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Operating at Peak Efficiency

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

Questions with John Terhesh - Willoway Nurseries’ Head Grower

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

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

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

Overburdened Growers Fuel an Ag-Tech Investment Boom

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

BrightView Files an IPO

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

DC Considers Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Ban

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

Spray Smarts: A Look at Sprayhead Trends

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

Excellence on Display

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

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

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

Kansas State University to Close John C. Pair Horticulture Center

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

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

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

Set the Right Tone

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

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

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

BrightFarms Raises $55 Million in Equity Financing to Fuel Growth

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

Senate Passes its Version of Farm Bill

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

What to Do When ICE Comes Knocking

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

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

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

NALP Launches ‘Why I Landscape’ Campaign

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

A New Model for Garden Centers

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

Trends to Tap in Bagged Compost

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

James Martin Associates Donates Over 120 Potting Parties

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

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

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

Hort Couture Announces its New Alliance with Ball Seed Company

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

Bartlett Tree Experts Acquires HortScience

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

National Green Infrastructure Certification Program at Parkland College in August

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

The Cultural Consumer

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

White Pine Decline

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

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

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

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

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

High Performance: Surviving Survival Mode

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

California Grown Nursery Marketplace Launches Virtual Plant Exchange

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

Gardens Alive! to Close Michigan Nursery

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

Specialty Growers Fundraising for Extension Expertise

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

Bayer Completes Monsanto Acquisition

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

Sitting on Inventory

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

Instagram Expands Business Features

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

Lifelong Learner

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

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

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

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

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

Double Your Profits by Selling Enhancements

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

In the Garden | Fighting invasive plants

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

Attorneys General From Three States Sue EPA Over WPS Protection Suspension

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

New Spring Meadow Nursery Website Offers Improved Tools for Customers

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

Hunter Launches Bluetooth Tap Timer

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

Organic Insect Deterrent for Agriculture

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

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

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

Bailey Nurseries Updates Logo, Brand Identity

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

AmericanHort Announces 2018  HortScholars

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

The 6 Qualities Great Mentors Share

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

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

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

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

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

US Regulators Add Some Flexibility to Trucker ELD Work Rules

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

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

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

NALP Report Shows Value in Outdoor Projects in 2018

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

Immigration Agents Arrest 114 at Ohio Landscaper

More than 100 workers at an Ohio gardening and landscaping company were arrested Tuesday when about 200 federal officers descended on the business and carried out one of the largest workplace immigration raids in recent years.  Read More

Internet Retailer Magazine Recognizes Monrovia as a Top E-Commerce Leader

Monrovia, a grower of premium ornamental and landscaping plants in the United States, has been named one of the country’s top 500 e-commerce merchants, and number 11 in its primary merchandise category by Internet Retailer. A source for e-commerce research...Read More

Viburnum Leaf Beetles Active in Northeast Illinois

The viburnum leaf beetle, a native to Europe, was brought to North America on infected viburnums. While it is established in several northeastern states, we've only confirmed this pest in a handful of counties in northeast Illinois. If your viburnum plants are showing signs of defoliation, please keep your eyes open for larvae now or Viburnum Leaf Beetle adults...Read More

Pollinator-Friendly Solar Energy Bill Passes

The Illinois General Assembly passed a pollinator-friendly solar energy bill late Monday. Senate Bill 3214 gives an extra boost to solar energy development already underway in the state and offers benefits to multiple stakeholders. The bill was sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman and State Representative...Read More

These Are the 4 Different Work Styles and How to Work With Each

Ever wonder why you have great chemistry with some colleagues and butt heads with others? It comes down to your working style, says Kim Christfort, coauthor of Business Chemistry: Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships and national managing director of Deloitte Greenhouse Experience, an innovation...Read More

U.S. Beekeepers Lose Four of Every 10 Managed Colonies in 2017-18

The nation’s beekeepers lost 40 percent of their managed honey bee colonies between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, an increase of almost 7 percentage points from the previous year’s total loss rate, results of an annual nationwide survey show. Greater colony mortality during the 2017-18 winter...Read More

Project EverGreen, SiteOne Partner to Recruit Volunteers

Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops initiative needs contractor volunteers. Both Project EverGreen and SiteOne Landscape Supply along with leading industry suppliers are stepping up to help recruit new volunteers to help...Read More

Research Team Making Strides Toward Protecting Pollinators

Researchers and stakeholder-advisors (including representatives from industry groups, pesticide manufacturers, beekeepers and EPA) met in St. Louis, Missouri, on 7 February 2018 to review and discuss progress that had been made under a project supported by USDA Specialty Crops Research...Read More

Ag Leaders Hope Trump Can Improve H-2A

With faint chances for passage but sure promise for passion, immigration and farm labor legislation will again be debated by Congress in June. House leadership has committed to bringing immigration legislation to the floor in mid- to late June, but fresh produce industry lobbyists said getting...Read More

Proposed Code Changes to Affect Irrigation

Brent Mecham, CID, CLWM, CIC, CLIA, CAIS, industry development director for the Irrigation Association, recently attended code hearings in Columbus, Ohio, for the International Residential Code and the International Plumbing Code. Both codes are part of the family of codes created by the International Code Council. Mecham had previously submitted written comments to proposed changes to those codes specifically...Read More

Thanks to Rainy Spring, 4 Tree Diseases Expected Across Chicagoland This Summer

April and May showers bring ugly leaves, according to local tree experts. Arborists from the Chicago area say days of constant rainfall in recent weeks have led to prime conditions for fungal disease for trees and shrubs. “We were getting rain at exactly the wrong time,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowedge specialist for the Morton Arboretum. “All the new leaves...Read More

National Pollinator Garden Network Seeks 300,000 Pollinator Gardens to Reach Goal of One Million Registered Gardens

Americans concerned about saving bees and our food production systems are being asked to #beecounted and help the National Pollinator Garden Network reach one million bee-friendly gardens by National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, 2018. Saving pollinators has become a national obsession. Since 2015, over 700,000...Read More

Questions Regarding Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Recently, the twenty-eight member states of the European Union voted to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, expanding upon a ban initially put into place in 2013. While this ban is only in effect in some areas overseas...Read More

A Bump in the Road

Whether you receive regular shipments of hard goods or you have plant material shipped in from wholesale growers, chances are your garden center, like much of United States commerce, relies on ground transportation to make it all happen. Managing deliveries and budgeting...Read More

Knupper Nursery Closing After 88 Years

Knupper Nursery & Landscape owners John and Sue Heaton have been to every continent in their travels, including Antarctica. "Antarctica is blue and purple and white and gray. You see nothing green. I'm a green person," Sue Heaton said. She's been a green person since the mid-1980s, when she married John, who has owned Knupper's for 50 years. Read More

Garden Centers Play Catch-up After Late Start to Spring Season

Although many independent garden centers reported sales shortfalls in April, customer traffic has improved in May. An unusually cold, snowy April for many garden centers across the country has led to a very condensed spring selling season, with many retailers playing catch up...Read More

What's Up With Amazon

When Amazon representatives hit industry trade shows in 2016, rumblings about the e-commerce giant’s move into live plants swept the industry. Reactions ranged from warnings to welcomes. That ambivalence deepened with the recent launch of the Amazon Plants Store, adding a designated space for live plant sales to the company’s already extensive lawn and garden offerings. Whatever your position...Read More

Winning at Water

Irrigation controllers are not only becoming easier to program, they're saving on time and water for landscaping companies and their customers. Imagine driving down the street in a suburban development in the wee hours of the morning and it starts pouring.  Read More

Scholarship Opportunities from our Partners at AmericanHort

Scholarships totaling nearly $20,000 for the 2018-2019 school year are made possible by seven special Horticultural Research Institute endowment funds that aid students who are seeking a lifelong career in horticulture. HRI, the AmericanHort Foundation, and its member firms consider graduating students in horticulture to be the lifeblood of the green industry. The scholarship application and prerequisite information are AVAILABLE HERE.  

The Rise and Rise of the Under 35s

Right now most owners and managers in the retail garden business are in “can we catch up with budget?” mode after a late, cold spring season and are probably not worrying too much about demographic trends. So mark this as a “should look at this again after Memorial Day” doc and circle back when you can raise your head above the trench...Read More

The Continuing Story of Impatiens Downy Mildew

The more we learn about impatiens downy mildew (IDM), the more intriguing and cunning this disease seems. It came to light in 2004 after widespread infections were reported in several states throughout the US but then receded from the spotlight for several years. Since 2011, IDM has been more consistently visible...Read More

Top Arborvitae Aggravations

Arborvitae varieties (Thuja spp.) provide some of our most beautiful and versatile evergreens for landscapes, with an extensive selection of sizes and types. Unless they get proper care, they also give us some frustrating failures. Here is my list of the most frequently...Read More