Kawasaki goes diesel

Departments - L&L Insider

February 10, 2016

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Kawasaki unveiled the diesel units of its MULE PRO series at a media event in San Antonio.
Photo courtesy of Kawasaki

SAN ANTONIO – Kawasaki is adding diesel units to its MULE PRO series of side by sides to make the series more suitable for professional use.

“I think they’re going to be a more work-based machine,” said Kevin Mann, four-wheel product manager.

Kawasaki introduced the 2016 MULE PRO-DX and MULE PRO-DXT to select media members at a ride and drive in San Antonio. The new models were not designed to be the fastest vehicles, Mann said. Instead designers focused on making them more suitable for heavy work.

“We want a machine that is very controllable,” Mann said.

Kawasaki released the MULE PRO-FX last year, but upgraded them this year in these two models with the inclusion of a 993cc displacement, three-cylinder diesel engine. The new versions reach peak torque sooner and last longer than their gas-powered predecessor. They also have better hauling and towing capacity, independent four-wheel suspension, wide bench seating and selectable four-wheel drive traction with rear differential lock, as well as a rugged chassis.

The PRO-DXT also includes a trans cab system that allows one person to quickly convert it from a three- to six-person seating configuration. The PRO-DX does not have a second row of seating, instead it has a cargo bed that can fit a standard-size pallet.

a wide perspective

We joined landscapers visiting John Deere in North Carolina, heard business tips for landscape contractors and learned about new equipment from the company. By Kate Spirgen

Raleigh, N.C. – Lawn & Landscape joined contractors from all over the country in Raleigh, North Carolina, in early December to tour John Deere’s factory, learn more about equipment and chat with landscapers about a variety of topics. Here are some key takeaways from the event:

Expect growth.

Nearly all landscapers agreed that they would be growing their businesses next year, although a few in recession-hit areas said they would be cutting back in 2016.

Parts and supplies.

Business owners want parts on demand from their dealers, and they love having parts like air filters that will fit a variety of vehicles.

Keeping track of inventory is key, said Luke Koenig of LDK Lawn Services in Overland Park, Kansas. He uses Quickbooks to organize his pieces and parts.

“I spent four hours doing the initial inventory, but I could easily spend four hours driving around town picking stuff up,” he said.

Most landscapers said they buy parts as needed but others said buying in bulk saves money and time. Almost no landscapers said they buy their parts online. When it comes to supplies, Andy Birkholz, founder of Andy’s Lawn and Snow in Lester Prairie, Minnesota, said he’s looking for someone who will come out and visit him.

2016 for John Deere.

In the spring, John Deere will be releasing vertical and radial lift machines that offer foot controls on the base models and a joystick option on deluxe models.

In the fall, all of the company’s machines over 75 horsepower will be Tier 4 Final-compliant. They will be self-cleaning with a computer that will regenerate when needed. The filters will have a 3,000-hour warranty, but the company says they’re likely to last 7,000 to 8,000 hours.

Make your crews care.

Contractors agreed that the best way to get your crew to take good care of their equipment is to make it their own.

Several said that they give employees a mower and then entrust them to keep it in good condition.

If the mower isn’t working, the crew member doesn’t get paid, so it puts the responsibility in their hands.


Keep up the good work

Reading through the “Hamstrung” issue ( October 2015). I have to take a moment to let you know that your efforts are not going unnoticed by industry folks out in the field. This issue is well put together and comprehensive, covering a broad range of issues critical to any landscape company. Kudos to you and your staff for doing a focused and detailed job, surveying managers from across the nation and compiling an essential addition to any landscaper’s library and marketing toolbox.

Lawn & Landscape is by far the best trade magazine in the nation and stands head and shoulders above any of your media competition. This has evolved under your stewardship – and you deserve the largest part of the credit, for a job well done.

Alan Burke,

Landscape architect

Classic Nursery & Landscape Company

Woodinville, Washington

Business is more than math

What an interesting article from a “numbers” guy (“Benchmark your personal life,” by Jim Huston, November 2015). I think you said what needed to be said, especially to entrepreneurial guys who, for whatever reason (myself included), couldn’t or wouldn’t work in more “traditional“ jobs. The ability to delude yourself, when you work for yourself, is one of life’s great contradictions.

Mike Matthews,

For-Shore Weed Control 

Brick, New Jersey

A reconfirmation in the industry

I want to first thank you for all you did in writing the article on me (June 2015). So many doors have flown opened since I have been on the cover.

First of all I was shocked to be chosen. I was and still am honored and proud of that cover. My self-esteem needed that validation, especially at that critical time when I thought I might have erred in trying to earn a living in this field. I have had some curveballs.

My daughter, Oni, and I have been through so much uncertainty these last four years, so it was great for her to see her mom accomplish something so profound. She was so very proud of me being on that cover. I thought she had lost faith in me as a provider after our rough patch in 2012. One year before we lost our home and possessions and retreated to an Avalon shelter, Oni had open heart surgery for an atrial septal defect.

I almost lost her at the age of 11 because it is basically undetectable. We had an angel for a doctor, who caught the defect on a routine back to school check-up that year. Everything I do today is to celebrate her life and full recovery. I am committed to ensure we will have a stable home of our own so she is worry-free about the future. I want to be able to afford paying for her college aspirations of studying animation. What Lawn & Landscape magazine did for our morale was priceless Thank you!

My school and college president, Dr. Cannon, was over the moon about having a Gwinnett Tech student in and on a national trade publication. He and the VPs of Gwinnett Tech brag on that cover every chance they get to our stakeholders, board of trustees, scholarship donors and of course, students.

They use it as a motivational tool for enrollment now and more specifically the horticulture department director, Aaron Poulsen, uses it as a milestone marker for future landscape students. The fact that I am a woman really helps with the female population that takes classes in horticulture and think this industry is impenetrable because it is male dominated. Women are making progress in this industry, so thank you for that, too.

Recently, I took a leap of faith and began In Good Hands Foodscaping, my own edible landscape business, here in Atlanta. The business’ name is a tribute to the June article title. My company is a twist on traditional landscape design and install. I co-design and co-install with my clients, teaching and training individuals and families how to maintain their bounty.

As I transition into my business, I still work part-time as farm manager at Gwinnett’s Learn-In Farm where I train the next generation of Urban Farmers.

Tracy Sewell,

In Good Hands Foodscaping 


NALP names vice president of government relations

HERNDON, Va. – The National Association of Landscape Professionals named Paul Mendelsohn vice president of government relations. Mendelsohn will oversee the expansion of the government relations program, working with Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs.

Mendelsohn has decades of experience in government relations, including positions as legislative director and chief of staff for a number of Michigan state representatives.

He also has extensive experience developing and building association government relations programs. He most recently served as vice president of government and community relations at the American Institute of Architects. “We are very excited to have Paul’s experience and expertise to expand our state and federal policy work and to help us create new ways to mobilize the entire industry,” said Sabeena Hickman, NALP CEO.

”I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to grow the reach and visibility of NALP’s advocacy program,” Mendelsohn said.

“From job creation to protecting the health and safety of the public, landscape professionals serve a vital role for our country and it is an honor to represent their interests.”

Mendelsohn will work alongside Tom Delaney, NALP’s director of government affairs, for the next few months to ensure a smooth transition before Delaney’s departure from the association.

Grow the market 2016

In 2013, we debuted our Grow the Market study in which we surveyed homeowners on why they hire and fire landscapers. We followed that in 2014 by asking property managers the same questions. Visit bit.ly/gtm2016 to read both of those reports. Next month, we’ll do another study, which will:

  • Document how landscaping influences home values
  • Assess how homeowners value specific lawn services as they relate to curb appeal and pricing
  • Gauge buying attitudes about professional lawn care services
  • Provide real, practical selling tools for L&L readers

Gachina Landscape founder dies

Menlo Park, Calif. – John Gachina, founder of Gachina Landscape Management, died in late December at the age of 64.

Gachina was a consistent, long-term contributor to California’s green industry, and was actively involved in efforts to expand and promote professionalism within the industry.

photos courtesy of Gachina Landscape

During his decades of involvement at the local and state level, Gachina played an active role in developing the now national Landscape Industry Certified Technician program. Not only was Gachina certified, but he was a tireless supporter and volunteer for CLCA certification exams.

Gachina had a long legacy of service including serving as past state chair of the California Landscape Contractors Association public relations committee. He also sat on the certification board of governors for the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, which is now the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

He owned the Menlo Park-based Gachina Landscape Management, which has been recognized on a local, state and national level with more than 165 awards for outstanding achievement including an award from the Alameda County Water District as its 2013 Water Conservation Business of the Year.

Gachina Landscape Management will remain a family-owned business led by General Manager Craig Van Dorp and the Gachina Management team.