Toledo Express Airport Finds a Way to Cut Maintenance Costs
By Mike Bernos
If you think cutting your lawn is a chore, just alk to officials at Toledo (Ohio) Express Airport, which has more than 1,500 acres of turf to maintain.
With so much of it, airport officials at the
Toledo-Lucas Port Authority thought they could
lower maintenance costs measurably by finding a
way to reduce mowing during the constant cycle of
grass cutting that takes place from May to October.
Following a discussion among Toledo Express
Manager Steve Arnold; RS&H aviation engineer
Aaron Aljets; and U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) research biologist Brian Washburn, Ph.D.,
a plan was hatched to introduce a seed mixture
that would result in a slower growing grass,
thereby reduce mowing by one-third.
“We were able to make a small adjustment to the
seed specifications that are used on our FAA AIP
projects to allow us to use grass species that would
grow less and at the same time be less favorable to
wildlife — mostly geese — which is important to
runway safety,” explained Aljets.
The airport approached Washburn, who had
been working on vegetation management practices
on airports to look for ways to modify habitats
attractive to hazardous wildlife. He said he
particularly was interested in determining what
deterred the foraging practices of Canada geese.