. I'm going to stick to a hydro walk behind with sulky based fleet. Lawns here are too small for z's, and even the big ones, that are few and far between, can easily be done with walk behinds. If rather buy a exmark 60" turf tracer with a proslide to get those big lawns done quicker than spend twice as much on even a 54" ZTR that sits in the trailer most if the day.
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