17 Jan

Spring lawns

first_imgResults are usually received within five to seven working days. Soil samples should be taken from representative areas of lawns or gardens using a small trowel or a soil-coring tool. Several samples from large areas can be pooled together in a plastic bucket. These samples must provide a total volume of at least 2 cups of soil that can then be air-dried by spreading it out on newspaper and allowing it to dry for about 24 to 48 hours. Results from the soil test report include pH levels and concentrations of several key nutrients: phosphorous, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Also included are suggestions on adjustment of pH to the recommended range and the addition of fertilizers to provide adequate quantities of nutrients. Nitrogen concentration, however, is not reported and recommendations are made assuming nitrogen will be needed. Range of pH on lawn depends on grass typeWhen a soil test is submitted for lawn grasses, recommendations about the amount of lime and fertilizers will be provided. If no soil test is available, general recommendations based on average conditions can be followed. Generally recommended pH ranges for lawns depend on the type of grass. For centipedegrass the pH range is 5.0 to 6.0. For St. Augustinegrass, bermudagrass and tall fescue lawns, the pH range is 5.5 to 6.5. For zoysiagrass the pH range is 6.0 to 7.0. Nitrogen is required for leaf and root production to maintain a green and healthy turf. Again, recommendations depend on the type of grass. Centipedegrass requires 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. annually while zoysiagrass needs 2 to 3 pounds. Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass and tall fescue lawns require 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. each year. Timing is based on turf type, tooThe timing and frequency of application is also based on the type of grass. Because tall fescue is a cool-season species, it should be fertilized in the fall and late winter, not in the late spring and summer. Warm-season grasses require fertilizer only during the growing season when root growth is occurring. Warm-season grasses like bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass and centipedegrass should be fertilized when soil temperatures at 4 inches below the surface are at or above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. (Soil temperatures in your area can be checked online at www.georgiaweather.net.)Plants can only take up two forms of nitrogen: inorganic nitrate or ammonium. All other forms of nitrogen must be broken down to ammonium or nitrate to be available to plant roots. Nitrate is soluble in water and is poorly held by soils. If nitrate-containing fertilizers are applied before soil temperatures reach 65 degrees, root activity is limited, and there is an increased opportunity for loss of nitrate from the root zone. Nitrates washing through the root zone will eventually enrich the surface and ground water resources of the region, contributing to non-point source pollution. Nitrates leaching through the root zone can eventually find their way into ground and surface water reserves. This results in non-point source water pollution.Apply when grass is actively growingThe general rule is to apply fertilizer to grasses when they are actively growing and can effectively absorb and retain the nitrogen without contributing to water pollution. With that in mind it is reasonable to apply several small doses of fertilizer rather than the total amount at one time. That translates into four applications of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. for bermudagrasses rather than one application of 4 pounds per 1000 sq. ft. Following these guidelines from UGA Extension will encourage healthy vigorous grasses while protecting natural resources. For more information, contact your local Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or go to www.GeorgiaTurf.com. In early spring as dormant, warm-season lawns begin to turn green, University of Georgia Extension agents receive many of calls about managing lawns. Most questions are about fertilization, including what type of fertilizer, how much to use and how frequently should it be applied. The best answers to fertilizer questions can be given when the concentrations of nutrients, particularly phosphorous and potassium, present in the soil are known. This information can be found through a soil test. Take soil sample to your Extension officeThe UGA Soil Analysis Laboratory in Athens is recognized as one of the best in the state. Soil tests are done on samples of air-dried soils. Samples can be brought into local Extension offices and sent to the lab for a fee of $8.last_img read more

18 Dec

Keys to success: A conservatorship success story

first_img 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Debbie Matz Debbie Matz was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the eighth board chair of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). After confirmation by the U.S. Senate on … Web: www.ncua.gov Details This is the success story of Keys Federal Credit Union in Key West, Fla., which recently, against all odds, was returned to its members after the longest conservatorship in NCUA history.When placed into conservatorship, Keys was all but dead in the water. The story of how this unstable credit union reversed course and is now thriving is one of collaboration and determination.Setting SailKeys Federal Credit Union is the oldest financial institution in the island chain known as the Florida Keys. It was chartered in 1940 to serve Key West Naval Air Station employees.The field of membership expanded in 1994 to a community charter serving all islands in the chain. It ultimately reached more than 10,000 members and $120 million in assets.The Perfect StormHowever, the credit union was knocked far off course by the financial crisis that began in 2008. The crisis depressed tourism throughout the Florida Keys, causing massive job losses and a 50 percent drop in real estate values.Complicating these unfortunate circumstances, Keys was weighed down by heavy concentration risk. Real estate loans accounted for more than 67 percent of the portfolio and almost 900 percent of net worth.By September 2009, the delinquency ratio loomed above 5 percent; the net charge-off ratio was closing in on 1 percent; and operating losses swelled to $5 million.Keys had already undergone a change in management, and the Chairman was attempting to merge with another Florida credit union. When that merger fell through, directors of Keys consented to a voluntary conservatorship.On Sept. 24, 2009—one month after I was sworn in as NCUA Board Chairman—the NCUA Board voted unanimously to conserve Keys in order to protect the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.Navigating Stormy SeasDuring the first year of conservatorship, loan losses continued to rise and the net worth ratio plunged to 2.4 percent by September 2010.Given its declining trajectory, Keys was on course to cost the Share Insurance Fund as much as $20 million. But NCUA’s Conservatorship Board had a different vision: to turn Keys around and prevent those losses.In early 2011, the Conservatorship Board made tough decisions to close two branches, reduce staff, renegotiate contracts, and temporarily suspend the real estate and member business lending programs that had caused deep losses. To boost consumer lending, the main office was relocated to a more visible retail location.In May 2011, the Conservatorship Board hired Scott Duszynski as President/CEO. Scott had worked at Keys for 15 years in operations, accounting, strategic planning, and information technology. In addition to his strong credentials, he maintained a strong presence in the local community and positive working relationships with staff and members.At the direction of the Conservatorship Board, Scott immediately implemented significant operational changes. He also began working to strengthen Keys’ relationship with the Navy community and reestablish the credit union’s presence in the field of membership. Righting the ShipImprovement was slow. It wasn’t until the end of 2012 that the local economy showed signs of recovery. Delinquency and loan losses were finally receding, and the credit union started to turn around.At the beginning of 2014, when Myra Toeppe became the new NCUA Region III Director and the Agent for the Conservator of Keys, the Conservatorship Board realized additional, fundamental changes were needed if the credit union was ever to be returned to the membership.This required a revised Net Worth Restoration Plan and development of a realistic, viable business model. Operations were further streamlined; fees were raised to reasonable levels, and loans were shifted from real estate to autos and credit cards.With these changes, earnings improved substantially. Incredibly, return on assets in 2014 topped 1 percent, and in the first half of 2015 approached 1.4 percent. Even more remarkably, Keys outperformed its Net Worth Restoration Plan for four consecutive quarters, and by September 2015 had a net worth ratio approaching 6 percent.Charting the Future CourseBefore returning the credit union to its members, the Conservatorship Board established an Advisory Board of seven qualified and motivated volunteers who would form the credit union’s board of directors and supervisory committee. The seven volunteers were long-time credit union members with varied backgrounds and strong ties to the community.These enthusiastic volunteers participated in numerous educational courses and attended monthly meetings with the Conservatorship Board and NCUA staff to gain an understanding of the duties and responsibilities required of credit union board members. After two years working with the Advisory Board, the Conservatorship Board determined that these seven dedicated individuals were ready and able to guide Keys into the future.Celebrating SuccessAlthough a long time in coming, Keys Federal Credit Union is a conservatorship success story. As counterintuitive as it may seem, this conservatorship ultimately saved the credit union from failure and saved the Share Insurance Fund from millions of dollars in losses. In doing so, it provided members with continued access to the affordable financial services they have come to expect for 75 years.This remarkable recovery was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Keys’ management and staff, the Advisory Board, NCUA staff, and the loyal members who stuck with their credit union through turbulent times.Through sheer determination and commitment by the management and Conservatorship Board, willingness to reshape the business model and make very tough decisions required to stabilize and revitalize the credit union, Keys will remain open to many generations of local residents—hopefully for at least another 75 years.last_img read more

28 Sep

Spotted: Capesize Newbuild Joins Berge Bulk

first_imgImage Courtesy: Berge BulkSingapore-based dry bulk vessel owner and operator Berge Bulk has taken delivery of Berge Toubkal, a 210,000 dwt Capesize ship. Constructed at China’s Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry shipyard, the 222,000 cbm vessel was delivered on September 29, 2017.Berge Bulk has joined its sister vessels, Berge Zugspitze and Berge Grossglockner, which were handed over to the company in March 2016 and January 2017, respectively.The newbuilding is equipped with a super-long stroke main engine, optimized for low-fuel consumption. Other features include installed exhaust gas boilers for the generators and an upgraded anti-fouling system, according to the company.Flying the flag of the Isle of Man, Berge Toubkal features a length of 300 meters and a width of 49 meters.The newest delivery brings Berge Bulk’s fleet to a total of 54 carriers, with an aggregate fleet tonnage of 10.6 million dwt.last_img read more