News and Announcements

Top Plant Performers: Midwest Region

We did not get to test our trials for drought tolerance much, as central Iowa received significant rain this season. Celosia argentea ‘Asian Garden’ was planted in several locations and appeared as a welcome volunteer in others. Lack of rain or irrigation did not slow the growth or blooms on this recent All-America Selections winner — it was still happy when the zinnias around it were starting to droop. Read More

Family Matters

Family-owned businesses can be both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, they generate wealth, create jobs and often prioritize serving their communities, donating their time or resources to better the areas surrounding their companies. On the flip side, family relationships can suffer damage so severe it can rip a business — and the family — apart. Additionally, contentious or preferential...Read More

Farm Bill 2018 Includes Wins For Greenhouse Growers

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, Congress sent its approved 2018 Farm Bill legislation to the desk of President Trump, who has until Dec. 22 to sign it. It’s expected that Trump will enact the legislation into law, and once that happens, the 2018 Farm Bill will be the first to pass in the same year it was legislated since 1990, when President George H.W. Bush signed the 1990 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill cleared...Read More

Bayer Committed to Transparency 

Today, Bayer marks the first anniversary of its Transparency Initiative, designed to enhance trust in the science behind crop protection products. As another important milestone in the company’s efforts to make science more accessible, Bayer is making available more than 300 study summaries on the safety of glyphosate on its dedicated transparency platform. “Trust in the integrity of...Read More

EPA and Army Propose New "Waters of the United States" Definition

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) are proposing a clear, understandable, and implementable definition of “waters of the United States” that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. Unlike the Obama administration's 2015 definition of “waters of the United States,” today’s proposal contains a straightforward definition...Read More   Fact Sheet

Tropical Plant Retailer Sells Domain to, Inc.

Glenn Stokes, owner of Stokes Tropicals in Jeanerette, La., has been a tropical plants enthusiast for decades. He has offered tropical plants online since 1996 through Stokes Tropicals, his mission being that “wonderful, exotic tropical plants should be available and accessible to everyone,” including “the average gardener,” according to the company's website. As retirement...Read More

Congress Delays Possible Vote on H-2B Reforms for 2 Weeks

Last Friday, Dec. 7, funding for several federal agencies was due to run out unless Congress passed a set of appropriations bills, which we hoped would contain reforms to the H-2B guest worker program. Unfortunately, the death of former President George H. W. Bush and his state funeral last week brought official activity in Washington to a halt. Congress decided to defer action...Read More

The Power and Potential of Retail

Stats shared during the National Retail Federation’s 2018 Big Show revealed the importance and relevance of brick-and-mortar retail and the motivations of shoppers. Bobbie Schwartz wants gardeners to be successful in beautifying their outdoor living spaces. She also has ideas for how garden centers can help customers achieve their gardening goals. In her book, “Garden Renovation...Read More

English Gardens Acquires Plymouth Nursery

English Gardens, No. 10 on Garden Center magazine’s Top 100 Independent Garden Centers list, has acquired Plymouth Nursery in Plymouth, Michigan. The announcement was made jointly by John Darin, president of English Gardens; and Jeff Jones, owner of Plymouth Nursery. This marks English Gardens sixth location in the Metro Detroit area. The family-owned company currently operates...Read More

2019 Garden Trends: Finding Joy in Nature

The future for gardening looks joyful and holds a connection to Mother Nature that just may be the saving grace of the planet. This bold prediction comes from Garden Media Group’s 2019 Garden Trends Report: Rooted Together – Reconnecting with the Natural World. The 18th annual report dives deep into the intrinsic connection people have with nature and how banding together is the best defense to protect...Read More

Boxwood Blight Reported in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) reported that boxwood blight was detected for the first time in Michigan. Three separate locations in Oakland County located the disease, including a landscape firm, a homeowner’s yard and in holiday wreaths being sold at a retail store. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer...Read More

Senate Approves Farm Bill

After months of debate, the Senate approved a farm bill on Tuesday. The Senate voted 87-13 in favor of the legislation, the details of which were released Monday evening after months of closed-door negotiations. The bill now heads to the House, where a vote is expected this week. The bipartisan agreement between Republicans and Democrats on this crucial piece of legislation caps a months-long...Read More

A Fresh Start

When Adrienne Simmons reviews applications for seasonal positions at Kaw Valley Greenhouses, she does not immediately discount candidates who disclose previous criminal convictions. Instead, she makes hiring decisions on a case-by-case basis. “We recognize that people have made mistakes in their past, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be good employees,” says Simmons, HR manager...Read More

Grow with Gunder: How to Get Home by 5

All of us at The Grow Group enjoyed an exciting few days of presenting, learning and having fun at GIE last month. One of the talks I delivered was called “Home by 5,” and we had a packed house for it. Why? Because we’re all struggling to juggle the demands of work and time away. We all feel as if there’s not enough time in the day to get done what we need to, and we all want to be home by 5 p.m. with...Read More

5 Steps to Creating a Five-Year Marketing Plan

When tasked with providing a path to a five-year marketing strategy for this month’s issue, the classic interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” immediately came to mind. Now, if you and I happen to be personally acquainted, then you may know I often throw many conventional rules out the window when it comes to things like hiring, business strategy and marketing. So, attempting to answer...Read More

The Demand for Dialogue

Not so long ago, most people in the workplace received feedback once a year during a performance review. An employee didn’t expect a development plan, a career track or anyone to take an interest in his or her professional growth. That responsibility was often a solo activity. In fact, as recently as a couple of decades ago, there wasn’t a great deal of help on the road to career success, and most people...Read More

2019 Pantone Color of the Year - 16-1546 Living Coral

Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment. In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging...Read More

10 Things to Include in Your Employee Handbook

One of the main functions of an employee handbook is to set expectations across the board that apply to all employees. Patrick McGuiness, an attorney representing green industry businesses, says you can’t just assume your workers have read the handbook because you’ve given it to them. An effective employee handbook should offer guidance for staff of every level, and provide a unifying mission statement...Read More

Study Helps Predict Which Plants Become Invasive

Jane Molofsky is a professor of plant biology at the University of Vermont. In the beginning of November 2018, she worked along side an international team of researchers that published a paper in Nature Communications that took a closer look at why certain plants become invasive. What they found was that certain plants species that are able to occupy...Read More

Manners in Modern-Day Retail

As an army brat, I grew up overseas, unlike my Louisiana-born-and-raised parents and extended family. While I may not have grown up in their southern culture, my parents made one thing abundantly clear when it came to southern hospitality: Always be a good hostess. That’s our job in retail, really — to be good hostesses and hosts. Otherwise, our guests aren’t going to feel at home enough to look...Read More

Be Careful With Your Content

Why should you fertilize in the fall? According to one fertilizer distributor’s website, fall fertilizer helps turf “store carbohydrates in colons, crowns and rhinezones (sic).” Say, what? When it comes to content marketing, quality varies. Some content is garbled garbage assembled from copied-and-pasted bits. It hopes to impress prospects with “knowledge” that will hopefully result in a quick...Read More

Ahead of the Curve

For most nurseries considering automating a part of their production process, the most important question is simple: what does it cost? But at Willowbend Nurseries, the most important question is different: “How many guys am I going to need through the year if I buy that machine?” says Chad Unger, operations manager of the Perry, Ohio, wholesale grower. “Some can save...Read More

Direct Mail Isn't Dead

Joy Gendusa, CEO of Postcardmania, a marketing company that specializes in lead generation, says using a direct mail campaign is feasible for anyone in the green industry. From irrigation professionals to mow and blow companies, owners can approach this type of marketing from a DIY perspective or hire a company that specializes in these types of campaigns. Read More

Guys in the Garden Center

For years—as long as I’ve been in this industry and that’s 15 years—we’ve focused heavily on the affluent female aged 45 to 65, as that was the conventional wisdom of who shopped independent garden centers. Recently, however, we’ve started to see somewhat of a shift in the demographics of shoppers and it’s something worth noting. Based on recent survey data from the National Gardening...Read More

Breaking Barriers

Maria Costa-Smith should be an NFL coach. You can picture her on the sidelines during a game, all 5 ft., 2 in. of her petite frame, headset on, playbook in hand, determined look on her face, making the tough decisions and calling the right plays. She’s got all of the qualities that a good coach should have: a strong history and passion for the game (in this instance, the hort game); the ability to motivate...Read More

Helping Others Overcome Adversity

Are your employees, clients and neighbors loyal to you and your company? My father taught me a lesson years ago that really stuck with me, that will help you grow their loyalty. Here is a very short video to explain how to create loyalty by helping others overcome adversity. It is a good message for this time of the year. Watch Video

Filling Your Shoes

“Succession is a fact. It’s going to happen sooner or later to every family business,” Matthias says. That includes those that don’t have a next generation to take over. But fear not: the process for that kind of succession plan is almost identical to family succession. The big difference is that you get to choose your replacement.

4 Political Issues American Hort's Tal Coley is monitoring in 2019

The 2018 U.S. midterm elections are behind us, and the makeup of Congress has changed, but AmericanHort director of government affairs Tal Coley says the organization’s goals remain the same. “I think we'll still be able to get a lot of things done, primarily because we have champions on both sides of the aisle,” he says. “I think as a trade association, you never want to gravitate toward...Read More

What Message are You Sending?

What’s your stance on breaks? Do you believe they are crucial and helpful, that they improve employee morale, job satisfaction, creativity and productivity? That individuals, particularly those laboring in the heat, need recovery time? Or, do you see breaks as a necessary evil? Think back to your previous jobs. How were breaks and meals managed? Did the rules apply consistently...Read More 

Retail Outlook for 2019 Positive

In 2018, several major retailers, including Toys R' Us, Mattress Firm, Nine West, Claire's and Sears filed for bankruptcy. Every other day we're seeing headlines about the end of retail as we know it, or how Millennials have killed yet another beloved retailer. The news is chock-full of articles about iconic retailers like, Macy's, Foot Locker and Rite Aid (to name a few), closing stores. This ongoing chatter of the retail apocalypse...Read More

Determining Design

When it comes to creating a functional and beautiful outdoor oasis, structures like decks, pergolas, pavilions and fences offer plenty of design options. “I ask homeowners a lot of questions when we first meet. You have to get a sense of what makes your clients tick,” says Joshua Dean, landscape designer with Wheat’s Landscape in Virginia, Maryland, and the suburban...Read More

Do You Know Your Metrics?

Industry consultant Ian Baldwin says when he travels the country, the question he most often gets asked is, “How are other retailers doing?” It’s part of the reason he partnered with (developed by industry vets Kellee [Magee] O’Reilly and Corey Bordine), so retailers can answer that question for themselves. Through the new Five Numbers Project, which is...Read More

How to Leave Good Voicemail Messages

Have you listened to your voicemail message on your personal phone and/or office? What do your clients hear before they leave their message? When you leave messages on other peoples voice mail what do they sound like? The Harvesters are going to give you some excellent tips so listen carefully and make any needed changes. Learn More

Garden Center Promotions and Marketing

Data from our State of the Industry surveys reveal just how much garden center marketing has changed in the past five years. In 2013, 68% of retailers reported they were using social media platforms. That number has steadily increased over the years, and this year, 90% of IGCs are using social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram or others to connect with potential customers online...Read More 

Next Gen Mindset

A spot on the local news gathered a few pieces of technology from decades past—a Sony Walkman, a pager, film, a floppy disc, an old TV “clicker”—and showed them to school-aged kids of today to see if they knew what purpose each item served. Hilarity ensued. The kids ranged in age from maybe five to 12—members of Generation Z or the newest group, Generation Alpha. Read More

An Evolving Nursery Market

Despite a fairly steady nursery market, with close to half of responders reporting increased profits this year compared to 2017, 2018 saw some high-profile closures and bankruptcies. However, two heavy hitters in the market — DCA Outdoor and TreeTown USA — have been acquiring operations across the nation this year. In June 2018, Gardens Alive! announced that it was seeking...Read More

Dissecting the Dollars

Get a better idea of how you compare nationally when it comes to pricing and pay. Obviously, we know you need to adjust to your local market when it comes to pricing and pay, but over this next handful of pages, you can get a better idea of how you compare nationally through our 2018 Benchmarking Your Business Report.  One note about this year’s report: the survey is sent randomly to our readers...Read More

Proposed H-2B Rule Modernizes Employee Recruitment Process

The Department of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Department of Labor, has published a joint notice of proposed rule making that would modernize recruitment requirements for employers seeking H-2B nonimmigrant workers. The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill...Read More

5 Strategies for Overcoming Labor Challenges in the Greenhouse

Based on feedback from Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers survey, 89% of growers say labor is a top concern, and 82% say the availability of skilled labor is an issue, too. About 20% of these growers are using the H-2A program, and 47% of the Top 100 say they will look into guest worker programs in the coming year. Read More

The Inventiveness of Nursery Growers

Recently, Bennett’s Creek Nursery in Smithfield has focused more on the quality of their water, said CEO Matt Sawyer. And in order to address the need for more control over their irrigation system, they installed a high-tech pumphouse, complete with sand filtration, acid injection for pH, chlorine injection for sanitizing and fertilizer injection. Read More

Young Blood

If you want to keep your Millennial workers, you’ll have to start thinking like one. Here are five tips from a panel with young professionals at LANDSCAPES 2018, the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ educational event held during GIE+EXPO. Read More

Selling Succulents as Holiday Plants

Even if the weather outside is never frightful, and there’s no white Christmas in sight, people still love decorating their homes for the winter holidays. In mild climates, “decking the halls” is tradition, and consumers are looking for the best ways to brighten up their indoor and outdoor areas. Shannon Kuhrt, vice president of M&M Wintergreens Inc., based in Cleveland, Ohio, says the demand for traditional...Read More

States Untangle Dicamba Rules

Just how complex will dicamba use be in 2019? So complex that the three new dicamba labels released by EPA last week are each around 40 pages long and accompanied by nearly 200 pages of documents detailing the herbicides' registration requirements and their potential impacts on the general population, farmers and endangered species. States are working overtime to interpret...Read More

Employees Your Business Can’t do Without

“Congratulations on your new beginning” read the card accompanying a beautiful bouquet of flowers my friend recently received from her husband. What a magnificent way to celebrate a new job, don’t you think? Only thing is, she wasn’t starting a new job. She had just learned that her division, along with her job of 23 years, was being phased out. “What a sweet message that provided just the right...Read More

ONLA Hosts More than 200 Students in Annual Landscape Olympics

The Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association hosted 230 future workers, managers, and owners in the industry during its third annual academic competition on Nov. 1 and 2. Nufarm Turf & Ornamentals served as the leading sponsor for the Ohio High School Landscape Olympics, a hands-on competition at The Ohio State University Agriculture Technical Institute in Wooster. Read More

Beyond Damaging Crops, Dicamba is Dividing Communities

John and Lisa Zuhlke used to get along well with their neighbor of 10 years. Before they began raising more than 350 varieties of heirloom vegetables and honey on their five-acre operation in Aurora, South Dakota, two years ago, they maintained an amicable relationship with the soybean grower next door. He would scoop snow from their driveway and road and let them hunt his land...Read More

What's Your Paycheck?

You assume great risk. You provide jobs that support others’ families. You can’t remember the last time you only worked a 40-hour week. As an owner, you deserve to get paid at least what you’d make as an employee at another landscape company. Don’t you? “We take a lot of risks every day as owners, and to not pay yourself regularly is a mistake,” says Karl Schottler, who started...Read More

Sonny Perdue Praises Proposed Department of Labor Rulemaking for H-2A Visas

On Nov. 8, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised proposed rulemaking by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), which could help growers advertise job openings to domestic workers as required under the H-2A visa program. The DOL rulemaking would require that employers seeking to hire temporary workers post the employment opportunities online, rather than in expensive...Read More

Package Deal

There are loyalty programs for everything from hotels to restaurants that reward customers for making purchases. It only makes sense for customers to take advantage of these perks for things they are already going to buy. But what about mower fleet loyalty programs? Should landscapers consider a rewards program or purchasing their entire fleet from one mower manufacturer? Read More

OSHA's Most Cited Violations of 2018

The annual National Safety Council Congress & Expo is being held this week, and with it comes the annual release of OSHA’s most cited violations for fiscal year 2018. For the eighth straight year, fall protection –general requirements (1926.501) is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard, according to Safety and Health Magazine. The rest of the top five – hazard communication (1910.1200), scaffolding...Read More

Small Box Retail

A monthly subscription is the gift that keeps giving all year. From makeup and razors to food, drinks and dog toys, there are subscription boxes in every product category you can imagine. According to research from McKinsey & Company, 15 percent of online shoppers have subscribed to receive products on a recurring basis. So, could a plant of the month club work for your garden center? Read More

More Than Dust in the Wind

Business owners and managers are often suspicious of new regulations. This skepticism is often based on the sheer number of new enforcement actions that are introduced on an annual basis. For concrete and demolition recyclers, a pending United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation regarding airborne silica dust has been among the industry’s most...Read More

Native Plants: A One-Size-Fits-All Solution?

Living and gardening in a state such as Texas teaches you a few lessons about adaptability. Most important of these lessons is that growing conditions are never easy, so your plants had better be tough. Sometimes that means a native plant, sometimes it doesn’t. Texas ranks first in the U.S. for its frequency and types of natural disasters. Drought may not be one of the quickest or dramatic of such disasters...Read More

Utilization of Lighting for Safety Purposes

Besides utilizing lights in the landscape to illuminate aesthetic qualities or enhance security, lights can, and should, serve an integral part of providing safety as well. It could be considered common knowledge that a well lit public area reduces crime and thus, in-turn, increases safety. Riding on that same train-of-thought, an adequately lit landscape, whether it is public or private, can be a simple tactic...Read More

USDA Debuts Emerald Ash Borer Interactive Map

The USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has developed a new interactive tool to explain the story of emerald ash borer (EAB) in the U.S. The ‘Story Map of EAB’ includes pictures and details of symptoms of EAB infestations and an interactive map illustrating the spread of EAB from 2002, when it arrived in Michigan, through its current status in 2018. Read More

How Important are Pollinators to Your Business? Bee Counted!

The National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN), a unique collaboration of conservation, garden trade, and civic groups is closing in on the goals of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. Co-founders include AmericanHort, National Garden Association, National Gardening Bureau, National Wildlife Federation, Pollinator Partnership, and American Public Gardens Association. The NPGN is developing a report that will be released in early 2019 that shows how the public and the garden industry have responded to the plight of pollinators and monarchs. Your input is needed. Complete the Survey

Gardening on Demand

Each year when I’m asked to weigh in on the state of the garden center industry for this special issue, I pause for a moment and consider how to best deliver opinions that are useful. While it’s tempting to want to cheerlead, regardless of realities, that’s not really my style. So, here it is: modernize is the name of the game right now. If you aren’t quickly adapting, you’re going to get...Read More 

Recruiting Strategies That Work

Here’s a frightening thought: It’s all up to you! The company’s future growth and success are directly proportionate to your ability to hire and retain talented, productive employees. Yikes! This is easier said than done in today’s intensely competitive job market, which has fewer people who are willing to perform manual labor. With fewer candidates available in the job market, employers...Read More

High Performance: Recruiting in a Tight Labor Market

When employers are struggling to fill open positions, it becomes even more important to be very selective during the hiring process. This may seem counterintuitive, but let me explain. Do you remember a time when it was relatively easy to fill an open position? I sure do. I recall looking through a stack of applications whenever a position opened up. At that time, I had zero concern about not being able...Read More

EPA Dicamba Ruling Raises Spirits, Questions, and Concerns

Mixed reactions reign following new rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last night for the use of dicamba formulations in dicamba-tolerant crops in the Roundup Ready Xtend System. Companies manufacturing and marketing the products — including Bayer Crop Science and BASF — are pleased. University and Extension weed scientists have questions and concerns...Read More

Crafting the Right Management Team

When companies start small, Bill Silverman, owner of Springboard Business Coaching, said managers are like 80s TV hero MacGyver. “He had this skill to solve problems with his creativity and ingenuity,” Silverman said. “I think MacGyver is a model of what a small business is. You have to be able to do everything from accounting to finance to the actual landscaping.” Once a business grows...Read More

Preparing your Hardscape Employees and Business for Success

With labor still ranking as a top challenge in the industry, Jerry Gaeta, owner of J. Gaeta Business Planning said contractors need to focus on the good workers they already have. “We sell time and professionalism, field labor is your greatest asset,” Gaeta said. He offered several tips to better utilize your employees...Read More

A Long-Term Energy Outlook

Worldwide crude oil prices will average $73 a barrel (b) in 2018 and $74/b in 2019, according to the Short-Term Energy Outlook by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In August 2018, global oil prices averaged $73/b—about $1 a barrel lower than in July. Prices are easing after traders bid them higher in response to the November 2017 OPEC meeting when the oil...Read More

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Protecting American Workers by Requiring Advertising Jobs Online

To make it easier for Americans to find and fill open jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced a proposal for employers seeking temporary labor certifications through the H-2B and H-2A visa programs to advertise jobs online. Under current rules, an employer advertising a job for which it seeks a temporary labor certification must publish two print advertisements in a newspaper...Read More

11 Ways

Machines can be the answer, yes … and to more than just the “How do I reduce labor?” question. In fact, over the years, we at GrowerTalks have identified 11 different ways that you can justify an equipment investment, both immediately and over the long haul. This article covers those 11 ways; in addition, we’ve talked to three greenhouse operators with plenty of automation experience—Suzie Raker...Read More

Stachys ‘Hummelo' Named 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year

The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title Perennial Plant of the Year 2019 to Stachys ‘Hummelo’. Stunning in massed plantings, and popular with designers, this late June-July bloomer is as trouble-free and dependable as it is eye-catching. Selected and introduced by famed German grower Ernst Pagels in the late 1990’s, this perennial further gained popularity as it was used by...Read More

Save Water, Save Money

In locations where water is limited or the price of water is high, the value of conserving and recirculating nutrient solutions are important factors in the irrigation system design. In this article, we present two case studies of the benefits of recirculating nutrient solutions in greenhouses producing ornamentals in containers.  Read More

Department of Labor Announces New H-2A forms

On Oct. 25, the Department of Labor published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to revise application forms, instructions, and other information collected under the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program. This is the beginning of a larger roll-out of H-2A administrative reforms from the DOL in cooperation with the Departments of Agriculture and Homeland Security. The proposed revisions...Read More

Communication in the Age of OmniChannel

Communications to retail customers before ecommerce meant selling one thing to many people using the same message. Omnichannel retail (in a post-ecommerce world) is selling one thing to one person through a continuous, personalized flow of communications across multiple channels from first point of contact with a customer to the point-of-sale (with that one customer)—and beyond. In truth, “SELLING” is superseded...Read More

GIE+EXPO Continues to Grow

The 2018 GIE+EXPO broke records again this year. The show, held Oct. 17-19 at the Kentucky Expo Center, topped the last four years' records in both attendance and exhibitors, making it the largest ever. In fact, it's one of the largest tradeshows in the U.S. More than 24,7000 people from around the world attended, representing a 3 percent increase over 2017. And with 1,000 exhibits, the indoor show...Read More

State of the Industry 2018 - Explore the Possibilities

As the industry struggles to find and retain quality labor, it’s critical that growers discover ways to become more efficient. In our exclusive 2018 State of the Industry survey, more than three quarters of responders said that labor was the greatest problem facing the industry in 2019. Increased expenses came in as the second-greatest problem followed by weather. Read More

Chalet Honors the Life of Lawrence J. Thalmann, Jr.

Lawrence J. Thalmann, Jr., 88, son of Chalet’s founder Lawrence J. Thalmann and second-generation co-owner of Chalet, Wilmette, Ill., passed away last month, leaving a thriving business and legacy of beauty that spans generations. Last year, Thalmann, Jr., together with Larry, his son and current Chalet president, celebrated the company’s 100th year in business, a milestone that positions...Read More

NALP Attends White House Workforce Event

The National Association of Landscape Professionals, along with five other associations, recently attended the Our Pledge to America's Workers event at the White House. NALP was chosen to attend the exclusive event to reiterate its commitment to grow the lawn and landscape industry and expand training opportunities for more than 150,000 people over the next five years. Read More

Waste of Space

Because greenhouse production is highly capital-intensive, it’s important to know exactly how full your greenhouse is on a weekly basis. Empty greenhouse space increases the cost of plants grown in that space because overhead costs—for example, depreciation and heating—have to be divided into fewer plant products sold. Increasing “space-use efficiency” (the proportion of your production...Read More

Nature Rambles | A New Invasive Species

It’s not everyday that I get stumped when I’m out in nature, but every once in a while, I see something that I have no idea what it is. A few weeks ago, Peoria Park District staff and volunteers were out working on the hill prairie in Forest Park South, along the Pimiteoui Trail. It is a nice little hill prairie with several species of native plants. We happened to be there when the goldenrods, asters and blazing...Read More

Working Wonders

There was a time, up until 2006 or 2007, when Robinson Nursery in McMinnville, Oregon would lay off at least 30 percent of its workforce every year, just after the fall season and heading into winter. Back then, the nursery industry’s labor pool included a significant amount of migrant workers, and the business itself was much more seasonal than it is today. Read More

Web Marketing Ideas for Landscape Design Firms

Growing your landscape design business is vital to your firm’s longevity. There are lots of options when it comes to promoting your brand, and you could spend plenty of time trying to figure out which ones to pursue. However, you’re busy running your business, so we’re sharing some great web marketing ideas to boost your business. Read More

EPA Announces Changes To Dicamba Registration

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is extending the registration of dicamba for two years for “over-the-top” use (application to growing plants) to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba. This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers...Read More

The 'Tangled Root Ball'

Each June, family business owners interview with a panel of peers to compete in the Excellence in Family Business Awards. Judges consistently ask each CEO how they carve out time for their family. To date, the most memorable — and perhaps practical — “policy” came from a father with three very accomplished sons. He replied, “If my boys and I start talking about business...Read More

Fall for Perennials

I can hear you now: “Paul’s on his soap box, pushing fall perennials again.” And my response is, “And why not?” Whether you’re a grower or retailer, I can’t imagine any business who wouldn’t mind extending their sales windows or generating more sales revenue. If these are of interest to you, please read on—I have two approaches to marketing perennials in the fall I’d like to run by you. Read More

The New ICE Age

It’s a myth that the only reason why any employer would hire foreign workers it because it’s “cheap labor.” There’s absolutely no incentive for any employer to hire a foreign worker over a U.S.-born worker. It’s at least three to four times more expensive to hire a foreign worker over a U.S. worker due to legal fees, government filing fees, advertising costs, and consular fees and transportation costs. Read More

Tracking Technology

The green industry has certainly come a long way during the 24 years that I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of it. It’s amazing to see how technology has influenced its direction. Irrigation controllers, for example. The days of electromechanical time-based irrigation controllers like the Rain Bird RC-7 are certainly in the past. When these controllers first came out, they were ahead of their time...Read More

The Case for Better Plant Labels at Garden Centers

A few months ago, I was walking through the houseplant section at my garden center, and I saw a customer frowning. She was holding a Peperomia and was clearly unhappy. I don’t normally work in that section of store, but after seeing her face, I stopped to ask if I could be of assistance. “You can tell me what this is,” she responded. “The tag only says ‘Tropical Plant,’ and that doesn’t tell me anything.” I sighed...Read More

The Workforce Shortage is Real...Here's How the Green Industry Plans to Cope

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), through the Industry Growth Initiative, recently held a Workforce Development and Recruitment Summit at its office in Fairfax, Virginia, to address the industry’s workforce shortage. Approximately 50 attendees from major regional green industry associations, as well as experts from other major industries, attended the event...Read More

People Problems

With labor topping the list of concerns in the industry for several years running, immigration and the visiting worker program are also coming to the forefront of worries for contractors. Immigration and customs enforcement arrests increased overall by 30 percent last year compared to 2016, with a total of 143,470 arrests, according to the last fiscal year’s ICE Enforcement and Removal...Read More

Beyond Mow and Blow: New Approaches to Park Maintenance

“How can we make maintenance sexier and more fun?” This was the question moderator Joey Hays, ASLA, posed to the crowd at the ASLA 2018 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, in a session entitled “the disturbing pleasures of maintenance: audacious strategies for public parks,” which sought to address the increasingly-fraught issue of public parks maintenance...Read More

Not Big Brother

There’s one big mistake contractors make when it comes to implementing GPS systems: communication. GPS tracking can help companies manage fuel costs, routing, driver safety and job times, but if you don’t get employees on board, the whole system falls apart. If crew members are suspicious of a new GPS tracking system, it will be hard to use the software to its full potential. Explaining...Read More

Dale Bachman Plans to be More Present, Stay Connected to Industry After Retirement

In February, Dale Bachman, CEO of Bachman’s, based in Minneapolis, Minn., announced he was retiring Oct. 20, 2018, after a 46-year career working at the company his great grandparents founded 133 years ago. Bachman, a fourth-generation owner, will still resume his responsibilities as chairman of the board for the company, which operates retail locations in the Twin Cities, including six full-service...Read More

Responding to Wage & Hour Investigations: Advice for Nursery & Landscape Employers

AmericanHort offers the following guidance for its members regarding U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) investigations by the Wage & Hour Division (“WHD”). In recent months, there has been a marked increase in WHD investigations, particularly in the nursery and landscape industry, and recent public announcements by Labor Secretary Acosta signal further increases in the degree...Read More

Staying On Track

Pruitt Lawn Service has grown substantially in the last decade, now with 25 full-time employees and 10 trucks in the field servicing mostly commercial accounts, primarily HOAs in the Athens, Georgia, area. Founder Bill Pruitt, who started the business 33 years ago, has always been a hands-on guy. “Bill makes trips out every day with his crews,” says Lacey Pruitt, office manager. Read More

The Five Numbers Garden Retailers Should Be Using

Traveling the country working with independent garden retailers, I know that owners and managers constantly wonder how their year compares with that of their peers 300 or even 3,000 miles away. The fear of falling behind industry standards is understandable when you are working hard in your own trenches. It’s easy to feel isolated. I get asked a lot, “what are you hearing this year, how are others doing?”...Read More

Shifting Gears

Since the beginning of time, we humans have innovated, inventing tools and machines to help us accomplish tasks more quickly and precisely. And whether it’s the Stone Age or 2018 A.D., the primary goal has been the same — to save the amount of time and manpower that must be expended. In today’s economy, when it’s hard to find workers to perform manual labor, getting the most from the ones...Read More

Gather Around the Fire

There’s nothing necessarily new with fire, so you might not hear contractors buzzing about trends. But by embracing the timeless, primal allure of fire to add warmth and ambiance to any outdoor space, contractors are finding hot growth opportunities in this niche. "Our love of fire is instinctual. We’ve enjoyed being around fire since the beginning of time,” says Scott Cohen, garden artisan and owner...Read More

What to Do When the Phone Won’t Stop Ringing

Accepting every new client who comes your way might seem like a quick way to make more money, but in the long run, it often leads to stretching crews thin on time and resources. That’s why Nick Cooper said he turns down roughly 95 percent of new business leads each day. The Greathouse Company business development manager told a LANDSCAPES 2018 audience that it’s essential...Read More

Rules of the Shipping Game

In late August, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it was exploring measures to provide flexibility for Hours of Service (HOS) rules. (Note that even with the new Electronic Logging Device [ELD] mandates, the HOS rules never changed.) According to AmericanHort, the agency issued an advance notice...Read More

The four areas that are being considered for

Bailey Nurseries to Acquire Carlton Plants

Bailey Nurseries is acquiring Carlton Plants as of Oct. 31. As a continuation of its principle of Growing What’s Next, Bailey places a strong focus on supplying the grower market with top quality plants supported by excellent service. Integrating one of the industry’s most well-respected bareroot growers into the Bailey organization offers customers an expanded product portfolio...Read More

Great Ideas: Improve Your Time Management

“Until We Can Manage Time, We Can Manage Nothing Else.” These words of wisdom come from the late, great management guru Peter Drucker, and for me they really hit home. Because while there are many strategies for improving your business, you won’t succeed at any of them if you don’t first figure out how to manage your time, and your team’s time, well. Read More

Keep Your Millennials

As Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers all learn how to work together, it’s key to understand how company culture is changing. At a panel discussion at LANDSCAPES in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, three members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals Young Professionals group discussed what they look for in a workplace. Read More

New Terrain - Debbie's Green Infrastructure Frames

I’ve rarely included my opinion in this space, but since this is my last issue, here are just a few thoughts that frame my thinking on the future of green infrastructure. I see an emergent way of developing landscape spaces that is in flux. Existing disciplines are competing for position, and new players are entering, seeking to define a new industry. Policy is pushing green infrastructure. Read More

Boxwood Blight Found in Indiana

The DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology has discovered that a shipment of boxwood plants infected with boxwood blight was shipped to Indiana in May. This is important because boxwood blight (Calonectria pseudonaviculata) is a fungal disease that infests members of the popular Buxaceae family, and is often transported through the nursery trade. Hosts...Read More

Using Science to Sell

Consumers are fickle. Dr. Charlie Hall, professor and Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, articulated this during his keynote at Cultivate’18 in Columbus, Ohio, when discussing the consumer confidence index and why the economic indicator has its limitations. It’s something independent garden centers are keenly aware of, too, but to succeed...Read More

Lawn & Landscape Shines a Spotlight on Decades of Leadership

Four new green industry professionals were inducted into the Lawn & Landscape’s Leadership Class of 2018, and, for the second consecutive year acknowledged an industry up and comer. The Lawn & Landscape Leadership Awards, sponsored by Syngenta, are given annually to those in the green industry who have had a positive effect in the world of landscaping and lawn care. Read More

How to Know You’re Compliant With HR Issues

When NALP General Counsel Richard Lehr pulled up a chair and table to discuss common labor law issues at Landscapes 2018, he ran through a list of seven typical problems that arise in human resources. At his presentation at Landscapes 2018, there was no slideshow or formal presentation. The session was more of a hands-on exercise than it was anything else...Read More

Profit Power: Partner-Leadership Trumps Command-and-Control

In today’s global economy, even the world of landscaping is being affected. The world has become more transparent and the rate of change has increased around us. To succeed in this fast environment, the leaders in your company need to have more control over their work environment and more authority to make decisions. They need to have the power of a partner...Read More

2018 PPA Includes Inside Look at Amazon

This past July, the Perennial Plant Symposium was held in the Raleigh, N.C., area for the first time since 1997. During the event, which took place July 30 through Aug. 3, both established professionals and the next generation were recognized, Amazon’s lead horticulturist presented information about the retail giant’s plant-oriented space in downtown Seattle, and attendees toured several...Read More

Hard-Learned Lessons

It’s true in sports and it’s true in business: individuals win games, but teams win championships. Ross Bernstein, best-selling sports author and Fortune 500 award-winning speaker, shared his insights from years of talking with top athletes at the National Association of Landscape Professionals CEO Forum at LANDSCAPES Wednesday morning. It’s the little things you do every day...Read More

Irrigation Foundation Opens Annual Scholarship Submissions

The Irrigation Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2019 scholarship program. The annual program was created in an effort to promote careers in irrigation by providing financial support for the education of worthy scholarship candidates. The scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, are awarded based on the candidate’s letter of intent, financial need, resume, list of irrigation...Read More

Vendor Partners Raise Money for Charity

At their 11th annual Partner Appreciation event, James Martin Associates (JMA) continued their tradition of giving by raising money for charity.
JMA’s 2018 efforts—along with a generous donation by Russo Power Equipment—raised over $4,700, making the total raised at annual Partner Appreciation events nearly $42,000 to date. The donations were given by JMA’s partner vendors who attended...Read More

Webinar: Ensuring Federal Wage and Hour Compliance In the Landscape Industry

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is conducting a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance in the landscape industry, and particularly with labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program.  AmericanHort will moderate a presentation by WHD officials, who will provide an overview of the nation-wide initiative, relevant laws, common violations...Register Here 

2018 Lawn & Landscape State of the Industry Report

This year's report shows similar results from the past few years, with the majority of contractors doing well overall. While median revenue slightly decreased $4,000 to $287,000 in 2017 compared to 2016, those who turned a profit slightly increased to 87% in 2017 compared to 86% in 2016. A dearth of quality labor continues to be the major roadblock for growth with 66% saying it hindered...Read More

Syngenta Launches Manuscript Herbicide

To help lawn care operators manage mature grassy weeds, Syngenta has launched new Manuscript herbicide. This herbicide has been specially designed to provide post-emergence control of weeds, such as crabgrass and dallisgrass, in certain warm-season turf species on residential and commercial lawns. "Manuscript provides lawn care operators...Read More

California Judge Mulls New Trial in $289M Roundup Award

A San Francisco judge said Wednesday she is considering tossing out the lion’s share of the $289 million judgment against agribusiness giant Monsanto and ordering a new trial over whether the company’s weed-killer caused a groundskeeper’s cancer. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos didn’t formally rule on any issues after a two-hour hearing to consider Monsanto’s demand...Read More

IGC Show to Move from Navy Pier

Faced with ongoing construction at Navy Pier, and the inconveniences to attendees and exhibitors that would come with it, IGC Show Founders Jeff and Cheryl Morey recently announced their decision to move the event, which is open to all ages, to a new permanent home in Chicago: Lakeside | McCormick, beginning next summer with IGC Show 2019, scheduled August 13-15. Read More

AI And Farming: How IBM Is Bringing Cutting-Edge Technology To One Of The World's Oldest Industries

Agriculture has evolved with mankind through centuries. Today, agriculture contributes 3.8% to the world’s GDP, although the contribution of individual nations across the spectrum varies widely, between 0%-60%. Over the years, while its share in the world economy has reduced vis-à-vis manufacturing and services, the importance of agriculture hasn’t. The demand for food is never ending...Read More

Congress Defers Action on H-2B Program Until After Midterm Elections

The H-2B returning-worker provision and some modest H-2B reforms did not make it into the fiscal year 2019 federal appropriations bills, as business advocates had hoped. The House and Senate sent several appropriations bills to President Trump’s desk for signature, encompassing most of the federal bureaucracy. However, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) appropriation, in which...Read More

Research to Help Water Flow More Freely to Farms, Fish, People

New technology and management approaches could help the West’s precious water flow more efficiently for farmers, residents and fish, thanks to pioneering work by scientists at Washington State University. “Water is a valuable resource for everything from food production to drinking water, recreation and a healthy ecosystem...Read More

The Drones are Close

Unmanned aerial vehicles have their coordinates set on the greenhouse industry. In Japan, one type of drone cross-pollinates lilies by remote control. In North Carolina, a second type flaunts a protruding proboscis. In the Netherlands, a third steers around obstacles on its own. Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are used in various applications, including military operations, aerial...Read More

Daniel Livingston Joins Schwope brothers Tree Farms

DCA Outdoor has announced that Daniel Livingston has joined the Production Team at Schwope Brothers Tree Farms in the role of Production Manager.  Livingston’s knowledge and experience as a Certified Nursery Professional will help drive the continued growth and industry innovations that Schwope Brothers offers.  His responsibilities will include managing the quality...Read More

If You Accept Science, You Accept Roundup Does Not Cause Cancer

The common weed killer Roundup (glyphosate) is back in the news after a US court ruled it contributed to a man’s terminal cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma). Following the court’s order for manufacturer Monsanto to compensate the former school ground’s keeper US$289 million, more than 9,000 people are reportedly also suing the company. In light of this, Cancer Council Australia is calling...Read More

Destination Companies Unite at Nashville Event

One landscaper shared his experience of running a debt-free company. One discussed his company’s initiative to hire veterans in response to the troublesome labor issue. Another brought up her company’s decision to hire a bilingual HR specialist to serve as the go-between for Hispanic employees. Despite the differences, all these companies had one thing in common: the desire...Read More

A Drifting Weedkiller Puts Prized Trees At Risk

Mike Hayes and I are sitting on the patio of Blue Bank Resort, the business he owns on Reelfoot Lake, in Tennessee. The sun is going down. It's beautiful. What really catches your eye here is the cypress trees. They line the lake, and thousands of them are standing right in the water. Hayes tells me that they are more than 200 years old. They were here in 1812, when the lake...Read More

Rusty Oak Nursery Joins Bower & Branch

Bower & Branch, a group of independent growers and garden retailers throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest, announced today that it continues its grower network expansion with the addition of Rusty Oak Nursery, Ltd. in Valley City, OH, as a Grower Member. Sid Raisch, President and CEO of Bower & Branch, said, “We are proud to add Rusty Oak Nursery, Ltd., owned by...Read More

Arizona Garden Center to Close Store, Sell Plants Online

After 25 years, Flagstaff Native Plant and Seed has closed its doors at its brick-and-mortar location in Flagstaff, Arizona. Owner Nigel Sparks and Landscape Manager Sarah Michelon are transitioning to a web-based business model. This means no more browsing through the nursery and talking with native plant-savvy staff on site, but customers will be able to request plants and...Read More

Bob Negen: 'Throw Away Your Coupons'

Bob Negen, co-founder of WhizBang! Retail Training, learned a lot after founding a retail store devoted solely to kites, and it inspired him to become a consultant to help other retailers find success in their industries. During a keynote at the 2018 IGC Show in Chicago's Navy Pier, Negen said any successful business must have three pillars as a foundation...Read More

4 Suggestions for Improving 2019 Dicamba Label

Reports of off-target dicamba decreased in some states in 2018. In Illinois, though, they increased in 2018. The Illinois Department of Agriculture has so far recorded 330 dicamba complaints in 2018. That’s up from 246 in 2017. With no temperature and/or date cutoffs, complaints continued to come in through July and August, says Jean Payne, president of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical...Read More

Dr. Charlie Hall Receives 2018 SAF Paul Ecke, Jr. Award

Charles R. Hall, Ph.D., Professor & Ellison Chair in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University, received the 2018 SAF Paul Ecke, Jr. Award on Saturday, Sept. 15, during SAF Palm Springs 2018, the Society of American Florists’ 134th annual convention at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California. Established in 1984, SAF’s Paul Ecke, Jr. Award...Read More

Invasive Pear Tree Threatens Indiana's Native Plants

Every spring, neighborhoods around Indiana shine white with the blossoms of a landscaping staple. The callery pear tree and its dozens of variations have become the cheap and fast-growing tree of choice here and across the nation. But the trees have also become one of the most pervasive threats to the state’s natural resources. A Monroe County expert on invasive species says state officials are...Read More

OSHA Fines Landscaping Company After Employee Death

A Boise landscaping company was fined $9,054 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the accident on Boise’s Hewlett Packard campus that killed 65-year-old Antonio Barroso Garcia, of Nampa. OSHA cited Trautman Lawn & Landscape Company on July 31 with a “serious” violation, setting an abatement deadline for Aug. 24. Garcia died May 23...Read More

On the Dissing of “Ornamental Plants”

Anyone else bothered by the term “ornamental” to distinguish certain plants from those that are considered useful, usually edibles? For example,Wikipedia uses this petunia to illustrate the term and offers this definition: Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects...Read More

TurfMutt to Sponsor Television Series

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) environmental education and stewardship program, TurfMutt, will sponsor a new television program, Ready Set, Pet. Hosted by Phil Torres and co-produced by Hearst Originals, Ready, Set, Pet will educate and inform teens and their families about pet adoption, responsible pet ownership, and the importance of a green space...Read More 

Garden Media Group Releases 2019 Garden Trends Report

Garden Media Group recently released its 2019 Garden Trends Report: Rooted Together – Reconnecting with the Natural World. The 18th annual report dives deep into the intrinsic connection people have with nature and how banding together just may be the best defense to protect the earth. According to the report, today’s “social clock” society is online...Read More  FULL REPORT

APHIS Provides an Update on Spotted Lanternfly 

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provides this update of spotted lanternfly (SLF) activities in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware. SLF feeds on more than 70 types of plants, including crops such as grapes, apples, hops, walnuts, and other hardwood trees. SLF suck sap from stems and leaves, damaging plants as they feed. APHIS and state...Read More 

Step by Step: How to Winterize an Irrigation System

Water left inside an irrigation system can cause serious problems during the cold winter months, with the potential to freeze, expand and crack the system’s pipes. Freezing water in the backflow assembly also can damage the internal components and can crack the system’s brass body. To minimize the risk of freeze damage, it’s necessary to winterize irrigation systems...Read More

Vino Venture

Nestled behind an industrial park in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is Sapphire Creek Winery & Gardens. The nearly six-month-old business sits among a landscape filled with seasonal greenery, oak trees and beech trees – which isn’t there by accident. Next door to the winery, the full-service landscape company, Ohio Valley Group, operates on the 15 acres of shared land. Owners Kathleen...Read More

Perennial Plant Association Names 2018 Special Awards Recipients

The Perennial Plant Association has announced the recipients of the 2018 Special Awards. Seven distinguished leaders of the perennial industry were nominated by their peers for the outstanding impact they continue to make. The recipients were recognized during the 36th Annual Perennial Plant Symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina. Read More

GrowerTalks/Green Profit Wage & Benefit Survey

Each year, Ball Publishing conducts two wage and benefit surveys—one directed to growers and a second to those who have a retail component to their business. Results of both are published in GrowerTalks/GreenProfit magazine thanks to the survey sponsor, Florasearch. Those who enter will be entered to win a 128GB iPad. WHOLESALE GROWERS CLICK HERE  GROWERS WITH RETAIL CLICK HERE

Cool Planet Launches Educational Series on Soil

Cool Planet, an agriculture technology company focused on soil health solutions, has partnered with Tim Hammerich, the host of the Future of Agriculture podcast, to create an educational multimedia series about soil health called 'Stories from the Soil.' “Soil health is the literal groundwork and foundation of our nation’s agricultural system and our food supply,” said Tim Hammerich, CEO of Future...Read More

The 2018 Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List

Each year, Garden Center magazine publishes articles about some of the businesses that appear on our annual Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List. As independents, each company has its own individual approach to business management, marketing, customer service and hiring, and there is a lot we can all learn from the stories of these companies, from No. 1 to 100. Read More

Communication Coach: 7 Website Elements to Convert Visitors into Paying Customers

The only way a website can do its job is with a design and framework that predictably attracts and converts leads into revenue. Many landscape company websites profile elegant photos and captivating videos because that’s what buyers expect. In fact, for my clients, Google Analytics proves project galleries and case studies are the website pages visitors most frequent. Read More

Tom Demaline Writes Op-ed on Farm Bill

Tom Demaline, owner of Avon, Ohio's Willoway Nurseries and past chairman of the board for AmericanHort, wrote an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer urging Ohio legislators to pass a farm bill. In the editorial, Demaline explained how the horticulture industry fits into a bill more widely known for controversial issues such as work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition...Read More

A Survey of Peony Diseases in the Central and Eastern United States

For the last 5 years, we have been researching botrytis gray mold on peonies. In addition to being a major production problem for peonies, Botrytis species are some of the most challenging pathogens to manage for greenhouse and field cut flower farmers all over the world. While conducting
our field surveys for Botrytis gray mold throughout the Pacific Northwest...Read More

A New 10-Hour Construction Course

In collaboration, the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are offering a 10-Hour Construction Course specific to the landscape industry. This safety-training course is approved by OSHA and designed by NALP. The sessions are taught by authorized trainers who provide principals and field employees with detailed knowledge...Read More

Keep It Clean

When Tony Zalocha and his brother Neil founded Stone Age Landscaping 14 years ago in Utica, New York, their methodical and meticulous attention to detail on jobsites quickly caught the attention of not only clients, but also passersby. “I can't tell you how many times people were out just walking their dog and would say, ‘I can't believe how neat the jobsite is!’ It was just my brother...Read More

Husqvarna Shifts Focus to New Technology

Previously announced,  Husqvarna Group will exit certain low-margin gas-powered product segments in the Consumer Brands Division and instead focus on strengths in premium offerings under the core brands of Husqvarna and Gardena. The company says the exit will enable more focus on and investments in future profitable growth areas such as robotic lawnmowers...Read More

Gypsy Moth: What to do Now!

It’s never too early to protect your trees from gypsy moth! Across the Central and Northeastern US gypsy moths had a population boom this summer. Although we do not have firm predictions for next year yet, you can still start planning and protecting your trees now! Fall is the perfect time to check your property for gypsy moth eggs. Gypsy moths aren’t picky about where they lay their...Read More

USDA Awards Researchers a $5 Million Grant to Optimize Supplemental Lighting in Greenhouses and Plant Factories!

One of the steepest barriers to profitable controlled-environment agriculture, greenhouses and plant factories, is the energy cost associated with providing the plants enough light. A new research project by the University of Georgia and several collaborating institutions could cut those costs by up to 50 percent. With the support of a $5 million grant, a UGA-led team is working to develop strategies...Read More

Heating Season is Approaching

When fall and winter come, making sure your employees, plants, and other stock stay warm is key. That makes your boiler one of the most important pieces of equipment you have. Because boilers are fuel-fired and heated by combustion, there’s a risk of explosion— especially during startup or shutdown. Automatic combustion safety devices will reduce the likelihood of a fire...Read More

U.S. Department of Labor Launches H-2B Initiative for Green Industry

To ensure compliance with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is conducting a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the landscaping industry. The initiative includes providing compliance assistance tools and information to employers and stakeholders...Read More

Due Diligence

Your mowers are probably your most heavily used equipment, but coming up a tight second are your aerators, dethatchers, and seeders. Making the right purchase and keeping each piece in top condition will not only keep business humming along smoothly, but can be vital to growth. Brandon Harris, sales and marketing leader of Tee Time Lawn Care in Plainfield, Illinois, experienced...Read More

Wrap It Up

October marks prime time for fall cleanup jobs for landscapers that focus on maintenance services in cooler climates. For some landscapers, fall cleanup season came a little early this year, as leaves in some areas changed color and fell as early as mid-September. Barney Naylor, president and CEO at Naylor Landscape Management in Kalamazoo, Michigan, says fall cleanup started a little early for him this...Read More

The Morton Arboretum Names New Plant Clinic Manager

The Morton Arboretum has named Julie Janoski as Plant Clinic manager. In her new role, Janoski will oversee the staff and trained volunteers of the Plant Clinic, a tree- and plant-focused resource for homeowners, gardeners and landscape professionals in the Chicago region and beyond.
Janoski brings to the role significant horticulture...Read More

Priority on Parts

Pieces and parts – they add up to a load of inventory and a major investment when you’re talking about the shop at your landscape firm. How do you track parts and order what you really need? What systems keep your shop organized, productive and profitable? This month, Lawn & Landscape spoke with three companies to learn how they manage their shops. Read More

Stormwater's New Look

Flash flooding is such an issue in Dubuque, Iowa that it caused $70 million in damage and led to six presidential disaster declarations between 1999 and 2011. Over half of Dubuque’s population lives or works in its historic Bee Branch Watershed area, where stormwater runoff consistently flooded streets and homes on its way into the adjacent Mississippi River, according to...Read More

A View From Above

Nurseries are beginning to purchase small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), or drones, to accomplish several tasks including sales and marketing, crop inventory, and crop monitoring. Nursery operators are faced with a number of business decisions before adopting this emerging technology. To generate useful images, a nursery would need to purchase an appropriate aircraft...Read More

Ornamental Growers Feel Effects of Electronic Logging Device Mandate

Despite being enacted at the end of last year, repercussions from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate are still being felt by a multitude of industries, including horticulture. The ELD is used to track drivers’ working hours operating a commercial motor vehicle, otherwise known as Hours of Service (HOS). The ongoing shortage of commercial drivers...Read More

Low-Income Neighborhoods Would Gain the Most from Green Roofs in Cities like Chicago

Heat waves aren’t just a source of discomfort. They’re the nation’s deadliest weather hazard, accounting for a fifth of all deaths caused by natural hazards in the U.S. Most of the time, low-income people who live in cities face the biggest risks tied to extreme heat. That’s because urban areas, especially neighborhoods with few parks or yards, absorb high amounts...Read More

U.S. Department of Labor Protects American Workers with H-2B Education and Enforcement Initiative in the Landscaping Industry

To ensure compliance with federal wage laws, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is conducting a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the landscaping industry. The initiative includes providing compliance assistance tools and information to employers and stakeholders, as well as conducting investigations...Read More

AmericanHort Announces Landscape Operations Tour

AmericanHort is excited to announce the Landscape Operations Tour, a new event taking place on November 5-6th in Southwest Ohio. Landscape owners and operators interested in increasing the efficiency of their operations will enjoy world-class stops and several networking opportunities during this two-day bus tour. “The landscaping segment is a vital part of the horticulture...Read More

Tar Spots of Maple

Tar spots have been evident on many species of maple. The disease has been especially widespread in the northern portion of the state. Several different fungi in the genus Rhytisma cause this disease. Tar spot results in raised, black spots on the upper surfaces of affected leaves. The symptoms are distinct, allowing for easy field diagnosis. The first symptoms...Read More 

How Plant Certification Innovations Can Reduce Grower Headaches

Living plants destined to be grown on, or plants-for-planting in regulatory speak, have long been seen as a potential pathway for the introduction of harmful plant pests and diseases. This is why our domestic and international plant commerce is regulated by USDA and its state counterparts. For many years, plant protection has depended on port-of-arrival inspection, and silver bullet treatments...Read More 

Keep America Beautiful Launches National Planting Day 2018

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, is mobilizing Americans to bolster their local ecosystems by planting native species of trees, shrubs and plants for its seventh annual National Planting Day. Held annually the first Saturday after Labor Day, National Planting Day kicks off the fall planting season for Keep America Beautiful’s...Read More

Oak Wilt in Indiana

Oak wilt has been found in most counties in Indiana and is one of the most serious threats to the health of oak trees in the Midwest, especially those in the red oak / black oak group. The disease is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum and is spread from tree to tree by sap feeding beetles and by natural root grafts between trees. Beetles carry spores of the fungus from infected...Read More

Department of Transportation Explores Trucking Rule Changes

On Aug. 23, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) published a rulemaking process that is aimed at reforming specific areas of the current hours-of-service regulation. The hours-of-service (HOS) regulation was enacted to limit the total operating hours a commercial truck driver works on duty. The FMCSA will be examining four areas of the existing...Read More

Is Glyphosate (Roundup) Dangerous?

Glyphosate, a garden herbicide introduced by Monsanto under the trade name Roundup in 1974 and off patent since 2000, is often paired with herbicide tolerant genetically modified crops. It allows farmers to spray a planted field, generally before the crops have sprouted, killing weeds but not the crops that will grow there. GMO critics claim glyphosate is linked to...Read More

NGB, PPA and AAS Team up for 2019 National Perennial Plant Symposium

In a unique move to promote industry collaboration, National Garden Bureau, Perennial Plant Association and All-America Selections are teaming up to host a 2019 meeting in the beautiful and  horticulturally significant city of Chicago, Illinois and the surrounding suburbs. With a motto of “Urbs in Horto” (Latin meaning “City in a Garden”) Chicago is a perfect destination...Read More

Will the H-2B Returning-Worker Provision be Approved by Congress This Fall?

This summer, the landscape contracting industry has faced what may be the tightest labor market in its history. With the economy running at full tilt, the unemployment rate at near all-time lows and a labor market that eschews working outside in an ever-hotter climate, many landscape contractors are making hard decisions about whether they can even stay in business. Getting work is not the...Read More

Longtime Employees Purchase Swansons Nursery, Establishing New Employee Ownership Group

Swansons Nursery announced on Aug. 30 a new employee ownership group. As Swansons approaches its 95th year in business, three longtime employees have stepped forward to purchase the Seattle, Wash.-based garden center. Swansons’ new ownership group includes Brian Damron, president; Leslie Bruckner, general manager; and Gabriel Maki, nursery...Read More

When the IRS Comes Knocking for a Tax Audit

Nothing strikes an emotional chord with small business owners like the prospect of a tax audit. If you practice accurate bookkeeping and obey the tax laws, there’s little to worry about. It’s a matter of proving your company is in compliance. While the audit process may be intrusive, it’s within the IRS’s right to audit your tax returns. When it comes to a field audit, start by contacting your tax preparer. Read More

The Garden Center Group Announces Details for The Fall Event 2019

The Garden Center Group has announced that The Fall Event will be held in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 23-26, 2019. The Fall Event, produced by The Garden Center Group, provides a forum for progressive garden retailers, consultants and vendors to network, exchange ideas, collaborate and create new synergies to fuel success. This four-day event will include education, inspiration...Read More

Par for the Course

Back in 1999, when Yardapes was a small company, the seven or eight employees would get together about once a month to go golfing and let off some steam. “We used to call it the Hack Fest because some people could barely swing a club or hit the ball, so we’d just go have fun and then have a cookout afterward,” says Shayne Newman, founder and owner. Read More

Three Dangerous Misconceptions Surrounding OSHA's Silica Dust Standard for General Industry

Although the dangers of respirable crystalline silica have been known for more than 80 years, silica dust has only recently begun to be recognized as the major health hazard it is. In fact, silica is now frequently referred to in safety circles as "the new asbestos." However, despite the fact that the risks are well known, many employers still haven't taken the steps required for compliance. Read More

Future for Sale

It's hard to imagine where the retail garden industry would be without families. In Garden Center’s 2017 State of the Industry Report, 92 percent of independent garden center owners and operators surveyed indicated they are family-owned businesses, with 48 percent of those reporting to be second-generation owners. Relatives, working together to keep...Read More

A Shared Street

Located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, Argyle Shared Street is a shared-use, pedestrian-prioritizing streetscape that encourages a sense of community for the Uptown's diverse residents, businesses, and institutions. The unique street design celebrates green infrastructure, place making, accessibility, and economic development. Historically, Uptown was a booming hub for entertainment in Chicago...Read More

Survey Leads IFCA To Make 4 Recommendations On Dicamba to EPA

For the second year, The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA) surveyed its members who are professional applicators on their experience with applying the newest dicamba formulations to soybeans. There are 113 responses to this year’s survey, which gave the following details about 2018 applications by...Read More

Best Practices for Homepage Banner Videos

Making a good first impression on customers, even before they visit your independent garden center, is crucial to growing your business. One way retailers are doing this is by adding banner videos to their websites’ homepages to give customers an idea of not only what they’ll find in the stores, but also a behind-the-scenes look at the companies. Rob Lucas, website developer...Read More

Getting ROI from CRM

There was a time when only big corporations could afford CRM (customer relationship management) software. Not anymore. New cloud-based apps make CRM affordable even for the smallest business. CRM software tracks customers and prospects, records interactions and forecasts future business activity. It’s a valuable tool that can help...Read More

AmericanHort Announces Landscape Operations Tour

AmericanHort announced the Landscape Operations Tour, a new event taking place Nov. 5-6 in Southwest Ohio. Landscape owners and operators interested in increasing the efficiency of their operations can participate in multiple stops and several networking opportunities during this two-day bus tour. “The landscaping segment is a vital part of the horticulture industry...Read More

Rhododendron? Hydrangea? America Doesn’t Know Anymore

The U.S. is running short of people who can tell the forest from the trees. Organizations such as the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management can’t find enough scientists to deal with invasive plants, wildfire reforestation and basic land-management issues.  Botanists use the term “plant blindness” to describe the growing inability by Americans—and even well-degreed...Read More

The Self-Inflicted Labor Shortage

I read something on Facebook from one of our long-time members claiming that “the 100 days of hell are almost over.” I would say that might be the most accurate way to describe the whirlwind of highs and lows that makes up the spring rush from April until the end of June. Let’s be honest, the intense spring rush is a critical part of any landscaping company’s business operations. Read More

High Performance Gear: Get Your Team Back Into Action

This time of year always brings a sense of anticipation—of getting back into action after the summer months. As a student, it was all about stepping up to the next grade, new classes, new teachers, new friends and more. As a college football fan, it’s all about a new season, new players and hopes for a bowl game. And, as a business owner, it’s all about refocusing everyone’s attention...Read More

The Modern Green Roof Revolution

How do you define a green roof? The first image that comes to my mind is a little, hobbit-like house somewhere in Scandinavia with a goat eating grass on the roof. That may be a bit simplistic; the green roofs of yore have come a long way. The ‘urban renaissance,’ a term used to describe the comeback of many city centers in the US, coincides with the revival of green roofs, or maybe...Read More

UF Researchers Need Grower Input on Neonics

Researchers at the University of Florida are conducting a study that investigates the potential effects of neonicotinoid pesticides related regulation on the economic feasibility of pest management in ornamental horticulture. The researchers are looking for industry participation, particularly from growers with experience with neonic pesticides. The study is investigating the effect...Read More