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Working With Partners, not Customers

TideWater Landscape Management has been a staple in Savannah, Georgia, for 35 years, and one of its main characteristics is its willingness to work with its commercial customers. Skip Thompson, CEO of TideWater, actually doesn’t call the companies he does business with customers, but rather partners. The way he sees it, they are giving you an opportunity to work with them, so they are a partner in his eyes...Read More

Flowers Every Day, Every Way

Flower expert, TV personality, garden center owner and fourth-generation florist J Schwanke is bringing flowers back into everyday life. Sharing research from Rutgers, Harvard, Texas A&M and the University of Florida, Schwanke explained how adding flowers help improve the lives of those who surround themselves with them. Here are some of the benefits he shared...Read More

One Landscape Company’s Climb Back to the Top

Todd and Kurt LaButte, like many in the landscape industry, started young with a couple of push mowers, mowing neighbors’ lawns. Todd, being the older of the LaButte brothers (he was No. 5 of eight children, and Kurt was the youngest), named the company Todd’s Services. “We started in 1979, my brother and I,” Kurt LaButte says. “It was unique because we lived on a chain of lakes on a river system...Read More


Sell More Houseplants

Houseplant specialist and indoor plant sales consultant Ra Gadd knows that while houseplants are hot right now, the right displays can help you sell even more of the popular plant options. From placement in the garden center to upselling hard goods, Gadd shared her best tips for displays at the IGC Show in Chicago. Keep like families together to help your customers find what they need, and to make plant care easier for your employees. Read More

Bug off: Treat and Control Billbugs

If you’re not concerned about insects in your clients’ lawns, think again. Billbugs are one of the most widespread and damaging insects for turfgrass. We asked Rick Fletcher, technical services manager, turf and ornamentals for Nufarm America, and Dean Mosdell, technical manager, western U.S., for Syngenta, to share some management advice. Read More

Are your crews wasting valuable time and money in the morning?

I was on my way to an appointment early one day last week when I drove by a McDonald’s and looked in their parking lot to see a whole slew of trucks from other landscaping companies. Now, this is not an uncommon sight at eight in the morning, but it never ceases to surprise me. Why? Because to any owner with an eye on the bottom line, those trucks sitting idle while work crews get their breakfast...Read More

Create Community to Connect With the Next Generation

Grabbing the interest of younger customers and new plant enthusiasts has proven a tricky endeavor for many traditional garden centers. You may have found yourself frustrated with the younger generation’s seeming lack of interest in your idea of gardening, while your existing customer base may be aging out. If you aren’t seeing an influx of new younger customers the way your business needs...Read More

Weeding Out Invasive Species

The management of Illinois’ forests has become an increasingly difficult task for landowners focused on maintaining and enhancing native plant diversity. I have often thought of it as a similar process to weeding a vegetable garden, with a diverse mix of our native forest trees as the vegetable crop and the weeds being everything from invasive species to some of the our native trees that tend to overpopulate or dominate woodlands...Read More

A Common-Sense Approach to Root Pruning

The best methods for developing healthy roots have been debated for years. I encountered this debate most recently at the Landscape Below Ground Conference at the Morton Arboretum. The conference was very informative on the care and maintenance of the trees before and after they are placed the landscape. However, one thing became obvious to me – we have a pertinacity to put trees in situations that are not conducive...Read More

Light the Way

Jacob Godar is always digging for new services to deliver to his client base in Springfield, Ill. So, when he realized that holiday lighting could help him get out of the snow removal business, he began to consider how to build and expand a new seasonal service. “I am always looking for services that can be scheduled – and I personally don’t like snowplowing for that reason,” says Godar, owner, Scooter’s Lawn...Read More

The Pros of Potting

Offering a potting service can help your garden center reach new customers — and turn them into annual clients. Whether it’s the convenience factor or a desire for a professional touch, some shoppers simply prefer to outsource planting of their container gardens.“I think [offering potting services] really helps us to be well-rounded as a garden center,” says Robert LaHoff, co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center & Florist...Read More

Spanberger Sees Agribusinesses Up Close in Two-Day Tour

Soon after she set foot in Culpeper County, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger got an earful about the challenges of getting farm products to market and getting agricultural supplies to farmers. The second stop on Spanberger’s two-day Ag Tour this week was the Culpeper Farmers Co-Operative, where the chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry...Read More

Lost in Translation: Effectively Communicating Across Generational Barriers

Regardless of age and work experience, every employee desires to work in an environment that’s inviting, supportive and enjoyable, and for the younger generations, it even goes a little deeper than that. “Younger employees want to share their ideas and feel like they are heard and respected,” says Caitlin Clineff, recruiting specialist and company ambassador with Myatt Landscaping Concepts. “Having...Read More

Reports of Dicamba Damage Higher than Last Year

Field watchers, producers and experts thought maybe the dicamba lessons were learned. As of two weeks ago, only a few (11 reported as of July 16) dicamba-related complaints had been filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). As of August 8, it's clear that the magnitude of off-target issues in 2019 might be either similar to or possibly exceed those of previous seasons. By the end...Read More

The Benefits of Strengthening Relationships With Landscape Suppliers  

In part one, we touched on how important landscape suppliers can be for landscaping companies and how to find worthwhile vendors to partner with. Today, we’re looking at how to help strengthen the supplier relationships, the benefits that come from those relationships and how technology is changing the nature of these partnerships. Read More

Horticultural Research Institute celebrates donor commitment at Cultivate'19

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the AmericanHort foundation, has announced $240,000 in donations during its summer reception, held in conjunction with Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio. More than 150 industry professionals attended the summer reception, which celebrated HRI supporters. The recognized donations will go towards supporting horticultural scholarships and research. Read More

Beyond Roundup: Alternatives to consider adding to your weed management plan (Update)

What is your go-to postemergence herbicide?  If you answered Roundup (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup), you would be in the majority for landscape and nursery professionals.  Though glyphosate works very well on most weed species, there are times when other products may be more effective or offer a less...Read More

Chemical Care: Mixing Chemicals to Combat Turf Problems

Mixing two or more chemicals to combat turf pests and disease and to promote turf health is a common practice. But it’s not as easy as just dumping chemicals together and hoping for the best. There are several key considerations before mixing chemicals...Read More

Ball Seed Enters New Partnership with ForemostCo

Ball Seed announced a new co-exclusive agreement with ForemostCo, Inc., a premier young plant supplier for foliage, tropical and succulent plants. The partnership meets the growing market demand for houseplants and other trending plant genetics. ForemostCo is a family-owned company that has delivered consistent...Read More 

APHIS Provides an Update on Spotted Lanternfly Activities

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provides this update of spotted lanternfly ((Lycorma delicatula, SLF) locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. This invasive pest feeds on more than 70 types of plants including crops such as grapes, apples, hops, walnuts, and other hardwood trees, and sucks sap from stems and leaves, causing damage to plants as they feed. Read More

Tenants of Hemp

Facing competition from big box stores and cheaper imports — amidst shifting markets, unpredictable weather and inflating costs — greenhouse operators Brian Wheat and Bob Aykens are rethinking their business models. Both fourth-generation business owners, they’ve watched their predecessors adapt over time, but their families would have never guessed that their greenhouses would one day be filled with cannabis. Read More

Battle of the Bans

Many communities are banning gasoline-powered leaf blowers because of the noise they make. Are battery-powered counterparts a profitable alternative? We’ve all heard the expression “Silence is golden.” But in the green industry, silence was never something we aspired to. Silence meant the absence of blowing, mowing and trimming and therefore, an absence of business. Read More

New Varieties to Consider for Your Crop Mix in 2020

One of the goals of most breeders is to help you plan a world-class crop mix for your customers in Spring 2020. Check out the slideshow above for a look at almost 40 new varieties you should  be considering.  Read More

Generate Revenue with Holiday Lighting

No matter what part of the country you live in, green industry work inevitably slows down in the winter. Two companies discuss their holiday offerings and how they fit in with their core services.  Naylor Landscape Management began offering holiday lighting services in 2000 in an effort to create more year-round, full-time positions for its staff. The company worked with franchisor Christmas Décor to implement...Read More

Are you Ready for Changing Paradigms?

Are you waiting for that next green industry business growth opportunity to knock on your door? Funny thing about that — it may already be right there in front of you, and you just haven’t recognized it yet because it doesn’t fit your paradigm, the way you think about your business. Paradigms are patterns or frameworks through which we view things and use to solve problems. As futurist Joel Barker states...Read More

You Are the Plenipotentiary of Plants

I’ve worked in retail for over 450 years now and I’ve tried on a lot of hats. I’ve sold ladies clothing, cards, gifts, those throw blankets everyone liked in the ’90s, aloe vera products, ceramics, dream catchers, coffee, rain sticks, fabric by the yard, and thousands and thousands of plants. I feel like this is a pretty rounded out portfolio, and at this point, I’m entitled to have opinions about retail (this is where you can start...Read More

Getting Woodies Off to a Good Start

If there are two core production truths I’ve learned in my time at Bailey Nurseries, they’re these: 1. The value of a quality production program—to the customer and the business—exists only when we’re able to deliver consistently; and 2. Success throughout the life cycle of any crop is dependent on starting with the right liner, more than any other factor. Of course, there are many variables...Read More

Apps and Online Services for Landscapers

No more scribbled-on napkins or shelves full of binders—apps and online services can help landscapers save time, money and space. Whether they help clients visualize exactly what their project will look like when completed, make it easy for landscape designers to select plants or join up clients and landscape professionals, these services can make your job faster, easier and more mobile. Read More

How to Get an A in Chemistry

If you are like me, chemistry was not your best subject in high school. Luckily for green industry professionals, there are many good “teachers” and “tutors” out there who know the subject matter well. They come in the form of distributors and chemical suppliers and longtime end users of these products. One of the larger investments lawn care and landscape companies...Read More

Turning Your Year Around

Well, my friends, we’re at the halfway point of the year. The pessimist says the year is already half-over and it’s too late to turn it around; the optimist says the year is only half-started and there’s plenty of time yet to come out on top. It’s probably no surprise to learn that I’m the latter. In 35 years of running my own landscaping business, I can’t tell you how many times my spring hasn’t gone well and I’ve found myself...Read More

2019 Observations from the Field: Dicamba

Approximately two weeks ago, only a few (11 reported as of July 16) dicamba-related complaints had been filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), and some held aspirations that the magnitude of off-target issues would be less this year than during the two previous seasons.  Today, it appears those hopeful aspirations are being replaced by the harsh reality that the magnitude of off-target issues...Read More

We’ve Made Progress, but Work-Related Injuries Still too High

In the early 2000s, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed a list of seven target industries on which to concentrate its compliance and enforcement efforts. At the top of that list were landscape contractors. OSHA chose these seven target industries based upon their high incidence of severe work-related injuries and workdays lost due to those injuries. Read More

How a New SAF and AFE Partnership Will Benefit Plant Research

The Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI), a groundbreaking research fund that has supported scientific innovation in the floral industry for nearly three decades, is getting a boost in its effort to provide high-quality, cutting-edge research today and into the future, thanks to a strategic new agreement between the Society of American Florists (SAF) and American Floral Endowment (AFE). Read More

Leverage your Smartphones for Fantastic Photography

Can we talk about photography for a second? Because I think we need to. When it comes to leveraging your strengths for effective marketing, great photographs are fundamental. Yet, taking and cataloging good photographs of plants, facilities, merchandising, installations and people gets pushed to the back burner by many garden centers. All this beauty at your fingertips, yet many of you aren’t putting it to work. Read More

Aralia 'Sun King' Named 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year

The Perennial Plant Association revealed their pick Aug. 1 during the PPA National Symposium in Chicago. 'Sun King' has a tropical look, but it's a fast-growing perennial that's hardy to USDA Zone 3 and grows to about 3 feet high and wide or larger in some cases. The large compound leaves measure up to 3 feet long, as well. According to Walters Gardens, 'Sun King' emerges...Read More

ICE Audit: Document Request

A business owner from Georgia called me the other day, and requested guidance about how to prepare for an audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Among other issues, I told him to read the issued Notice of Investigation very carefully and comply with its varied document requests.  As I told him, here is a basic list of standard documents typically requested by ICE...Read More

Making the Most of Your Slow Season

If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean. One of my oldie-but-goodie favorites. When you’re running a greenhouse growing operation that navigates wide swings in seasonal traffic, you may struggle with how to make the most of your slower seasons. The trick is selecting specific objectives and pre-planning the time when customer traffic is lighter, so the extra catch-up time doesn’t slip through your fingers. Read More

7 Things Growers Should Know About Proposed H-2A Reforms

In an effort to address grower complaints about the H-2A program, the White House recently initiated an interdepartmental process involving the four agencies that have a primary role in managing the program to seek improvements – the Departments of Labor, Homeland Security, State, and Agriculture.  “Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been instrumental in the process,” according to Craig...Read More

Gov. Pritzker Announces Appointments to Committee for Agricultural Education

Building on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields, Governor JB Pritzker announced the following appointments in his administration: Erika Allen will serve on the Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education.* Allen is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Operations for the Urban Growers Collective and the Co-Owner of Green Era Sustainability Partners. She is a visual artist and consults...Read More 

Better Perennial Plants Are on the Horizon

Perennial plants are in a period of rapid growth, as consumer demand continually expands and breeders work through the huge pool of genetic diversity that has yet to be explored. Perennial varieties were traditionally derived from plant sports and variations found within nurseries. These require cold treatments to flower and are not as easily programmable for production. Current breeding methods...Read More

What Is Your Gardening Persona?

When trying to sell plants, it’s important to know the consumers you’re trying to market to, and why they are motivated to garden. During New England Grows, Jonathan Pedersen, Monrovia’s vice president of business development, discussed four “gardening personas” that garden centers often find in their customers: Zen, Dedicated, Practical and Apprehensive. Read More

Department of Labor Unveils New H-2A Proposal

The Department of Labor (DOL) has posted on its website a copy of the long-awaited H-2A modernization proposed rule. The official version was posted in the Federal Register July 26. The 134-page rule is available for review and comments from interested parties will be accepted on the Federal Register until Sept. 24. The modernization intends to streamline...Read More

Landscapers Practicing Natural Selection Management Technique

Instead of mowing a lawn on steep slopes, landscape services staffers at Western Michigan University are using a proven landscape management technique—ecological restoration, which includes planting hundreds of trees. In part, the practice calls for planting a variety of unbranched tree seedlings, or "whips," on problematic inclines rather than trying to maintain lawns there. "Slopes are difficult to mow...Read More

Lawmakers Continue to Seek Labor Solutions for Ag

Labor and workforce issues continue to vex most greenhouse and nursery growers. We see both clouds and some glimmers of hope on the issue horizon. There is a possibility of helpful action by Congress, and both the threat of enforcement and the hope of helpful regulatory reform from the Trump administration. To better understand what’s possible, let’s unpack each of these possibilities. Read More

Kankakee's Riverfront Plan Wins Award

Kankakee’s Riverfront Master Plan, the development plan to capture greater recreational and business growth from the Kankakee River, received an award from a state architectural group. The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects honored the city’s master plan with a 2018 Merit Award in the planning and analysis category. The plan’s development began in the early weeks...Read More

Sensational New Shrubs

What can be a better summer horticultural reprieve than looking into some of the newest woody plant introductions for fall 2019-2020? Well, there’s always a trip to the Galapagos, but I’m betting you’re as financially deprived as I am, so you’re not picking that option. Since we’re likely in the same boat, I reached out to many of the branding companies and a few public (university) breeding programs...Read More

USDA Declares August Tree Check Month; Urges Public To Look For Invasive Asian Longhorned Beetle

August is the height of summer, and it is also the best time to spot the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) as it starts to emerge from trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking the public to take five minutes to step outside and report any signs of this invasive pest. Checking trees for the beetle will help residents protect their own trees and better direct USDA’s efforts to eradicate this beetle...Read More

The Forces that Brought Down Color Spot

Color Spot changed the horticulture world. The innovations they created and services they introduced will live forever. They taught the industry how to be a true partner with its retailer customers. They perfected in-store merchandising and began the practice of making deliveries on rolling racks. They made strategic acquisitions in concert with their valued customers. For a time, they almost made their competitors...Read More

Trump Administration Seeks Clarity for Ag and Livestock Haulers

Regulators overseeing the trucking and agriculture industries will be looking to make it easier for haulers of agricultural commodities and livestock to comply with work rule regulations. An advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to be issued shortly by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), was prompted by confusion...Read More

Embracing Change

In order to improve what we’re doing it’s sometimes necessary to change our procedures. Ideally, it’s important to conduct some trials before making changes and thus we can feel confident with the decisions that are made. Sometimes, however, changes are forced on us and we need to view the new situation with a positive attitude and think about how we can improve the status quo. This spring at Pioneer, we’re involved...Read More

Digital Dominance

Lawn & Landscape connected with three digital marketing professionals – Pam Haskell, owner of Chili Pepper Design; Jake Hundley, CEO and digital strategist at Evergrow Marketing; and Jack Jostes, president and CEO of Ramblin Jackson – to get the lowdown on how to approach online marketing in 2019. What’s the first step a landscaper can take to improve their online presence on their own? Read More

Swimming Upstream

Just a few weeks ago, Kansas State’s Cathie Lavis addressed a room full of homeowners and contractors to give them the basics on irrigation work. Lavis says – pun intended – that she was trying to “water down” the presentation to make sure nothing went over anybody’s head. The information she shared would give them enough background knowledge to keep their lawns green...Read More

The Sci-Fi Salesperson

During the busy season when customers are lining up out the door (we hope) and there aren’t enough bodies to go around (the reality in this tight labor market), how do you make sure your customers are getting what they need and want? There’s an app for that and a piece of paper and some data and… the list goes on. Here’s how to make the most of it. Read More

Support for Agricultural Trucking Relief Act Gears up

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Those in ag industry circles are hoping this is the case as ramped-up transportation and trucking regulations have been bearing down on business. The Agricultural Trucking Relief Act (S. 2025) might help clear the path. The new piece of legislation introduced by Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) would clearly define agricultural commodities...Read More  

Instant Irrigation

You know who’s standing at your front door because your smart doorbell shows you. Fido won’t go thirsty because you received an alert that the dog dish is empty that triggered a refill. Your laundry is washed – the machine just texted an update to your phone. And, more good news, you saved your customers 40 percent on their water bills this year because of a smart irrigation controller with connected...Read More

How to Keep Talented Managers From Leaving

Lloyd Traven, president of Peace Tree Farm, has been moderating a Town Hall-style discussion at this event for 15 years. This year, the topic was Retaining a Horticultural Workforce. Many family businesses have long-term upper management in place. So how can these companies give budding new stars in the industry the opportunity to develop their careers? How can green industry companies...Read More

3 Predictions for the Future of the Landscape Industry

As the baby boomers head toward retirement, there is an unprecedented need for transitioning ownership of landscape and related green industry businesses. While this has given rise to outside money buying up landscape businesses, it will also create an increase in employee-bought and -owned business. Employee stock ownership plans were all the fad a few decades ago; I predict we will see a resurgence...Read More

Find and Educate the New Generation of Plant-Lovers

As Millennials begin to show interest in the horticulture industry, they’re also starting to show an increased passion for houseplants. With the desire to bring the outdoors inside, more Millennials are learning, researching and investing in plants that not only make their home look good, but make them feel good. Will Heeman, chief daymaker at Heeman’s Garden Centre in Thorndale, Ontario...Read More

Councilman Wants Pesticide Ban Expanded

A councilman in Montgomery County wants to remove area exempt from a pesticide ban, which passed in 2015. According to the Sentinel, Councilman Tom Hucker said that the exemptions “should never have been there in the first place.” He added some exemptions were included to ensure the law passed with enough votes to be veto-proof.  Read More

African Americans in the Green Industry Address Lack of Diversity

Like many landscapers’ introduction to the green industry, Duane Draughon started out mowing lawns at a young age as a way to keep busy. After serving the in Marine Corps, his lawn care business continued to grow, and he began to design and install brick patios as well. But unlike many other landscapers, Draughon had to hire two white employees to serve as the face of his company. Read More

The Future of Garden Trends

For 20 years, Garden Media Group, a PR firm specializing in home, gardening and outdoor living, has created a trend report that highlights the most popular practices in outdoor spaces. Some of the past trends include succulents as the favored plant in 2011, more Millennial growers in 2015 and more focus on self-care and mental wellness in 2018.  While Garden Media Group’s...Read More

Head for the Hill: Landscapers Lobby on Behalf of Green Industry Issues

Green industry professionals gathered on Capitol Hill early Wednesday morning to discuss pressing issues with their state representatives and congressmen, such as the ongoing issues with the H-2B non-immigrant visa program and pesticide regulations. The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) hosted a pre-meeting breakfast and briefed attendees on the aforementioned topics...Read More

Ramorum Blight Confirmed on Samples Taken from Illinois Garden Centers

The Illinois Department of Agriculture published a press release July 2 announcing that Phytophthora ramorum, causal agent of Ramorum blight and Sudden Oak Death, had been confirmed on samples taken from garden centers in the state. Phytophthora ramorum is a federally regulated plant pathogen which has devastated native plants and forests in California and Oregon over the past several decades.  Read More

Monitor Plant Quality with Next-Gen Sensors

Dr. Krishna Nemali, a professor of horticulture and landscape architecture at Purdue University, spoke to attendees at Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio about the next generation of sensor technology and how it can help growers. One of Nemali’s main goals with his program is to develop new and affordable technologies that can improve sustainability and make them available to growers. In this case, the improved...Read More

LandscapeHub Introduces Fulfillment Partner Program

LandscapeHub has launched the Fulfillment Partner Program (FPP), a new initiative that will give buyers a better experience and more fulfillment options when purchasing on the platform. The program surfaces the distributors’ upstream supply chain, making it visible to buyers, and thereby eliminating the often exhausting and time-consuming back-and-forth involved in quoting between landscape...Read More

Business and Marketing Practices of U.S. Landscape Firms

Little information has been published on the business and marketing practices of landscape firms, an important sector of the green industry. We sought to profile the product mix, advertising, marketing, and other business practices of United States landscape firms and compare them by business type (landscape only, landscape/retail, and landscape/retail/grower) as well as by firm size. We sent the...Read More

Seed Your Future Adjusts Aim for High School, College Students

The Horticultural Research Institute has continued to support the efforts of Seed Your Future (SYF), the movement to promote horticulture and inspire more young people to pursue careers working with plants. Anna Ball, president and CEO of the Ball Horticultural Company, is part of Seed Your Future’s National Leadership Cabinet. She spoke to a crowd at Cultivate’19 about how the organization...Read More

The Fight Continues to Eradicate Invasive Plants

I thought the battles were fought and the war was over, but I am no longer sure. Let’s first take a look back. Many North American native plant nurseries were in business in the 60s and 70s. They usually sold the species themselves, with a few varieties thrown in. The fact that we live on a continent with such diverse flora made it relatively easy to fill a catalog.  In the late 80s and 90s, the nascent...Read More

Peddling a Profit

Mike Gooder says growers need to improve upon themselves as they look to the future, take risks and be okay with making mistakes along the way. The president of liner producer Plantpeddler in Cresco, Iowa, gave a presentation on the Saturday of Cultivate’19 titled “Turning Plants, People, and Predicaments into Profits.” “All kinds of maladies can happen in the plant world,” he said, pointing to past...Read More

Water Wise Trials

For areas prone to drought, low water use plants could provide growers, retailers and landscapers with a steady revenue stream. An uncommon and valuable trial at the University of California, Davis provides the data needed to know which plants use the least amount of water in the landscape. The UC Landscape Plant Irrigation Trial (UC LPIT) evaluates perennial landscape plants for two years and the plants’ performance...Read More

Rack 'Em Up

Supply chain waste can drive up prices and cut into profit margins. But by considering some changes to shipping, you could find a way to keep those costs down. “If you’ve got air in a trailer, you’re wasting money,” said AJ Lambert, director of sales and account management at Container Centralen, at Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio. Some of the biggest problems simply come from the labor...Read More

IA and Irrigation Foundation Join Forces

The Irrigation Association and Irrigation Foundation announced they are merging to strengthen their commitment to the irrigation industry. The IA will continue the work Irrigation Foundation started and increase awareness of irrigation careers, target education resources, and provide the industry with skilled individuals. For over 20 years, the Irrigation Foundation has directed workforce development...Read More 

Waging the War on Weeds

Weed prevention can sometimes seem like a losing battle, but with the right tools and strategies, we can increase our odds against these nasty little invaders. When an army unit sets out to fight a battle, it needs provisions, mainly food and water. The last thing those soldiers need is to have the enemy find its cache of provisions, consume them and then settle in for a long siege. Read More

Pet-Friendly Plant Partners

As houseplants enjoy another wave of intense popularity, horticulturists are getting a lot more questions about pet-safe plants. Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine messaged me asking how to ID cat-safe houseplants after her furry baby chewed on a plant and spent a few days at the emergency vet. While pets and plants can happily co-exist, there are risks associated with many plants...Read More

AmericanHort set to host Landscape Operations Tour

AmericanHort is hosting the 2019 Landscape Operations Tour on September 30 – October 1 in Chicago, Illinois. This tour is an opportunity to network with leaders in the landscaping industry while touring seven landscaping companies and covering topics like sustainability, specialization and operation efficiency. “After the successful debut of the first AmericanHort Landscape Operations Tour in 2018, we are excited...Read More

Irrigation to the Rescue

We all remember the news reports of the devastating wildfires that ravaged California last year. Some people lost everything, their homes and everything in them, as the fires ripped through. Those were the lucky ones; many others lost their lives. Sadly, it seems that infernos like these are becoming more frequent. As sizzling summer temperatures settle in across the country, many are wondering...Read More

Proven Winners ColorChoice Launches New Planter Program

Proven Winners ColorChoice has introduced its new Decked Out deco planter program, which gives grower-retailers a new way to offer consumers the company’s extensive line of flowering shrubs. Decked Out combines award-winning shrubs with decorative containers for instant-purchase appeal. It’s an easy option for every market, from big city balconies to rural retreats. Read More

Creating a Culture of Safety

If someone were to ask you what core elements make up your company culture, what would you say? Would it be your firm’s commitment to the customer, passion for excellent work, competitive wages and benefits, free coffee in the breakroom? Wait a second, where does safety fall on this list? Does it even make the list? While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, how much...Read More

How Plant Right is Helping Fight Invasive Plants in California

We hear about invasive plants all the time along with the reasons we should advise gardeners not to plant them in certain areas of the country. In California, they’ve taken fighting invasive plants to the next level with the formation of Plant Right which is supported by Sustainable Conservation. We sat down with Plant Right project manager Stephanie Falzone, program director Jan Merryweather...Read More

What's In a Nativar?

Common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a medium-sized shrub that is appealing in sunny areas of the landscape because of its glossy green leaves; unusual fragrant, round, spiky flowers; and rust-red fall color. It’s especially useful in wet areas and rain gardens where it absorbs excess water and even tolerates standing water. Hummingbirds and butterflies favor the plant for its nectar...Read More

Sen. Rand Paul Proposes Bill to Streamline H-2A Process

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has introduced the Paperwork Reduction for Farmers and H-2A Modernization Act (S. 1887), a bill providing regulatory relief to Kentucky’s agriculture community by reducing red tape and streamlining temporary agriculture worker visa programs. By allowing certain categories of temporary workers currently under the capped H-2B program, such as those in the landscaping...Read More

Indiana DNR Finds Oak Threat in Store Rhododendrons 

The Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology intercepted plants containing a fungal pathogen that kills oak trees, sudden oak death (SOD) in May 2019. This was the first time in about 10 years. Inspectors detected SOD (Phytophthora ramorum) in several varieties of rhododendrons being sold in Columbus, Noblesville, South Bend, Sullivan and Tippecanoe. SOD has killed large tracts of oaks on...Read More

US May Want to Take "Balanced Approach" to Neonicotinoids

New research from GianCarlo Moschini at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University and Ed Perry at Kansas State University shows that a neonicotinoid ban in the United States may not be a risk free solution to the problem of declining bee populations. In fact, they find that a total agricultural ban in US maize, similar to one introduced in the European Union in 2013, could...Read More

Behnke Nurseries Closure is a Reminder of the Tightrope That Many Garden Centers Walk

Even before the Behnke Nurseries closed up shop in Beltsville after 89 years, the impending end of this cherished Washington-area institution was apparent to anyone who visited in recent weeks. Lots, where dozens of container trees and shrubs would normally stand, were thinning to reveal fields of asphalt, and the benches that were until recently jammed with one-gallon containers of perennials...Read More

Nonprofit Opens Rainbow Garden Center to Build Community

Rainbow Omega, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a sheltered community for adults with developmental disabilities, opened its new Rainbow Garden Center on its grounds located in Eastaboga, Ala. The garden center complements the already existing greenhouse and nursery on the property. “The garden center was something that was first on the agenda...Read More

Succulents in the Spotlight

When Mother’s Day was still weeks away, the team at Cactus & Tropicals was focusing on creating a succulent garden backlog. As leading sellers in store and via web orders for the Salt Lake City, Utah, independent garden center, the planters seemed ideal for holiday sales. Made in advance, they’d look even better when the Mother’s Day crunch hit. But General Manager Kathy Harbin had one problem: the “extras"...Read More

Putting Horticulture Back Into Popular Culture

Two years ago, my friend Ellen Zachos and I started a podcast called Plantrama. Like all podcasters, we wanted our program on Apple Podcasts and other apps that deliver “radio on demand’’ programs, so I went through the process for Plantrama to be listed on iTunes. Part of the procedure is choosing a category that your podcast fits into. There were several sports, business, technology...Read More

How to Find Them and Keep Them

As you all know, it’s hard to find good help. And when you do, it’s even harder to keep them. I guess you can say hiring good employees is like playing a game of Finders/Keepers, but in this instance, there’s no guarantee that you get to keep the awesome worker that you’ve found. According to a study by Pew, Millennials currently make up the largest generation that’s in the workforce (35%), with about 56 million...Read More

Two Green Thumbs Up

Brad DeCathelineau almost instantly noticed something different about the field manager working on his front lawn. DeCathelineau had previously hired two landscaping companies before to work on his residential property, but the quality in service between them was comparable. The crews would come in, do their work and leave – nothing bad, just nothing noteworthy. But a few years ago, he met Excequiel...Read More

USDA Modernizes Plant Pest Regulations, Improves Customer Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has published a final rule to revise the regulations in Title 7 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 330 that govern the movement of plant pests. The final rule aligns plant pest regulations with current APHIS policies, removes obsolete requirements, streamlines the permit process for low...Read More

Why We Absolutely Need New Plants

I was going back and forth about the topic of new plants with non-industry people who truly did not get it. The idea of piling on new petunias or ferns on top of old petunias and ferns just didn’t make sense to them, regardless of what I said about people accepting the fact that new car models, new computer games, and new phones hit the market every year. They felt that all this new stuff...Read More

Know Your Sprinkler Precipitation Rate

In business, PR usually stands for public relations. In the irrigation world, PR stands for precipitation rate. When you ask most irrigation professionals, “How much do you water turf in the summer?” the most common answer you will get is, “Well, it depends.” What does it depend on? “The type of sprinkler.” Very rarely do you hear, “It depends on the sprinkler precipitation rate,” because most irrigation...Read More

Struggling to Find Great Talent?

At the end of 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor reported unemployment rates are holding firm at 3.7%. This is a nearly 50-year low. If you’re an employer, you’re familiar with what this means: It’s really tough to find great talent right now. To avoid this, expand your pool of candidates by considering those who don’t have a college degree. Read More

AmericanHort Announces 2019 Impact Washington Summit

AmericanHort recently announced the 2019 Impact Washington Summit will be held September 16-18 in Washington, D.C. to unite leaders across the green industry. Speakers will discuss the issues facing the industry and educate Congress on the industry's challenges and priorities. The 2019 Summit will feature a program of senior administration officials, leaders in the non-profit community, as well as...Read More

Strike up the Band, the Millenials are Here

I’m Mother Nature’s baby. I’ve spent my life outside noticing things. I take note of patterns, anomalies, failures, excesses and unnecessary flourishes. My brand and landscaping style deals in urban folksiness, composting, edible landscaping, natives, fixing problems with plants and thrifty problem-solving. When I was working in high-end landscaping at big fancy firms, there was no room for any of that. It was all about landscaping to portray wealth. Nowadays, I run a VERY small landscaping consulting business on my own...Read More

The Schoolyard is Sick

Not long ago, the schoolyard of Eagle Rock Elementary, in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, was a sea of cracked asphalt. Now it has rows of budding trees that divide up the three-acre expanse, and there’s a large grassy area and little enclaves with stumps and log seating away from the hustle and bustle. By offering a variety of settings, the schoolyard gives students the ability...Read More

Get Free Tax Advice for Your Agribusiness

“The only guarantees in life are death and taxes,” so the old saying goes. Greenhouse Grower recently hosted a webinar designed to help deal with one of those. “Cracking the Code on Taxes that Affect Your Green Industry Business” provided an interactive stage for presenters Bryce Gibbs, Principal at K-Coe Isom, and Tal Coley, Director of Government Affairs for AmericanHort. Read More

Dicamba Application Deadline Extended

As the state with the most dicamba complaints in 2018, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan has made “a very tough decision” to extend the herbicide’s application deadline for soybeans until July 15. Originally set for June 30, Sullivan said the extra time has been allowed in consideration of the extreme planting and growing conditions from excessive rainfall, flooding...Read More

Hurricane and Wind Damage to Trees and Shrubs in Nurseries

Damage to woody trees and shrubs caused by hurricanes or high wind events is often not initially apparent. In some cases, damage can take months or even years to manifest, despite plants looking relatively healthy after the initial inspection by growers and insurance adjustors. This publication will describe damage commonly seen in trees and shrubs after a hurricane or prolonged high wind event. Read More

Record Keeping

Record keeping is an essential component of an integrated pest management plan. Records may include details on pest movement, site conditions, and successes or failures of treatments. These records allow applicators to determine which sites are more prone to pest issues and be able to track effective treatment options. While essential to successful pest management, there are also legal reasons...Read More

Selling Simplicity

At Eagle Creek Nursey in Indianapolis, landscape designer and project estimator Charlie Swartzell says lighting is all about accenting projects.
“We like to accent and add to the hardscapes the outdoor living environments that we create,” Swartzell says. “So it's putting lighting in for steps or safety or some spotlights on to highlight plantings.” He says they company always includes lighting...Read More

Pollinator Preservation Takes Center Stage

Pollinators are responsible for assisting more than 80% of the world’s flowering plants to reproduce, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Without them, humans and wildlife alike wouldn’t have much to see or eat. Because of this, there has been a resurgence in efforts to preserve and save our pollinators from extinction by creating pollinator habitats and continuing to educate the public on what can be done...Read More

Keeping Up

Whether you specialize exclusively in outdoor lighting or provide it as part of a full-service offering, there are plenty of sources where the pros can turn for bright ideas. So, how are contractors staying up to date with the latest landscape lighting trends? Read More

AmericanHort Announces the 2019 HortScholars

AmericanHort has announced its 2019 class of HortScholars. The 2019 HortScholars will be set on a path to success at Cultivate’19 where they will be exposed to the breadth of the horticulture industry, its opportunities, and its leaders. The program offers a beyond-the-classroom experience, giving insight and awareness of the industry, its supply chain, and where they might find a home for their passion. Read More

Bayer Commits $5.6 Billion to Glyphosate Alternatives Amid 13,000 Lawsuits Over the Weedkiller

Bayer AG will pump about 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) of its research and development budget into alternatives to its weedkiller glyphosate over the next decade as it battles more than 13,000 lawsuits claiming the herbicide causes cancer. Trying to ease concerns about the controversial compound, the German chemical and drug company said it will seek more public feedback during the coming safety...Read More

New Anthony Tesselaar Plants Website Offers Additional Resources

Anthony Tesselaar Plants has announced the launch of its new website. The new site is easier than ever to view and navigate from both desktops and mobile devices. The expanded format is simple and user-friendly. Just two to three clicks takes you anywhere you need to be on the site. The array of photos show plants as close-ups with detail in containers as well as garden and landscape settings. Read More

What Your Website Should Say

At Lawn & Landscape’s 2019 Top 100 Executive Summit, Marcus Sheridan said that 70 percent of the clients you meet with have already decided if they’re going to buy your service. Sheridan, a full-time professional speaker and also the co-owner of IMPACT and River Pools and Spas, encouraged attendees to consider a different approach to marketing their services. Simply put, the work in closing sales...Read More

Drip Makes Every Drop Count

It’s a beautiful summer day, the sun is shining and the sprinklers on a lawn pop up out of the ground, spraying a lush, green lawn with droplets of life-giving water. This is what the majority of people, including contractors, probably picture when they think of irrigation. Most don’t automatically envision the more silent and stealthy method of watering — drip irrigation. It may not be as satisfying to watch in action...Read More

When a Buyer Comes Knocking

Mergers and acquisitions are commonplace these days, buoyed by strong industry interest and performance, availability of capital, and low interest rates. In this world, it is not uncommon for nursery owners to receive unsolicited offers to purchase their company. These can come from both financial and strategic parties. Simply because an offer is unsolicited does not mean business owners...Read More

Horticulture Program Offers Lessons in Finding Jobs After Graduation

There tends to be a lot of talk about new members of the horticulture industry struggling to find jobs after graduation. However, for graduates of the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Horticulture, most new alumni have job offers waiting for them, or they have been accepted into graduate school. According to a story on the UGA Department...Read More

Opening Doors

Having entered the workforce in the early 2000s, it’s hard to remember a time when I ever felt I couldn’t aspire to or achieve anything I wanted in my career. Maybe I’ve been fortunate to have had great employers who valued talent over whatever gender someone happens to be. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t have been possible without those women who fought so hard for workplace equality back in the ’60s,’70s and ’80s, proving that they were every bit as smart and capable as men.  Read More

Could ‘Native Fungal Pathogens’ Help in Fight Against the Spotted Lanternfly?

The results looked promising. Cornell University researchers last October visited an apple orchard in Berks County, to check out reports of a potential new ally in the fight against the spotted lanternfly that is threatening agriculture in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “It was clear anywhere you walked, you’d see dozens of lanternflies killed by Beauveria on the ground, and then you’d see cadavers...Read More

Superweed Resists Another Class of Herbicides

We’ve all heard about bacteria that are becoming resistant to multiple types of antibiotics. These are the so-called superbugs perplexing and panicking medical science. The plant analogue may just be waterhemp, a broadleaf weed common to corn and soybean fields across the Midwest. With resistance to multiple common herbicides, waterhemp is getting much harder to kill. Read More

Minnesota Will Pay Homeowners to Make Their Lawns Bee-Friendly

Homeowners in Minnesota can benefit financially if they forgo the grass and instead grow a lawn for bees. State lawmakers have approved a new spending program that would set aside $900,000 annually to pay homeowners who replace traditional lawns with bee-friendly wildflowers, clover and native grasses, reports the Star Tribune. The spending plan has been sent to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature. Read More

Is the Train on Track, Off Track or Not Moving?

Now that we’re closing in on the halfway point of the calendar year, it’s an appropriate time to evaluate how the year is going. Many of you are on track to meet, or even exceed, your goals for 2019. This may be due to strong economic demand, good teamwork or other factors. If this describes you, what needs to happen to finish strong in the second half of the year? Read More

Planting Your Solution Contest Winners

Seed Your Future and Scholastic are proud to announce the winners of the Planting Your Solution Contest. Hundreds of middle-schoolers across the country identified environmental challenges in their communities and proposed their own unique plant-based solutions to those issues. The entries included an illustration and an essay describing the environmental challenge and the proposed plant-based...Read More

U.S. Utility Patent Granted for Beacon Impatiens

PanAmerican Seed has announced that a United States utility patent was granted for its new Beacon Impatiens, having a form of disease resistance to Impatiens downy mildew. U.S. 10,285,362 covers all six colors and two mixes of Beacon Impatiens walleriana. Additional patent applications are pending.  “Since its official debut earlier this year, the excitement around Beacon Impatiens has been outstanding...Read More

Dicamba Battle Lines Drawn

At a state pesticide regulatory meeting this week, some state officials threatened to stop reporting their dicamba damage incidents to the EPA during the 2019 growing season, after their past reporting efforts did not bring about substantial changes to agency’s dicamba registrations. “They felt like they provided a lot of information [in 2018], and it took a lot of their staff time to generate that information...Read More

Communication + Collaboration = Successful Irrigation

Keeping the lines of communication open between landscape and irrigation professionals is critical in creating new, well-functioning landscape projects. While searching for components for a bathroom remodel, I fell in love with a vessel-type sink. Unlike a traditional sink, it sits atop the vanity like a bowl. I thought I’d told the contractor how it should be installed. However, the message had not gotten through...Read More

Elm Flea Weevils Shoot Elm: Leaves Full of Holes

Although the canopy of many newly planted elm trees may look tattered, elms are vigorous growers that can survive the onslaught of defoliating beetles. Leaves infested with elm flea weevil have one or more brown areas produced by leaf mines feeding inside the leaves. Leaves may also be peppered with holes in early spring and in late summer. From a distance the accumulation...Read More

Make Your Distributor Your Best Ally

An irrigation and landscape supply distributor shares how developing a good rapport with yours can benefit your business. A relationship with a distributor is one of the most important relationships you will have as a landscape or irrigation contractor. Distributors are the ones who can help make sure you have the equipment and supplies you need to get the job done on time and the right way. They...Read More

What Landscape Professionals Need to Know About Heat Stress

Heat stress can be a major concern for outdoor workers, especially during the summer months. Working long days outside in the hot sun brings leaves landscape professionals at risk. Heat stress can result in a  stroke,  exhaustion,  cramps or  rashes. Heat rash and cramps are the mildest forms of heat stress. Heat exhaustion can occur when workers are exposed to high temperatures...Read More

Stop Sabotaging Your Own Good Ideas

One of the biggest challenges for any green industry business owner is learning a better a way of doing something and sticking with it. It’s always tempting to try a new approach to some aspect of our business, so we go for it. Initially, the new way works well and we implement it. We keep using it for a while, but eventually, for one reason or another we stop and go back to doing it the old way. Why does this happen? Read More

IDOA Extends Application Date to Apply Dicamba

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced today it will extend the application date the herbicide dicamba can be applied on soybeans in Illinois for the 2019 growing season until July 15. In February, the Department approved state-specific labels allowing for dicamba use on soybeans only until June 30. Dicamba is primarily used on soybeans to control post-emergence broadleaf weeds. Read More

Syngenta Flowers Completes Acquisition of Varinova's Cyclamen Business

Syngenta announced that it has completed the acquisition of Varinova’s cyclamen business. Varinova is a Dutch company that is fully dedicated to the breeding, production and commercialization of cyclamen. et. The acquisition of the cyclamen business of Varinova is strategic for Syngenta Flowers. “Cyclamen is a focus crop for us in which we are determined to grow through a broader...Read More

Needlecast in Colorado Blue Spruce

The Colorado Blue spruce is not native to Indiana and tends to be susceptible to disease.  One common disease, caused by the fungus Rizosphaera kalkhoffii, results in the defoliation of the tree.  If left untreated needlecast can lead to the death of the tree.  Symptoms of needlecast don’t develop until two to three years after initial infection.  Needles will turn a purplish brown color and fall from the tree. Read More

Plant Disease Identified in Rhododendrons in Kansas

The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s plant protection and weed control program this week confirmed the presence of a plant disease in hundreds of rhododendrons sold at large retail stores in Kansas. Sudden Oak Death (SOD) is a plant disease that has killed large tracts of oaks and other native species in California and Oregon, and infected rhododendrons have been identified in 10 states in the Midwest...Read More

Creating a Mail-Order Service at Your Garden Center

As independent garden centers continue to look for ways to boost their bottom line in an age of online shopping, mail-order services continue to become increasingly popular. The convenience of ordering items off sites like Amazon, Target and others have made it easy for consumers to get the goods they want without leaving their homes or waiting in line. So how can IGCs capitalize on this sector...Read More

How NPR, Washington Post, Bloomberg and Other Media Botched Reporting on EPA’s ‘Ban’ of 12 ‘Bee-Killing’ Neonicotinoid Insecticides

If recent headlines are the measure, advocacy groups making a case that bees are endangered because of the misuse of pesticides just scored a significant victory. On May 20, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that after a 6-year-long legal battle with anti-pesticide activists, it endorsed a voluntary withdrawal of 12 insecticides by a group of agri-chemical companies...Read More

Texas A&M AgriLife Researchers Gain Ground in Rose Rosette Battle

A comprehensive national effort among 30 industry and academic entities led by Texas A&M gains ground in the battle against rose rosette. The team has tracked the disease across the U.S., developed new diagnostic tools and expedited breeding with hundreds of new molecular markers.  Since the project’s beginning in 2014, part of its $4.6 million grant helped establish roserosette.org. The website serves to track...Read More

Eriophyoid Mites Found on Healthy and Rose Rosette Diseased Roses in the United States

Eriophyoid mites are extremely small mites among which Phyllocoptes fructiphilus has been shown to be the vector of Rose Rosette Disease. Various microscopy techniques were used in this study to produce high resolution images of outstanding quality, for the correct identification of the mites and their locations on the rose plants. Surveys of roses from several states within the US indicate the presence...Read More 

Flower and Gift Delivery Company FTD Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

Flower and gift delivery service FTD filed for bankruptcy protection Monday with an agreement to sell some businesses while paying down debt and pursuing sales of its other brands. The nearly 110-year old company, based in Downers Grove, began restructuring and reviewing strategic alternatives last year. FTD warned in March that it could go out of business or shrink its operations this summer if it didn’t find a buyer...Read More

Get Involved in Horticultural Therapy

People seek out different forms of therapy for many reasons in their lives. Whether it be recovering from an injury or suffering from a mental illness, the benefits of therapy can help assist in the healing process or getting back to normal. Horticultural therapy has been around since the 19th century and today, it’s used within a broad range of rehabilitative, vocational and community settings. Read More

Flooding Injury and Subsequent Disease Infection of Fruit Crops

Fruit crops have a wide range of tolerance for flooded or waterlogged soils. Roots of peach and apricot trees are highly sensitive to waterlogged soils, roots of cherry and plum trees are intermediate, and those of apple and pear are the least sensitive. For small fruit crops, the most sensitive to flooding are strawberry (can tolerate submersion in water for up to seven days), blackberry, raspberry and currants...Read More

Raising Future Retailers

Several FFA members have used their experience at A+ Garden Centre to land part-time jobs at local nurseries, including independent garden centers and the garden departments of retailers like Home Depot and Walmart. Kelley hopes the program could inspire entrepreneurship that will help the industry. “I believe we’ll see several students opening their own garden centers in the future,” Kelley says. Read More

Making More Green with Ornamental Grasses

If your ideas about ornamental grasses start and end with Purple Fountain Grass, a whole other world is out there just waiting for you to explore it! And it’s not too late: There’s still time to produce and use ornamental grasses for your late summer and fall programs. Consider first how you plan to incorporate ornamental grasses into your production plans, then work to create your orders. At this point...Read More

Creating Awe in the Outdoor Room

Balconies are more complete with baskets, patios more welcoming with planters and outdoor kitchens more entertaining with combos—and more functional if they’re filled with herbs. Plantings around a house are decorative. Plants displayed in an outdoor room make it a home. June is the ideal month to get your creative outdoor room juices flowing—both for your own garden center displays...Read More

Death By Marketing

An Italian proverb reads, “He that deceives me once, it’s his fault; but if twice, it’s my fault.”  The fastest way to put a bad business out of business is for this operation to advertise to bring customers in and see why they wouldn’t go back there in the first place. If you’re spending money in hopes that people will come and do business with you—don’t, until you’re sure they’ll be likely to WANT to come back. Read More

The Latest Information on a Hitchhiking Pest

The Spotted Lanternfly represents a new pest challenge to those in the horticulture industry due to its wide host range and potential for damage. In our previous coverage, we had preliminary information about this pest, as it had just been detected and not much was known about it. But the first, and arguably most important, update is that the geographic range has increased. Read More

Pricing: Think Beyond the Loaded Truck

Recent changes in the management and buying structure at some of America’s big box stores provide an opportunity to re-visit how these retailers have impacted pricing strategies in our industry. But even if you’re not selling to box stores or selling in a pay-by-scan environment, it pays to think beyond the truck being loaded to how retail pricing and merchandising affects your profitability. Read More

Farmers Are Using Flowers To Beat Back Pests Instead Of Chemicals

A farm is its own ecosystem, but many conventional practices strip away the life cycle of all the creatures living in it by using pesticides. This makes sense, since crops can be decimated by the wrong kind of insect or other invader. But pesticides have created a number of problems; not only do pests become gradually resistant to the poison, the use of the chemicals...Read More

Launching Careers

In 1968, when Cape Abilities was formed, it was unlikely that the Cape Cod families involved could have predicted the organization’s successful move into farming, greenhouse growing, and food and garden retail, but opportunities of this magnitude are seldom anticipated.
James Barnes, director of social enterprise with Cape Abilities, explains that in 2006, a board member donated...Read More 

New Rules Providing Relief for Truck Driver Hours Coming Soon

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is scheduled to unveil its highly anticipated changes to truck driver Hours of Service regulations in early June. According to an article from CDL Life, which covers the trucking industry, new regulatory reporting posted by the DOT indicates that Hours of Service changes are scheduled to be published on June 7, 2019. Read More

Sudden Oak Death in Indiana Deemed Worse Than Initially Thought

After a dangerous disease that could prove fatal to Indiana's oak trees was discovered in the state last week, officials now are saying that the problem is "bigger than [they] realized." The fungal pathogen called sudden oak death was detected in several varieties of rhododendrons being sold in what was first believed to be in about 30 stores across the state. That number has now tripled, and infested...Read More

How an Online Costing Course Improved Hoffman Nursery’s Bottom Line

One of the biggest problems in the greenhouse and nursery industry is slim profit margins. For our industry to continue to succeed and further prosper, there has to be more knowledge of true costs. Last summer, I was lucky to take the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension online Costing and Profitability course. I first heard about it at Cultivate 2017 when Dr. Paul Fisher...Read More

EPA Cancels Registrations of 12 Neonic Pesticides

On May 20, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published notice in the Federal Register canceling the registrations of 12 neonicotinoid-containing pesticides (neonics). This cancelation was the result of a lawsuit settlement reached by the agency with several environmental groups. The lawsuit settlement also requires that EPA conduct a review of all neonics, so there could be more registration cancellations...Read More

Student Develops an AI App to Diagnose Plant Diseases

For some, a rose is a symbol of beauty or love. For Shaza Mehdi, it is a connection to her mother, but also a gateway to innovation. Mehdi’s mother, Afshin, grows rose bushes at their Lawrenceville home. But a few years ago, the plants kept getting diseases, ruining the blooms. Mehdi tried diagnosing the flowers by Googling images of plant diseases and comparing those images with the sick roses. Read More

Industry’s Choice Best New Plant Variety Finalists Announced for 2019

Greenhouse Grower‘s Medal Of Excellence has become one of the premier recognition programs of plant breeding excellence. The Industry’s Choice for Best New Variety award is selected by a panel of industry members who attend California Spring Trials and see the new plant introductions in person. Read More

Back to Basics

The common inputs (water, heating, labor, etc.) may be what you automatically think about when you’re looking to find ways to save a little time/money. But the final product—the plants themselves—can also provide some money-saving solutions. Kris and Todd offered some suggestions on what you should be doing before and during production.  Choose the plants you grow carefully. You don’t have to be a plant breeding...Read More

The Microbes Move In

Last year’s wet, cool spring gave growers ample reason to apply a fungicide. At some points, the GGSPro technical services team could have answered the phones with, “Botrytis Central. How can we help?” To be sure, we recommended applications of traditional foliar fungicides to many, many growers of ornamentals during that time. Read More

2019 Top 100 Lawn & Landscape Companies

The 2019 Lawn & Landscape Top 100 is based on 2018 revenue from landscape profit centers. Most information is reported by each company listed, and supplemental data are sourced from public records and reporting by L&L staff. Companies on the list earned a combined revenue of $10,221,735,143 in 2018, which is an increase of $603,045,036, or 6.27 percent, compared to 2017. Read More

France Becomes The First Country To Ban All Five Pesticides Linked To Bee Deaths

In May 2018 the EU banned three of the significant pesticides implicated in the collapse of bee populations. Clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam are now prohibited for use on crops. However France has gone a step further and set the high bar in the effort to save the bees. Given the importance of pollinators to nature and the survival of the biosphere, this could not happen...Read More

Mycorrhizae 101

There’s more awareness about the use of beneficial organisms and active ingredients for the production of ornamental crops. Active ingredients enable growers and homeowners to enhance and protect plants without the concern of chemicals. One beneficial active ingredient is mycorrhizae, which is a naturally occurring, beneficial fungus that’s safe to use. Mycorrhizae improves overall plant growth...Read More

**SPECIAL ALERT** Sudden Oak Death

Sudden oak death, as the name suggests, is a disease that is capable of rapidly killing certain species of oaks.  It was first identified in California, in 1995. Two years earlier it was identified in Germany and the Netherlands, killing rhododendron. Because the pathogen originally infected and killed tanoaks, an undesirable, understory scrub tree, it generated little interest until other, more desirable...Read More

Hardscape Mishaps

Some mistakes are tough to predict. Patrick Perugino of Picture It Landscape & Design in London, Ontario, recalls a time when a sealer sprayer exploded on his crew member toward the end of a residential construction job. “It went all over the place,” he says. “It was right at the end of the day – I was about to collect the check, get the invoice and be on our way. So, it was the worst time to happen...Read More

Something Bugging You? Then Get Bugs!

Each year, I help numerous growers with their insect and mite management programs. Admittedly, most of these growers are looking to using insecticides and/or miticides to keep their pest problems at bay. However, I wanted to remind you how effective beneficial insects can be. Many growers are effectively managing their pests using beneficial insects. Like anything in life, there’s a learning curve, but...Read More

USDA Publishes 2018 Floriculture Crops Summary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published the 2018 Floriculture Crops Summary — a report that came about as a direct result of lobbying by the Society of American Florists and meetings in Washington, D.C., between SAF members and their lawmakers during the group’s annual Congressional Action Days. The report provides reliable benchmarks to identify market trends and project sales...Read More

Challenge Accepted

After a lengthy and rigorous dissection of its practices, Loma Vista Nursery entered a program that will drastically reduce pest-related risks and enrich the company. Late last year, the nursery received SANC certification. SANC — Systems Approach to Nursery Certification — is administered by the National...Read More

Native Plant Propagation Techniques That Really Work

Perennial plant propagation can yield a multitude of new plants in a few months to a few years. There are various ways to propagate plants including seed, tissue culture, bare root, divisions, and unrooted cuttings. The propagator’s desired outcome and the limitations of the plant will determine...Read More

Precision and Patience

Hardscape construction jobs require patience since estimating and rushing on these jobs can result in a poor final product. For example, contractors should avoid guessing how much bedding sand to use on a pavement project. Patrick Perugino, owner of Picture It Landscape & Design in London, Ontario, says he sees many contractors put in too much bedding sand as a result of guesswork on projects. Read More

Want to Understand the Biodiversity Crisis? Look at the Trees in Your Backyard

Wander into the woods in most places in the eastern United States and you’re likely to come across a towering trunk with sandy-colored, diamond-shaped ridges rising to bare forking branches and little holes peppering the bark, signaling where small, green beetles have crawled out and flown away after doing their dirty work. This decaying monument is — or rather, was — an ash tree...Read More

Are You Misclassifying Independent Contractors?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor will be cracking down on employers who pay workers without withholding and remitting proper employer payroll taxes. In fact, over the past year, many states have signed on with the feds to exchange information. This means if you are audited and found delinquent in your federal employment taxes, you will almost...Read More

Work to Do: Tackling the Industry’s Labor Shortage

In the face of dwindling H-2B acceptances, fewer enrollments in horticulture programs and the ongoing search for qualified workers — the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) hopes to promote the landscaping industry as an attractive career option and help add 100,000 jobs to the industry. Here, we explore how landscape companies, national associations...Read More

AmericanHort Welcomes New Board Members, New Slate of Officers

AmericanHort announces the election of three new members to the board of directors, along with the installation of a new slate of officers. These individuals are from across the horticulture industry and encompass various experiences, skills and backgrounds. The official welcome will take place at Cultivate’19, July 13-16, in Columbus, Ohio. “It’s important that all segments of our industry are represented...Read More

Smart Phone, Meet Smart Controller

Attention: Your smartphone is getting smarter. Already, the number of devices it can control is staggering. It can start your coffee maker, lock your front door, adjust your thermostat, turn off your lights and yes, even begin cooking a delicious roast in your slow cooker, all with a few taps on its screen. It’s all part of a giant technological wave that is just beginning to hit us. Read More

Treat Your Hiring Efforts Like a Marketing Campaign

What do recruiting and marketing have to do with each other? Practically everything! Recruiting is marketing, particularly in today’s tight, competitive labor market. To attract and hire great talent you need to leverage your marketing expertise more than ever. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of January 2019 there were 0.9 workers for every job available. That means there are more jobs...Read More

Navigating the Green Minefield

“You can’t identify me because—I admit it—I’m afraid of Amazon. I’ve heard enough about how vindictive they can be. I’ve seen stories of Amazon resellers who’ve been thrown off the site or sometimes had their payments withheld for unspecified reasons. I’ve built a niche selling garden accessories online during slower seasons. I need that volume to continue. Read More

AmericanHort, HRI Seek Grower Input on Neonicotinoids

AmericanHort and the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) seek to better understand the industry's usage of the following nitroguanidine neonicotinoids: Clothianidin (Arena), Dinotefuran (Safari), Imidacloprid (Merit, Marathon, others)...Read More

It's 10:00am Do You Know Where Your Trucks Are?

GPS-based fleet management systems allow contractors to keep a close watch on their trucks and the people in them. It used to be that once your fleet pulled out of the yard in the morning you, the landscape, maintenance or irrigation company owner, had to have a lot of trust. You had to trust that your drivers wouldn’t get lost, wouldn’t drive recklessly and wouldn’t dilly-dally too long at the gas station buying snacks...Read More

Getting at the Root of the Problem Above Ground

Using ground penetrating radar for belowground tree root detection is a noninvasive method that can be applied just about anywhere. It’s eight o’clock in the morning and your phone rings. The caller says he has a 90-year-old redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) in his backyard that is cracking the concrete slab of his patio and garage floor and would like the roots cut. This type of scenario plays itself...Read More

Seneca FFA Horticulture Team Wins State Title

Seneca FFA’s Horticulture Career Development Event team had a record-breaking year, concluding its season by winning the state contest at the University of Illinois. Winning the CDE propels the team into the national championship in Indianapolis in October at the National FFA Convention. Dylan Woodard was the CDE runner-up followed by Ian Wilkinson in fifth place, Mark Mehochko...Read More

Delving Into New Disease Foes

Biological controls can have a propensity to confuse and challenge growers, says Michael Brownbridge, research director, Horticultural Production Systems at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario. Consider, for example, Bacillus subtilus, a common active ingredient. Different strains may have different properties. For example, some promote plant growth and others control disease. Read More

Maryland Court Case Upholds Ban on Outdoor Pesticide Use

A legal decision in Maryland that upholds a ban on outdoor pesticide use on private property could have ramifications for both growers and independent garden centers that sell crop protection products. The Maryland Court of Special Appeal in Montgomery County, MD v. Complete Lawn Care, et. al., found that the county’s ban on outdoor pesticide use on private property by residents and professionals is valid. Read More

How to Manage Succession Planning When There is No Succession

According to the Price-waterhouseCoopers Family Business Survey, 48% of business owners don’t know how to or haven’t even thought of preparing for the sale of their company. Things get more complicated when there are no family members ready and willing to take over the business. What is clear is that the best business transitions...Read More

How Proposed Building and Energy Code Changes Might Affect You

One of the primary roles of the National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA) is to monitor building and energy codes as they apply to the horticulture and greenhouse crop production industries. Through its Codes and Standards Committee, NGMA proposes appropriate changes and clarifications, opposes proposals that have a negative impact on the industry, and provides resources...Read More

How to Answer your Customers' Toughest Questions

“Why are your prices so high?” “Why do you charge more than the florist down the street?” “You guys did it for me last time I was here. Why not this time?” Let’s face it, in a retail floral business, you are bombarded with tough questions every day. When put on the spot, it can be difficult to answer gracefully and confidently without becoming defensive; but never fear, there are strategies. Read More

What’s Driving Greenhouse Innovation?

Labor is a pain—and the pool of potential agricultural workers is thinning faster than many growers can find ways to fill the gaps. “Demographic and societal changes have unfolded over the last 100 years or more, and those have built up over time,” says Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President of Industry Advocacy and Research for AmericanHort. Read More

The Purple Squirrel

I don’t know about you, but it’s getting old hearing the, “It’s a candidate’s market,” comments from everyone all over social media, in news articles and far too many blogs to count. It’s one thing to call it out, but its entirely different to solve the problem. And while there are currently no silver bullets to take down this problem, there are some innovative and different ways of looking at the workforce...Read More

Invasion!

The spotted lanternflies are coming. These sneaky invaders are a menace to more than 70 types of plants. Viral videos have raced across social media, showing hordes of lanternflies covering buildings and tree trunks. They hop from plant to plant, sucking sap from branches, stems and trunks. The epicenter of the lanternfly invasion is Berks County, Pennsylvannia...Read More

Fast Growing Trees - Are They Out of Bounds?

Word on the street is that customers no longer have the patience for trees to grow in their urban landscapes. Many are hesitant to spend the money on large B&B tree specimens, but they also want privacy now. To feed their need for instant gratification, retail garden center shoppers are increasingly asking for fast-growing container grown trees. Where do these specimens fit into your selection — or should they? Read More

Picture This

You’ve got two events to promote, an upcoming sale on six-pack annuals and a company blog or website that needs updating. The employee who does your Facebook posts wants to highlight the nursery stock and a request has come in from a regional magazine for photos that feature roses. Suddenly, you find yourself wondering if you work at a garden center or a stock photo service. Read More

A Farewell to Lawns

About four years ago, Jay Keck started letting a portion of his lawn go back to nature. Habitat education manager for the South Carolina Wildlife Federation—a National Wildlife Federation affiliate—Keck began by planting bushy bluestem, green-headed coneflowers and other native flowering plants. “Asters, goldenrods, boneset and other wildflowers started coming up on their own...Read More

Look Beyond the Mirror: A Diverse Workforce

This month, we’re diving deeper, beyond policies (though we will discuss some of those) and getting to the root of our businesses: the people. Specifically, about building workforces that aren’t homogenous (everyone looks and acts the same), bringing together staff with different backgrounds, racial heritage, genders, and life views, in a functional—rather than a dysfunctional—way. Read More

Big Box Pay-By-Scan Pricing

In this segment, Dr. Charlie Hall is specifically targeting growers who sell to box stores and particularly those selling in a pay-by-scan scenario, cautioning them to not make the same mistakes that growers made a decade ago when Home Depot initiated pay-by-scan in their lawn and garden department. By making sure all costs associated with shrink and merchandising costs are considered...Watch Video 

The Point of Raising Prices

“The laws of economics are coming into play in our industry because it’s down to the survival of the fittest,” said Kube Pak’s Bill Swanekamp. “People who are making the best choices and decisions are surviving.” What Bill is referring to is the state of churn that North America’s culture and economy has experienced during the last 10 years, and our industry is now feeling the effects...Read More 

AmericanHort Issues Timely Update on Additional 30,000 H-2B Visas

The Departments of Homeland Security and Labor (DOL) plan to officially release a rule on Wednesday, May 8, that kicks off an application process for an additional 30,000 H-2B visas for fiscal 2019. According to a statement from AmericanHort, these visas will be limited to returning workers who received H-2B visas in one or more of the previous three fiscal years (2016, 2017, or 2018). Read More

Boxwood Blight Look-alikes

With the recent detections of boxwood blight in Illinois, the importance of scouting landscapes and new plants for the disease is greater than ever. Boxwood blight can be a challenging disease to identify outside a plant diagnostic laboratory. Many of the symptoms associated with the disease are similar to other common boxwood disorders. One major difference between boxwood blight...Read More

Alumnus Gives MIT $4.5 Million to Establish the Broderick Fund for Phytocannabinoid Research

Charles R. Broderick, an alumnus of MIT and Harvard University, has made gifts to both alma maters to support fundamental research into the effects of cannabis on the brain and behavior. The gifts, totaling $9 million, represent the largest donation to date to support independent research on the science of cannabinoids. The donation will allow experts in the fields of neuroscience...Read More

Recession Outlook Discussion

Dr. Charlie Hall talks about the recent yield curve inversion. While several folks are talking doom and gloom, Charlie talks about why we shouldn’t over-react to this news and what indicators he is following that back up this reasoning. Watch Video

Glyphosate and Risk Communication

Currently, there is much perceived risk associated with using glyphosate. It is all over the news and in the papers. We are receiving more questions and calls on this topic, and from what you have told us, you are too. Clients are concerned. Applicators are concerned. Recently a second jury found that glyphosate was responsible for causing the plaintiff's cancer. Many experts disagree with these verdicts. Read More

What is Your Nursery's Brand?

If you own a nursery, garden center or landscape business, you are in the branding business. The real question is “Are you creating a valuable brand and are your leveraging its value?” Brands have been in existence for a long as people have put up store signs. The word “brand” was derived from “brandr,” an ancient Norse word meaning “to burn” or more specifically it referred to a burning...Read More

2019 Perspective on Profit Margin: Part I

Horticulture is an ever-changing industry. Watch the first part of Dr. Charlie Hall's Industry Insider Report: 2019 Perspective on Profit Margins to learn how cost inputs changed in 2018 compared to previous years. Read More

Montgomery County Pesticide Ban May Go Into Effect, Following Court Ruling

Montgomery County’s 2015 ban on “cosmetic pesticides” for lawn care may finally be implemented. It would prohibit the use of certain chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other conditions. The law was overturned by a Montgomery County circuit court in 2017. Now, an appeals court has struck down that decision. Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker...Read More

EPA Releases Draft Guidelines for Plant Regulators

In recognition of the growing categories of products generally known as plant biostimulants, this draft document gives guidance on which products are (and are not) subject to regulation under FIFRA as plant regulator pesticides, and what kinds of claims can be made for them. The draft guidance provides examples of each. EPA is taking this step to provide clarity to our state....Read More

EPA Reaffirms Safety of Glyphosate, Environmental Groups Disagree, Controversy Continues

On April 30, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an interim decision on the herbicide glyphosate that states, in part, “EPA continues to find that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.” Read More

Illinois Schools Receiving 5,000 Trees from IDOT

The Illinois Department of Transportation once again distributed 5,000 seedlings to schools throughout the state in cooperation with Living Lands & Waters in honor of Earth Day on April 22. The “Trees to Schools” initiative helps offset the loss of trees removed or otherwise affected by construction and maintenance activities. Each of the nine IDOT highway districts...Read More

Greenhouse Employers Stress Need for Vocational Training in Middle, High Schools

Following a detailed discussion Friday with Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th District, on the need for immigration reform to address workforce demands, representatives of a family-run greenhouse operation in Orange County called for increased efforts in public education to steer students toward careers. “We need skilled people, we need...Read More

Industry Veterans Take Lead Roles at BASF, Profile Products, AmericanHort

BASF, Profile Products, and AmericanHort are among the several organizations who have boosted their management teams over the last month. As part of a strategic effort to support the ornamentals market, BASF has named Jennie Smith as the new Greenhouse & Nursery Sales Manager and Biologicals Team Lead in the company’s Professional & Specialty Solutions group. Read More

Rising Fast

Land Program Manager Lori Zatroch of Cuyahoga Community College found their horticulture program’s future stationed in the middle of Wisconsin. No, they weren’t planning on relocating the two-year university from its home in Cleveland; instead, they visited Mid-State Technical College for a tour. They wanted to see a school that had already built a facility similar to what Tri-C hoped to create...Read More

11 Tips for Effective Workplace Housekeeping

To some people, the word “housekeeping” calls to mind cleaning floors and surfaces, removing dust, and organizing clutter. But in a work setting, it means much more. Housekeeping is crucial to safe workplaces. It can help prevent injuries and improve productivity and morale, as well as make a good first impression on visitors, according to Cari Gray, safety consultant for the Ohio Bureau of...Read More

Unpredictable Pests

With much of the country coming out of a warmer and wetter winter, experts across the nation say it’s hard to anticipate how the weather will affect the insect pressures once the summer gets rolling. However, one thing’s for sure: Damaged or diseased turf means there’s an increased chance those spots are susceptible to pest problems this season. “The best defense against any pest...Read More

New Hortica Head Talks Challenges, Opportunities

When Tim Noble took over as president of Hortica at the beginning of the year, it marked a significant change in company leadership. He succeeded Mona Haberer, who retired after a 30-year career. Noble, who joined Sentry, Hortica’s parent company, in 2011, brought with him a wealth of experience in insurance, a personal connection to family businesses — and a desire to get up to speed...Read More

Money from Within

As James Martin Associates – with locations in Chicago and Boulder – celebrated 40 years of business in 2017, owner James Martin wondered if there was a way to thank his employees differently than the company had done in the past. So, two years ago, the company opted to start a scholarship for employees’ children, helping them offset the cost of college tuition. Martin says starting this scholarship...Read More

The One Thing Millennials Haven’t Killed Is Houseplants

Aisha Richardson, a 34-year-old designer living in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, started buying plants a few years ago to relieve job stress. Before she knew it, Richardson was hooked. She now has about 30 plants—minus one that her cat ate—and follows dozens of plant-focused Instagram feeds. How much does she spend? “I don’t want to think about it,” she says. Read More

Make Your Specialty Known: Sensitive-Crop Registry Included in Dicamba Requirements

Brown Farms planted signs in their Decatur, Illinois, fields last spring. The wooden markers identifying the soybean field as non-GMO or LibertyLink were visual reminders that the crop within was sensitive to certain herbicides. This year the farm has the option of calling on the power of digital signs, as well, said David Brown, who farms with his brother, Joe, and son, Chase. They plan to map their...Read More

Pearing Down: Why Even Tree-Huggers Want St. Louis to Cut Down These Pretty Bradford Pear Trees

At first glance, the white flowering trees lining Interstate 270 and Highway 40 look lovely. The roadside thicket where the highways meet burst this spring with some of the first blooms in St. Louis. But, conservationists say, the trees are more like a menace in disguise — an unexpected result of decades of neighborhood landscaping that are putting local plants and animals at risk. Read More

Growers Address Increase in Illegal Plant Propogation

Growers, garden centers and consumers pay a price when patented and trademarked plants are counterfeited and sold illegally. This is why a group of plant patent and trademark owners and stakeholders gathered at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) on January 10 to discuss reports of unlicensed propagation of patent-protected plants in the United States. Read More

Why Garden Tourism is Good for Garden Centers

For many years if you mentioned Buffalo, New York, in a conversation, people would immediately think about snow. But lately, many find that this city on Lake Erie is associated with gardens. The festival of open gardens known as Garden Walk Buffalo has become a major tourist attraction that is good for area businesses, has transformed whole neighborhoods...Read More

Ornamental Pear Fallout

I’ve attached pictures of the only tree we have on our property. Because it is our only tree, I am deeply concerned with the possibilities of irreparable damage to it. As you can see, one of the branches broke off during a November windstorm. Unfortunately, that left a bare gap on the trunk. Please let me know how to treat this damaged area so no further damage is done to it and tell me what can be...Read More

USDA Looking to Streamline Importing of Plants in Growing Media

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is accepting comments on a draft environmental assessment (EA) for importing plants in approved growing media into the U.S. The EA considers the potential environmental effects of having a standardized set of pest risk mitigations for routine market requests to import plants in approved growing media. This approach...Read More

Star Power

Which Hollywood Hibiscus are you? A stylish and confident Bombshell, perhaps? Or maybe you’re a Jolly Polly — cheerful, enthusiastic and ready to brighten someone’s day with your infectious charm. These questions are part of the Hollywood Hibiscus Quiz, brainchild of J. Berry Nursery and horticulture marketing firm Upshoot. Launched in early January following its promotion...Read More

Tornado Strikes Close to Home

In December 2018, a tornado struck Taylorville, Illinois, injuring more than two dozen people and damaging hundreds of buildings and trees. Retired Trees Forever Field Coordinator Barb Grabner-Kerns lives in town and was fortunate that the disaster bypassed her, her home and her trees, but after working with Trees Forever’s Recover, Replant, Restore! program, she knows that recovery is a long process. Read More

The Value of the Green Label

We've all heard it. People are worried about pollinators and want to do what they can to help. Some are planting pollinator gardens, taking up beekeeping, or choosing organic foods to try to help save the bees. At the same time, many plant growers are recognizing that using pesticides can be risky for pollinators as well as beneficial insects. Many growers are increasingly using...Read More

Getting Over the Delegating Dilemma

Arnie is a good manager. He treats his employees well. He communicates clearly to them and is always willing to listen when they come to him with a problem. He encourages them to take training and self-development classes and grow their skill sets. He discourages them from working more than eight hours and encourages them to get home to their families after a hard day’s work. However, one area...Read More

Four Ways You Can Better Communicate With Your Team And Your Industry

CareerUP is an AmericanHort program tailored to the unique situations young or new-to-the-industry professionals might encounter. CareerUP provides access to best practices in the workplace and the opportunity to learn soft skills that can make or break your professional success. At AmericanHort’s CareerUP Workshop at Cultivate’19, attendees...Read More

5 Ways You Can Combat Burnout

Are you or members of your team continually stressed out? Do you worry about burning out? Are you confident in your ability to recognize symptoms of burnout in yourself and others? Extended periods of stress and/or frustration, often caused by having too much to do, plays a key role in burnout. Stressed individuals tend to be easily frustrated, take things personally and be either agitated...Read More

Using Career Fairs to Your Advantage

When Kurt Bland first sought a full-time job after college, he went to a career day in Mississippi. While he eventually would return to manage Bland Landscaping, the company his parents started when he was an infant, he wanted to leave North Carolina after graduation because he desired experience at a company that wasn’t owned by his family. Read More

Cultivate’19 to Feature Workshop Aimed at HR Professionals in Horticulture Businesses

One of the Saturday workshops taking place at Cultivate’19 will focus specifically on human resources (HR)-related issues. Designed for horticulture HR, safety professionals, and green business owners, the “It’s All About the Workforce” workshop is for those who source, recruit, onboard, and train employees. Topics to be covered include H-2A reform...Read More

Community Competition

While addressing the crowd during the opening ceremonies of the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, Andrew Ziehler told the students in the audience a valuable lesson he learned from starting a business from scratch. He said in the early years of owning his company, Ziehler Lawn and Tree Care near Columbus, Ohio, he was always concerned about keeping information from his competition...Read More

Why Garden Centers Should Be Ruling Facebook

My dad always told me that you fight battles from your strengths. Facebook for business is intimidating for both beginners and experts, but our industry has strengths built into it that we can use to rule Facebook. Let’s start there. If you think you have a tough time making interesting Facebook posts, try being a mortgage...Read More

Inspiration for Food, Flowers, Company

Transforming outdoor spaces is one of the hottest home trends today. Landscaping expands living space square footage, makes a property more usable, and keeps homeowners healthier whether they grow vegetables or swim laps. It also makes a neighborhood more aesthetically attractive and community-minded. Read More

When Plants Get Salty

While diseases are important in plant health, they are not responsible for every browning or plant death. Abiotic diseases can cause problems too. Things like drought, freezing temperatures, herbicide drift, dog urine, nutrient deficiencies – anything negatively impacting plant growth that isn’t caused by a living agent. That includes salt, the kind used for deicing purposes in the winter. Read More

Five Things We've Learned About Dicamba

As we prepare for another year with the Xtend soybean and cotton system, we thought it would help to briefly summarize some of the most important things we've learned about dicamba as a result of the research our outstanding graduate students have conducted over the past several seasons. Dicamba Can be Detected in the Air Following Treatment. This isn't really any grand "new" finding; we've seen this trend...Read More

The Bane of Boxwoods

Poor boxwood. They’ve had a rough go of it in recent years. Not only have North American shrub growers and landscapers been dealing with the scourge of Boxwood Blight for the past seven years, but now they have a possible new pest to lose sleep over—the box tree moth (BTM). We’ll talk about blight in a bit, since there is current research that’s been published and there are more-tolerant cultivars...Read More

USDA Update on Farm Bill Implementation Progress

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the implementation status of the 2018 Farm Bill. President Trump signed this Farm Bill into law on December 20th, 2018, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promptly began implementation of key programs. USDA held several listening sessions with stakeholders and the public, specific to each agency’s respective mission areas. Read More

A Pocket Full of Rewards

In an age when consumers can get anything they want delivered to their front door with a pocket-sized device, it can be difficult for physical retailers to compete with that kind of convenience. Garden centers in particular have relied on their ability to forge personal connections and offer in-depth solutions for their customers, but the competition with online shopping remains fierce in the retail world at large. Read More

National Green Industry Survey Begins Data Collection

The Green Industry Research Consortium, with funding support from the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), is launching the National Green Industry Survey this month. This represents the seventh time that this survey has been conducted since 1989. The purpose of the survey is to document trends in production, marketing, and retailing practices in the U.S. Green Industry. Read More

Expanded BLOOM! Campaign Connects Youth with Plant-Based Solutions to Today’s Biggest Challenges

Today, Seed Your Future announced the launch of its expanded BLOOM! campaign to excite young people about the power of plants and their unique ability to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Teaming up with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education, and media company, BLOOM! provides free eye-catching, fact-based content delivered both inside...Read More

Pollinator Gardens Do Best With a Variety of Plants

Pollinator gardens are most beneficial to pollinators when they contain a greater variety of plants, according to new research from the University of Georgia. Researchers in UGA’s Odum School of Ecology conducted a review and meta-analysis of advice for creating pollinator gardens, sifting through a multitude of studies to formulate a more focused approach to establishing healthy...Read More

How to Control Respirable Silica During Handheld Saw Use

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) respirable crystalline silica standard (29 CFR 1926.1153) stipulates that construction workers not be exposed to more than 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air (25 μg/m3 ) containing respirable crystalline silica as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). Crystalline silica is a mineral found in a number of construction materials, including sand, stone, concrete...Read More

Quality Over Cost

I’m a third-generation garden center owner. We’ve built our brand, and the backbone of our revenue, on the 4 acres of annuals we grow for spring sales. Promote the fact you are a grower-retailer with consistent, strong branding. Whether you’re in retail (as I am) or a wholesaler, being a grower-retailer is exhausting. You freeze your cash into a million plants before selling one...Read More

Lavenders for the North

Lavenders have long been cultivated for their broad herbal and medicinal uses and are enduringly popular as ornamentals in gardens and landscapes around the world. Famously, bountiful fields of lavender grown for its fragrant oil are the essence of France’s Provence region. Lavender derives from lavare, Latin for “to bathe or wash”, because...Read More

The Spotted Lanternfly and the Trucking Industry

No, it’s not the name of the latest mystery novel, TV series, or movie, but an insect that’s the cause of major problems for the trucking industry. The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive insect native to Asia that was first discovered in Southeast Pennsylvania. It has the potential to greatly impact the agriculture industry, including grapes, hops...Read More

How To Remove Half-Assed Responses To Requests For Customer Service

A friend of mine was at a restaurant the other day. She was told they would have the next ocean-view table. The hostess seated someone else at the table they were waiting for; the server apologized and said they’d have the next one yet let it slip away. One of my clients left a list of calls with her staff that were to be made to customers about an upcoming event while she enjoyed a day off. The crew...Read More

Government Affairs: Are you ready for the new federal overtime rule?

On March 7, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed regulations concerning the much-anticipated revised threshold for workers exempt from overtime pay. The rule proposes to raise the minimum salary threshold for employees exempt from overtime pay to $679 per week ($35,308 annually) from the current $455 per week ($23,660 annually), an increase...Read More

Last Year It Was Dicamba, This Year It's 2,4-D

A volatile weed killer linked to cancer and endocrine issues will likely be sprayed on millions more acres of soybeans and cotton across the Midwest and South starting this year. In January, China approved imports of a new genetically modified soybean variety — Enlist E3 soybeans jointly made by Corteva Agriscience, a division of DowDupont and seed company MS Technologies — that can withstand the herbicide 2,4-D. Read More

FMCSA Hopes to Clarify What Constitutes an “Agricultural Commodity” With New Rule

Compared to previous sessions at trade shows, Joe DeLorenzo’s time in front of the trucking industry at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville on March 28, 2019, must have seemed like a breeze. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) director of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, has often had to stand in front...Read More

Updates to Resources for Pest Management

Maps that forecast the life cycle stages of twelve insect pests critical to landscape management and nursery production have recently been improved. The pests include apple maggot, Asian longhorned beetle, bagworm, bronze birch borer, Eastern tent caterpillar, emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, hemlock woolly adelgid, lilac borer, magnolia scale, pine needle scale, and winter moth. The database is maintained by the U.S. National Phenology Network (NPN) and is accessible to anyone. Learn More

AmericanHort Welcomes More Seasonal Worker Visas

AmericanHort is very pleased to report that on March 29, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it plans to release an additional 30,000 H-2B workers for returning immigrant workers. This progress would not have happened without the steady advocacy push by our advocacy team, industry leaders, association members, state association partners, and like-minded industries participating in the H-2B Workforce Coalition...Read More

Fayetteville Offers a Free Tree to Anyone Who Cuts Down a Bradford Pear

Fayetteville is offering a bounty on Bradford pear trees this spring. Bradford pears are considered an invasive species that can spread quickly and choke out the area’s native trees, shrubs and flowers. In an effort to spread awareness and discourage the spread of invasive trees...Read More

How Growers With Limited Resources Can Plan for a Software Upgrade

For those smaller greenhouse growers who may have limited resources allocated for a software  upgrade, it’s important to know where you should focus your attention. Experts from leading software companies offer their suggestions below. Build your software up slowly, over time. Anything you can do to reduce your order fulfillment costs will help you grow your business. Read More

Dan Collins Scholarship Open for Horticulture Students

NaturaLawn of America is accepting applications for The Dan Collins Scholarship Award in memory of Dan Collins, a past franchise owner who passed away from cancer in 2005. In honor of Dan, the NaturaLawn of America franchise system created the scholarship to help students with the cost of their higher education. The scholarship currently provides a one-time $4,000 stipend to the winning student...Read More

H-2B Lottery System Modified for Applications This July

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced updates to its procedures for processing H-2B applications. Because of the intense competition for H-2B visas in recent years, there have been challenges to handle the increasingly large volume of H-2B applications filed on January 1 of each year. As a result of stakeholder comments and the most recent filing period...Read More

Congress Must Clarify Trucking Regulations for Agricultural Products

When it comes to government regulations, clear wording and definitions are a must to those who must comply with the rules. Such is the case with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) hours of service (HOS) and electronic logging device (ELD) regulations for the trucking industry implemented in late 2017. Inconsistencies and a lack of clarity in the regulations has led to confusion and higher costs...Read More

Incognito Irrigation

The topic of water is a hot one, especially as communities expand restrictions and homeowners look for alternative ways to keep their yards looking refreshed. If customers in your area are looking to replace sprinkler systems in their yards, it might be valuable to suggest a drip irrigation system. Unlike traditional systems that spray water above ground to keep plants and turf...Read More

Illinois Tightens Dicamba Restrictions as State and Company Officials Grapple With Complaints

If the Illinois Department of Agriculture sees an increase in complaints related to the herbicide dicamba this year, state agriculture officials worry lawmakers may consider banning its use altogether. “If this year we see that number of complaints go up again, that’s going to be very disturbing to everybody,” said John Sullivan...Read More

Train Your Employees on Proper Lifting Techniques

Lifting or moving heavy objects such as shrubs, cement blocks or bags of fertilizer can result in injuries to your back, shoulders, knees and other body parts. The resulting injuries can be painful, long-lasting and costly. Proper lifting techniques are important. With the help of OSHA and the National Association of Landscape Professionals...Read More

New or Used?

New and used work trucks each have their perks. The perks for new trucks are that they have no wear-and-tear, no mileage and a nicer look. Morton’s Landscape Development Company in Columbia Station, Ohio, generally prefers new trucks. The company’s fleet has 26 work trucks, and only one or two of those were purchased used. Out of the company’s 10 pickup trucks, three...Read More

ScottsMiracle-Gro Sells TruGreen Stake to Retire Debt

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company recently announced that it has sold its approximate 30 percent stake in TruGreen to the majority owner, in a transaction in which ScottsMiracle-Gro received approximately $234 million. In 2016, the company contributed its wholly owned subsidiary, Scotts LawnService, into a joint venture with TruGreen, creating one of the largest lawn service companies...Read More

Long Haul

To extend the life of vehicles and make quick repairs, Morton’s Landscape Development Company employs two full-time and one part-time mechanic to maintain its fleet. The company has always tried to fix vehicles on its own as much as possible, but for the last 10 years, it has had two full-time mechanics. “Because we’ve got our own mechanics, if we need something fixed...Read More

Retail with Love

In South City St. Louis, the Dutchtown neighborhood is dotted with eccentric architecture. Rich history, classic buildings and autumn leaves are what most will find when visiting in mid-November. Amidst eerily similar buildings is an odd green building that appears to have no business in such a scene. That green building is home to Urban Buds—City Grown Flowers...Read More

The Cost of Keeping Up

The easiest way into the landscape maintenance market segment is also the least likely to help you sustain your business in the long run, says Joel Korte. Korte, CEO of Moore Landscapes in Chicago, says lining up jobs with HOAs or in other residential areas can help you get started with landscape maintenance service. But expecting those clients to stick around for the long run is a mistake...Read More

Second Chance

There’s a stark contrast between James Langley’s garden and the chain-link fence surrounding it. Brick walls and barbed wire enclose the greenery, but the plants are lush year-round, sustained by the toasty Huntsville heat and the people who live behind those walls and wire at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Ellis Unit. Langley goes by Scooter, in part to differentiate...Read More

Houseplant Comeback

On a plant collecting trip in the 1980s, Joy Logee acquired an unusual plant with pancake-shaped leaves that she brought back to Logee’s Greenhouses in Danielson, Connecticut. It took years to identify the untagged specimen as Pilea peperomioides, a funky tropical variety commonly known as the Chinese money plant. It eventually faded out of Logee’s collection — until recently, when Pilea suddenly surged back into popularity, taking every plant nerd’s social media feed by storm. Pictures began popping up on Pinterest...Read More

Material Matters

Pavers, brick, cultured and natural stone are the foundation of an outdoor living room – literally, these design-build materials create the grounds for building functional, beautiful spaces in the natural environment. The range of products and creative applications implemented by landscape designers allow for surfaces and structures that complement surrounding buildings – or stand out...Read More

8 Garden Design Tips for Customers, Staff

At your store, you’ve likely assisted customers who want to improve their gardens but don’t have any idea about how to start. They know when their yard needs work or appears less than exciting, but they can’t articulate why they are unhappy. You’ve also assisted customers who have a new landscape and don’t know...Read More

Trucking: Agriculture Commodity Bill Introduced

Representative Austin Scott (R-GA) introduced H.R. 1673, The Agricultural Trucking Relief Act of 2019, last week. H.R. 1673 would provide clarity for the definition of “agricultural commodity” as it relates to transportation policy and compliance with new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and the Hours of Service (HOS) rules and regulations. Scott, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee...Read More

Landscape Contractors Band Together to Create Healing Space

Some Bakersfield, California residents recovering from substance abuse will be able to enjoy a tranquil, healing refuge thanks to a group of landscape contractors. According to a story by Joseph Luiz posted on Bakersfield.com, the group of business competitors worked together to install a garden behind Bakersfield Recovery Services, donating...Read More

Texas A&M’s Hall receives AHS Great American Gardeners award

The American Horticultural Society, or AHS, is honoring Texas A&M University’s Dr. Charlie Hall as the 2019 recipient of the Great American Gardeners teaching award. According to the AHS, the award is given to an individual whose ability to share horticultural knowledge with others has contributed to better public understanding of the plant world and its important influence on society. Read More

Water World: Balanced Approach

The Kemper Lakes Business Center is a multitenant corporate campus surrounded by 150 acres of grounds, all of which are managed by Balanced Environments. The company took over the landscape contract for the property in 2017, when a new management company took over the campus. “Irrigation on this site is crazy,” says Gayle Kruckenburg, senior account representative...Read More

Blooming With Possibilities

Incorporating new plants in your palette not only keeps your landscapes looking fresh to customers but keeps your job new and exciting too. Each year, new plant varieties with unique, vibrant colors, eye-catching patterns and sweet fragrances are introduced to the market. And while plant genetics are getting better with each passing year, growers are constantly having to respond to ever-changing factors...Read More

New Association Formed to Unite California Nursery Industry

Today members of California’s nursery industry announced the formation of a new organization to be known as the Plant California Alliance. The new organization has been formed to unify two organizations — the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers and the Nursery Growers Association. "Plant California Alliance was created to advocate for nurseries, horticulture...Read More 

Going Up Against Giants

Is bigger always better? Not necessarily when it comes to recruiting talent. Today’s job seeker is looking for more in a new position than just how big a company is. Just as David killed the giant with a strategic blow to the head, small companies can beat their larger competition by knowing their strengths — and the competition’s weaknesses. A quick scan of job postings will confirm...Read More

Plant Pricing Begins with Costs, but Doesn’t End There

I don’t get fan mail, but I did receive an interesting email from an independent grower not that long ago. He wrote, “Now that the busy season is almost over, we are delving deeply into planning for next year. We are going into our third season of growing in our greenhouse, and of course, pricing is an issue that never goes away. We find it very difficult to feel as though we are making enough profit, yet staying...Read More

Work-Ability

There’s no shortage of associations or resources dedicated to people with disabilities and special needs, but this segment of the population still faces significant barriers to employment. According to some surveys, as many as 85 percent of people with disabilities don’t have jobs, although they are willing and able to work. The executives of 1-800-Flowers.com recognized the lack...Read More

DOL Announces Long-Awaited Proposed OT Rule

As a follow up to our March 4th blog, three days later the DOL announced a proposed OT rule increasing the minimum salary required for an employee to qualify for exemption from federal overtime pay requirements. The proposed increase in salary level is from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $679 per week ($35,308 annually). In addition, the proposed rule includes the following...Read More

Organic Plants Require Organic Food

As organic choices become more prevalent on grocery store shelves and restaurant menus, consumers also expect more options for growing organic food at home. To fuel this rising interest in chemical-free edibles, gardeners are looking for natural fertilizers that provide a healthy boost of plant nutrients without the additives they’re trying to keep out of their diets and their gardens. Read More

Meeting New Needs

Speaking to a room full of landscapers about the next generation of horticulture professionals, Brigham Young University professor Phil Allen shared some recent stats about his post-Millennial students. “They have an attention span of three minutes and 19 seconds. They change tasks every 19 seconds, and they’re on their devices over six hours a day,” says Allen, the program leader for the university’s landscape...Read More 

Box Tree Moth: Coming Soon to a Boxwood Near You?

A new insect pest, box tree moth, will likely make itself known to the U.S. soon after being found in a few Toronto area landscapes in fall 2018. An online, citizen science group first reported the sightings after a homeowner submitted photos of the pest that were then verified by an entomologist. This marks the first reports of this pest...Read More

Harrell’s Explains its Move to Discontinue Distribution of Glyphosate Products

Jack Harrell Jr., CEO of Harrell’s, wrote a letter regarding the company’s recent decision to discontinue distribution of glyphosate products. There has obviously been some discussion and concern about our decision to stop selling glyphosate products. I apologize for any confusion about this, and I would like to explain why we made this decision. First, Harrell’s is not making...Read More

Feeling the Squeeze

When it comes down to making the decision to stay or go, employees are more closely scrutinizing pay parity within the workplace than they have in the past. Not just equal pay for equal work and talent, but whether new and less-qualified employees are being paid the same, or more, than seasoned staff. Pay compression could be putting the squeeze on you and your best...Read More

Landscape Architecture Earns National Recognition

With a total of 60 students, one of the smallest departments at the University, the Department of Landscape Architecture, may not always receive acknowledgement from the campus community. However, the department’s bachelor program was recently ranted No. 3 in the country by College Factual, a website which compares universities for upcoming college...Read More

What's Up with Amazon?

With three retail garden centers, Pennsylvania-based Esbenshade’s Garden Centers began selling on their own website in 2005. “We were looking at opening new stores or creating a new revenue stream, and we decided to start offering the products we sell in our stores to customers online,” says second-generation owner Terry Esbenshade. Read More

The Overlooked Management Tool

I sit right next to them. We don’t need to have a staff meeting. I used to have staff meetings, but we stopped having them. Nobody had anything to talk about. We have enough meetings. We certainly don’t need another. For myriad of reasons, many managers don’t hold regular staff meetings. And those who do, don’t get the most they could from them, and that’s too bad. Good staff meetings can focus a team...Read More

AmericanHort Supports Need to Release Additional H-2B Visas

AmericanHort strongly encourages the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to exercise her authority to release the nearly 70,000 additional temporary, non-immigrant H-2B visas in excess of the statutory annual cap of 66,000. On March 4, 2019 a bipartisan group of 27 Senators and 110 Representatives printed a letter from the Congress of the United States to Kirstjen Nielsen...Read More

Bringing New Employees on Board

We’re elbow deep in our exploration of creating a green industry culture that not only inspires everyone to do their best, but also helps recruit the ideal team members and empowers them to do their best work. The recruiting process should help you find staff that matches your company values. Once they’re on the job, training will help you determine whether they’re actually a good fit to stick around. Read More

Is H-2B Reform Stuck in a Time Loop?

For those of you who have seen the Bill Murray classic movie, “Groundhog Day,” the H-2B saga seems reminiscent. As part of the deal to end the partial shutdown of the federal government, H-2B advocates in Washington secured language in the bipartisan compromise appropriations bill to allow the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of labor, to increase the number of H-2B visas...Read More

Up to 120 Plant Species Considered for Regulation in Pennsylvania

From the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association – The Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council (PISC) is considering recommending that as many as 120 plants identified as potentially invasive be recommended for regulation by the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee (CPNWC). The PISC will consider sending all or some of these plants to the CPNWC for regulatory consideration. Read More

When Tragedy Strikes

“I regret to inform you…” While I’ve only heard these words once, they still evoke sadness. Our company president died unexpectedly, and each department received “the call.” The task of informing others fell to me. Despite the fact none of us really knew her, it was a tough message to deliver. Stunned silence ensued. One employee began to wail. Not knowing what to...Read More

Explore the Benefits of Biological Fertilizers

Pat O’Bryan was ready to leave the lawn care industry. The owner of Jamison Pest & Lawn in Cordova, Tenn., was tired of promising customers lush, green lawns and ultimately delivering lawns that were “just OK.” Set to focus solely on pest control services, O’Bryan decided to make one last effort and explore the realm of biological fertilizers, hoping it might make some sort of difference for his customers’...Read More

Protect Your Profits

For as long as J.R. Pandy can remember, he’s been involved with the day-to-day operations of Pandy’s Garden Center in Elyria, Ohio, a business his parents founded around 1961. “I think I was born here,” Pandy says of the grower/retailer he’s worked at since he was 12 years old. Unfortunately, Pandy can also scarcely remember a time his family business wasn’t victimized by burglars, thieves, arsonists...Read More

Under Control

Pesticides, herbicides and other control products are an important aspect of managing a healthy garden, but many consumers lack the knowledge to be successful with these products, and often, control products are sequestered to the back of independent garden centers, with very few instructions and little signage. There are also misconceptions about control products that can...Read More

Stormwater Retention? 100 Percent!

Meadowood Senior Living in Worcester, Pennsylvania, envisioned a transformation of the retirement community's central courtyard. Design for Generations, LLC from Medford, New Jersey, and Eric's Nursery and Garden Center out of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, designed and developed a resort-style outdoor space that is striking in its beauty and engaging in its varied features and amenities. Read More

Fungicide Costs

Fungal diseases of ornamentals will always be a limitation to profitable plant production and management—how significant that limitation is in your hands. Fungicides are effective in reducing the risk of loss– in numbers, in quality and in terms of aesthetics. However, fungicide costs in terms of product cost, number of applications and labor need to be evaluated against the benefits...Read More

Fraudulent Landscape Architect Faces Jail Time

A contractor in Salem, Mass., who maintained he was a landscape architect, will be reportedly sentenced to prison for swindling customers. He posed as an established landscape architect and promised customers he would complete projects. Most of the projects were paid upfront, but never completed. The website he used contained pictures from other landscape architecture firms, and he asserted those projects...Read More

What's My Job

One of my favorite workplace comics is a Dilbert cartoon where Wally asks the boss, “When will my raise be effective?” The boss answers, “The same time you are.” Poor Wally. Maybe he just doesn’t understand his job duties. How can Wally be effective if he doesn’t know what duties he is required to perform? Answer: He can’t. How can Wally get a grip on his job duties? Answer: A job description. Read More

Watch for Potential New Boxwood Pest

Boxwoods have so many pests it’s a wonder we continue to grow them. On top of boxwood mites, psyllids, and leafminers boxwood blight has been spreading since 2011. Boxwoods are special though so we work to protect them from each new threat. That work will get harder if box tree moth gets established in North America. The box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis, feeds on...Read More

Sugar Grove Resident Wins Competition Sponsored by National Horticulture Association

Sugar Grove resident and College of DuPage horiculture student Elaina Blankenhagen recently won first place in the individual category in a video competition hosted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the college announced in a news release. Blankenhagen received $250 for her winning submission. Read More

Bend Before You Break

Spring is just around the corner for some of you, and already kicking into gear for many others. That makes this a really good time to talk about managing your stress. It’s also time to plan on how you’ll manage your staff’s morale. After all, if you can’t manage your stress as the owner or manager, it’s probable your staff’s morale will suffer. Read More

New Tips for Managing Emerald Ash Borer

When emerald ash borer swept through the Midwest it left three kinds of ash trees in its wake: the dead, the dying, and the diligently protected and thriving. The hunt was on for ways to stop this insect and save North America’s ash trees. Now, nearly 20 years later, not only do we have tools to fight this insect but we are developing better management techniques every day. Read More

How You Can Work With AmericanHort to Be a Voice for the Industry

At AmericanHort, we represent the horticulture industry within government and with legislators on important issues that affect our future success. Our advocacy team works diligently to improve labor, transportation, and the regulatory environment to make it easier to run your business. But it’s important that we work together to ensure our industry’s continued growth and success for generations to come. Read More

H-2B Cap Limit Met for Rest of Fiscal Year

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received enough petitions to meet the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2019. Feb. 19, 2019, was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before Oct. 1, 2019. Any new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after Feb. 19 that request employment in that time span...Read More

How to Establish Boundaries at Work

Football fans may lament that the 2018 NFL Season is in the rearview mirror, but lessons linger long after events fade. The Pittsburgh Steelers / Antonio Brown drama grabbed the headlines this year as he missed practices, walked away from the team multiple times, had sideline flare-ups, and went off on present and past teammates, proving once again the wisdom of Dr. Brenda Freeman...Read More

More Than One Million Strong: National Pollinator Garden Network Surpasses Goal of One Million Registered Pollinator Gardens

In just three years, 1,040,000 gardens were registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) involving an estimated eight million people, concentrated in the United States, and Canada with some in Mexico, and across the globe. From tiny yards to public gardens, the million plus gardens add up to a network of approximately five million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat. Read More

Practice Being Present

We have so many distractions throughout the day, emails, texts, phone calls, interruptions of all kind…it’s difficult to focus. But one thing great leaders have in common, they focus, when they are talking to you, they are talking to you, “they are present.” Learn more

USDA Announces $66 Million for Pest and Disease Management Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating $66 million to support 407 projects that will strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation and safeguard the nursery production system. Also included is $6 million for the National Clean Plant Network that will support...Read More

Dicamba Update: In Illinois, Will it Be Three Strikes, You’re Out?

Jean Payne has served as President of the Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association since 2004, “back in the days when we didn’t dream dicamba would be used in the summertime,” she tells CropLife in an interview on Feb. 20. She opens up on the current challenges and future of dicamba for U.S. retailers and growers in a state ruled by urban politics. Read More

Ready, Set, Go

Gearing up for the lawn care season can seem daunting. Between hiring seasonal staff, selling contracts, training crews and making schedules, it’s easy to let something slip through the cracks. But making sure your equipment is ready to start service will help you save time and money all season long. We gathered up some tips from LCOs across the country to see how they get their equipment ready...Read More

Get Ready for Your Closeup

Being on television or even appearing in a YouTube video can be intimidating. The thought of hundreds, thousands or even millions (should your video go viral) of people watching you can cause some to struggle to be themselves when the lights and cameras go on. But appearing in television segments can help position your garden center as the local expert and is a great way...Read More

Starting Your Spring the Right Way

While many LCOs practice training year-round, the spring season can be especially busy and it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks. Still, contractors say that the beginning of the season is when training is most vital. “It’s something I believe in. From a landscape company we pride ourselves in not just training. We put a lot of effort into safety training. When we spend time on training...Read More

How Stories Can Help You Sell

Let me tell you a story. I was on a design consultation a few years ago, and there was a perfect spot for three dwarf Hinoki false cypress. Because my consultation customers can go anywhere to buy the plants I have recommended, I decided to use a story to illustrate the importance of buying just the right variety. I didn’t want them to end up at the box store where someone would put just any random evergreen...Read More

Planting a Future

The presence of horticulture within education tends to be limited past the third grade, according to data compiled by Seed Your Future. With climate change, community gardens and organic grown products becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives, students are actively seeking out ways they can make a difference and participate in the industry. The horticultural industry...Read More

Biological Control - Reinventing Pests

How do we decide that a pest is a pest? On the surface, this may sound like an absurd question, but it becomes legitimate when we step outside our conventional pest control box. Some old horticulture text books list spidermites not as a pest, but as an indicator for poor climate control. Whitefly was considered economically unimportant by several authors. The greenhouse pests that everybody...Read More

Embrace Modern Media

We’re living and working in times where marketing and media are ever-moving targets. Technology continues to evolve at a pace that’s tough to match. With the way media continues to redefine itself, choosing and executing the best marketing tactics can be confounding. If you’re still trying to use conventional sales channels to capture marketing share...Read More

Tell the Truth and Tell it First

From local newspaper and television stories to social media reviews, coverage of your independent garden center sways the opinions of consumers interested in your store. When press is positive, everyone basks in the warmth. But when negative media hits, what you say and do are crucial to weathering the storm. The following principles can help your IGC navigate negative media coverage...Read More

2019 Recruiting Maneuvers

Are you ready to implement new recruiting strategies and become a “warrior” in 2019? Or will you be left behind your competition? Make planning and preparedness your goals for the recruiting year ahead of you. The following eight concepts will help you become the recruiting warrior you were destined to be.  Read More 

Saving Our Ashes

As far as insects go, it’s not unattractive — it could even be considered beautiful, especially if you’re a bug fancier. One could imagine an amateur entomologist gleefully photographing the bullet-shaped adult with its metallic, iridescent green wings, or a middle school science student proudly pinning it to a board alongside butterflies and rhinoceros beetles. But make no mistake: emerald ash borer...Read More

Cloud Computing for Garden Centers

Most people use cloud computing on a daily basis without realizing it. Typing a query into Google via a home PC sends your words to a Google data center, which finds the results and promptly returns them to you, no matter where on the planet you’re located. “The cloud,” as it’s known colloquially, also holds numerous advantages for several industries, including horticulture. Greg Lafferty, a computer...Read More

Get the Most Bang for Your Equipment Buck

The term “heavy metal” is used to describe a genre of ear-splitting, head-banging music. But it’s also a good term for describing the large equipment you must use as a contractor. Do you remember that first piece of big iron you bought for your business — that first zero-turn mower, dump truck or skid steer? There may have been some head-banging involved there, too, depending on how the transaction...Read More

Taking Wireless Into Uncharted Waters

It’s official. The future of irrigation is going to be a wireless one. Rain, evapotranspiration, soil moisture and flow sensors, and now, even entire irrigation systems have exchanged wires for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular and 900 megahertz. Anyone who attended the recent Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Long Beach, California, last December got a glimpse of that future...Read More

USDA Provides $66 Million in Fiscal Year 2019 to Protect Agriculture and Natural Resources from Plant Pests and Diseases

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating $66 million to support 407 projects that will strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, and safeguard the nursery production system. USDA provides funding for these projects under the authority of the Plant...Read More

Marketing the Benefits of Native Grasses

Native grasses have become increasing popular, however, many garden centers have a difficult time selling them in the spring without showy flowers. The University of Minnesota, thanks to grants from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the USDA's Specialty Crop program, has developed marketing materials to help retailers sell more grasses. Read More

Don't Send Your Employees in Blind

Recently, we had a plumbing issue at the house. I began to research how to make the repair myself but decided to call a local plumbing company instead. A service technician from a local plumbing company showed up at my door. He was on time and seemed like a perfectly nice young man. He even had those little shoe covers. However, he was apparently...Read More

NALP Starts Landscape Management Apprenticeship

The National Association of Landscape Professionals recently announced its creation of the Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program. The program, which is registered by the U.S. Department of Labor, offers job seekers a path to a new career in the industry through a paid apprenticeship with a professional landscape company. The partnerships could boost recruitment through school...Read More

Don’t Read Them the Recipe, Feed Them the Cake

As local gardening experts, garden centers help customers create beautiful landscapes. We are asked for advice about everything from assembling combinations to preparing gardens. Yes, we help people through the process of planting and maintenance, but we also need to remember that people buy with their hearts, not their heads. Although some grow to love the act of gardening...Read More

5 Giant Takeaways To Heed From Sears Withering Bankruptcy Tale

You can’t open a webpage, a newspaper, or turn to your video channel without someone somewhere coving the story that Sears went into bankruptcy Monday morning ahead of a $134 million payment due today. The easy narrative to write is they couldn’t compete with Amazon. Let’s get this straight from the start…Read More

Should I Use Facebook Ads or Google Adwords?

So, you want to advertise online after realizing that newspaper ads aren’t working. It’s overwhelming when you first look at it, so let’s break it down. There are two dominant platforms: Facebook ads (also known as “paid social”) and Adwords (the ads that appear when you enter search terms on Google). They operate completely differently. Here’s the key difference: Facebook ads are based...Read More

ICPI Launches Online Learning Center

The Interlocking Concrete Paving Institute (ICPI) launched an online learning center this month, which features educational opportunities for two key professional groups: installers and sales pros involved in segmental concrete pavement. Read More

7 Ways to Say 'No' Without Explanation

You are a highflier. When you say you’ll do something, it gets done well and on time, regardless of the personal cost. It’s your character, and a huge part of the success you so richly deserve. Unfortunately, being highly responsible also sets you up to be the parade pooper-scooper. If you’re someone who regularly cleans up messes, you know exactly what I mean.  Read More

Status Checks on H-2B and New Pesticide Rules

After a 35-day partial government shutdown, Congress passed a temporary three-week spending bill without — you guessed it — H-2B reform language. It was a long shot that H-2B would be included in the temporary spending bill, but advocates for the program, including AmericanHort and the National Association of Landscape Professionals put on a full-court...Read More

Profit is Determined at the Sale

Start with the end in mind! While efficient production makes you money, your ability to make a good profit doesn't start there. It starts at the sale. There are two main ways to control profit through your sales: Setting a realistic sales goal (billable hours goal) so you can safely cover your overhead. And by selling each job including enhancements/change orders for a profitable amount. This is why...Read More

Hickman Resigns as NALP CEO

After nearly 12 years of service to the professional lawn care and landscape industry, National Association of Landscape Professionals CEO Sabeena Hickman is stepping down from her leadership position. Hickman will serve as a consultant to the organization for the next six months to help transition the leadership responsibilities. “I am extremely proud of all that this association...Read More

OSHA Releases New Silica FAQs for General Industry

On January 23, 2019, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) released a new set of 64 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for its Respirable Crystalline Silica for General Industry (silica standard) to provide further guidance to employers and employees about the silica standard's requirements. The silica standard took effect on June 23, 2016, and the compliance deadline...Read More

Securing Sales with Good Questions

Making a sale can seem like second nature to account managers, but Jason Miller of Procare in Grand Rapids, Michigan says asking the right questions can increase those sales even more. At the Bach Business Partners Sales and Manager Boot Camp at Seven Springs Resort, Miller and attendees held a roundtable discussion on asking questions during a sale. First and foremost, steer clear...Read More

Campaign to Weed out European Buckthorn Across the Suburbs

A public campaign against a pesky invader is being launched across the region. European buckthorn, an invasive plant that gobbles up valuable space and light wherever it grows, long has been a bane to conservationists and natural resource managers. Forest preserve districts and other organizations for years have been waging war against the pesky shrub or tree that forms dense thickets and crowds out native...Read More

Wounded Warrior Visits Vernon Hills Company James Martin Associates to Receive Donation

At this year’s 11th annual Partner Appreciation Event, landscape and snow management company James Martin Associates (JMA) and its partners raised $4,710 for charity, with Russo Power Equipment making a substantial contribution to the total. Roger Fick of Wilson Nurseries won the raffle drawing and selected the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to receive the donation. Read More

Spinning Wheels

The ELD rule required most FMCSA-regulated motor carriers to convert their records from paper to an electronic format. That rule brought to focus HOS regulations, especially certain regulations that affect ag and horticulture. In the fall of 2018, FMCSA sought public comment on revising four specific areas of current HOS regulations, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers. Read More

Tailored Appreciation

While I am confident you regularly express appreciation for your employees, unless you’re expressing it in multiple ways, chances are some of them aren’t getting the message. That’s because not all employees respond to the same type of recognition and praise. Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White, coauthors of “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace,” offer suggestions to ensure that each...Read More

Pilea Aphid First Reported in the Western Hemisphere

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Plant Industry has released the following pest alert: On August 22, 2018, from Longwood, Seminole County, Florida, Jesse Krok (DPI) collected a sample of aluminum plant (Pilea cadeirei Gagnep. & Guill.) infested with all life stages of the aphid Myzus fataunae Shinji 1924 (after Takahashi 1965). Myzus fataunae is native to Japan and Korea...Read More

Horticultural Research Institute's Funded Research Projects for 2019

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the foundation of AmericanHort, is pleased to announce the portfolio of research projects to be funded in 2019. Projects range from innovations to crop production for both greenhouse and nursery segments, water management in landscapes, emergent pest issues, and economic and marketing analyses. A total of $437,200 will be awarded...Read More

Seed Your Future Launches Free Horticultural Exploration Tool

Seed Your Future has launched its new free online horticulture career exploration resource. Much more than a basic alphabetical list of the almost 100 careers in the horticulture industry, the tool first asks site visitors to consider what they are interested in, and then lists careers in horticulture that might match their interests. Each listed career...Read More

The Government is Back for Now: Employers Should Address E-Verify Compliance Over the Shutdown Period

The US Government was shut down for over a month, and the government’s E-Verify system was down from December 22, 2018, to January 27, 2019. During the shutdown, employers who are E-Verify users were unable to enter any of their newly hired employees into the E-Verify system.  But E-Verify users shouldn’t fret.  USCIS is giving you a grace period to catch up.  Read More

Must-Have Meters for Measuring Light

One of the most important ongoing challenges for greenhouse growers is light management. Energy costs for artificial lighting can quickly cut into profit margins, while providing too much or too little light can impact your final yield and the quality of your product. When considering lighting in your greenhouse, you should ask yourself two main...Read More

Yesterday's Wisdom is Fresh Today

Understanding our past helps us make better decisions for our future. This requires an understanding of how things have changed over time, while also understanding how things have stayed the same. This month, when we honor our past presidents, Washington and Lincoln, let’s also take the time to consider the wise thoughts of another of our celebrated forebears. These ideas were valid...Read More

Live By the Calendar to Create Generous Marketing

I was doing some discovery work with a new client, our first meeting together. She said, “Marketing is difficult.” Marketing used to be easy. You could pay for an ad and recoup its cost plus a profit. This was the power of a full-color Yellow Page ad. The more you paid the more you got back in return. Marketing is now difficult because it’s different. You can no longer win by outspending...Read More

Heated Up

It’s been a while since U.S. growers have experienced a cold winter with soaring fuel prices. And for many, the incentives to go renewable—be it for heating or electricity—vary from robust to fading. In the last few years, U.S. growers have met roadblocks and just plain uncertainty with the USDA’s Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) seeing ups and downs in funding. Today, its future funding...Read More

2018 Landscaping Trends: Which Ones Came True?

Every year, experts make big bets on what will happen in the next year on almost any subject, including landscaping. But how often do they go back and analyze those trends? To kick off the new year, we thought it would be beneficial to talk about which of last year’s predictions came true. Some of these trends are a bit subjective...Read More

2019 Economic Trends To Watch

The United States government and media outlets regularly report that the economy is strong. But what’s really driving growth, and what are possible concerns and setbacks? Being aware of some key economic indicators and wage trends could help retailers and growers make more informed decisions to stay ahead, especially as the busy spring season approaches. Read More 

Get Back on Track

It’s the New Year and you know what that means. ’Tis the season for resolutions and goal setting. As we all know too well, goal-setting and making resolutions can be double-edged swords. On the one hand, if you don’t set specific goals, you can’t realistically expect them to manifest out of thin air. What’s the saying? It’s never going to rain roses, so if you want more roses, you’ll have to plant them. Or something like that. On the flip side, setting specific goals...Read More

Solving the Millennial Riddle

Meet Ashley. You know who she is. She’s young, she’s independent, and her eyes sparkle when she arranges her succulents. She’s the Millennial woman we all want in our stores. Compared to our Baby Boomer female base (who make up about half our sales right now), she takes a radically different approach. She’s also the future of our industry. In 20 years...Read More

What You Need to Know About Tax Reform Laws Affecting your Agribusiness

Taxpayers can now see the full results of the tax changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that legislators signed into law more than a year ago. Will everyone see benefits? As with anything coming out of Washington, it’s complicated. The bill, which passed along party lines in a flurry of activity in the second half of 2017, aimed to simplify the tax process while reforming corporate and individual income tax rates. Read More

Savor Expands Retailer Support With New Retro-Inspired Point-of-Purchase Signage

With the popularity of herbs and vegetables projected to continue again in 2019, and Spring just eight short weeks away, it’s time for retailers to think about how to attract even more customers to the edibles section of their stores. Knowing this, Savor has further expanded its set of retailer support tools to match itsedibles and fragrants offerings. Motivated by the retro-styles so prevalent in today’s world of fashion...Read More

NALP Announces Annual List of Landscape Trends

The National Association of Landscape Professionals has released its official list of the top 2019 landscape trends. Drawing upon the expertise of the industry’s 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals, NALP annually predicts trends that will influence the design and maintenance of backyards across America in the year ahead. NALP develops its trends...Read More

Help Customers Make Good Choices

Imagine for a moment that you’re led into a well-stocked kitchen and asked to create a delicious meal. There’s just one problem — you don’t recognize any of the available ingredients. There is seafood you’ve never seen and don’t know how to prepare. It’s not clear if the fruits need to be peeled or not, or if the vegetables should be served raw or cooked. You have no idea...Read More

Diving Into Loss Deductions

Losses suffered by those in the greenhouse business come in many shapes and forms. There are those losses that result from natural disasters, losses caused by dishonest employees and/or customers, financial losses from bad business decisions, or those resulting from a poor economy. Although insurance may help defray some of the costs associated with restoring and replacing...Read More

Detectives of Irrigation

The methods and skills required to detect irrigation system problems are like solving a Sherlock Holmes mystery. When I was in high school, I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories I could get my hands on. It was fascinating how the great detective eliminated first one possibility, then the next, and the next, until he figured out exactly what happened and “whodunit.” How, from a cigar ash, Holmes...Read More

Out of Sight, (Not) Out of Mind

Everyone knows the old adage. In fact, it’s probably older than the foliage industry itself. “That which is not seen is often forgotten” is a scenario that applies to almost any facet of life. However, in our industry and in plant production, nowhere is it more applicable than your irrigation system. Your irrigation system is indeed the lifeblood of your facility and often one of the most neglected...Read More

It's a Candidate's Job Market. Now What?

The favorite interview question a decade ago was, “Why do you want this job?” Candidates needed to demonstrate their interest and prove themselves worthy of consideration. The question that now needs to be answered is, “Why should I take this job?” And it’s the candidate who is doing the asking. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that times have changed. Read More

The Plastic Crisis

A growing outcry against single-use plastic and the burgeoning amounts of plastic found in Canadian environments is spurring an ever-broading, grassroots sustainability movement. Our greenhouse, nursery, garden centre, and landscaping industries have largely flown under the public radar, but it won’t be long before customers and clients start sounding an alarm...Read More

Beyond the Paycheck

Unhappy employees are costly. Poor morale can destroy teams, erode profit and ultimately destroy your business. Managing employees is already a tough job; managing their morale can be one of the toughest challenges you face as an owner, CEO or middle-manager. Company culture may be built from within, but it typically starts at the top. Know your limitations as an owner...Read More

Does Your Customer's Experience Match Your Marketing?

Imagine this scenario: you see Apple’s commercials. They’re full of young people having fun, living their best lives (we’ve all seen them). You see Apple’s advertising — slick, smooth, promising technology that changes your life and leads you into the future. You hear about Apple’s products and how innovative and game-changing they are for the tech...Read More

Follow Your Intuition

A new business owner recently told me, “We didn’t hire the best people, and it’s been a bit rough.” He went on to share that they consciously hired people less skilled than themselves so that they would look better. The co-mingling of ego and low self-esteem creates a toxic brew, and without change, their business will either limp along or quickly go under. How tragic. Another business owner...Read More

Best Practices for Irrigation Installation Contracts

Making sure your irrigation contracts protect your business and ensure you won’t be left in the lurch should something go awry is almost as important as landing a big irrigation installation. Greg Winchel, owner of Winchel Irrigation in Grandville, Mich., knows a thing or two about securing irrigation contracts and making sure they protect his employees and his company. Winchel Irrigation...Read More

Achieve the Ultimate Customer Experience

We all seem to get it by now — more engaged employees perform at a higher level. The organizations that get their strategy right in this area provide a superior customer experience, have lower levels of employee turnover, higher morale, and ultimately much higher financial performance. Their customers love them more. What are some things you can easily implement...Read More

The Growing Problem of Inventory Shrinkage

As we’ve seen in this issue of Garden Center, retail store security is a pressing concern for many businesses; especially those that suffer continual break-ins. But thefts can happen during business hours just as easily as after dark, and a store’s employees can be just as willing and able to steal as outside parties. Information from...Read More

Examine Your Reputation

Unemployment rates have fallen again. This is great for the economy and job seeker, but not so wonderful if you are struggling with staffing. Just as it is easier and cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one, it’s far better to retain great employees than to have to attract and train new ones. Before you post your next job...Read More

Why the Horticulture Industry Must Overcome its Generational Divide

My journey into the horticultural world got a late start. Originally intent on medical school, I followed a pre-medical track throughout my undergraduate career. During my last semester, however, I finally admitted something I had desperately tried to ignore: I was miserable. I decided to scrap my medical school applications and instead apply...Read More

Best Practices for Homepage Banners

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 for Johnson’s Nursery, says having...Read More

Travel & Taxes

Industry events are a good way to gain know-how, find new suppliers and network with others in the industry. Best of all, Uncle Sam, in the form of our tax laws, is willing to pick up the expense of attending many of these events — at least for some. Bottom-line, green industry businesses can deduct all non-extravagant “ordinary and necessary expenses” incurred attending business-related meetings...Read More

Creating a Smarter Recruiting Mindset

Brad Leahy, vice president of Blades of Green, said his company hired 37 people in 2018 and holds a retention rate of 84 percent. He credits the hiring success to the company’s unique approach at recruitment. At Real Green’s Solutions 2019 conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, Leahy shared some ways to change the way you look at hiring. “We’re the problem...Read More

Do What Online-Only Retailers Can't

There should be no doubt in the garden center industry that online sales heavily compete with brick-and-mortar businesses these days. Amazon is the retail site of the masses; hydroponics retailers have also been aggressive about their digital presence and online sales capabilities. Garden centers, in general, never got in front of the online sales movement...Read More

Worth the Wait

The Green was everywhere. Green cupcakes with green icing, Granny Smith apples, Mountain Dew – and it wasn’t even St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, it was a “Green Fiesta” organized by Molly John, co-owner and CEO of M.J. Design Associates, and her husband, Joel. The duo owns M.J. Design Associates office in Columbus, Ohio, and they threw the party when the first of their crews’ green...Read More

Working Together to Protect Bees

Growers, landowners, and beekeepers can learn from each other. Protecting pollinators from pesticides is a challenging task that requires beekeepers, growers, landowners, and pesticide applicators to work together. Openly communicating hive locations and pest management plans can make an impact in pesticide exposure to bees. Start taking steps today to protect the bees in your area. Read More

Rethink Employee Relationships

You give them the world, whether it be 401(k) plans, telecommuting options, vacation time, profit sharing, mentoring, flex time and costly insurance, but they are moving up and out as quickly as you can train them. Savvy employers recognize that the influx of Millennials has fundamentally altered the workplace and calls for new employment relationships. Read More

AmericanHort Welcomes Applications for Annual Program

The 2019 AmericanHort HortScholars program is now accepting applications through March 1 from students in horticulture-related degree programs of any degree level. Students wishing to apply may do so online at americanhort.org/scholars. HortScholars is a seven-day program that exposes horticulture...Read More

Managing Reputation in the Age of Infinity

More junk every day. And they know this. They sell junk that would never, ever be sold at a Wal-Mart store. That’s because in order to get into a store, a buyer, a human being with a reputation, has to allocate shelf space. The easiest way to lose your job as a buyer is to put brand-destroying lousy products on a valuable shelf. Amazon, on the other hand...Read More