by Diana Barnum
A thunderstorm and a tornado that traveled for 2.5
miles downed several hundred trees and destroyed buildings in a 100-mile
wide path in Huron County, Ohio in 2000. The end result was massive
devastation and a waste-handling dilemma.
Ever wonder how that waste is
effectively handled in such catastrophic events? For a full-service
landscape company like Barnes Nursery, Inc., not only is recycling yard
waste among their daily grind, so is cleaning up after catastrophic
"We go in and help with trees," said Leslie Morgan, sales and
marketing for Barnes Organic Marketing Division. "We have a lot of
personnel and equipment to collect and haul trees to authorized locations
and then process them. We’re fortunate."
What is the first thing a
company should do after the event? "Absolutely make sure that there is an
agreement," advised Morgan. "How do you get paid? Emergency management? It
doesn’t happen over night like you think it would."
There are a lot of
meetings, explanations and options. And many groups of contractors get
involved. After the 2000 tornado, it took about three days to process and
to get approval to begin what turned into about a two-week cleanup
The project team then set up schedules. Barnes’ crews
coordinated routes – where pick up would occur and how often. Not everyone
had accumulated debris at the curbs at the coordinated time. Nor did
everyone have debris sorted. So crews worked in shifts similar to 7 a.m.
to 5 p.m.
Many residents placed calls directly to Barnes Nursery for
help. But crews could only pick up at curbs, not on properties.
it like when the job is completed? "It’s a monumental task that we’ve
completed – a WOW!" shared Morgan. "You could see the before and after.
It’s a good feeling. You definitely see your hard work."
With 200 employees on staff, Barnes Nursery processes 10,000 tons per year
or 30,000-40,000 cubic yards of incoming yard waste. And they can handle
more. Composting/recycling is only one of Barnes’ eight divisions. It
boasts 15 acres, all windrow style. The other seven divisions include
landscape design – the hub of their business which includes landscape
maintenance, tree service, liquid lawn care, retail garden and
horticultural spray – for residential and commercial applications.
Barnes Nursery never expected their operations to be on the scope that
they are now. Their full-service landscape operations lead them into
organic recycling back in the early 1990’s when Ohio yard waste was no
longer allowed in landfills. They first developed a site plan, then
purchased a Fecon horizontal feed grinder and later a John Deere KW
straddle-style windrow turner. As volume increased, they upgraded their
Today’s lineup includes a Fecon BA 6000 Wood Hog. With a 40"
x 62" feed opening to process tough material like tree trunks, this 75,000
lb. Hog reduces debris to controlled sizes through a wide range of
particle sizing screens. The BA 6000 boasts a 62" hammermill with easily
changed, reversible cutting tools, slanted sidewalls (of the large feed
hopper) for easy feeding and a 55" wide primary discharge conveyor that
can be elevated to a height of 18’.
Barnes Nursery contracts their BA
Hog with grapple bucket out to municipalities and other landscapers. But
bidding is getting to be competitive.
"New players in the business are
not aware of costs and are charging significantly less," said Morgan.
"They don’t realize the cost of repairs, parts and maintenance for their
equipment." Key to Success Morgan shared a key to successful contract
grinding. Networking. They network with organizations like the Ohio
Compost Association, U.S. Compost Council and Ohio Nursery and Landscape
"It’s a business built on relationships. People won’t
truck materials more than about 20 miles," said Morgan.
discussed the relationships that they have built up with Barnes
"We’ve been using Barnes Nursery for a few years," said Allen
Boes, supervisor of streets and sanitation with the City of Sandusky.
"They come in once a year, walk the pile and give a quote. Then they grind
it and haul it away. They do a great job." Greenleaf Landscapes, Inc. of
Marietta rents the services of Barnes Nursery to grind up their compost
and churn it into windrow tunnels so that they can mix it in with their
topsoil for their landscape crews. Service lasts for about one week a
year. Barnes has serviced them for several years, including two visits
during the year of the 2000 tornado.
"The bulk of our waste is old
shrubbery, trees and limbs," said Dave Fleming, landscape manager of
Greenleaf. "Barnes Nursery is self-contained. They don’t leave until
they’re done. If they break down, they fix it onsite and move on. Their
people are trained and carry extra parts to service their equipment in the
field." Networking relationships are not all waste handling-related
either. In conjunction with the Huron Parks and Recreation Department,
Barnes Nursery sponsors Boppin’ on the Basin with Coca-Cola, offering free
concerts during the summer.
"They’re good people. They sponsor a lot of
Parks and Recs events like the 4th of July fireworks and concerts," said
Municipal Boat Basin Facility Manager Doug Steinwart.
also operates two nursery and garden centers, one in Huron and the other
in Port Clinton. They sell 25% wholesale and staff four full-time
landscape designers for commercial and landscape projects. So there is a
significant in-house need for their mulches, soil and compost.
information about networking and handling catastrophes as well as the
daily grind, contact Barnes Nursery Inc. at 3511 Cleveland Rd W, Huron, OH
44839. Call: (800) 421-8722.