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Creative ways to combat labor issues

As we do each year, we surveyed greenhouse and garden center owners across North America to get a closer look at the industry. Amongst all challenges, the common problem was of course, labor. In Greenhouse Management’s 2019 State of the Industry Report, labor issues ranked No. 3 in the top three challenges.  In Garden Center’s 2019 SOI Report, staffing issues took two of the top three spots on the list of IGCs’ biggest problems. Two-thirds...Read More

Plant California Alliance Launches New Website

According to a press release, the Plant California Alliance has unveiled a new website, and it can be found at www.plantcalifornia.com. The Plant California Alliance, launched in March 2019, represents a unification of farmers, wholesalers, retail garden centers, landscape suppliers, manufacturers and other experts who work together to advocate for nurseries...Read More

AmericanHort Urges Congress to Save H-2B

On Nov. 13, AmericanHort Director of Advocacy and Policy Communications Tristan Daedalus sent an industry-wide email urging the public to support members of Congress in endorsing H-2B cap relief. “Congress continues to debate annual spending bills to fund the federal government, ‘must do’ appropriations bills offer the best opportunity to pass temporary relief for the H-2B cap...Read More

Cultivating the Next Generation of Green Collar Professionals

We are reaching a defining moment in horticulture. The greenhouse growers, garden center owners and, in fact, most of the horticulturists of today are aging and retiring. What should be a fountain of opportunity for others to step into their positions, finds us instead with a people-pipeline that is a mere dribble. Employers across all of horticulture cannot find enough qualified candidates to fill their open positions. Read More

Recession Watch

One major question continues to loom over the U.S. economy right now: How much longer will the record-long expansion last? The 2-year, 10-year Treasury yield curve – a closely followed recession indicator – inverted Aug. 14 for the first time since the Great Recession. Manufacturing in the U.S. is in contractionary territory. Meanwhile, business investment has slowed, and confidence...Read More

Generation Gaps

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted in January, millennials are expected to eclipse the baby boomer population as America’s largest generation. The millennial generation is edging out the boomers — particularly in the workforce — and IGCs will soon have to reckon with the divide. Pew analyzed the trends between the young adults of 2019 to their silent generation, baby boomer...Read More

Horticultural Research Institute sets Priorities for a Thriving Industry

Horticulture is a key player in specialty crops and agriculture. The industry generates one-third of both all specialty crop revenue (over $19 billion each year) and its workforce. However, the horticulture industry receives only 12% of federal funds earmarked for specialty crops from the USDA Agricultural Research Service and USDA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative.  Read More

Invasive Plant Liability

It is a beautiful drive from Carolina Native Nursery to Lake Lure through the mountains of Western North Carolina. Takes about one and a half hours. Lake Lure, home of Chimney Rock State Park, is the location where Dirty Dancing was filmed, as well as the final scenes from Last of the Mohicans. It is a truly spectacular place. The only drawback is the obscene amount of exotic invasive...Read More

Japanese Maple Scale Attack's Missouri's Trees

Per the Missouri Department of Agriculture, shipments of oyster-shell shaped insects called the Japanese maple scale (Lopholeucaspis japonica) are being transported to Missouri on nursery trees. They live underneath a protective waxy covering and can be difficult to spot because they do not stir, and they do not have legs. They attach onto tree trunks and branches...Read More

University of Illinois Breaks Ground on Research Greenhouse

On Oct. 23, representatives from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse in the Research Park. The planned greenhouse will support a research project, “Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency” (RIPE) for sustainable increases in crop yield, led by Illinois researchers Steve Long and Don Ort. Read More

Spotted Lanternfly: Large Potential Range in U.S. and Beyond

As the invasive spotted lanternfly wreaks havoc in the mid-Atlantic United States, scientists and a range of tree and fruit growers around the world are concerned about where the pest could show up next. A new habitat-modeling study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture may not put those minds at ease, as findings show large swaths of the United States and beyond are likely to be vulnerable...Read More

Times are Rapidly Changing

As Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a-changin’.” Who would have believed 10 years ago that marijuana would be legal for recreational purposes in 11 states and Washington, D.C., and for medical use in 33 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands? If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to update your employee...Read More

EPA Offers Spanish Translation guide for important pesticide safety information

On Oct. 17, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) improved risk communication by expanding the agency’s Spanish language resources that assist with translating the health and safety portions of agricultural product labels. The Spanish Translation Guide for Pesticide Labeling resource is available for anyone to use, including pesticide manufacturers, and provides a resource...Read More

Avoiding Days of the Living Dead

Zombies in the workplace are soul-sucking, money-draining, productivity-killing entities that chip away at an organization’s spirit and its engagement levels one convert at a time. These creatures often look like the rest of us, but deep down they’re cancerous beasts that can potentially drive a business to ruin. Although zombies come in many varieties...Read More

Times are Rapidly Changing

As Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a-changin’.” Who would have believed 10 years ago that marijuana would be legal for recreational purposes in 11 states and Washington, D.C., and for medical use in 33 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands? If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to update your employee policies and procedures. The following are things to consider...Read More

The ‘Why’ and the ‘How’

Phil Gwoke’s daughter just wanted to know why he was mad at her. She wanted to know why Gwoke, a speaker from generational consulting firm BridgeWorks, would act cool with her in person but seemed frustrated via text. Gwoke had no idea what she meant – he certainly wasn’t mad at her, and he couldn’t figure out why she believed he was upset. Read More

California Bans Popular Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage In Children

Beginning in early 2020, California will ban the sale of the pesticide chlorpyrifos which state environmental officials say has been linked to brain damage and other health defects in children. Under an agreement reached with Corteva Agriscience, the maker of chlorpyrifos, sales of the pesticide will end Feb. 6, 2020, and agricultural growers will not be allowed to possess or use it after Dec. 31, 2020. Read More

Former PLCCA President Passes Away

Louis J. Wierichs Jr., founder of Pro X Lawn Care in Wisconsin and former president of the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCCA), died last month. Wierichs started his company in 1997 and became PLCCA (now the National Association of Professional Landscapers) president in 1994. Industry colleague and friend, Bob Andrews of the Greenskeeper in Indiana, said Wierichs was always...Read More

NALP establishes Women in Landscape Network

The National Association of Landscape Professionals announced the creation of its Women in Landscape Network to establish a community within the landscape and lawn care industry for female professionals and those committed to issues impacting women in the field. With the creation of the Women in Landscape Network, NALP will connect, empower, and advocate for women in the landscape industry; recruit...Read More

AmericanHort Expands Consulting Options With K·Coe Isom

AmericanHort has announced an expanded service agreement with K·Coe Isom, a food and agriculture consulting and accounting firm. “We’ve partnered with K·Coe Isom for years, in a more informal relationship and focused primarily around tax issues," said Ken Fisher, president & CEO of AmericanHort. "We look forward to offering our members access to their in-depth expertise in a variety of advisory...Read More

16 Perennials Your Customers Will Love in 2020

One of the highlights of the Perennial Plant Symposium each year is the “New to the Market” Forum, which allows perennial breeders and suppliers to highlight their hottest new offerings. Greenhouse Grower has already featured several of them, and here are a few more you should be considering for 2020 (check out the slideshow above for images of each). Read More

National Association of Landscape Professionals names new CEO

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) announced that Britt Wood has been named chief executive officer. Wood will assume his new role on Oct. 7 and will represent NALP at Landscapes in Louisville, Ky. “Britt’s depth of leadership experience and proven track record of delivering results across various industries throughout his career will be huge assets as he focuses on building on NALP’s many successes...Read More

Women in the Green Industry Conference Equips Attendees With Best Practices

SiteOne Landscape Supply hosted the 24th annual Women in the Green Industry Conference (WIGI) in Tucson, Arizona, on Sept. 19-22, providing tools to increase attendees’ leadership abilities, renew their confidence and build their network. “All of our attendees, no matter their role, are leaders in this industry,” said Amber Baker, division marketing manager – West for SiteOne Landscape Supply. “Even if they’re not managers...Read More

Garden Media's 2020 Garden Trends Report: Seeing 20/20

Eight Trends that are reinventions from a bygone era, helping to reconnect us with nature, the soil and leading a more thoughtful approach to life.
Garden Media Group’s 19th Garden Trend Report predicts the green industry will be at the forefront of urban growth and development in 2020 and beyond.  In this report you will find out why green collar jobs will revolutionize the four-year college degree...Learn More

Vineyards Facing An Insect Invasion May Turn To Aliens For Help

Walking around a park near Allentown, Pa., I didn't even notice the bugs at first. Then Heather Leach arrived. She's an insect expert from Penn State University. She pointed me toward the trees, and suddenly I realized they were everywhere: spotted lanternflies. An army of gray bugs, each one about an inch long, black spots on their wings, was climbing the trees' trunks. They marched slowly along branches...Read More

Beekeepers Confront the EPA Over Pesticides

Honeybees and other pollinating insects are crucial helpers in putting food on American tables. But the bees’ colonies have declined over the years, leading concerned beekeepers and scientists to speculate about the causes. A new lawsuit by leaders in the beekeeping industry against the Environmental Protection Agency highlights one often-cited worry: that pesticides are playing a role in those losses. Read More

Dealing with Burnout in the Workplace

Dedicated and hardworking employees can be hard to find, and once you do find them it’s important to hang on to them. Some days in the office will be more hectic than others, but when employees find that their everyday workload has them running for the door, it’s important to know how to help them out. When even just one employee experiences burnout from too much stress at work...Read More

2019 State of the Industry Report

Each year, Garden Center magazine reaches out to IGCs all over the U.S. and Canada to take the industry’s pulse and discover the biggest opportunities and challenges garden centers are facing. And each year, we find something new. This year, we also checked in with individual garden centers around the U.S. and Canada to see how they’re faring and what they’re seeing in their markets...Read More

Industry Growth Depends on Standardizing Plant Names Instituting UPCs

Botanical names are mostly standard (as long as they aren’t misspelled). We all learned about Carl Linneaus, the Swedish scientist who invented binomial nomenclature (Genus species), which was widely adopted after his publication of Species Plantarum in 1753. Today, theplantlist.org is considered a definitive resource for botanical names and includes synonyms or “otherwise known as” names...Read More

Screen Time Sway

Social media influencers have the power to propel a brand, product, design, service or lifestyle into a realm of superstardom. People with millions of followers or subscribers on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or their own blog, for instance, share likes and dislikes, what they’re eating and drinking, the exercises they’re performing, the clothes they’re wearing and the hobbies they’re enjoying.  Read More

TreeTown USA to Showcase Plants Inspired by Nature

TreeTown USA's annual Horticultural EncounterA(R) and Open House, September 16-27, 2019, at their Winters, California, nursery, the first time that nursery will be home to the event, will launch a new focus: "Designs Inspired by Nature." The goal is to introduce guests to plants and applications that go beyond beautifying the environment by serving greater purposes: from earth-cooling groundcovers...Read More

Professor Doug Tallamy Urges Homeowners to Cut Lawn Area in Half

For many homeowners, weekends are synonymous with mowing, fertilizing, and watering. “Lawn has been a status symbol for centuries, and we have bought into the commercials that tell us if it’s not a perfect lawn, our neighbors will hate us and, you know, we’re just not good citizens,” says Doug Tallamy, an author and professor at the University of Delaware. Read More

Trump Administration to Drop Water Rule

The Trump administration is revoking an Obama-era regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution but was opposed by developers and farmers who said it hurt economic development and infringed on property rights. Even before the official announcement, scheduled for later Thursday, environmental groups blasted the administration’s action, the latest in a series of moves to roll back...Read More

Bur Oak Blight

The U of I Plant Clinic has received several tree samples suspected to be infected with bur oak blight (BOB). So far, for 2019, the plant clinic has confirmed BOB on two samples, originating in Cook and Henry counties. While still considered a relatively newly pathogen, we have seen an increase in awareness of this disease compared to just a few years ago.  Bur Oak Blight is a leaf disease caused...Read More

A Legacy of Growth

The seeds of Danish-born Peter Orum’s success in the U.S. horticultural industry were sown in 1969 on 5 acres of growing fields in St. Charles, Ill., and cultivated with two pairs of hands and a unique idea. With his wife, Irma, by his side, Midwest Groundcovers was ready to take root. Today – as his family-based company celebrates its 50th anniversary with year-long programs, special events and a new book on its history...Read More

The Arbor Day Foundation Initiates Tree Campus Healthcare Program

The Arbor Day Foundation launched its new Tree Campus Healthcare program. The program is made possible through financial support from professional partner Davey Tree and the collaboration of the Professional Grounds Management Society, Practice Greenhealth and the USDA Forest Service. “Healthy trees generate so many benefits for both healthcare campuses and the communities...Read More

Ready and Waiting

At first glance, on-demand apps can seem the same, but each has components that differentiate one from another. The on-demand model continues to grow in the industry with new apps being developed every year. If you have ever thought about signing up with one of these companies as a service provider, this round-up is designed to give you the basics of what some of these organizations provide. Read More

A Fresh Start

When Pam Dooley first started the process of a rebrand in 2016, she simply wanted to redesign her website. Its outdated appearance made navigating the site an exercise in patience. But after a few conversations with some experts, she realized her company’s problems were rooted deeper than just the website. “They were like, ‘Who are you?’ and I said, ‘What do you mean, ‘Who are we?’” Dooley says. “They made me realize...Read More

The Move to Manager

Do you know someone very talented at their work and promoted to management without receiving any guidance or training? Maybe you’ve promoted a worker who really shined above the rest yet seemed to struggle with the transition. It’s not so different from playing baseball and coaching baseball. The best player on the team doesn’t always make the best coach. However, with some really simple tools, you can help your workers...Read More

The Cost of a Bad Hire

We need to do a better job on the front end by making sure we get it right the first time around when hiring new team members. Our good employees can get burnt out when they keep picking up the slack.  At one point, we had an account manager not cutting her weight. Our VP of sales had to keep rescuing her accounts until finally he became so frustrated because he was doing two jobs that we almost lost one...Read More 

Ball Seed Enters New Partnership With ForemostCo Inc.

Ball Seed, North America’s leading horticultural distributor, is delighted to announce 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 quality...Read More

National Garden Bureau Announces 2020 "Year of the" Crops

The “Year of the” program has added four new plant classes for bulbs, annuals, edibles, perennials and flowering shrubs. The National Garden Bureau has announced the four plant classes that will be featured in the 2020 “Year of the” program. Read More

You Should be Concerned When This Plant Goes Vertical

The sycamore tree was so smothered by a dense vine that its white trunk appeared green. The campus of St. Louis Community College-Meramec (STLCC) had been invaded by Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’ (commonly known as wintercreeper euonymus or Climbing Euonymus), and if the facilities department didn’t do something soon, the problem would get worse. They tasked groundskeeper...Read More

Make Your Project Presentation Stand Out

“I know it doesn’t matter, but I liked their design better.” These are the words a buyer used to explain why our company lost his landscape project. What was the difference? The other company’s presentation package had a little bit more flair than ours. They put on a show. It doesn’t seem fair. It shouldn’t have mattered, but it did. He went so far as to acknowledge that our construction work is probably better than the company...Read More

Bailey Nurseries 2019 Summer Expo Highlights New Varieties and Technology

In late July, Bailey Nurseries – currently No. 45 on the 2019 Greenhouse Grower Top 100 rankings – hosted its annual Summer Expo at the operation’s Nord Farm in Woodbury, MN. The group uses the annual event to preview its new variety offerings for the upcoming season as well as to educate its customer base on what Bailey has been working on for the previous 12 months. Read More

Fear is Your Biggest Obstacle When it Comes to Beating Your Competition

It is not easy to stand out from the competition in our industry of landscape, lawn and irrigation services. Everyone has access to the same tools, materials, software, marketing, etc..Therefore it’s hard to create a unique product/service, especially one that your clients would deeply desire. However, if you don’t find a way to stand out, you will sadly discover that the main thing you compete...Read More

Crash Course

The zeitgeist of thoughtful collecting, nurturing ownership and creative display is in full bloom in the plant world, according to Leslie Halleck, Garden Center magazine columnist and founder of Halleck Horticultural. But the popularity of houseplants isn’t a new trend. Halleck said she sees a lot of jaded negativity because people have seen the popularity of houseplants come and go. But Halleck said you have to give...Read More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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