Landscape maintenance professionals are developed, not created overnight. It takes constant training and monitoring to make new workers into skilled machines.
Of course, without clear directions, mistakes will happen; they will happen even with clear directions. Once you’ve identified the mistakes, review them with your workers and pray they don’t repeat them.
In a recent blog post I covered poor blowing practices. Here we’ll take a look at two blowing mistakes that came to my attention recently.
This is a picture from the United States. The contractor’s new hire was asked to blow and he made a big pile of debris. But, instead of picking it up, he tried to make it disappear down a drain. That’s not a good plan.
While there’s some logic to it, like less labour and zero green waste to dump, this sort of work later leads to flooding in most places. I know, for example, that the City of Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) hands out fines for this kind of work. As soon as the rains come, the streets flood and upset residents call the city to fix it.
There are no short-cuts here; you must blow the debris into a pile and remove it. It’s that easy. This was a good learning experience for a new employee.
Lawn or sidewalk?
What do you with your piles? Here we had a veteran part-time employee and he left the pile in the middle of the sidewalk. So, afterwards I gently reminded him that debris piles left on lawns are easier to pick up and don’t require additional blowing.
Always pick your words carefully, because veteran part-timers appreciate corrections less. But make the corrections immediately. Remember, foremen and supervisors have to act fairly but firmly!
The other problem is sidewalk access. As soon as you make a pile like this, the only wheelchair user in the complex emerges and you’ll be lucky if you don’t get the one-finger salute. I did see an elderly dog owner with a bad hip crossing the lawn.
When you’re doing a clean-up blow, always blow debris into piles and pick them up. Debris doesn’t belong in drains or on the street.
Blowing your piles onto lawns makes pick-up easier, doesn’t require re-blow and it doesn’t create sidewalk obstruction.
Train your workers well! And homeowners should adopt the same strategies.