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Battle Plan

A recession is looming later this year with a housing market correction on the horizon. But with several years of stellar sales under its belt, the industry is positioned to weather the economic storm with the right preparation and retail maneuvers. Dr. Charlie Hall, professor and Ellison Chair at Texas A&M University, predicts a 90% chance of a recession in 2023, but doesn’t expect it to hit until the second half of the year. Read More

How 3 Critical Lessons Can Help You Improve Your Business in 2023

As you reflect on the year ahead, it is critical to bring along the important lessons you learned from the previous year. As George Santayana wrote in The Life of Reason in 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Last year was tough enough. Make sure you learned from the experience. Read More

State of the Industry Report: Path to Success in 2023

During the Supply Chain Hacks seminar at Equip Expo 2022, panelists were asked for their forecast for 2023. How much longer would there be supply chain interruptions? How will the market react to inflation? Will the industry keep chugging along like it has these last few years? “If we had a really good answer to what you’re asking, a perfect answer?” George Kinkead, president of Turfco, responded...Read More

Hidden Secrets

My phone rang. It was Ray. Suffering with terminal cancer, he didn’t have long to live. Ray owned a well-established, profitable tree farm with a solid wholesale customer base. He was concerned that if he didn’t sell his nursery before he passed on, his daughters (who were not involved in the business) would have an auction of the equipment and inventory for pennies on the dollar. Read More

Preparing for 2023: Gaining Efficiency in an Inflationary Market

During the last few years, the greenhouse industry enjoyed a boom in consumer interest that helped to offset some of the challenges of the pandemic. With inflation raising costs for both consumers and growers, this demand is unfortunately slowing down. This spring especially, growers had to raise prices for plants because they themselves were paying more for everything, from plastic and fertilizer...Read More

Climate Change is Forcing Cities to Rethink Their Tree Mix

Cities need to plant more trees. But not just any trees. As communities prepare for a massive influx of federal funding to support urban forestry, their leaders say the tree canopy that grows to maturity 50 years from now will need to be painted with a different palette than the one that exists today. Read More

2023 Green Industry Outlook

This year’s survey builds on the trends of past years while introducing some changes that will make it an even better tool for industry professionals. The largest change is one of timing, moving the survey itself to later in the year. This allows readers to put this survey to better use by supplying this new data when many are starting to slow down or end the season and begin developing business...Read More

Unconventional Applications

Being in the retail industry, and particularly the garden center industry, the No.1 challenge that comes up over and over again is the challenge in finding labor. ‘Help wanted’ messages fill shop windows, fast-food marquees, the backs of trucks, buses, vans and cars — even direct mail. It seems clear that so many entrepreneurs are in the same boat: not enough staff to run our businesses effectively and not enough applicants.  Read More

Midterms and the Irrigation Industry: A Breakdown

With the dust still settling in some races, the Fairfax, Virginia-based Irrigation Association’s Advocacy Director Nathan Bowen breaks down some of the key takeaways from this year’s midterms. According to Bowen, the outcomes of the midterms suggest there will be a few identifiable priority shifts in irrigation-related policy but that the increased likelihood of political gridlock could also have an impact on the industry. Read More

Proven Winners Announces 2023 National Houseplant of the Year

In partnership with The Plant Company of Virginia, Proven Winners has announced its 2023 National Houseplant of the Year — Feeling Flirty purple tradescantia from its new leafjoy houseplant collection. Widespread consumer promotions will begin at the start of the new year through Proven Winners, whose brand impressions are expected to top 14 billion in 2023. The Plant Company is gearing up to have an excellent...Read More

Burdens to Bear

This year has been a rebuilding year of sorts for Paige Landscape Company. As a commercial landscape and maintenance business, the company did not see the COVID-era boom in design/build work like others did. But now it looks like the company is back to its 2019 numbers and it’s still growing. “2021 was a good bounce back year from 2020,” Paige says. “Like a lot of people, we took a big hit in 2020. We don’t do any residential work...Read More 

USDA APHIS Updates Hosts List for P. ramorum

At the next compliance inspection, regulatory officials must inspect, potentially sample and test proven hosts and associated plants, and all plants on the proven host and associated plant list must be determined free from P. ramorum before they are shipped. Read More

H-2B Visa Cap Increase ‘Incredibly Important’ for Industry

The Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C., announced its plan to release 64,716 additional H-2B visas for the fiscal year 2023 in October, potentially providing relief for green industry professionals experiencing labor-related challenges. The H-2B visa program allows for the temporary admission of foreign workers to the United States to perform nonagricultural labor or services...Read More

Management — The Forecast for Workforce Issues

As a “frustrated wannabe meteorologist” who couldn’t handle the requisite physics classes, I often turn to weather analogies to describe dynamics in the policy space. When it comes to labor and the horticultural workforce, the official forecast now calls for a high probability of storms and gusty, damaging winds through the fall, with possible peeks of sunshine after the November midterm elections. Read More

Handling the Headaches

Business might be booming for most companies, but that doesn’t mean green industry companies aren’t contending several challenges that are impacting their bottom lines. One common issue is supply chain disruptions. Since early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like materials and equipment for all segments of the industry have been in short supply. “There’s been a labor and material shortage...Read More

Biden Administration Doubles Number of H-2B Visas Available for 2023

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) will be issuing a regulation to make available to employers an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary non-agricultural work visas for the fiscal year 2023. This amount nearly doubles the 66,000 H-2B visas normally available, providing much-needed labor relief and the opportunity for better business planning in the coming year. Read More

Managing Client Expectations Through Supply Chain, Inflation and Labor Issues

While the demand for landscape services has remained high, client expectations are also incredibly high. This can be a problem as there are a number of challenges landscape professionals face on a daily basis, including material delays, rampant inflation and labor shortages. The first step to managing client expectations through these issues is by having open and honest communication. Read More

Get Involved

Now is a vital time for green industries to advocate with their elected officials, citing issues like the soon-to-be-negotiated Farm Bill, labor reform and any legislation aimed at curbing inflation, says Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort’s executive vice president of advocacy, research and industry relations. And it’s necessary to do even if someone is tired of, worn out by or even ”disgusted” by politics, he adds. Read More

2022 State of the Industry: Uncharted Waters

Growers are in uncharted territory after two of the oddest years in history. Coming down from the massive pandemic-driven demand was never going to be easy, but supply shortages and inflation have complicated matters further. Input costs have been rising for two years, but hopefully they will begin to tail off in 2023. With a possible recession looming, many growers are playing it conservatively. Read More

Three Business Concerns That Should Be on Your Radar

The volatility of today’s business environment can easily keep you so laser-focused on immediate concerns that starting to think proactively about issues just around the corner may not be happening. We’ve discussed supply chain, labor, profitability, inflation, consumer behavior, etc. over the past several months, so I thought it high time to bring your attention to three less-mentioned items you need to keep in your sights. Read More

Garden Media Group Releases 2023 Trends Report

On Sept. 12, Garden Media Group released its full trends report for 2023, which outlines the seven trends retailers can expect from the gardening industry in the near future. Per the Garden Media Group: “The 2023 report features what we believe to be the moment’s two most significant driving forces, individuality, and accessibility. In a world dominated by uncertainty, the overarching trend of 2023 is rooted in self-reliance and personal empowerment, making room for a larger, more inclusive gardening community. Read More

Next Farm Bill Holds Promise for Horticulture

As blossoms and new growth renew the landscape, renewal of another kind is sprouting on Capitol Hill: The 2023 Farm Bill rewrite. For the uninitiated, the Farm Bill is a multi-year law to address agriculture and food policy, which Congress typically re-evaluates and renews every five years. Comprised of 12 “titles” that detail programs ranging from nutrition assistance to agriculture research, the Farm Bill promotes home-grown food, fiber, fuel, and flora for domestic consumption and export to markets abroad. Read More

Looking Ahead

Dr. Charlie Hall, AmericanHort’s chief economist and the Ellison Chair of Texas A&M University’s Department of Horticultural Sciences, said that 2022 was mixed performance within a great year. Growers reported sales up 20% as an across-the-board average. Nearly 40% of the growers Hall surveyed reported increases of between 1 and 10%, small increases compared to previous years. Still, Hall asked growers to consider where they were a few years ago. When comparing 2022 gross sales year-to-date to 2019, 63% of growers...Read More

New Web-Based Tool Helps Growers Mitigate Risk and Improve Plant Health

The Horticultural Research Institute, in partnership with the National Plant Board and the USDA, is pleased to announce the launch of an important new web-based tool for nursery and greenhouse growers seeking to improve plant production processes by identifying hazards (operational areas where plants could be contaminated or introduced to plant pests). Understanding these critical control points...Read More

Seed Your Future Launches Green Career Week

Seed Your Future has named Oct. 3-7, 2022 Green Career Week in an effort to connect horticulture, floriculture and agriculture companies with future generations. "In my first year as executive director of Seed Your Future, I heard of the resounding need to connect with the next generation of employees. With the help of volunteers, we did something about it," said Jazmin Albarran. Read More

Inflation Reduction Act Features Tax Credit for Commercial Grade Electric Lawn Mowers

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed by President Biden on Aug. 16, 2022, and this new law includes a tax credit for electric vehicles. Within the definition, large commercial grade lawn mowers are included. The tax credit is 30 percent per vehicle/lawn mower, with a max of $7,500 per vehicle/lawn mower. The credit is available for sales made beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and the credit sunsets in 2032. Read More

The 2022 Plant Shortage

GoMaterials, a landscaper material procurement marketplace, recently released a report on the severity of plant shortages across the country, as well as the price increases of plant material in demand. Factors driving the plant shortage in 2022 include plastic containers being in short supply, fertilizer costs being up by 100 percent and wholesale nurseries being understaffed.  Read More

Why The Younger Horticulture Workforce Views Employment as a Partnership

Company culture is more important now than ever for employment, according to a panel of AmericanHort scholars at Cultivate’22. The younger generation in today’s workforce will be loyal to their employer, but they expect their employer to build a positive work environment and help them reach their goals. Dr. Melinda Knuth, an assistant professor at North Carolina State University, moderated...Read More

Congratulations to the Horticultural Industries Leadership Awards Class of 2022

Six individuals and one band of brothers were honored with 2022 Horticultural Industries Leadership Awards at a reception July 17 at Cultivate'22 in Columbus, Ohio. Editorial director Kelli Rodda and editor Matt McClellan detailed the achievements of each winner, and then presented them with their award. The Horticultural Industries Leadership Awards (HILA), sponsored by Syngenta...Read More

2023 Perennial Plant of the Year Announced

The Perennial Plant Association is pleased to promote Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’ as the 2023 Perennial Plant of the Year. ‘American Gold Rush’ is a stunning addition to any garden. At the height of summer, it turns up the volume for a long season of dazzling color right up to autumnal frosts. The bright golden-yellow flowers feature arching rays and a reddish halo surrounding dark chocolate cones. Read More

AmericanHort Asks for Labor Insight

AmericanHort is looking for industry members to take a Nursery and Greenhouse Employment Survey, in partnership with the the University of California-Davis and Arizona State University. Craig Regelbrugge, executive vice president, advocacy, research, and industry relations, and Sara Neagu-Reed, director, advocacy and government affairs, said that the purpose of this survey...Read More 

Hiring Non-Hort Workers

Given the growing number of horticulture operations that are struggling to find employees in the current labor shortage, it was no surprise that Al Martin’s presentation “Hiring from outside of the horticulture industry” was packed at Cultivate’22. Finding people with horticulture skills is becoming harder and harder. And it’s difficult for growers to find candidates with the experience that they want...Read More

2023 Garden Trends Report Recap

At Cultivate’22, Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group, delivered the 2023 Garden Trends Report: "I Believe In Me." According to Dubow, the moment's two most significant driving forces are the individual and access. And in a world dominated by uncertainty, the overarching trend of 2023 is rooted in self-intention and personal empowerment. Dubow said that consumers feel empowered when using garden...Read More

MasLabor Announces Merger With AgWork H2

MásLabor, a provider of comprehensive services for employers participating in the H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant visa programs, has announced a merger with AgWorks H2, LLC, a Georgia-based H-2A and H-2B consulting firm. “AgWorks has a proven success model, with a deep compliance focus and highly knowledgeable leadership,” said Edward Silva, CEO of másLabor, who recently purchased...Read More

Cultivate'22: State of the Industry Address

The Short North Ballroom was packed to capacity for the AmericanHort State of the Industry Address, with attendees standing along the walls to hear the Monday morning keynote speech. Craig Fisher, president and CEO of AmericanHort led off the morning’s presentation with an overview of the association’s vision, mission and strategic goals. From there, he examined consumer spending – a key indicator of economic health. In fact, it represents 70% of our economic output, he said. Read More

Leadership Transitions

While baby boomers continue to dominate ownership and executive roles in the green industry, there’s an evolution of leadership occurring. Whether it’s a new generation taking over for parents, a retiree who’s appointed a young and eager person to lead the company, or a young entrepreneur starting their own operation, the generational shift is gaining momentum. Read More

Your Stuff is Coming (Someday)

Don’t worry, it’s not just you. The supply chain chaos that has dogged the whole economy the past couple of years is hitting every point of the uniquely perishable process of building landscapes. If someone in the landscape business says they aren’t having supply problems, they likely aren’t working. The many ingredients that landscape architects pour into realizing their designs are delayed, unavailable, on a boat somewhere, waiting for a truck, waiting for one little piece, and in general harder to price these days—and if you manage to get the thing...Read More

Plant Pricing Truths to Grow By

Let’s get real on a couple of points: First, we need to pay people better (way better) in our industry, and second, consumers are clueless when it comes to understanding how plants are or should be priced. This math does not compute. Low perception of value is still suppressing both plant prices, and thus wages, in the horticulture industry. So, what are we going to do about it? Read More

J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. Acquires Northwest Shade Trees

J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. have purchased Northwest Shade Trees LLC, a grower of specimen shade, flowering and ornamental landscape trees. Operations at the 350-acre specimen B&B farm located near Salem, Oregon, will integrate with Schmidt production and sales cycles to become the sixth farm in the JFS nursery family and increase the company’s growing grounds to more than 3,000 acres.  Read More

USDA to Provide $6 Billion in Emergency Relief Payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments totaling approximately $6 billion through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to offset crop yield and value losses. Read More

AmericanHort Welcomes New Board Members and Slate of Officers for 2022-2023

AmericanHort announces the election of four new members to the board of directors, along with the election of a new slate of board officers. The official welcome and installation will take place at Cultivate’22 being held July 16-19, in Columbus, Ohio. “We are excited to welcome these leaders who come from various segments of the green industry and encompass diverse experiences, skills, and backgrounds...Read More

60 Years of Support

In September 1962, a small group of forward-thinking nursery professionals established the Horticultural Research Institute to provide funds that would support industry-driven, targeted research. Starting from a combined donation of $1,300 in the early 1960s to having supported a total of $9.5 in research grants and scholarships by its 60th year, HRI continues to grow—and to grow the industry. Read More

What Does the Future Hold for Battery-Powered and Electric Equipment?

The fate of gas-powered landscape equipment hangs in the balance of the governing bodies of states and municipalities. In October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill to phase out the sale of new gas-powered lawn equipment in the state by 2024. Residents of Lexington, Mass., and Washington, D.C., voted to phase out the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within city limits. Read More

Future Leaders

The American Landscape Institute educates, guides and nurtures students through a two-year program that accelerates their horticulture career path. Armed with on-the-job training, classroom instruction and encouragement from industry mentors, students earn 39 credits and a certificate in Landscape Installation, Maintenance and Design. These graduates are prepared for advancement and leadership opportunities in horticulture at a time...Read More

Pottery, Price Hikes and Perseverance

As the industry grapples with inflation and supply chain issues, 2022 might the most challenging year for retailers sourcing container supplies. As COVID-19’s domino effects continue to influence the economy two years on, garden centers and grower-retailers are feeling the toll. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index jumped 7.9% over the last 12 months, the highest in 40 years...Read More

APHIS Celebrates 50 Years of Protecting American Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is celebrating a major milestone – 50 years of serving the public as a Federal agency. USDA created APHIS on April 2, 1972 to consolidate animal health, plant health, and inspection duties under one roof. The new agency focused on protecting American agriculture and natural resources, along with ensuring the humane care of certain animals.  Read More

AmericanHort Hires Advocacy and Government Affairs Director

Effective April 11, Sara Neagu-Reed has joined AmericanHort as as Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs. She joins the Washington, DC-based advocacy team working alongside Craig Regelbrugge, Executive Vice President-Advocacy, Research, and Industry Relations; and Evan Lee, Director of Policy, and Government Relations. Neagu-Reed joins AmericanHort after a decade of working...Read More

Working with Difficult Clients: When to Stay and When to Go

As a lawn care or landscape company providing a service, you are bound to encounter difficult clients. While you can’t control another person’s behavior, you can control how often you end up working with these individuals and how you respond to them. If handled properly, you can even transform these ‘problem’ customers into loyal proponents of your business. Read More

Pesticide Preemption Bill Introduced in Congress

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) introduced legislation to prohibit local governments such as municipalities, townships or counties from banning or regulating the use of pesticides at levels that are more stringent than state and federal regulations. The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) said this bill would fix a longstanding problem with federal pesticide law (FIFRA) that would...Read More

Hiring the Next Generation of Growers

As April moves along and approaches May, the current class of 2022 is getting closer to graduating from college and entering the workforce. These students are surely eager to start their careers, and given the current nationwide labor shortage, employers are just as eager to hire them. That includes the greenhouse industry. So, as growers work to run the best operation they can, what can they do to attract and hire the next generation of growers? Read More

What Landscapers Want in 2022

How can you strengthen relationships with your landscaper partners? These insights from leading landscaping firms hold the keys. Having solid partnerships with successful landscaping firms is a cornerstone of any greenhouse business. But keeping the “partner” in partnership strong requires commitment, understanding and communication, especially when pandemic pressures enter in. Read More

J. Berry Nursery Announces New Partnership

With the ongoing mission of “Creating Beauty That Inspires,” J. Berry Nursery announces its new licensing partnership with PlantHaven International, Inc. The licensing agreement of the J. Berry brands improves access to popular genetics, like Black Diamond Crape Myrtles, Déjà Bloom Azaleas, Summer Spice Hardy Hibiscus, Emerald Empire Crape Myrtles, and Season to Season Gardenias, among others. Read More

Homeowners Will Spend More Time on Outdoor Projects in 2022

Americans will be doing more outdoor home improvement projects this spring — and they’ll be spending much more time on these tasks. According to the 2022 Axiom Home Improvement Outlook Survey, nearly 67% of homeowners say they will spend more time on outdoor home improvement projects this year than in 2021. Six in 10 respondents report they will spend between $1,000 and $5,000 on these projects. Read More

Overcoming Supply Problems

The year 2022 is shaping up to be a difficult year for growers. Materials shortages, manufacturing labor and trucking shortages, as well as increasing energy costs, are all adding to the problems growers face. Here are a few ideas that may help your business function a little smoother...Read More

Gardening Motivations of U.S. Plant Purchasers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Plant purchases experienced a surge during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine of 2020. Researchers used an online survey instrument completed by 1,211 U.S. respondents to investigate the diverse motivations for making plant purchases. Researchers compared three age cohorts to understand which plant benefits they derived from their plant purchases. Millennials (born 1981 to 1995) derived the greatest social benefit...Read More

NALP Members Stress Importance of H-2B Reform

Members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals recently participated in the organization’s Legislative Days. More than 120 NALP members participated in 100 virtual meetings with congressional staffers from all over the country, including Texas, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Kurt Kluznik, president of Yardmaster in Painesville, Ohio, said NALP’s Legislative Days plays an important role...Read More

Popping up Profits

Temporary plant shops are popping up everywhere — in trucks parked along busy city streets, in vacant buildings awaiting long-term tenants and alongside both urban and rural business partners. Whether they’re parked for a few hours or planted for a couple of months, these pop-up shops help garden centers reach new customers, drive additional revenues and even scout new store locations. Read More

Bayer enters agreement to sell Environmental Science Professional business to Cinven

Via Golf Course Industry News, Bayer and Cinven have entered into a definitive agreement regarding the sale of Bayer’s Environmental Science Professional business for a purchase price of $2.6 billion, Bayer announced in a news release. “This divestment represents a very attractive purchase price and allows us to focus on our core agricultural business and the successful implementation...Read More

'Spongy Moth' Adopted as New Common Name for Lymantria dispar

"Spongy moth" has been formally adopted as the new common name for the moth species Lymantria dispar by the Entomological Society of America.

The ESA Governing Board voted unanimously last week to approve the addition of "spongy moth" to ESA's Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms List, completing a process started in July 2021 when the previous name, "gypsy moth," was removed due to its use of a derogatory term for the Romani people. The change is the first undertaken by ESA's Better Common Names Project. Read More

Tal Coley joins FNGLA as CEO

After a six-month national search, Talmadge “Tal” Coley has been tapped as the next chief executive officer to lead the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA). "Over FNGLA’s 70-year history, we have employed only four CEOs," Sarah Spatola, FNGLA’s 2021-22 president, said. "The quality and tenure of our staff is a strength that has served us well in upholding...Read More

National Garden Bureau Offers Marketing Tools for Each “Year of the” Crop

National Garden Bureau (NGB) has created, and is making available, creative marketing tools to help the industry promote the 2022 “Year of the” crops. These tools are designed to make life easier for retailers and growers, and allow them to reap the rewards from this national marketing  campaign.  Anyone interested in using these materials can simply register here to receive a link to download...Read More

ONLA Changes Name to OGIA

The Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association (ONLA) has announced a name change to the Ohio Green Industry Association (OGIA). The change is meant to be more inclusive and reflect our commitment to those working within the green industry and those professionals that fuel its growth, development, and success. “I am excited to be a part of the new chapter of the OGIA,” says Molly John...Read More