Along with July’s intense summer heat comes the prospect of seasonal drought.
In Ohio, we get more than our fair share of 90-degree summer days. These extreme temperatures and dry periods can cause cool-season grasses, such as bluegrass and fescue, to become dormant. That’s when irrigation contractors can expect to receive calls from concerned homeowners.
Have an Education Plan
The prepared contractor has a plan in place to address these customer concerns. You can help alleviate homeowner concerns by educating them on the grass germination and growth process.
Ohio’s Hottest Summer
July 1934 was the hottest month ever recorded in Ohio, setting the following heat records:
Columbus – 106° F
Bowling Green – 107° F
Delaware – 108° F
Cincinnati – 109° F
Findlay – 109° F
Chillicothe – 109° F
Fremont -110° F
Wilmington – 111° F
Hamilton – 111° F
Defiance – 111° F
Gallipolis – 113° F
About 160 Ohioans died of heat-related causes during the week of July 20-26, 1934. More recently, during an extreme heat wave in July 2019, the mercury levels climbed to 112 degrees in northern Ohio.
For instance, explain how different seeds germinate at different times, and the importance of watering longer but less often.
Your customers need to know that dormancy is nature’s defense mechanism to help plants survive tough, stressful conditions. Avoiding it completely during the dog days of summer can be difficult, but there are things they can do to help lessen its impact.
In general, lawns that have gone dormant should be left dormant until cooler weather sets in. Occasional watering will help prevent damage, but don’t overdo it. Overwatering a lawn in an effort to “wake it up,” can be very stressful to the turf.
Inform your customers that bluegrass can typically withstand about six weeks of dormancy before it suffers drought damage. Factors that can accelerate dormancy include secondary heat from buildings or fences, or south-facing slopes.
Seasonal Drought Survival Tips
Provide your customers with these practical tips on how they can mitigate the effects of dormancy on their lawns:
Grow drought-tolerant grasses. Most grasses can withstand some dormancy very well, but some grasses cope better than others. For instance, buffalo grass, fine-leaf or tall fescues, and older varieties of Kentucky bluegrass are the most drought-tolerant species found in Ohio.
Several municipalities within the Columbus metro area maintain watering schedules year-round, but particularly during the hottest months. For example:
Westerville – Addresses that end in even numbers can water grass on even-numbered days, and those that end in odd numbers on odd-numbered days. (This restriction does not apply to flowerbeds, trees, shrubs and gardens.
Delaware – During periods of limited rainfall, addresses that end in odd numbers can water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; even-numbered addresses may water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. All watering is prohibited on Mondays.
The communities of Gahanna, Dublin, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Powell, Bexley, Grandview, and Granville impose similar restrictions during the driest months.
Newly sodded or seeded lawns should not go dormant. Grass must be well established in order to survive a period of drought. Likewise, lawn that has been damaged by disease or insects does not tolerate dormancy well. It is advised that you water the lawn regularly to keep it green.
Keep turf as high as possible by raising the mowing height to 3-4 inches during the hottest time of the year. This allows for deeper root development, and tall grass dries out more slowly than shorter grass.
Understand a dormant lawn’s water needs. A sleeping lawn needs at least half an inch of water every two to three weeks in order to stay alive. If the lawn is receiving that much rainfall, then there is no need to water at all.
Minimize traffic on the lawn. Foot or vehicle traffic can kill the grass and cause bare spots in the lawn.
Once summer passes, thoroughly water the lawn to wake it up. Apply enough water to penetrate the soil down to the root — about six to 12-inches below the ground. After about several weeks of cooler temperatures and adequate precipitation, the lawn will be green once again.
The U.S. plumbing code is designed to ensure that the water delivered to an irrigation system never returns to the potable water supply. But without a backflow prevention device, problems can occur, such as the following chilling tale:
A Backflow Horror Story
In December of 2016, the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, received a dirty water complaint from a large asphalt producer. Despite flushing the property’s water main twice, residents reported a “white sudsy liquid” flowing from their taps.
Because the asphalt company had failed to install a backflow preventer on its water line, the corrosive chemical Indulin AA-86 was entering the line whenever water pressure on the property rose higher than the pressure in the main. This caustic emulsifying agent can burn eyes, skin and respiratory tracts. And 24 gallons of it had leaked into the water supply. Indulin AA-86 cannot be boiled out of tap water, so the city had to place a four-day ban on water usage until the emergency passed.
Degree of Hazard
“Degree of hazard” is a core concept in backflow terminology. It refers to the level of risk posed by a particular substance when it enters a water supply. An example of a low hazard would be food dye, which may be aesthetically unpleasant, but poses no threat to human health. Low hazard materials are also called “pollutants.”
Examples of high-hazard materials are motor oil, pesticides, fertilizers, and animal waste. These all pose a risk to human health, and are classified as “contaminants.”
Backflow incidents occur more often than you might think. That’s why an increasing number of municipalities are mandating the installation of backflow prevention devices – for residential as well as commercial properties.
Two Types of Backflow
There are two types of backflow incidents: backpressure and back-siphonage. Backpressure occurs whenever water pressure on a property becomes higher than the water pressure in the mains, forcing used water back into the system. Back-siphonage occurs whenever water pressure in the mains drops below that of the property, sucking non-potable water from the property’s water line and depositing it back into the mains.
Some backflow devices will prevent only one type of backflow, while others will prevent both.
A backflow incident involves three factors:
A cross-connection between two water lines
Hydraulic forces (either back-siphonage or backpressure
A hazard, resulting in non-potable water.
Backflow Prevention Devices
While the public will be protected from any type of backflow device on a homeowner’s property, the homeowner himself will be protected by having a separate device for the irrigation system. Without it, the property owner could end up drinking toxins or water contaminated by bacteria.
The three most common backflow preventers are:
Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB) — the simplest and least expensive device; prevents back-siphonage only.
Double Check Valve Assembly (DCVA) – prevents both back-siphonage and backpressure; good for underground irrigation systems; not rated for conditions with a high degree of hazard.
Reduced pressure zone (RPZ) – most complex and expensive device; prevents both back-siphonage and backpressure; good for conditions with a high degree of hazard.
All of these devices work to protect the entire irrigation system. A fourth type of backflow device, the atmospheric vacuum breaker (AVB), is installed on each individual zone.
Become a Backflow Tester
The Ohio Plumbing Code requires that every backflow prevention device must be tested at least once a year. If you’re already installing these devices for your customers, why not go the extra mile and become a certified backflow tester? Backflow testing is a lucrative business, especially now with increased demand for greywater and rainwater collection systems.
Backflow Training Centers
Here are the locations of Ohio’s major backflow training centers:
As America begins to normalize in the aftermath of COVID, green industry professionals eagerly anticipate the return of live trade shows.
Still, these exhibitions could look a little different this year. Here are a few post-pandemic changes which trade show attendees can expect:
There may be fewer exhibition booths, with wider aisles, to accommodate social distancing.
There may also be limited to the number of attendees for certain events and pre-registration may be required for some presentations.
Plenty of hand-sanitizing stations, and masks may be required for all attendees at some trade shows, depending on location.
Some trade shows may incorporate a “hybrid” approach, offering both physical and virtual components.
Irrigation and green industry professionals are hailing the return of two particular live trade show events, GIE+EXPO (the Green Industry & Equipment Expo) and the 2021 Irrigation Show.
Dates: October 20-22, 2021 Place: Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville KY
Touted as the green industry’s largest trade show, GIE+EXPO is more than ready to return after last year’s pandemic-related cancellation.
Warren Sellers, trade show manager, has stated that both exhibitors and attendees are clamoring to get back together in person. A recent survey revealed that 91% of landscape professionals who are past attendees are likely to attend this year’s expo.
The TurfMutt Foundation, through a partnership with the Kentucky Humane Society, will once again sponsor Mutt Madness at GIE+EXPO on Thursday, October 21, from 11:00 to 2:00.
Expo attendees can take a break from the show floor to visit and/or adopt rescue dogs in Freedom Hall. At the 2019 Mutt Madness, 15 dogs found their forever homes.
The 2021 GIE+EXPO will once again include:
More than 20 acres of outdoor demonstration area
Arborist and hardscape demonstrations
New products spotlight
Plenty of workshops and educational opportunities
Plus, new this year will be:
A UTV test track
A hands-on Drone Zone
Technology Summit presented by the National Association of Landscape Professionals
Of particular interest to irrigation professionals is the Irrigation Symposium, “Landscape Irrigation 2021: Opportunities and Challenges,” hosted by the Irrigation Association and scheduled for Wednesday, October 20. A panel of irrigation experts will share real-world analyses and solutions for the landscape irrigation industry. Cost for the session is $85 and pre-registration is required.
2021 Irrigation Show & Education Week
Dates: December 6-10, 2021 Place: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego CA
The focus of the 2021 Irrigation Show is connecting irrigation professionals with the suppliers of irrigation technology, products, and services via in-person networking. This year, there will be no keynote address or general session, and the traditional opening night reception will now be a Craft Brewfest, sponsored by Hunter Industries, on the showroom floor.
Education Week Seminars
Below is a listing of landscape irrigation seminars sponsored by Site One, which are being offered during IA’s Education Week. Click the course title for additional information.
Do the Math
The IA will be offering a FREE Math Tutorial on Tuesday evening, December 7. The two-hour intensive tutorial will provide a review of the most common formulas and calculations used when designing, installing, auditing and maintaining irrigation systems.
First, the bad news: The national Irrigation Association’s 2020 Irrigation Show, originally scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 4 in San Antonio, has been cancelled due to social distancing requirements.
Now, the good news: The educational component of the traditional Irrigation Show will be offered virtually as part of the IA’s Education Week, Nov. 30-Dec. 4. These webinars will include IA University classes normally offered in person.
Education Week Webinars
Below is a listing of the landscape irrigation webinars sponsored by Site One, which are scheduled for Education Week. Click the course link for additional information.
The IA will be offering a FREE Math Tutorial during Education Week, Nov. 30-Dec.4. The one-hour tutorial will provide an intensive review of the most common calculations and formulas used in irrigation system design, installation, audits and maintenance.
A primary component of any trade show is the social networking. To this end, the IA is continuing to work with exhibitors in an effort to offer networking opportunities, as well as to deliver information on cutting-edge irrigation technologies, products and services.
Looking for a particular vendor or product? Then check out the IA Preferred Vendor Directory, where you’ll find a list of all virtual show exhibitors and contact information. You can also peruse the various entries in the 2020 New Product Contest and cast your vote by Nov. 18 by for the most innovative products or services.
Team management will be the theme of this year’s Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA) Member Summit.
The 2019 ONLA summit is a two-day, intensive program for business owners and key decision makers.
This two-day retreat is specifically designed for owners and key decision makers who want to take their management skills to the next level and develop a productive, efficient workplace.
December 11-12, 2019
Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center
100 Green Meadows Drive South
Lewis Center, OH 43035
$399 per person, includes all meals and education sessions.
Registration: Advance registration is required!
Discounted rates start at $139.00. Reservations can be madeHERE or by calling Nationwide Hotel at 614.880.4300 and mentioning Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association.
What You Can Expect
At the 2019 ONLA Member Summit you can expect to:
Hone your leadership skills.
Learn best practices for cultivating high-performance teams.
Network with like-minded professionals and sponsors.
Get energized and motivated to create lasting, positive changes in your career and business.
Jim Paluch, President, JP Horizons, Inc.
For the past 30 years, Jim has motivated thousands of individuals and organizations across North America to strive toward excellence. He has written hundreds of articles and been published as an industry expert dozens of times.
Jim has a remarkable ability to help audiences address obstacles and discover opportunities that lie between their current state and their future desired state. His talent in facilitating a group, and creating a collaborative effort where ideas and solutions can emerge, always produces inspiring results for everyone involved.
Jon Petz, CSP
Whether he’s focusing on performance mindset, deeper client and team engagement, customer surprise and delight, or growth at all organizational levels, Jon Petz offers much more than “just” a keynote!
A former sales and marketing executive, Jon led his teams to break-away performances withing various industries and environments. Jon is an engagement and performance expert, who has delivered motivational keynote programs for world leading brands, industry and association conventions, and organizations of all sizes.
Jon has authored three books, two of which, Boring Meetings Suck and Significance in Simple Moments, hit the business best-sellers list. His work has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, ABC News, Success Magazine, and The Globe & Mail, among others.
John Kennedy, Owner, John Kennedy Consulting
For nearly two decades, John Kennedy has inspired well over 250,000 audience members throughout North America, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean with his world-class training programs.
John’s success was galvanized in the hospitality and tourism industry, as a restaurant and hotel executive with a strong sense of teamwork, sales and leadership. John’s client list includes: American Bus Association, The Baltimore Ravens, Marriott Hotels, Orvis, U.S. Air Force, Bermuda Gas, Elizabeth Arden, Taco Bell, Canada Bread, as well as more than one hundred local, state and federal government agencies and associations.