Irrigation News

Best Practices for Irrigation Shutdowns

As temperatures begin to drop across the country, contractors are gearing up for another season of irrigation shutdowns. Systems need to be winterized before overnight temps hit freezing and damage may occur. From large commercial properties  to residential customers, now is the time for contractors to start planning for and implementing their irrigation...Read More

A Sprinkler Type for Every Landscape

Contractors today can choose from an array of sprinkler types to fit any irrigation need. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to irrigation components. That’s why sprinkler heads and nozzles come in many different forms: fixed and pop-up sprays; rotors; micro sprinklers; and high-efficiency, variable-arc and rotary nozzles. As Steve Jeffries, owner of B and B Sprinkler Inc., Spokane...Read More

Irrigation Efficiency

Water scarcity is a growing concern in the U.S. and beyond and is projected to become more severe. Competition for water exists among agricultural users, municipalities and industrial plants and is fueled by increases in population, urbanization of rural areas, increases in agricultural irrigation, climate change and saltwater intrusion. Currently, many sources of freshwater in the U.S. are at risk of depletion. Careful use of freshwater...Read More

Water World: Sprinkler Smarts

When an irrigation installation project popped up at Texas Christian University (TCU), Andy’s Sprinkler, Drainage & Lighting was sure to raise its hand. The multiphase job involved creating more than 100 zones that separated out beds, turf and trees while considering the area’s shady and sunny areas. To begin the project, the four- to six-person crew from Andy’s worked alongside a local landscape...Read More

Turning Conversations into Repeat Business

Jason Kopke, owner of Arizona Landshapes in Tucson, recalls an incident eight years ago, when he neglected a referral source that had kept one of his two-person crews busy six days a week. That source decided to pull its business from the company. Ouch. At about the same time, a few customer service snafus led to some not-so-nice Yelp reviews. Double ouch. As painful as both these experiences were...Read More

Less Water, More Green

There are many ways you can help your clients reduce the amount of water they use and their landscapes will be better for it. Here’s a fun fact about water: Nothing on this planet lives without it; not plants, not animals, not bugs and certainly not us humans. We Homo sapiens can give up a lot of things — smoking, bacon burgers, gambling — but there’s no giving up water. Read More

Training Techniques

As irrigation systems continue their evolution toward smart system integration, it’s important to update your staff on tech, Kelly Rozansky, partner, All Wet Irrigation & Lighting says. “Your technicians are dirt people, they’re landscape techs. Now we’ve got them dealing with smart phones and Wi-Fi passwords. You’ve got to train your techs as often as you can...Read More

Steady Flow

Dilluvio says one of the easiest fixes – but most overlooked – in maintaining an irrigation system is ensuring your clients aren’t overwatering. If they call and say their systems aren’t working properly, what could be happening is that they’ve set it to a schedule and assumed their plants would get the right amount of water that way. Read More

3 Things That Impact Precipitation Rates

In a previous article, I discussed how sprinkler precipitation rates vary between manufacturers and the impact that variability has on watering times and water use. In addition to variations between manufacturers, water managers need to be aware of three items that impact precipitation rates. Read More

Wising Up With Winterizing

If you’re a “Game of Thrones” fan, you’ve heard the ominous expression “Winter is coming” uttered many times by different characters in the show — and it never means something good is on the way. But say those exact words to a group of irrigation contractors who work in the colder states, and they just might break out in grins. To them it means “time to make some fast money winterizing irrigation systems.” Read More

Build Your Own 'Dream Team'

Ask a group of sports fans to name the best team ever and you can quickly spark a debate. Was it the 1992 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team that included Magic Johnson and was dubbed “The Dream Team?” Or was it the University of Washington men’s crew team that overcame many obstacles to win gold at the 1936 Olympics as chronicled in the book “The Boys in the Boat”? Or perhaps it was the U.S. women’s soccer team...Read More

Knowing Where to Turn

The dreamed-of day finally arrives, and excitement and anticipation electrifies the air. The couple’s relatives and friends can’t wait to see them decked out in their wedding finery. When the two people finally walk down the aisle, they, along with everyone watching, hope their union will last forever. But as we all know, marriage stories don’t always end with “… and they lived happily ever after.” The odds improve, however, if the couple...Read More

Fear is Your Biggest Obstacle When it Comes to Beating Your Competition

It is not easy to stand out from the competition in our industry of landscape, lawn and irrigation services. Everyone has access to the same tools, materials, software, marketing, etc..Therefore it’s hard to create a unique product/service, especially one that your clients would deeply desire. However, if you don’t find a way to stand out, you will sadly discover that the main thing you compete...Read More

Downtime Reduction

Having a plan in place to ensure proper preventative maintenance on your mowers, trucks and handhelds – and to have replacement parts on hand when they’re needed – is an essential step in keeping your business running smoothly. From spark plugs and oil filters for crew trucks to mower blades and trimmer heads, there’s usually a pretty standard set of replacement parts that your team runs through the most. Read More

Working With Partners, not Customers

TideWater Landscape Management has been a staple in Savannah, Georgia, for 35 years, and one of its main characteristics is its willingness to work with its commercial customers. Skip Thompson, CEO of TideWater, actually doesn’t call the companies he does business with customers, but rather partners. The way he sees it, they are giving you an opportunity to work with them, so they are a partner in his eyes...Read More

Are your crews wasting valuable time and money in the morning?

I was on my way to an appointment early one day last week when I drove by a McDonald’s and looked in their parking lot to see a whole slew of trucks from other landscaping companies. Now, this is not an uncommon sight at eight in the morning, but it never ceases to surprise me. Why? Because to any owner with an eye on the bottom line, those trucks sitting idle while work crews get their breakfast...Read More

Swimming Upstream

Just a few weeks ago, Kansas State’s Cathie Lavis addressed a room full of homeowners and contractors to give them the basics on irrigation work. Lavis says – pun intended – that she was trying to “water down” the presentation to make sure nothing went over anybody’s head. The information she shared would give them enough background knowledge to keep their lawns green...Read More

Instant Irrigation

You know who’s standing at your front door because your smart doorbell shows you. Fido won’t go thirsty because you received an alert that the dog dish is empty that triggered a refill. Your laundry is washed – the machine just texted an update to your phone. And, more good news, you saved your customers 40 percent on their water bills this year because of a smart irrigation controller with connected...Read More

Water Wise Trials

For areas prone to drought, low water use plants could provide growers, retailers and landscapers with a steady revenue stream. An uncommon and valuable trial at the University of California, Davis provides the data needed to know which plants use the least amount of water in the landscape. The UC Landscape Plant Irrigation Trial (UC LPIT) evaluates perennial landscape plants for two years and the plants’ performance...Read More

IA and Irrigation Foundation Join Forces

The Irrigation Association and Irrigation Foundation announced they are merging to strengthen their commitment to the irrigation industry. The IA will continue the work Irrigation Foundation started and increase awareness of irrigation careers, target education resources, and provide the industry with skilled individuals. For over 20 years, the Irrigation Foundation has directed workforce development...Read More 

Irrigation to the Rescue

We all remember the news reports of the devastating wildfires that ravaged California last year. Some people lost everything, their homes and everything in them, as the fires ripped through. Those were the lucky ones; many others lost their lives. Sadly, it seems that infernos like these are becoming more frequent. As sizzling summer temperatures settle in across the country, many are wondering...Read More

Creating a Culture of Safety

If someone were to ask you what core elements make up your company culture, what would you say? Would it be your firm’s commitment to the customer, passion for excellent work, competitive wages and benefits, free coffee in the breakroom? Wait a second, where does safety fall on this list? Does it even make the list? While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, how much...Read More

Two Green Thumbs Up

Brad DeCathelineau almost instantly noticed something different about the field manager working on his front lawn. DeCathelineau had previously hired two landscaping companies before to work on his residential property, but the quality in service between them was comparable. The crews would come in, do their work and leave – nothing bad, just nothing noteworthy. But a few years ago, he met Excequiel...Read More

Know Your Sprinkler Precipitation Rate

In business, PR usually stands for public relations. In the irrigation world, PR stands for precipitation rate. When you ask most irrigation professionals, “How much do you water turf in the summer?” the most common answer you will get is, “Well, it depends.” What does it depend on? “The type of sprinkler.” Very rarely do you hear, “It depends on the sprinkler precipitation rate,” because most irrigation...Read More

Drip Makes Every Drop Count

It’s a beautiful summer day, the sun is shining and the sprinklers on a lawn pop up out of the ground, spraying a lush, green lawn with droplets of life-giving water. This is what the majority of people, including contractors, probably picture when they think of irrigation. Most don’t automatically envision the more silent and stealthy method of watering — drip irrigation. It may not be as satisfying to watch in action...Read More

Make Your Distributor Your Best Ally

An irrigation and landscape supply distributor shares how developing a good rapport with yours can benefit your business. A relationship with a distributor is one of the most important relationships you will have as a landscape or irrigation contractor. Distributors are the ones who can help make sure you have the equipment and supplies you need to get the job done on time and the right way. They...Read More

What Landscape Professionals Need to Know About Heat Stress

Heat stress can be a major concern for outdoor workers, especially during the summer months. Working long days outside in the hot sun brings leaves landscape professionals at risk. Heat stress can result in a  stroke,  exhaustion,  cramps or  rashes. Heat rash and cramps are the mildest forms of heat stress. Heat exhaustion can occur when workers are exposed to high temperatures...Read More

Stop Sabotaging Your Own Good Ideas

One of the biggest challenges for any green industry business owner is learning a better a way of doing something and sticking with it. It’s always tempting to try a new approach to some aspect of our business, so we go for it. Initially, the new way works well and we implement it. We keep using it for a while, but eventually, for one reason or another we stop and go back to doing it the old way. Why does this happen? Read More

Are You Misclassifying Independent Contractors?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor will be cracking down on employers who pay workers without withholding and remitting proper employer payroll taxes. In fact, over the past year, many states have signed on with the feds to exchange information. This means if you are audited and found delinquent in your federal employment taxes, you will almost...Read More

Work to Do: Tackling the Industry’s Labor Shortage

In the face of dwindling H-2B acceptances, fewer enrollments in horticulture programs and the ongoing search for qualified workers — the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) hopes to promote the landscaping industry as an attractive career option and help add 100,000 jobs to the industry. Here, we explore how landscape companies, national associations...Read More

Smart Phone, Meet Smart Controller

Attention: Your smartphone is getting smarter. Already, the number of devices it can control is staggering. It can start your coffee maker, lock your front door, adjust your thermostat, turn off your lights and yes, even begin cooking a delicious roast in your slow cooker, all with a few taps on its screen. It’s all part of a giant technological wave that is just beginning to hit us. Read More

It's 10:00am Do You Know Where Your Trucks Are?

GPS-based fleet management systems allow contractors to keep a close watch on their trucks and the people in them. It used to be that once your fleet pulled out of the yard in the morning you, the landscape, maintenance or irrigation company owner, had to have a lot of trust. You had to trust that your drivers wouldn’t get lost, wouldn’t drive recklessly and wouldn’t dilly-dally too long at the gas station buying snacks...Read More

Incognito Irrigation

The topic of water is a hot one, especially as communities expand restrictions and homeowners look for alternative ways to keep their yards looking refreshed. If customers in your area are looking to replace sprinkler systems in their yards, it might be valuable to suggest a drip irrigation system. Unlike traditional systems that spray water above ground to keep plants and turf...Read More

Train Your Employees on Proper Lifting Techniques

Lifting or moving heavy objects such as shrubs, cement blocks or bags of fertilizer can result in injuries to your back, shoulders, knees and other body parts. The resulting injuries can be painful, long-lasting and costly. Proper lifting techniques are important. With the help of OSHA and the National Association of Landscape Professionals...Read More

New or Used?

New and used work trucks each have their perks. The perks for new trucks are that they have no wear-and-tear, no mileage and a nicer look. Morton’s Landscape Development Company in Columbia Station, Ohio, generally prefers new trucks. The company’s fleet has 26 work trucks, and only one or two of those were purchased used. Out of the company’s 10 pickup trucks, three...Read More

Water World: Balanced Approach

The Kemper Lakes Business Center is a multitenant corporate campus surrounded by 150 acres of grounds, all of which are managed by Balanced Environments. The company took over the landscape contract for the property in 2017, when a new management company took over the campus. “Irrigation on this site is crazy,” says Gayle Kruckenburg, senior account representative...Read More

Ready, Set, Go

Gearing up for the lawn care season can seem daunting. Between hiring seasonal staff, selling contracts, training crews and making schedules, it’s easy to let something slip through the cracks. But making sure your equipment is ready to start service will help you save time and money all season long. We gathered up some tips from LCOs across the country to see how they get their equipment ready...Read More

Get the Most Bang for Your Equipment Buck

The term “heavy metal” is used to describe a genre of ear-splitting, head-banging music. But it’s also a good term for describing the large equipment you must use as a contractor. Do you remember that first piece of big iron you bought for your business — that first zero-turn mower, dump truck or skid steer? There may have been some head-banging involved there, too, depending on how the transaction...Read More

Taking Wireless Into Uncharted Waters

It’s official. The future of irrigation is going to be a wireless one. Rain, evapotranspiration, soil moisture and flow sensors, and now, even entire irrigation systems have exchanged wires for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular and 900 megahertz. Anyone who attended the recent Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Long Beach, California, last December got a glimpse of that future...Read More

Don't Send Your Employees in Blind

Recently, we had a plumbing issue at the house. I began to research how to make the repair myself but decided to call a local plumbing company instead. A service technician from a local plumbing company showed up at my door. He was on time and seemed like a perfectly nice young man. He even had those little shoe covers. However, he was apparently...Read More

Detectives of Irrigation

The methods and skills required to detect irrigation system problems are like solving a Sherlock Holmes mystery. When I was in high school, I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories I could get my hands on. It was fascinating how the great detective eliminated first one possibility, then the next, and the next, until he figured out exactly what happened and “whodunit.” How, from a cigar ash, Holmes...Read More

Best Practices for Irrigation Installation Contracts

Making sure your irrigation contracts protect your business and ensure you won’t be left in the lurch should something go awry is almost as important as landing a big irrigation installation. Greg Winchel, owner of Winchel Irrigation in Grandville, Mich., knows a thing or two about securing irrigation contracts and making sure they protect his employees and his company. Winchel Irrigation...Read More

Travel & Taxes

Industry events are a good way to gain know-how, find new suppliers and network with others in the industry. Best of all, Uncle Sam, in the form of our tax laws, is willing to pick up the expense of attending many of these events — at least for some. Bottom-line, green industry businesses can deduct all non-extravagant “ordinary and necessary expenses” incurred attending business-related meetings...Read More