Wolf Creek Founder Bud Knowles Passes

Wolf Creek Founder Bud Knowles Passes

Knowles Was Entrepreneur,
IA Board Member

Charles (Bud) Knowles, founder of Wolf Creek, died July 8 at 11:30 pm in Dayton, Ohio, from complications of old age. Only six weeks before his 92nd birthday. A life well lived.

Bud is survived by his wife of 69 years, Jean Anne (Jan) Knowles; his oldest son Scott; his wife Jackie; and their children, Amanda Hamilton and Ben Knowles; along with great grandkids Harper and Hadley; his second oldest, Brooke Perin; her husband, Doug Perin; and their three daughters, Merideth, Logan, and Lily; his youngest son Chris; his wife Sue; and their two sons, Brannon and Trevor.

Early Years

Bud was born August 18, 1929, in Wichita, Kansas, growing up on a small farm with his parents, brother Dell, and sisters Betty and Nancy.

Bud graduated from Wichita State University with an accounting degree, and immediately reported for duty as a draftee in the United States Marine Corp during the Korean War, serving with distinction. He was nominated to the Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, then stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, California.

One evening at a dance at the Hollywood Palladium, he met his future wife, Jean Anne (Jan) Davidson. Jan had traveled to San Diego from Connecticut to visit friends. A long-distance relationship bloomed, with Bud making trips to meet Jan in Connecticut and New York City. They married in Connecticut in 1952 and their “honeymoon” was a cross-country drive back to Camp Pendleton.

After his time in the Marines, Bud joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Initially stationed in Newark, New Jersey, he was transferred to the Cincinnati office. Soon after he was moved to the Dayton, Ohio, office where, after a year as a field agent, he was promoted to the senior agent in charge of the Dayton branch. He was the youngest FBI agent to ever lead an office. Bud had the opportunity to meet with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and a framed autographed photo of Hoover proudly hung on his office wall until this day.

Bud knew his next assignment would be at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. He did not want to live near Washington and had become very comfortable in Dayton, so when he received his assignment, he decided to leave the FBI.

Wolf Creek

Thus, began Bud’s career as an entrepreneur. In 1961 he and Jan started the very successful Wolf Creek Garden Center. He was able to start a Saturday morning gardening talk show on the big local radio station, WHIO, and was a frequent guest on several Dayton TV shows, talking about landscaping — including several spots on the fledgling Phil Donahue show!

Bud was a builder and added many related services to the garden center business, full landscape service first, followed by an irrigation company. The irrigation business held special interest for Bud, and he added golf and agricultural irrigation and served on the board for the Irrigation Association. That board created the IA’s certification program. Bud built the largest irrigation business in a three-state area.

Bud’s success attracted the attention of irrigation manufacturer Rain Bird, who was looking to increase their presence in the Midwest. In 1979 Bud agreed to become the Rain Bird distributor. Selling off all other businesses, Bud focused on adding branches until Wolf Creek was in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Lexington.

An offshoot of the irrigation business happened in 1996. The temporary pipe used in agricultural irrigation was discovered by construction companies who needed temporary fluid bypass piping. This was the beginning of a new business called Portable Piping. Not only did the business grow to serve all of North America, Bud and key man Jim Orban developed and patented innovative fittings.

Bud’s sons, Scott and Chris, became more active in the business starting in the 70s and 80s, and eventually taking ownership by the early 2000’s. By 2002, Scott and Chris assumed all operations of the business. Sister Brooke joined the business for several years in 2007. For many years, Bud would come into the office a few hours a week to “see what’s going on” until he turned 85. On that day, he showed up, announced he was done, and cleaned out his office.

Woodworking was a casual interest that developed into a serious hobby over the past many years. Bud studied, joined groups, and earned certifications. He made wonderful furniture, including an ornate walnut desk for his wife. His granddaughter Logan caught his bug and now makes a living in carpentry.

A life well lived; Bud will be missed. As Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Visitation (4:00 to 5:30) and memorial service (5:30 to 6:00) on Wednesday July 14 at Baker-Hazel & Snider 555 Philadelphia Drive, Dayton, Ohio.

Bud asked for those inclined to send flowers to instead donate to a charity of their choice, especially those serving military, police, and children. Cards can be mailed to Wolf Creek Company 6051 Wolf Creek Pike Trotwood, OH 45426.

Reprinted with permission

Six Common Irrigation Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Six Common Irrigation Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Save Water by Avoiding These Design and Installation Errors

To err is human. But that doesn’t mean some errors can’t be avoided. Irrigation mistakes often result in wasted water, and that reflects poorly on the industry.

Here are some of the most common missteps that can occur when designing and installing landscape irrigation systems.

#1. Mixing Sprinkler Head Types Within a Single Zone

Installing different types of irrigation heads within the same zone to operate at the same time is not a good idea. The precipitation / application rates of the various emitters used for rotors, sprays, bubblers, and drip systems are entirely different.

For instance, nozzles for rotor heads have a much lower IPH (inches per hour) rate than those for spray heads. So if you install a rotor head in a zone with spray heads, you’ll create a dry spot. Then, you’ll have to run this irrigation zone longer in order to apply enough water to cover the dry area, wasting both water and money.

#2. Setting the Same Running Times for All Zones

It’s important to program the irrigation controller so that the different zone types (rotor, spray, drip, etc.) have different running times. Again, because the precipitation rates differ for the various types of irrigation heads, the operating times should also be different. A zone with 0.20 IPH heads, for instance, will obviously need to run longer than an irrigation zone with 1.60 IPH heads.


According to the experts at Irrigation & Green Industry (IGIN) magazine, it’s a good idea for contractors to periodically assess their design and installation techniques in order to avoid irrigation mistakes. IGIN suggests asking yourself three questions:

  • Am I meeting — or exceeding – my customers’ expectations?
  • Am I doing so in such a way as to maximize my own profits?
  • Am I a responsible member of my community and setting a good example for the green industry?

Whenever the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it’s time to stop and reevaluate your methods.

#3. Failing to Achieve Head-to-Head Coverage

Regardless of whether you’re using sprays or rotors, all zones should provide head-to-head coverage. That means the maximum distance between heads/nozzles in each irrigation zone should match the nozzle manufacturer’s maximum throwing distance (10 feet, 15 feet, 25 feet, 35 feet, etc.) for that nozzle at your working pressure.

Do not attempt to increase the distance between heads in order to save on design, installation, operational or maintenance costs.

#4. Failing to Match Precipitation Rates

Some irrigation professionals incorrectly assume that they should use the same gallon per minute (GPM) nozzles in every head within a zone if they want to evenly water that area. Not so. There’s a reason system manufacturers produce so many different GPM nozzles.

By matching precipitation rates of the nozzles, you can save between 10 and 40 percent of the water used in any given zone. For instance, a rotor head that covers 1/3 of a circle should apply approximately 1/3 of the GPM as a rotor head in the same zone which covers a full circle. (For a more detailed explanation, see “Matched Precipitation Rates: Key to Water Efficiency.”)

—Article Continues Below—

Common Lawn Sprinkler System Failures

#5. Incorporating Planting Beds in the Same Zone as Grassy Areas

Improper zoning is one of the most common irrigation mistakes. Grassy areas should always be irrigated separately from shrub and planting beds. Almost all landscape plants have larger root systems than grass. This means they can exist on half of the amount of water that grass requires. Separate shrub/planting zones should be scheduled to irrigate more deeply but less often as turf zones.

#6. Neglecting to Install or Retrofit Rain Sensors

A rain sensor may be a contractor’s most valuable tool for reducing water waste. (After all, irrigation should always be regarded as a back-up for natural precipitation, not the other way around.)

Since most rain sensors can save between three and 15 percent of a system’s annual operating expenses, they generally pay for themselves in less than one season. In fact, these devices are so effective that, in several areas of the country, they are required on all new irrigation systems.

Featured Image: Adobe, License Granted
Sprinkler Warehouse
Irrigation & Green Industry
Lawn & Landscape

Smart Irrigation Month Resources at Your Fingertips

Smart Irrigation Month Resources at Your Fingertips

Plan Ahead to Promote Your Business During the Industry’s Showcase Month

July is Smart Irrigation Month — the irrigation industry’s showcase month.

So now’s the time to position your business as a leader in water-saving practices by promoting smart and efficient irrigation.

The Irrigation Association offers a plethora of resources to promote your business during Smart Irrigation Month. If you’ve never taken advantage of these marketing tools, you’re missing out on effective ways to enhance your brand.

Social Media Tools

The IA has created several customizable social media tools to help you promote smart irrigation throughout the month of July. Such as:

  • Social media cover photos for your company’s profile page on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Landscape irrigation infographics and snippets for Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
  • Articles on irrigation best practices to include in your company’s monthly blog or newsletter.
  • The Smart Irrigation Month logo to include in your company’s July email campaign.

More Tips

But there’s also a host of other ways to use the IA’s smart irrigation resources to market your business as a leader in water efficiency. Here are just a few:

  • Demonstrate your support for smart irrigation by using #smartirrigationmonth on all social media on Technology Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
  • Add the Smart Irrigation Month logo to your home page, company advertisements, customer presentations, field signs and invoices.
  • Submit a press release or letter to the editor of your local newspaper, outlining how your company practices smart irrigation.
  • Partner with your local Ohio water provider.
  • Ask your local radio station to air a Smart Irrigation Month public service announcement.
  • Encourage your sales and marketing staff to participate in Smart Irrigation Month activities sponsored by dealers and distributors.
  • Host a live demonstration of water-saving irrigation technologies in the field or at your place of business.
  • Feature water-efficient products and services in your company’s displays, ads, promotions and product demos, prominently incorporating the Smart Irrigation Month logo.
  • Make smart irrigation the theme of sales calls.
  • Distribute awards to customers and/or business partners who promote water-efficient practices.

Irrigation Association
Lawn & Landscape
National Association of Landscape Professionals

Board of Directors Meeting Notes, May 21, 2021


May 21, 2021

Defining and increasing the value of OIA in light of COVID

  • Trade shows returning
  • More utilization of online presence (example: PBS documentary article)
  • Partnering with other associations to offer discounted rates (for classes, etc.)
    • Survey companies to determine their needs
    • Virtual classes would provide more flexibility
    • Roundtable discussions
  • Advocacy Day
    • Set for November 16
    • Is it cost-effective? Does not appear to generate much publicity. Last time, only four signed up. Would be cheaper for individuals to pay for themselves, or for OIA to share sponsorship with another organization.
    • Paid $1,500 last time, with room for 20 individuals; made available to every OIA member at no cost.
    • Could encourage members who should attend but don’t necessarily volunteer to do so, by placing them on a committee.
  • Green industry live events for 21-22
    • GIE in Louisville
    • Irrigation Association
    • CENTS Show (MGIX) has been dying slowly over the years. Will check with Scott on ONLA board to see what plans are.
  • Marketing OIA
    • Benefits of utilizing local association
    • OIA still owns certification modules purchased from the IA
    • Training can serve as a fundraiser
    • Wolf Creek turning conference rooms into training and tech centers. All locations should be operational by end of this winter.
    • So far, seven paid memberships through PayPal
  • Difficulty attracting job applicants
    • Could we include menu item on website that would link to different employment resources (such as Ohio Means Jobs, university horticulture departments, Workable)
    • Display posters
    • As of May 23, $300 Ohio unemployment benefit stopped; must now report on job search.
    • Promote irrigation programs to technical colleges
    • Retention is also a problem, especially since training is required; appears to be very little loyalty in the landscape industry; need to do a better job of helping staff members want to stay where they are.
    • Good webinar topic; could put it together quickly.
      • Chris will handle scheduling
      • Tom will handle section about what OIA is willing to do about job posting
      • Need OIA member to be willing to volunteer to discuss their hiring and retention concerns; provide data to Tom, who will create PP presentation for webinar.
    • With increased cost of goods, OIA needs to help contractors build price protection into their bids.
PBS Series Explores the World of Water

PBS Series Explores the World of Water

“H20: The Molecule that Made Us” Documents the Human Relationship to Water

An amazing three-part PBS series which first aired in April of 2020 is now available for streaming. “H2O: The Molecule that Made Us” chronicles the human story through our relationship to water.

The three segments dramatically reveal how humankind’s affiliation with this simple molecule underpins every aspect of our existence. Here’s a clip of the series overview:

Note: Full episodes of this series are only available to stream through PBS Passport. (See box, below right.)

Episode 1: Pulse

The first episode explores the ways in which water has become the essential force behind all life.

What Is a PBS Passport?

PBS Passport is a member benefit for PBS donors, providing extended access to an on-demand library of public television programming.

Members who contribute annual gifts of $60 or more are eligible for the Passport benefit.

To learn more, visit the PBS Passport website.


H20 has been at the heart of the human story since the very beginning, and this first segment illustrates why we as a species can no longer take water for granted.

Episode 2: Civilizations

The second episode reveals how our success as a species is intimately connected to our control of water.

However, with the establishment and growth of our various civilizations we have created a dangerous dependence on this precious resource.

Episode 3: Crisis

The final segment of this landmark series explores how Earth’s changing water cycle is reshaping everything. Water is being mined faster than it can be replaced, as the global agricultural industry converts the planet’s precious reserves into profit.

This episode also examines the deep roots that connect water security with various conflicts around the world. If we want to understand why our world is changing, we need only follow the water.

Featured Image: Pixabay