June 2024

COVER STORY – 2024 Chain Saw Annual

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – As seems to be the norm the last few years, the weather across the country has been unpredictable, but one thing is for certain, spring is definitely in the air and grass is definitely growing int he Deep South. For Alabama’s Lewis Lawn, no one is sitting still and it is just getting started.

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POWERLINES: Here We Go Again...Maybe?

Article by Jessica Johnson, Managing Editor, Power Equipment Trade

I don’t know why, but for some reason it seems that we as an industry are constantly fighting an uphill public relations battle with the public in some sort or fashion. The bad-for-the-environment lobby is always coming after gas-powered equipment and tools. The emergence of battery-powered options that can directly compete with the performance of gas, though, are helping silence that noise.

And of course, speaking of noise, elsewhere in this issue is a report on a team of engineering students out of Johns Hopkins University who tackled the granular details of leaf blower noise. Their findings led to a patent that has since been purchased by Stanley Black & Decker. As an industry we continue to innovate and make strides to protect not only the living landscape but also the people who are taking care of it.

Which is why, when I saw a recent Axios article out of Richmond, I—as we say in the South—almost lost my religion. Apparently there is a popular hashtag on social media: NoMowMay. Essentially, the campaign spread widely in recent years, urging people to stop cutting their grass for the month in an effort to boost habitat and food for bees and other pollinators.

Shockingly, scientists are now saying the mowing hiatus doesn’t actually help bees all that much and could ruin your lawn. Go figure! An academic study supporting the theory that a month off from mowing helps bees was actually retracted in 2022.

The cities that pushed this silly concept are also backing away from the trend, too. Des Moines dropped the program after just one year. The reason? They got hundreds of tall grass complaints.

In Virginia, timing is the main issue for NoMowMay, saysVirginia Tech turf specialist and associate professor of agriculture Mike Goatley. He tells the Virginia Cooperative Extension that dandelions and clover, which would be the primary pollen sources for bees if you let your lawn go, actually peak in April in Virginia.

Who would have guessed, the people who actually pay attention to landscapes actually know when to mow the grass, and when you can slack off. It is not like the industry has been answering these questions for years as it is already, huh?

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