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News and Announcements

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

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

2018 Lawn & Landscape State of the Industry Report

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

California Judge Mulls New Trial in $289M Roundup Award

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

IGC Show to Move from Navy Pier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Drones are Close

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

Daniel Livingston Joins Schwope brothers Tree Farms

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

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

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

Destination Companies Unite at Nashville Event

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

A Drifting Weedkiller Puts Prized Trees At Risk

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

Rusty Oak Nursery Joins Bower & Branch

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

Arizona Garden Center to Close Store, Sell Plants Online

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

Bob Negen: 'Throw Away Your Coupons'

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

4 Suggestions for Improving 2019 Dicamba Label

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

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

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

Invasive Pear Tree Threatens Indiana's Native Plants

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

OSHA Fines Landscaping Company After Employee Death

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

On the Dissing of “Ornamental Plants”

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

TurfMutt to Sponsor Television Series

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

Garden Media Group Releases 2019 Garden Trends Report

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

APHIS Provides an Update on Spotted Lanternfly 

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

Step by Step: How to Winterize an Irrigation System

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

Vino Venture

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

Perennial Plant Association Names 2018 Special Awards Recipients

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

GrowerTalks/Green Profit Wage & Benefit Survey

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

Cool Planet Launches Educational Series on Soil

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

The 2018 Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List

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

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

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

Tom Demaline Writes Op-ed on Farm Bill

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

Empowering your Employees Through Language

After 25 years in business, we realized we had an important challenge that needed to be addressed here at Designscapes Colorado. With more than 250 year-round and seasonal team members, we needed to address our communication problem. This was not a typical communication problem, such as a lack of clear direction from management, that typically impacts companies...Read More 

It's Time to Get Off the Roller Coaster

This past week I spoke to almost 40 clients—there is a general theme of personnel and recruiting craziness in the air. It is the economy and the macro trends in the work place. If you are feeling it...You are not alone! But how you choose to deal with these ups and downs is totally in your control.
Marcus Kerske from Nashville takes the approach of a very positive outlook and a can-do...Read More

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

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

A New 10-Hour Construction Course

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

Keep It Clean

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

Husqvarna Shifts Focus to New Technology

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

Gypsy Moth: What to do Now!

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

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

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

Heating Season is Approaching

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

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

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

Due Diligence

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

Wrap It Up

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

The Morton Arboretum Names New Plant Clinic Manager

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

Priority on Parts

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

Stormwater's New Look

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

A View From Above

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

Ornamental Growers Feel Effects of Electronic Logging Device Mandate

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

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

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

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

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

AmericanHort Announces Landscape Operations Tour

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

Tar Spots of Maple

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

How Plant Certification Innovations Can Reduce Grower Headaches

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

Fear of Confrontation

Over the years I hear from owners that they are afraid to confront their employees (for poor behavior) because they fear they will offend and push out that employee, and they fear they won't be able to replace that employee. This fear is illogical and self sabotaging. Can you imagine any relationship worth having, where you decide to avoid discussing problems in order to save the relationship?!? Not only...Read More

Keep America Beautiful Launches National Planting Day 2018

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

Oak Wilt in Indiana

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

Department of Transportation Explores Trucking Rule Changes

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

Is Glyphosate (Roundup) Dangerous?

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

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

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

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

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

Longtime Employees Purchase Swansons Nursery, Establishing New Employee Ownership Group

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

When the IRS Comes Knocking for a Tax Audit

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

The Garden Center Group Announces Details for The Fall Event 2019

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

Par for the Course

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

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

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

Future for Sale

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

A Shared Street

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

Survey Leads IFCA To Make 4 Recommendations On Dicamba to EPA

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

Best Practices for Homepage Banner Videos

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

Getting ROI from CRM

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

AmericanHort Announces Landscape Operations Tour

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

Rhododendron? Hydrangea? America Doesn’t Know Anymore

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

The Self-Inflicted Labor Shortage

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

High Performance Gear: Get Your Team Back Into Action

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

The Modern Green Roof Revolution

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

UF Researchers Need Grower Input on Neonics

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

The Missing Key to Automation

The future was drawn for me in crayon. “Look dad,” my 7-year-old said, pointing to the light blue construction paper. “Here’s the potting machine ... and these are robots. This one puts the pots on, this one does the planting and this one puts them on the trailers.” He gave me a confident, quizzical look, as if to say, “When can we start?” That was more than 10 years ago, back when I paid...Read More

Effective Newsletters: 'Solve, Don't Sell"

Does your business send out a weekly newsletter? Do you find it easy or overwhelming? Perhaps you wonder how necessary or effective such emails are, or feel stymied by coming up with subjects to write about. Maybe you’ve been collecting customer email addresses for years but haven’t yet taken the plunge and sent out news on a regular basis. A company newsletter...Read More

USDA Promotes Tree Check Month as Invasive Pest Persists

A county in the Greater Cincinnati area has the dubious distinction of being one of three places in the country with an active infestation of a tree-killing invasive pest. The Asian longhorned beetle continues to lay waste to trees in Clermont County. Since the discovery of the beetle's presence in Tate Township seven years ago, about 100,000 trees have been lost. Unfortunately, the beetle...Read More

Bulbs & Seeds: Move Beyond the Basics

Today’s garden consumers are hungry for the latest and the best, whether that’s hot new hydrangeas or Instagram-worthy annuals. So, it should be no surprise that appetites for something new extend to bulbs and seeds. Expert insights on bulb and seed trends headed your way can help you inject excitement — and sales — into both categories. Read More

NALP Offers Background on Monsanto Roundup Court Case

A San Francisco jury ruled on Aug. 10 that Roundup weed killer, consisting of the active ingredient glyphosate, caused terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in a former school groundskeeper. The jury awarded the plaintiff $289 million in damages. Defendant, Bayer unit Monsanto, has signaled that they plan to appeal the decision and defend their product through the California...Read More

Should You Be Recruiting High School Students

There is a trend in the US to recruit and train high school graduates. Large companies such as Volkswagen, Tesla, CVS and Electric Boat are heading down this path, according to the recent article in The Wall Street Journal "Vocational Training Is Back as Firms Pair With High Schools to Groom Workers." Last week, I took my Leader's Edge peer group to Colorado Springs...Read More

State of the Horticulture Industry: Uncertainty, But Hope for a Strong Future

If the theme of last year’s State of the Industry keynote address at Cultivate’17 was “great uncertainty,” then this year’s theme was “even greater uncertainty.” At least that is how Charlie Hall, AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, referred to our current industry climate. Hall, along with AmericanHort’s President and CEO Ken Fisher and Senior Vice President Advocacy and Research Craig Regelbrugge...Read More

Where Plant Demand is Headed

Americans love their pets. A lot. In 2017, they spent nearly $70 billion on their animal companions, and that number’s expected to rise to $100 million by the end of the decade, according to the American Pet Products Assocation. They also, it seems, love their smartphones, spending $84 billion last year and updating their phones an average of every 21 months...Read More

Making the Most of a Labor Force

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Serpico Landscaping has struggled to hire people—due in part to the region’s economic growth that has created some of the highest wages in the country. President Peter Novak says hiring and retention have been challenging for many years, but the struggle has intensified over the last several years. “Demand has driven wages way...Read More

2018 Community Forestry Funding Available From U.S. Forest Service

Pending final approval, more than $170,000 in grant funding is available to Illinois communities from the U.S. Forest Service. Municipalities, park districts, counties, townships, forest preserve or conservation districts, and other public entities are eligible to apply. Potential grant projects include tree planting, obtaining a tree inventory, developing a tree protection/preservation ordinance...Learn More

HRI Raises $300,000

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), the AmericanHort foundation, announced the receipt of $300,000 in donations during its reception held in conjunction with Cultivate’18 in Columbus, Ohio. More than 175 industry professionals attended the summer reception, which celebrated HRI supporters. The reception recognized more than $290,000 in donations...Read More 

Key Retail Takeaways from Cultivate'18

After attending some of the more than 150 educational offerings AmericanHort has each year, we boiled it all down to 16 highlights for independent garden centers. Read More

Oregon's Nursery Industry Grows to New Heights

The Oregon nursery industry climbed to its second best sales year on record in 2017, according to newly released figures from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The state’s wholesale and retail nurseries tallied an estimated $947.7 million in sales during the calendar year, which was more than enough to make nursery and greenhouse crops Oregon’s top agricultural commodity...Read More

From Start to Finish: Irrigation Startups and Shutdowns

For an irrigation system to run properly throughout the warm summer months, it’s important that it’s turned on and off correctly at the beginning and end of each season. No one knows this better than Tom Horn, president of All-n-One Outdoor Solutions in Jefferson City, Mo., and a trainer for Rain Bird. “The importance of a proper turn-on is to make sure there are no leaks, that the coverage...Read More

Your In-Store Fixer-Upper

The popularity of cable TV remodeling shows is astounding. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of all those dramatic home transformations! You can find examples of renovated garden centers and nurseries across the country, too. Reading the news these days can be a painful reminder that retailing isn’t easy, even for those who have money to invest in their stores. Brick-and-mortar...Read More

Sustain Our Great Lakes Partnership Announces $6.6 Million in Conservation Grants for Great Lakes Restoration

Sustain Our Great Lakes partners today announced $6.6 million in grant funding for 25 ecological restoration projects in the Great Lakes basin. Approximately $8.2 million in additional project support will be leveraged by grantees, for a total on-the-ground conservation impact of $14.8 million. The grants awarded today will support projects in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois...Read More

Plant Tattoo

As an Iowa State University plant scientist, Patrick Schnable is working with low-cost, graphene-based sensors that can be attached to plants. The technology measures the time it takes for two kinds of corn plants to move water from their roots, to their lower leaves, and then to their upper leaves. The information gathered will provide new types of data to researchers and farmers. Read More

U.S. Appeals Court Orders EPA to Ban Pesticide Said to Harm Children

A divided federal appeals court on Thursday ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely-used pesticide that critics say can endanger children and farmers. The 2-1 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle overturned former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 denial of a petition by environmental groups to halt the use of chlorpyrifos...Read More

A Leader of a Different Stripe

My brother, Max, is employed by the company I’m profiling on these pages. I was intrigued when he told me about some of the out-of-the-ordinary ways that owner Andy Fristoe approaches his business. I just had to take a trip down to Lafayette, Indiana, in June to see Zebra Landscape and Hardscape for myself.  Andy and his wife Tracy founded the company in...Read More

Farm Bill Must Tackle Forest Management and Wildfires

The House and Senate have now both agreed to go to conference on the farm bill and have named conferees for this process. This is significant progress towards passage of this mammoth piece of legislation that spans agriculture, nutrition, forestry and conservation. The timing could not be more ideal, given the growing intensity of our forest challenges, such as wildfire. Read More

International Society of Arboriculture Relocates to Atlanta

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) plans to relocate its headquarters from Champaign, Illinois, to Atlanta in 2019. The ISA, which serves more than 23,000 members worldwide, is an international organization with a mission to promote the professional practice of arboriculture and works to increase the worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. The board of directors determined that positioning...Read More

Brand Positioning

The thing that beats price, quality, or service every time. Look around at the ads you see on TV, in the newspaper, or on social media. Most companies-whether they target businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C)-position themselves based on one of three main factors: Quality, price, or service. 1. Quality: “We have the best products or services around. No one can beat the things we sell!” Read More

Seeing it Through: A Persistent Approach to Irrigation

Over the course of two years, John Bianco worked patiently, yet persistently, with the property managers of a Mather, Calif.-based homeowners’ association (HOA) to upgrade 127 outdated irrigation controllers to smart models. The controllers he encountered on the property were anywhere from five to 20 years old, and none of them were in good working order. Bianco spent countless...Read More

The Horticulture Industry’s Age Problem is Bigger Than You Think

Nora Palmer is a gardener who toils happily in breezy Hershey Gardens, a playground of roses, herbs, old trees and leafy spaces that welcomes, among others, field-tripping grade-schoolers. “I’ve just finished weeding and mulching here,” she says as she walks through a children’s garden where three fountains, formed as Hershey’s Kisses, whistle as they spout. Read More

Florida Lawn Care Company Pays $55,345 in Back Wages Following U.S. DOL Investigation

PPM Outdoor in Kissimmee, Fla., has paid $55,345 to 40 employees after a U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation found the employer violated overtime, minimum wage and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). “Simply paying workers a salary does not exclude them from overtime...Read More

'American Farmer' TV Series Broadcasts Segment Featuring PanAmerican Seed This Summer

PanAmerican Seed announces further broadcasting of its TV segment produced by DMG Productions (Jupiter, FL) for the highly acclaimed TV series American Farmer, a breakthrough program that showcases the latest advancements in agriculture and farming. The show will air Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 8:30 am EDT on RFD-TV. Check local...Read More

LandscapeHub Teams up With Toronto-Based Sheridan Nurseries

LandscapeHub partnered up with Canadian supplier Sheridan Nurseries, enabling the products of Sheridan Nurseries to be made available on the LandscapeHub platform. “Sheridan Nurseries is a premier partner for us—we are elated to join forces with this Canadian industry leader,” said Lisa Fiore, founder & CEO. “The LandscapeHub platform aims to create...Read More

Davey Tree Co. Establishes Educational Endowment for TREE Fund

The Davey Tree Expert Co. pledged a $250,000 educational endowment fund through TREE Fund. “As the Davey Company continues to evolve and grow, it’s increasingly important that we invest in research that will advance not only our company, but the industry that we are so proud to be part of,” said Pat Covey, president and CEO of Davey Tree. “With the establishment of the...Read More

Longwood Gardens Fellows Program Accepting Applications

The Longwood Gardens Fellows program is now accepting applications. The program is a 13-month residential learning experience focused on building the leadership capacity of high-potential public horticulture professionals. During the 13-month, fully funded, cohort-based residency at Longwood, fellows delve into topical issues relevant to public horticulture today such as leadership...Read More

Davey Pledges $250,000 Educational Endowment Fund

The Davey Tree Expert Company pledged a $250,000 educational endowment fund through TREE Fund. The Davey Fund supports community-based arboricultural education in the United States. The company has historically supported TREE Fund’s dedication to furthering scientific research in arboriculture and has given more than $500,000 in donations...Read More

Dicamba Debate Heats Up in Southern Illinois

There's a renewed debate over a controversial herbicide that's impacting southern Illinois farmers. There's a split among those who use dicamba and those who don't. Cupped up soybeans are one of the clearest indicators of dicamba exposure on beans not modified for the chemical. "We've been drifted on and had about 65 acres of beans effected by volatility this year because neighbors...Read More

Something for Your Woody Wish List

The dog-days of summer are upon us and I for one use this time to finally sit down and seriously look at what woody plants are coming to market next year. Sometimes, these are plants that may be tough to get liners of, but, generally, I like to check out plants that should be available to most growers next year, even if in small numbers.  As a plant breeder and...Read More

Addressing the Hardscape Industry's Labor Crisis

Everywhere you turn, our industry is discussing the most critical issue we face, labor. This singular issue is one that is forcing everyone to rethink every aspect of how landscape projects are designed, sold, and installed. While it is certainly a challenge, it is also an opportunity to step back and consider alternative, labor saving approaches. First, let's consider design. For centuries, the primary vehicle for delivering a design concept, was through a hand sketch. While fairly effective, it pales in comparison...Read More

ASLA Joins Real Estate Industry to Fill Talent Pipeline

The Association of Landscape Architects announced they're collaborating with 28 real estate industry organizations to promote Careers Building Communities. The collaboration highlights landscape architecture and other diverse career paths within the real estate sector. The organizations, collectively representing more than 10 million jobs, produced their first joint initiative, a new website Careers Building Communities. Learn More

Boxwood Blight Found in Wisconsin for First Time

Boxwood blight was found in Wisconsin for the first time in July 2018 at a nursery growing operation. The nursery staff are cooperating with Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection inspectors on efforts to eradicate and limit spread of the disease. A fungus called Calonectria pseudonoviculata causes boxwood blight. The fungus affects all cultivars...Read More

How to Communicate Quality Standards to Contract Greenhouse Growers

With customer expectations high and your reputation depending on the quality of the product you deliver, you can’t leave communicating quality standards with your contract growers to chance. To help you out, Greenhouse Grower reached out to Top 100 Growers to get their best advice on how to convey to contract growers exactly what you expect in plant quality. Read More

Recruit High-Level Candidates on LinkedIn Through your Personal Brand

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site with more than 560 million users, making it the go-to social media for job seekers and job recruiters. If you’re looking for management candidates to help you grow your landscaping business, LinkedIn is a great place to create new relationships. Here’s a hint—it’s not just about posting jobs. These candidates...Read More

How Upgrades in Greenhouse Technology Can Help You Attract Workers

There is little question that labor pools have tightened significantly over the last five years. Present limits, inherent costs, and bureaucratic delays have discouraged most companies from using guestworker programs and caused others to all but abandon them. All labor-intensive industries are experiencing similar challenges, but horticulture’s present labor requirements, working...Read More

A Makeover for Milkweed, for the Sake of Butterflies

For generations, North American farmers have despised milkweed and done their best to rid their lands of it. “I hate to have milkweed in my strawberry field,” Nathalie Leonard says from her farm by the Quebec village of Lac-du-Cerf. So why does she have 60 acres of milkweed growing on purpose? It’s for the sake of butterflies — the iconic monarchs. And for a chance to turn...Read More 

Segmental Concrete Pavement Products Sales Continue to Rise, ICPI Report Finds

For the seventh consecutive year, combined sales of segmental concrete pavement products in the U.S. and Canada have increased, according to the 2018 Industry Sales Profile released by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI). The 2017 projected total of 750 million square feet is a post-recession high, representing a 2.5 percent increase...Read More

SiteOne Acquires Kirkwood Material Supply

SiteOne Landscape Supply acquired Kirkwood Material Supply. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 1983, Kirkwood serves the greater St. Louis market with eight locations focused on the distribution of hardscapes and nursery products to landscape professionals. Read More

NHLA and USHCC Request Cap Increase for H-2B Program

The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA) partnered with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) to encourage Congress to grant additional visas for seasonal workers entering the U.S. Both organizations express concerns for issues surrounding the H-2B visa program and its impact on companies that are not able to fill temporary labor positions. “This year the U.S...Read More 

The Big Get Bigger

You’ve probably played the game of Monopoly at least once in your life, but you probably didn’t know that it was created in 1906 by an anti-monopolist to show what happens when private land is bought up by large corporations. Originally called “The Landlord’s Game,” it was meant to serve as an educational tool on the evils of monopolies. In the early 1930s, Parker Brothers...Read More

Despite Tighter Rules, Dicamba Damages 1.1 Million Acres of Soybeans

University weed scientists estimate at least 1.2% of U.S. soybean plantings have been damaged accidentally by the weedkiller dicamba despite stricter limits on its use this year, said a University of Missouri report. Damage was highest in Illinois, the No. 1 soybean-growing state, where 500,000 acres of the U.S. total of 1.1 million damaged acres are located. Arkansas was second with...Read More

10 Design Tips for Water Conservation

With water becoming a scarce natural resource across our country, water conservation has become a driving design force in the landscape industry. There are many benefits, both for us and our society, that can be seen by adopting water-wise practices in residential and commercial landscapes. Water conservation not only preserves this precious resource but also helps prevent water pollution to our local water supplies. As a landscape architect, these principles...Read More

Latinos In the Workforce - Communication and Culture

Latinos in the Workforce is a new online program offered by Ohio State University. The program has been designed to help integrate Latino/U.S. workforce teams. It introduces workers, supervisors and business owners to current issues in a wide variety of workplaces where Latino immigrant workers interact with their American counterparts. Program topics include cultural and historical aspects...Read More

Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is a serious fungal disease which continues to kill oak trees in residential areas, parks, farm woodlots, and forests throughout Illinois. The oak wilt pathogen was first detected in Wisconsin in 1944 and has slowly spread throughout the central and eastern United States, including across Illinois. Oak trees are the only known host, with oaks in the red...Read More

Commercial Conservation

As a property manager, saving water is at the forefront of Brian Harnetiaux’s mind, and the minds of many of his tenants as well. “We get proposals with questions that ask how we are being energy efficient, water efficient, that kind of thing,” says Harnetiaux, senior vice president of McCarthy Cook in southern California. Being water conscious has even secured tenants for the company. Recently, Harnetiaux says the company oversaw a $35-million renovation...Read More

Internships in Floriculture and Horticulture From the AFE

AFE offers two intern scholarship programs for students in floriculture or horticulture. Both programs include a paid internship, along with a scholarship upon successful completion of the internship. Applications for both internships are reviewed twice a year. The deadline for submitting applications and supporting materials is March 1 and October 1. Read More

A Message From Your New Board President, Steve Worth

It is with great honor and pleasure that I assumed the presidency of the IGIA on July 1. For those of you that I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Steve Worth. I am a member of the Kankakee Nursery family. Our company has been a proud member of this organization since its inception. Collectively, we have benefited tremendously from the advocacy, knowledge, and most importantly...Read More

Protecting Trees During Construction

Are your clients taking the necessary steps to protect their trees during construction projects? Unfortunately, most homeowners don't consult with an arborist prior to starting their major projects. More often, they contact an arborist well after the project has been completed; when the tree starts to show signs of stress and dieback. This type of situation is fairly common at the plant clinic. Read More

A Plant On Every Sill

Growing up in rural Massachusetts, Eliza Blank just assumed she’d inherit a green thumb from her mother, who maintained a lush garden and a plethora of tropical houseplants — some of which are older than Eliza. But when Blank moved to New York City, she realized there was a huge gap facing urban Millennials like herself: She didn’t have the access to...Read More 

13 Things Highly Successful People Do Not Waste Their Mental Energy On

Highly successful people (regardless of the variety of ways one could define being "successful") all seem to understand a few core principles. Chief among them is that it is not your time, but your energy, that is limited each day and therefore, needs to be carefully managed. This is why you hear stories of extremely accomplished people with odd habits, like eating the same thing...Read More

Rodney Smith, Jr. Completes 50 States, 50 Lawns Tour

Raising Men Lawn Care Service (RMLCS) Founder Rodney Smith, Jr., completed his second 50 States, 50 Lawns Tour this week. Since May 17, Smith drove to 48 mainland states and flew to Alaska and Hawaii to mow lawns for the elderly, disabled, single mothers and veterans free. According to Briggs & Stratton, a partner of RMLCS for the tour, Smith mowed nearly 130 lawns during the...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...Read More

Beware the Wild Parsnip: Flowering Plant Found Throughout Illinois Can Cause 2nd-Degree Burns

You know enough to sidestep a melted Popsicle on the sidewalk. Your devotion to sunscreen borders on religious: Yes, you reapply. Dehydration? You fight it with an always-full water bottle. You’ve mastered warm-weather hazards like some kind of summertime ninja. In a sun hat. But we bet you never saw the parsnip coming. Read More

The Landscape of Landscaping is Changing

According to a report by IBISWorld, the lawn and outdoor equipment industry has recovered significantly over the past five years, because it’s been “bolstered by a revival in spending on home improvements.” Grand View Research says gardening is growing as a hobby thanks to “improvement in the social lifestyle of an increasing base of the affluent middle-class...Read More

A Renewed Mission

Bailey Nurseries, a fifth-generation company, will launch a new corporate brand identity this summer. “It’s more than a new logo. It’s a reflection of a new direction,” says Alec Charais, marketing and communications manager at Bailey. “When we took a look inward, we knew it was a good opportunity to move the brand forward and clarify...Read More

Raise Prices Without Raising Eyebrows

In the crowded garden retail space, where customers can choose to purchase garden and landscape plants at an independent garden center, a big box store, the local hardware store or online, how can independent garden centers best convey the extra value and expertise they bring to their products?  It’s a question Steve Bailey of Steve Bailey Consulting and...Read More 

What's On the Outside Matters

It’s not just staging the interior. New research shows landscapers can play a huge role in increasing the likelihood of a home sale. The real estate market in many U.S. cities is red-hot, with prices at an all-time high. Plenty of people are cashing in, putting their homes up for sale while the selling’s good. Whatever the reason for planting that “For Sale” sign in the lawn, there are things...Read More

Seed Your Future

Seed Your Future is a national initiative to promote horticulture as a vital, viable and exciting career path for the nation’s youth. We envision a world where every U.S. student knows the meaning and importance of horticulture. We want the next generation of leaders in this invaluable field poised to fill the wealth of job opportunities...Read More

Landscaping Businesses Are Losing Money Because of U.S. Visa Policy

This year has been tough on Shayne Newman, the owner of the Connecticut-based landscaping company YardApes. For the past two decades, Newman’s business has come to rely on help that comes via the H-2B visa program, which allows employers to hire foreign workers for seasonal, nonagricultural employment. But this year, Newman was not able...Read More

When Drift Hits Home

Images of cupped soybean fields have come to symbolize the dicamba injury crisis underway in farm country in the U.S. But what happens when chemicals like dicamba move beyond the soybean fields of commercial farmers onto the property of rural homeowners, business owners and organic and specialty crop farmers? In South Dakota, a vegetable farm that...Read More

Operating at Peak Efficiency

Artificial Intelligence (IA) is changing our world. Large companies use chatbots, inventory decisions, pricing maximizations, voice shopping, etc. What’s happening today at the local garden center? Technological transformations have changed some aspects of our industry, liberating you and your team for more productive tasks. This checklist with...Read More

Profit Power: Giving Back is Good—Even Great—for Business

Giving back is one of my favorite topics to speak on, and to consult on, and to do myself in my personal life. Why? Because it brings a big smile to one’s face, the receiver and the giver, and it can be great as a corporate strategy, too. My friend and National Association of Landscape Professionals board...Read More

Questions with John Terhesh - Willoway Nurseries’ Head Grower

John Terhesh obtained his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Southern Illinois University in 2009. He began his career at Willoway Nurseries in Avon, Ohio, as an intern and after advancing his career, came back to Willoway in 2016 as a head grower. He will be discussing “New Ways to Find Labor,” as well as...Read More

EPA's Acting Head Vows to Carry out Trump's Regulation Cuts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acting chief said on Wednesday he would push to cut regulations on industry and speed up decisions on permits, echoing the policies of former head Scott Pruitt who stepped down last week. Read More

Overburdened Growers Fuel an Ag-Tech Investment Boom

Winters Farming Co. manager Alex Bergwerff was sitting in his office in Manteca, Calif., one day last year when he was notified of a problem on the company’s farm in Vacaville, about two and a half hours away. The farm’s water provider had a line break and couldn’t deliver water, and the pumps were set to start running. A pump...Read More

How to Aerate Properly

As time goes on, soil naturally compacts. Aeration, also called coring and aerifying, perforates the soil to allow air, water and nutrients to reach a lawn’s roots. It also removes mild thatch. This helps roots grow deeper, making the lawn more vigorous and drought resistant. Aeration should occur when turf is in its peak growing season so it can recover quickly. This timing is typically in...Read More

Annual Tour des Trees Comes to Ohio

With 25 years of tradition, Tour des Trees kicks off July 29 for a week-long event. About 75 cyclists will take part in the race, which starts in Columbus and loops through Akron, Cleveland and back. This year marks the first time the race will be held in Ohio in more than 20 years. The 26th annual bike ride has been an important part...Read More

BrightView Files an IPO

With news of BrightView filing for an initial public offering, it makes official what has been widely speculated throughout the industry – the company going public. BrightView, the No. 1 company on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list with more than $2.2 billion in 2017 revenue, filed with the SEC for an IPO of $100 million. The company will offer 21.3 million shares priced...Read More

James Martin Associates Offers Robust Internship/Scholarship Program

As summer comes to an end and university students start another year of school, many are seeking internships, and James Martin Associates (JMA) offers a robust program for those interested in enriching lives through beautiful landscapes. For 30 of the last...Read More

DC Considers Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Ban

D.C. council members are considering a gas-powered leaf blower ban, according to ABC 7 News - WJLA based in D.C. The bill, introduced by Ward 3 council member Mary Cheh, would prohibit the sale and use of gas-powered leaf blowers in the district starting in 2022. According to ABC 7 News - WJLA, the ban would force...Read More

Spray Smarts: A Look at Sprayhead Trends

Thirty-one billion gallons of water could be saved each year by replacing water-inefficient sprayheads with efficient ones, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates. It’s no wonder the irrigation industry has started to see more water-saving sprayheads...Read More

Excellence on Display

Many wholesale and even retail nurseries establish a display garden on their premises. These gardens can impress, instruct and inspire customers, while showing them what the plants look like in a natural setting next to other plants. Some nurseries establish trial gardens which can be similar in look or purpose; however, each nursery’s approach to creating a display...Read More

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns Amid Scandals, Citing 'Unrelenting Attacks'

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned after months of ethics controversies, citing "the unrelenting attacks" on himself and his family, which "have taken a sizable toll on all of us." President Donald Trump first tweeted the news Thursday that Pruitt...Read More

Kansas State University to Close John C. Pair Horticulture Center

Reductions in base support from the state and recent enrollment declines have led to the decision to close Kansas State University's 120-acre John C. Pair Horticultural Center in Haysville. Over the next several months, K-State Research and Extension will develop a plan to close the center and address land ownership. The center is staffed by five full-time professionals, some of whom...Read More

Gardens Alive! to Go to Auction if a Buyer is Not Found

LM Farms, LLC d/b/a Gardens Alive! Farms is seeking a buyer for its wholesale nurseries located in Cornelius, Oregon; Sims, North Carolina; Smithville, Tennessee and Grand Haven Michigan and will be conducting a public auction sale of both its equipment and live plant inventory if a buyer is not found. With each site fully staffed and operational until August 3...Read More

Set the Right Tone

Recently, I was asked by a client to address a group of their first-time managers and to focus my training on the top 10 things every manager must know about human resources. What a request. The challenge was limiting the list to only 10 items! This was no easy task, knowing that each day, managers face countless “people” challenges, ranging from...Read More

Government Affairs: The State of Immigration, H-2B Reform in Congress

For a moment in mid-June it seemed like the stars might be aligning for getting the returning-worker exemption reinstated in the H-2B visa program. If reinstated, the returning-worker exemption would not count those workers who had been granted visas within the past two seasons against the 66,000 statutory cap. This move would effectively double the number of visas available under the H-2B program. Read More

BrightFarms Raises $55 Million in Equity Financing to Fuel Growth

BrightFarms, the No.1 brand in locally grown packaged salads, today announced it has secured $55 million in a Series D equity financing. The round
was led by Cox Enterprises, a leading communications, media and automotive services company, and joined by existing investors Catalyst Investors, WP Global Partners and NGEN Partners. This financing enables the continued rapid national expansion...Read More

Senate Passes its Version of Farm Bill

On Friday, June 29, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill, 86-11, a week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, 213-211. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) developed the Senate bill. Below are responses from throughout the industry. AmericanHort praised Senate Leadership...Read More

What to Do When ICE Comes Knocking

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ramped up its worksite enforcement investigations and I-9 audits – ICE wrote in a news release that it has more than doubled these investigations in recent months. These investigations are impacting the green industry, as ICE raided Corso’s Flower & Garden Center in Northwest Ohio the first week of June. That raid resulted in the arrest of...Read More

Justice Department Settles Claims Against Landscaping Company for Discriminating Against U.S. Workers

The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Triple H Services LLC, (Triple H), a landscaping company based in Newland, North Carolina, that conducts business in Virginia and four other states. The agreement resolves the Department’s investigation into whether Triple H discriminated against qualified and available U.S. workers based on their citizenship status by preferring...Read More

NALP Launches ‘Why I Landscape’ Campaign

The National Association of Landscape Professionals launched its “Why I Landscape” campaign, a national workforce campaign to promote the landscape profession and encourage students and career seekers to consider opportunities within the industry. Introduced by NALP’s Industry Growth Initiative, “Why I Landscape” builds off NALP’s careers website, LandscapeIndustryCareers.org. The website...Read More

A New Model for Garden Centers

Colonial Gardens is undergoing both physical and philosophical changes. The focus is food — whether customers want to grow their own vegetables and herbs, learn how to garden at one of three to five weekly seminars and workshops offered, shop for Colonial branded basil and carrots to cook at home or premade food at the local market, pick their...Read More

Trends to Tap in Bagged Compost

It wasn’t long ago that gardeners buying retail compost had two options: plain, unblended compost either bulk or in an unwieldy, generic bag. As soil health and sustainability gain importance among seasoned gardeners and new convenience-minded converts, interest in bagged compost is growing — and compost companies are responding. Emerging trends are influencing what...Read More

James Martin Associates Donates Over 120 Potting Parties

Over the last fifteen years, James Martin Associates (JMA) has donated over 120 potting parties to local charities. These potting parties support nonprofits by allowing the organizations to offer them as auction items at galas and other fundraisers. They are valued...Read More

$2,000,000 in Grants Available for Green Stormwater Infrastructure Projects in Parks

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is pleased to announce the availability of grant funds to support the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure projects in parks to positively affect environmental and social change in underserved communities, and to empower residents to be actively engaged in projects that address community needs and meet local stormwater management goals. Read More

Hort Couture Announces its New Alliance with Ball Seed Company

Hort Couture has announced a newly formed alliance with Ball Seed Company. Ball Seed will exclusively distribute the Culinary Couture Seed lines for Hort Couture beginning Fall 2018. Key product lines include Basil Pesto, Tomato Mixology, Pepper HealthSmart...Read More

Bartlett Tree Experts Acquires HortScience

Bartlett Tree Experts acquired HortScience Inc., a horticulture, arboriculture and urban forestry consulting company operating out of Pleasanton, California, since 1983. This acquisition marks the launch of Bartlett’s consulting division, which will be known...Read More

National Green Infrastructure Certification Program at Parkland College in August

Green infrastructure (GI) has become a critical component to comprehensive stormwater management. Successful implementation of green infrastructure requires access to adequately skilled workforce available to perform the installation, inspection, and maintenance tasks. Landscaping, city planning, public works, and stormwater managing can all benefit from the knowledge and skills...Read More

The Cultural Consumer

Hispanics make up the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, and those numbers continue to grow. With a buying power totaling $1.4 trillion, the Hispanic consumer carries significant economic clout. To benefit from this demographic, the green industry needs to ditch the heavy Caucasian influence on the hobby of gardening and make it...Read More

White Pine Decline

Several eastern white pine samples have made their way to the U of I Plant Clinic this spring. The samples all arrived with similar descriptions of overall symptoms, "Dying trees with thinning, yellowing and browning needles." These samples are always somewhat frustrating because they usually lack any pathogens to explain the symptoms. Incubated...Read More

House narrowly passes farm bill that includes stricter work requirements for food stamps, a month after failing on first try

A deeply polarizing farm bill narrowly passed the House on Thursday, a month after the legislation went down to stunning defeat after getting ensnared in the toxic politics of immigration. The legislation, which passed 213 to 211 with 20 Republicans joining Democrats in their unanimous opposition, includes new work rules for most adult food-stamp recipients — provisions that are dead on arrival...Read More

Corso’s Issues Statement, AmericanHort’s Craig Regelbrugge Discusses Industry Ramifications

Corso’s says it “demands proper documentation” from workers following the raid that resulted in 114 of the company’s employees being arrested. AmericanHort is working to provide resources for green industry businesses to navigate the issue. Read More

High Performance: Surviving Survival Mode

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve interacted with many green industry professionals who are in survival mode driven by a variety of factors. A compressed spring adds even more stress to a season that is challenging even in a normal year. On top of this, the labor shortage is especially painful when strong customer demand feels like adding fuel to the fire. Everyone is busy, way too busy. Read More

California Grown Nursery Marketplace Launches Virtual Plant Exchange

The California Association of Nursery and Garden Centers (CANGC) announced the launch of the California Grown Nursery Marketplace, a free resource that allows growers and buyers to connect, share inventories, search for plants and learn about California grown nursery stock. The Nursery Marketplace is an online network designed to make buying and selling plants...Read More

Gardens Alive! to Close Michigan Nursery

According to a news report from Grand Haven, Mich., Gardens Alive! is closing its largest farm and laying off 300 workers. The Indiana-based company notified the Michigan Talent Investment Agency that it's closing the former Zelenka Farms location, located on...Read More

Specialty Growers Fundraising for Extension Expertise

When grower Randy Graham started working at Curtis Orchards 36 years ago, he could find help with insects or fungus issues from the University of Illinois Extension service with its staff of 100 agricultural specialists. That staff has dwindled to 15 today. What that means...Read More

Bayer Completes Monsanto Acquisition

Bayer completed the acquisition of Monsanto on June 7. Shares in the U.S. company will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, with Bayer now the sole owner of Monsanto Company. Monsanto shareholders are being paid 128 U.S. dollars per share...Read More

Sitting on Inventory

How do you integrate selling outdoor furniture with plants in a garden center? According to Kate Terrell, general manager of Wallace’s Garden Center, “It kind of goes hand in hand. Most people that are ‘gardening’ right now are doing it in pots on their decks and patios. Why plant pots on the patio if you’re not going to sit out there to...Read More

Instagram Expands Business Features

Engaging with potential customers is top of mind for many businesses, including independent garden center retailers. Many strategies are focused on reaching out to consumers and capturing their attention in a world full of digital distractions. Read More

Lifelong Learner

From Spanish teacher to vice president of HR, Maureen Scheitz is a continuous learner who strives to become an expert on the topics she’s studying to help her company grow. “We’ve got a major problem,” Maureen Scheitz told Acres Group owner... Read More

Viewpoint: EU's neonicotinoid ban is a 'scientific fraud' and won't protect bees

Five years after the European Union imposed a temporary ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, an “experts committee” of the member states has now finally voted to make the ban permanent. This was hardly a surprise. The vote followed shortly after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published their advisory opinion that neonics “represent a risk to...Read More

OSHA Announces 30-Day Grace Period for Enforcement of Silica Standard for General Industry

Employers that are worried about whether their new or upgraded programs for silica protection will pass regulatory muster under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) general industry standard for respirable...Read More

Double Your Profits by Selling Enhancements

Every landscaper, nurseryman and arborist should consider selling enhancements or add-on services and products to their existing customers. The advantages apply to both residential and commercial customers. There are four compelling reasons why selling enhancements...Read More

In the Garden | Fighting invasive plants

Visitors to the downtown Champaign area last month may have noticed an odd addition to the One Main Development landscaping. Over the course of May, an increasing number of mysterious white trees appeared out of nowhere. Who placed these ghost...Read More

Attorneys General From Three States Sue EPA Over WPS Protection Suspension

The attorneys general (AG) from three states are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to enforce a requirement meant in part to protect farmworkers from pesticides. The AGs from Maryland, California and New York sued the Trump...Read More

New Spring Meadow Nursery Website Offers Improved Tools for Customers

Spring Meadow Nursery, the developer of the Proven Winners ColorChoice flowering shrubs, has launched a fully redesigned website with new interactive user tools designed to improve the user experience and reinforce the updated...Read More

Hunter Launches Bluetooth Tap Timer

Hunter Industries launched a new Bluetooth-enable tap timer, the BTT. BTT provides app-controlled light irrigation for plants, flowers, nurseries, greenhouses, and small lawn areas. BTT is designed for use with a hose faucet...Read More

Organic Insect Deterrent for Agriculture

Traditional insecticides are killers: they not only kill pests, they also endanger bees and other beneficial insects, as well as affecting biodiversity in soils, lakes, rivers and seas. A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now developed an alternative: A biodegradable agent that keeps pests at bay without poisoning them. Read More

Gypsy Moth: Don’t Panic, Be Vigilant, Get Organized

Gypsy moth is tearing through trees in northern Indiana this summer following dry weather in the spring. Although these caterpillars are close to being out of our hair for another year (they’ll stop feeding soon), there are still a few steps you can take this year and next year to protect your trees. Read More

Bailey Nurseries Updates Logo, Brand Identity

Bailey Nurseries is updating its corporate identity to a more modernized brand position: Bailey. The Growing What’s Next theme will be carried across all Bailey-brand business units. Bailey will offer customers easier access to ordering, improved marketing resources...Read More

AmericanHort Announces 2018  HortScholars

AmericanHort is proud to encourage and support students as they aspire to a diverse array of horticulture careers. The HortScholars program aims to identify these future leaders and give them a platform to network, grow, and work at North America's premier horticulture event...Read More

The 6 Qualities Great Mentors Share

It's no secret that finding a great mentor can be key to achieving your career goals, but not everyone has what it takes to be the mentor you need. A successful mentor needs to have more than just experience and good intentions to provide mentees with real value.  Read More

Homeland Security Issues 15,000 Additional H-2B Visas

The Department of Homeland Security said Friday it would provide businesses another 15,000 H-2B visas to bring low-skilled foreign workers to the U.S. this summer, according to the Boston Globe newspaper. This would aid seasonal employers, including landscapers. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen raised the cap on H-2B visas after determining there weren’t enough qualified U.S. workers...Read More

The First Six Months: How OSHA Is Currently Enforcing the Silica Standard in Construction

For construction employers facing uncertainty on exactly how the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is enforcing the new silica standard in Construction, we now have a little bit of data that helps shed some light on this mystery. OSHA began enforcing the silica rule in construction on October 23, 2017. As of April 23, 2017, OSHA and State Plans that have adopted the silica rule (a few have not yet done so) have issued 117 violations. Read More

US Regulators Add Some Flexibility to Trucker ELD Work Rules

Truckers who run out of legal driving hours while waiting to load or unload at a customer site can drive to the nearest safe parking spot without violating hours-of-service (HOS) rules, the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said Thursday. That time behind the wheel can be counted...Read More

What Cities Are Doing About the ‘Shocking’ Loss of Urban Forests

In Pittsburgh, a vacant five-acre plot along the Allegheny River will soon be helping to build cities once more. The land — which sits directly under the 62nd Street Bridge — is the former location of the Tippins, Inc. steel mill. After the company...Read More

NALP Report Shows Value in Outdoor Projects in 2018

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and the National Association of Realtors partnered to release a 2018 Remodeling Report: Outdoor Feature. The report looks at 13 outdoor residential projects and 10 commercial property projects, highlighting reasons why property owners complete these projects...Read More