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New in the John Deere were the new A40 and V40 PrecisionCore Aerators. Both are 40" engine-driven core aerators, with the V40 having an additional verticutter as standard equipment.
The chassis on these units articulates up and down at a center pivot point to ensure the tines are kept vertical and at a consistent depth on undulating turf. Magnetic tine holders enable quick interchange of tines without special tools.
The hydrostatic transmission can be shifted on the fly to change the hole spacing as conditions require, such as tighter spacing on walk-off areas but wider spacing on less highly-trafficked areas. Coring spacing is adjustable from 1 to 3 inches in 1/4" increments. Coring depth is also adjustable up to 4" deep, in 1/4" increments.
(The yellow arrows on the above photo point to an illustration of how the coring tines are kept vertical
and at a consistent depth on undulating terrain.)
A tight turning radius reduces time for making the next pass, adding to improved productivity. A 9-gallon (US) fuel tank enables all-day use, while a low-fuel protection system disables the coring head so the machine will not run out of fuel on a green.
This was the "year of the greensmower brush" at GIS in San Diego... or at least it seemed. Many different models and styles, more for walkers than triplexes.
The most interesting (and best built) triplex brush that we saw was the new one from Turfline/True-Surface. It will likely be among the most expensive too.
It's of all aluminum construction for no-rust durability and ease of maintenance, and is very solidly built (the hard plastic brush holders in the photo above will be changed out to aluminum). John Humphrey, president of Turfline, said their main design criterion was to give superintendents flexibility to adjust the brush to their specific needs.
Rather than one solid brush, it's in three sections for flotation. Not a big deal if your greens are flat. Down pressure is adjustable by adding or removing springs to each of the three units.
Brush composition/stiffness/aggressiveness can be altered by sliding up to five brush "strips" or inserts into the side of each brush unit. They are reversible should they become worn in one direction. The photo below shows three brush inserts. Two additional ones could be inserted in the spaces between. The inserts are different colors for different stiffnesses.
Turfline is manufacturing all of the components themselves in their factory in Missouri. I believe they are close to finalizing design components for production.
The Underhill booth is a sure bet to find some innovative products new to the turf market. This year didn't disappoint.
The RainPro shower nozzle for soaking turf or other landscape areas has a solid brass nozzle design and a rubber bumper for nozzle protection.
The DrainBlaster is a hose-end, high pressure nozzle that guides itself in cleaning out drains. It includes a wire attachment connector for using a wire locator to determine the draining route.
The SuperKey XL is a multi-purpose sprinkler tool that combines all the features of Underhill's Toro and Rain Bird SuperKeys into one golf sprinkler tool.
We stopped by the Plant Food Company booth to chat with our friend Larry Pakkala, CGCS, who showed us their new biostimulant product: impulse (lower case i).
impulse is an amino acid mix and sucrose combination derived from natural stress resistant plant complexes. It increases potassium and calcium levels within the plant cell walls and improves stress tolerance while decreasing H2O2 levels. It is a biologically active nutrient source.
Salicylic acid... isn't that aspirin? Almost. According to Wikipedia, "Salicylic acid (SA) is a phenolic phytohormone with roles in plant growth and development, photosynthesis, transpiration, ion uptake and transport. It plays a role in the resistance to pathogens by inducing the production of pathogenesis-related proteins, and is involved in the systemic acquired resistance (SAR) in which a pathogenic attack on one part of the plant induces resistance in other parts."
Aspirin? That's acetylsalicylic acid, of which salicylic acid is an active metabolite.
PrecisionUSA displayed the Oregon PowerNow 40v Max Battery-Powered Chainsaw and the CORE Gasless Power Battery-Powered Commercial Trimmer.
The Oregon chainsaw comes with a 14" bar, PowerSharp System to sharpen the chain on the saw, battery pack and charger, priced at $499. Obvious benefits are instant starting, no gas-oil mixing, no recoil starters and no warm-up. The noise level is 4x quieter than a comparable gas saw when cutting, and silent between cuts. The battery pack is said to hold power between uses.
The electric chainsaw is actually part of the PowerNow system, which also includes a straight shaft line trimmer and a hedge trimmer.
Check it out here.
The system at the heart of the CORE 420CGT Battery-Powered Commercial Trimmer from CORE Outdoor Power "replaces the heavy wire wound motors of the past with an innovative, multi-layered printed circuit board (PCB). These circuit board layers are laminated and inter-connected in a unique way that create an efficient, compact, and incredibly powerful motor."
CORE stands for Conductor Optimized Rotary Engine. The CORE GasLess motors are said to "produce the highest energy factor per pound of any existing motor at a fraction of the size and weight, in fact CORE motors produce more torque than a commercial two-cycle gas engine."
The 420CGT trimmer is 30% lighter than an average gas-powered trimmer and has 25% more torque than a 25cc 2-cycle gas trimmer.
More information here.
Catching quite a few eyeballs in one of the 10x10 booths out by the dumpsters was the Hydra-Riser from Chick's Irrigation Developments, LTD of British Columbia.
The Hydra-Riser fits on top of the existing swing joint. A valve is then installed on the irrigation head that's sitting low, and with a few pumps of a grease gun the head will be hydraulically lifted level with the ground surface.
The guys manning the booth said it takes about half a tube of grease to initially fill the Hydra-Riser.
Pricing is $120 each, but they had a show special of $99. Even at that, it's hard to envision putting too many of these around the golf course. Brief video from Kevin Ross below.
You had to look for it (or at least inquire what's new at the PrecisionUSA booth), but the new Putting Green Firmness Meter kit was on display and eagerly demonstrated by Andy Masciarella of PrecisionUSA.
The system is pretty cool, actually. It involves a 6' length of chain with a finger-ring on one end and a lead pyramidal fishing sinker on the other... a chrome bearing ball of about 1-1/2" diameter... a large washer and a depth gauge.
Here's the technique: Zero out the gauge. Then put the chain ring around your finger and raise your arm until the lead sinker just touches the ground -- giving you an exact 6' height off the ground to drop the ball bearing. Once you've dropped the ball from the 6' height, place the large washer with the hole centered directly over the dimple caused by the ball. Rest the digital depth gauge on the circle and press down until the prong bottoms out.
Let it rest and then take a reading of the depth of the depression. Tracking that over time will give you a method of evaluating relative firmness of green surfaces.
It's priced at $595... but at least you get a nice fitted case!
Check it out at PrecisionUSA.com.
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