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Editor’s Picks
Lauren Heartsill Dowdle | October 8, 2010

From a terrific tractor to haut cuisine for moles, here are our favorite products of the month.

Lose the Dirt

Spare yourself extra shovel work with the Depthflector. By further breaking the soil up and using a positive depth stop gauge, the Depthflector eliminates most of the loose fill from falling into planting holes, saving about $1.18, according to the manusfacturer, per tree in labor costs.

More Control

The versatile Branson Tractor 4720HST has a 47-horsepower diesel engine, hydrostatic transmission and power steering for superior handling, four-wheel drive, extendable drawbar for towing and a folding roll bar, not to mention features such as a tool box and a flat operator’s deck with rubber mat to minimize vibration.

Mole-be-Gone

Say a humane goodbye to moles with this biodegradable bait. Liquid Fence’s mole repellent worms disrupt the mole’s normal digestive functions, forcing them to look for food elsewhere. Mole-be-Gone worms can be used for areas ranging from golf courses to tree farms.

Comfortable Boots

We got a kick out of these boots. If you’re on the job and on your feet all day, you’ll appreciate the comfort and performance of the LaCrosse Extreme Tough series. The boots come in three styles and use urethane infused leather to repel chemicals and water and increase durability. All are available with an optional steel safety toe.

 

 

Grass Saver

Bodpave 85 porous grass pavers, made from recycled plastic, are an interlocking grid system for grass reinforcement, ground stabilization or gravel retention for trafficked areas. The pavers are effective solutions for worn and rutted grassed areas, displaced gravel or source control for surface water run-off.

Adaptable Edges

The Pro-Tech Switchblade handles different jobsite and weather conditions by allowing a quick switch between rubber and steel trip edges. The rubber edge is optimum for wet, heavy snow and surfaces that are sensitive to steel edges.

Rigors of Rooftop Gardens

Flowers, trees, water features and other garden elements don’t have to be confined to the ground. Creating a rooftop garden can give a building, parking deck or home earthly appeal where the sky is the limit. However, the logistics, planting choices and design, engineering considerations make these projects demanding.

Working on a roof “is a different world,” that requires a keen understanding of irrigation issues, architectural weight limits and the weight of materials such as soil and trees, says Kurt Horvath, president of Intrinsic Landscaping. “Do your research and understand roofing and waterproofing.”

One of the biggest hurdles is transporting materials. David Plechner, construction design sales manager at C.M. Jones and an accredited green roof professional, relies on cranes to lift soil, plants and building materials.

Planting & Systems

Some plants are superior to others for rooftops. Plechner uses hardy plants such as Black-Eyed Susans and crepe myrtles. Many landscapers and designers first install sedums, says Horvath’s brother, Brent, owner of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens. He says to stay away from annuals and plants with taproots.

“All of the [auxliary] systems you take for granted elsewhere aren’t available on the roof: power, water, drains, etc.,” says Scott Carr, owner of The Green Group of Tennessee.

He suggests working at night to avoid street traffic, covering projects when they are not being worked on,putting up safety rails for the crew and attaching plants to the roof so they do not blow away.

“You have to design something that has the ability to last 25 to 30 years,” Carr says.

Staying Connected

One of the best ways to learn more and connect with others in this niche business is to visit the Web site, rooftopgarden.com. Created 11 years ago by Linda Day Harrison, the site offers landscapers, plant suppliers and roof garden installers a vendor directory, database, project photographs and other resources.

“I look how far rooftop gardens have come [in the past two years],” Plechner says, “and I think they are only going to become more and more prevalent.”

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