Responding to the coronavirus

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We asked about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on your businesses. You responded. 

Nationwide, companies are being forced to adjust to unexpected consequences of the coronavirus. Some companies are seeing some surprising benefits, while others are operating cautiously as they fear the worst is yet to come.

Here’s some of what you’ve told us so far:

MARCH 30: Brandon Barker, commercial operations manager

J. Barker Landscaping Company, Bedford, Ohio

For now, J. Barker Landscaping Co. is still operational in a limited capacity.

“We have closed down our main office until April 6th and have allowed office staff, sales people and account managers to work from home,” Barker said. “Our company offers a variety of services that go outside of the ‘landscape services’ realm. Those services are demolition, dumpster rentals and trash removal/sanitation. These services are considered essential according to state officials in Ohio. We have cut back on some of our landscape services, but we are still probably running 70% of our full landscape operation.”

Barker added that the company is still servicing five local hospitals as well.

“We maintain 5 hospitals in Northeast Ohio and numerous other medical facilities,” he said. “We want to make sure that they are getting the service that they need to be fully operational.”

When the COVID-19 crisis first began, Barker said the business did receive some cancellations, but the majority of those customers have come back.

“There have been a few delays in some of our jobs, due to the uncertainty of our current situation. But the delays have only lasted a few days and work has continued on afterwards,” he said. “Customers tend to not mind us working since we are outside and not coming in contact with them.”

While work continues, Barker said he is concerned about staffing, as J. Barker Landscaping Co. typically utilizes H-2B workers.

“There is much uncertainty as to what will actual be the outcome in regards to our H2B workers,” he said. “Right now, it’s looking like we may receive some but not all of our H2B workers. We just found out this week that workers who had not previously worked in the U.S. are being turned away from one of the U.S. Consulate in Mexico, preventing them from obtaining their visas. Returning workers seem to be in a better position and have obtained their visas. We hope there are no issues at the border when they try to cross later this week. Luckily, the majority of our workforce is not H2B, so we should still be in decent shape with our work force. We have already been focusing on recruiting and interviewing new hires in the U.S. to make up for any H2B shortage.”

Barker said he is also concerned about how COVID-19 will impact residential design/build projects.

“Our biggest concern is how this is going to affect our potential residential design/build and landscape construction projects in 2020,” he said. “We would imagine that planning or starting a new landscape project is taking a backseat to a variety of goals and concerns for our residential customers. People might be less willing to invest in a new landscape when there is much uncertainty on how this pandemic will affect the U.S. economy. But we want customers to know that we can move forward with any of their landscape needs because of the safety and health precautions that we are taking as a company.”

In order to keep employees and customers safe, the company has staggered start times, maintained six feet of distance during team meetings and limiting the number of people in confined spaces by having only one person in each truck.

 

 

MARCH 27: John Wimberg, vice president

Wimberg Landscaping, Cincinnati, Ohio

Wimberg said that while he’s not panicking yet, he is concerned about the uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic will continue to cause.

“We’re a little worried,” he said. “We’re a pretty good-sized company so we might be able to withstand a little better than some of the small companies.”

Wimberg Landscaping has about 50 employees, and according to Wimberg, did around $5 million in sales in 2019.

Despite all non-essential businesses being closed in Ohio, Wimberg said his crews are still operational.

“It was very vague on what was essential,” he said. “They basically said that anything time sensitive was permitted. So, we’re going to keep our basic services going here for as long as we can. We’re giving our people that option that if they want to take the state-supplied unemployment until the shutdown ends they could. The uncertainty definitely leaves you a little uneasy.”

Wimberg added his company had been initiating safety and sanitation procedures before the stay-at-home began. 

“A couple of weeks ago we started doing stuff like social distancing, wiping things down more and having one guy clock everybody in in the morning,” he said. “We told people not to come into the office, which is separate from our warehouse, unless they absolutely had to. We’ve been trying to arrange for each person being in separate trucks. So far, it’s worked out.”

The company has also been keeping in touch with its clients to let them know they’ll still be out there working.

“We did an email blast to everyone to let them know what we are doing, and we have a Facebook page that we’ve been updating,” he said. “There’s been pretty positive feedback. I think people just like looking out the window and seeing a bit of normalcy.”

Despite reassuring customers, Wimberg said he has had some cancelations.

“When this first hit, we had a few people cut back on what they were going to do or cancel the job,” he said. “We had one of our bigger customers cancel a couple of decent sized projects. At the same time, I would have thought that our phone lines would have been drying up, but we still got people calling in and looking for work.”

Wimberg said that to make it through, he’ll be using how the company handled the Great Recession as a kind of business model.

“We’re looking back to 2008 and 2009 and looking at what was good then and what was bad,” he said. “Back then, we tried to slash a lot of costs, and went through and asked ‘what do we really need.’ We cut back our advertising a lot and some extra services we didn’t really need. At this point, we haven’t really slashed anything.”

Josh Wise, owner

GrassRoots Tree & Turf Care, Acworth, Georgia

On one hand, Josh Wise has watched five customers call and cancel their service specifically because of COVID-19.

On the other, he’s also seen his sales at GrassRoots Tree & Turf Care in Acworth, Georgia, actually grow this year as opposed to last. He said he had a higher cancel rate last season, and in that same time, he had just under 550 new accounts for the first few months of the year. Right now, he’s looking at 900, and he’s nearly got 200 new clients this week alone.

“A lot of people had trip plans, but now they can’t go anywhere and do anything and they’re getting all these refunds, they’re saying, ‘honey, let’s do something with our lawn and landscape,’” Wise said.

He said he acknowledges the severity of the situation: His crews are practicing social distancing, and they’ve changed the way they do group meetings to a larger circle outside rather than sitting around an office. Any shipments to the office are being instantly sprayed with Lysol and equipment is being wiped down more than usual. “You constantly hear the sink turning on and hands being washed,” he said. “Everybody’s being cautious. Employees are just going from home to work, and from work to home.”

But he’s also remaining upbeat. Among his 28 employees, Wise said he’s told them he’ll be flexible, as one employee who has a weaker immune system is already staying home for the next few weeks. Business-wise, things seem to be humming along. Wise has increased his advertising, too, so more people are seeing his company’s name.

“All in all, things are going really well here,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to get really bad. I really don’t.”

Amanda Linder, owner

Rolling Hills Landscapes, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Linder said that when the stay-at-home order went into place, and non-essential businesses were forced to close, talking to her local municipality allowed the business to finish a job that was already started.

“What happened was, I called the municipality where we had a job open,” she said. “We are doing an engineered wall, so we dug out about six feet back and six feet high of earth in someone’s yard. When I reached out to the police in the area, they said it’d be more of a public safety issue to let it go, so they let us keep going.”

Since then, Linder said her state senator has made it clear that landscapers and lawn care workers are considered essential.

But even with being able to work, Linder said some clients are still canceling their upcoming projects.

“I’ve had it go both ways,” she said. “One lady called and said that because they had to cancel some vacation plans, their home improvement projects are now moving up. We were able to move her forward on the schedule. I did also have a patio project where a couple, because of the uncertainty over the next few weeks, pressed pause. Another project said they are laying low for now because of what’s happening.”

After changing their business model about a year ago to only focus on hardscapes, Linder said she’s uncertain about how the coronavirus will impact future projects.

“We’ve talked about it and see it going both ways,” she said. “Maybe, if more people are inclined to stay around and be closer to home, they’ll take a look around and say, ‘maybe it’s time we do something here. If someone has been out of work, they might find the need to hold off altogether.”

While some landscape companies are typically gearing up for spring this time of year, Linder said the coronavirus hasn’t interrupted too much.

“Usually, March is kind of sketchy,” she said. “There’s about six to eight weeks where we are down completely in the winter. Now, I’m usually getting the early birds. The work in the early spring is usually just carry over from the previous season. It’s not until April where we start to see more.”

Linder is hoping things return to normal soon, and maybe that this unexpected pandemic will help to fill out some of the company’s slow season later in the summer.

“We’re hoping everything springs back by the middle of summer,” she said. “From the Fourth of July to back to school time is usually a bit slower. Hopefully this will propel us during that time.”

John Mueller, president

Mueller Landscape, San Diego, California

John Mueller knows it’s a scary situation, and in California, where the state issued mandated shutdowns earlier than most others, coronavirus has been a hot topic for weeks.

Yet after some of the initial concerns over whether his company had enough saved up to survive a long-term shutdown – California considers landscaping an “essential business” because of its safety and sanitary benefits – Mueller said tensions have cooled at his company. In fact, he’s seen an uptick in sales and job applications.

Usually, the industry-wise labor shortage is so severe that one advertisement might draw a single interested applicant, Mueller said. But now, with other businesses laying off employees – some temporarily, some permanently – things are going quite differently. He can even afford to be picky with who he selects to join the crews.

“It was extremely hard to find quality help,” Mueller said. “Now, I run an ad, I’m getting more than a dozen a day. Most of these people don’t have experience… but at least I am getting people who are calling up.”

His company is a smaller company with two-man crews who practice social distancing as much as they can, and Mueller has stressed to his employees that they not come in if they feel sick at all. “When the crews get back at the end of the day, we use Lysol and spray down everything in the truck, we do an extra cleaning that wouldn’t normally get done,” he said.

Mueller is certainly seeing some benefits from the COVID-19 concerns, but he acknowledges they could be temporary. “It’s day by day,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s hour by hour. People are being laid off right now by the millions all over the country. We just don’t know what happens next.”

Adam Coupe, owner

Coupe’s Cut Lawn Services, Carmel, New York

New York City might be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., but an hour’s drive away in Carmel, Coupe said its business as usual for him.

“We’re outside and by this time of year we’re already approved to do a whole bunch of commercial work,” he said. “And all that money is budgeted and spent… right now we’re busy and as far as New York says we’re an essential business and allowed to be out working.”

In fact, Coupe says the stay-at-home order is allowing crews to finish some jobs faster.

“We don’t really have any contact with anyone when we’re outside,” he said. “Especially now, when we’re in these parking lots and there’s very little traffic. We’re getting a lot of work done and it’s usually a mad house, but there’s no one here to bother us.”

While working, crews are adhering to social distancing guidelines.

“We’re trying to maintain that six feet of social distancing between each worker,” Coupe said. “We’re putting less guys in the trucks and taking more trucks to the job. Guys usually like to eat their lunches in the truck, but we’re not doing that anymore. We’re just sitting out on the curbs. We’re cleaning the trucks daily and taking more measures there.”

So far, Coupe said he hasn’t lost any jobs because of COVID-19, but no new jobs are coming in.

“Honestly, right now it’s business as usual,” he said. “The only thing I can say is that right now the phone isn’t ringing for new customers. The phone is completely dead, when as long as the sun is shining, people are usually calling. The customers we have now are doing stuff, but I think there’s a big hold on anybody who didn’t previous have landscape services but were thinking about it.””

Coupe added he feels the community is happy to see landscaping crews still out and about.

“There’s no customers telling us not to show up,” he said. “Everyone is eager to see us out here. I think most of our customers are happy to keep the economy rolling, and do it safely, rather than cancel everything.”

With not knowing how long the stay-at-home order will be in place, Coupe said some plans for the business will change.

“We were looking to hire one or two more guys for this season, but now that’s been put on hold indefinitely,” he said.

Coupe added that the company is researching small business loans that will become available for those affected by the pandemic but has no immediate plans to apply.

“Luckily, with how we run our business on the financial side, we’re prepared for these kinds of things,” he said.

Right now, he said his biggest worry is clients not being able to pay on time.

“The main concern that I have is that we’re in a service industry and for us to make a dollar we have to spend dollars,” he said. “We’ve got to put the guys in the trucks, put gas in the trucks and put gas in the equipment. Now with all this coming down the road, I’m worried the money is going to get short. People are out of work, they’re cutting back… how long will it take for us to see that money coming in? People will be paying late or pushing us off. When it comes down to it, people have to pay their mortgage or their utilities and then they say, ‘the landscaper can wait.’”

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Early results

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Lawn Mowing Local always provide the outstanding journals on keeping your gardens looking good. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we endeavor to cover the entire dimensions of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the blogs below and find it useful in your lawns.

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Lawn & Landscape sent a survey on March 20 to our readers. These numbers were collected the evening of March 23 after approximately 1,300 people responded. We plan on sending a similar survey out in a couple of weeks to monitor the pulse of the industry, and will follow-up with more coverage in the coming weeks.

How much have circumstances around COVID-19 negatively affected your business?

  • Extremely            17%
  • A lot      23%
  • Somewhat           47%
  • Not at all             13%

How much has COVID-19 and the economy affected your company’s planned purchases/spending? (Select all that apply)

  • Cancelled all spending    12%
  • Cancelled some spending              20%
  • Paused all spending         21%
  • Paused some spending   40%
  • Hiring freeze      23%
  • Layoffs  10%
  • No change in plans          14%
  • Other     3%

Have customers delayed any projects since the outbreak?

  • Yes         69%
  • No          31%
  • If you have had jobs cancelled or paused, what segment were they in? (Select all that apply)
  • Maintenance (Mowing, trimming)             37%
  • Design/build       51%
  • Lawn care (Chemical spraying, fertilizer) 24%
  • Irrigation             10%
  • Tree care             11%
  • None cancelled or delayed           19%

What type of customer cancelled or paused? (Select all that apply)

  • Residential          61%
  • Commercial        37%
  • Government        4%
  • None cancelled or paused            21%

Has anyone told you directly they are cancelling a job because of the economy’s downturn/COVID 19?

  • Yes         53%
  • No          47%

What steps/changes are you taking to ensure worker health and safety during this outbreak? (Select all that apply)

  • Allowing employees to work remotely if possible               38.41%
  • Staggered work hours     25%
  • Meetings outside             43%
  • Temporarily shutting down          16%
  • Extra cleaning    65%
  • Allowing field labor to commute directly to a jobsite        29%
  • Other     13%

How did you communicate your plans around COVID to the public? (Select all that apply)

  • Email     63%
  • Call        36%
  • Message on website        16%
  • Social media       29%
  • Mailed letter, text, or didn’t communicate      16%

Here is some feedback from the survey:

  • In Minnesota, our spring rush has not started yet, but, in general, past customers who normally prepay for services to receive a discounted rate on services are not prepaying and just paying as the season goes. This hurts our spring rush cash flow.
  • We expected more cancellations than what we got this week, but we surprisingly picked up more new jobs than the cancellations. So far so good, but as customers lose their jobs and income, we expect cancellations and layoffs.
  • Hope it ends quickly, if not we will weather the storm and push forward. I just purchased a 26-acre farm on March 16th. It has certainly been a whirlwind. My construction has been delayed and we had to tell my employees to sign up for unemployment on the first day of spring. All that said my employees and customers are most important and their safety will determine my decisions as we move forward.
  • Residents at home without work will have time, but no money, so they will likely cancel maintenance services. Commercial properties do not want vendors in their buildings and are trying to maintain their own interior plants. Commercial businesses may still need their landscape maintained, but may try to save money by eliminating flowers, mulching or other enhancements.
  • I think this may boost my detailed container and perennial maintenance and installation business due to my clients needing to stay home and therefore enjoying the gardens more.
  • So far our branch is in good shape. We’ve stopped the techs from having to enter the branch itself, which has provided more assurance for the admin working on the computer. Admin may soon work from home. So far, no major service disruptions. Only had one lawn customer who refused service due to pandemic. Pest control is still going strong as well. We maintain social distancing with our customer and use full PPE when doing callbacks inside a house. Also, we have skipped requiring getting customer signatures, just need name of customer for approval of service
  • We haven’t been affected yet. Gas prices are great. We limit who and how we communicate with. Most of our client base is home with kids out of school. We are praying the government doesn’t shut us down since we don’t come in contact with hardly anyone during work.
  • The uncertainty and ongoing progress of the epidemic hasn’t set-in, so far, staying close with clients, employees, vendors and the public is the (utmost) importance, as a company giving a sense of security and assurance is the best we can do. We will see in the coming weeks, and adapting to the circumstances, however, there are new business opportunities as well.
  • If the temporary lock down in Las Vegas is more than 30 days, it will start to take a toll on my clientele because their income will be affected.
  • May actually help because more people will be spending time at home and wanting to do more projects. Vacations are going to be canceled. I think they will do improvements at their homes.

 

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Industry continues to feel effects of coronavirus

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As global concern over the Coronavirus grows, landscaping companies should prepare for how to handle a possible outbreak in their area and urge employees who are sick to stay home.

On March 20, Syngenta released the following statement: "As we adapt to the unprecedented challenges posed by the quickly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we want to assure you that Syngenta continues to take steps to ensure we are operating safely.  Syngenta’s priority is the health and safety of our employees, families, customers and partners. We continue to assess the situation daily and take actions in an abundance of caution to maintain business continuity while focusing on the safety and health of our customers and employees." The full statement can be viewed here.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals has canceled the National Collegiate Landscape Competition as a result of the travel and health concerns. You can read more about that cancellation here.

Meanwhile, the Irrigation Association released a statement that says "understands and supports the aggressive preventive measures being taken across the globe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic." A majority of its staff in Fairfax, Virginia, has moved to remote work as a result. You can read more from the association’s website here.

NALP has also established guidelines to assist business owners. These tips include complying with all federal, state and local advisories; actively urging employees who are sick to stay home; and thoroughly disinfecting personal protective equipment.

While the Centers of Disease Control assessed that for most people the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus is low, businesses should start preparing for more employee absences.

The NALP suggests cross-training personnel in the event that a key member of the team is absent for an extended period of time. It’s also important to note that the Coronavirus is a reportable illness with OSHA.

It’s also recommended that companies begin reviewing policies and procedures, along with preparing to alter business practices if needed.

According to the CDC, Oregon has 75 reported cases, while neighboring state Washington has reported 1,012 cases and 52 deaths.

For Ben Bowen, head landscape designer with Ross NW Watergardens in Portland, his company has already begun putting preventative measures in place.

“Right now, it’s still business as usual for us. We had a discussion with all of our teammates,” Bowen said. “We made sure everyone understood the symptoms, and we told them we expect them to stay home if they have any of them.”

Bowen added that at Ross NW Watergardens, employees have a pool of paid time off that they can utilize for sick, personal and vacation days.

“Usually, our employees will come to work if they have a minor cold,” he said. “However, we made sure they know to stay home, and if they have to take off for this it won’t impact their normal pool of paid time off.”

Bowen noted some companies may not be able to offer the same courtesy to their employees.

“For states that don’t have mandated paid time off, there could be a problem,” he said. “There can be a little hostility toward those who are perceived to be spreading the virus.”

According to Bowen, Ross NW Watergardens has already begun to be negatively impacted by the growing panic over the Coronavirus.

“I just got an email from a client who was very motivated to do a backyard project with us,” he explained. “He loved all the ideas but told me with things being so uncertain he could not invest the money into the project at this time. In the design/build industry we’re seeing people worried about the economy.”

Bowen said he expects the maintenance and manufacturing sectors of the industry to be affected as well, especially in areas that quarantine.

“If we were to see something like what is going on in Italy, then crews could be idle for weeks,” he said. “Manufacturing disruptions could increase wait time for parts and equipment.”

While everyone is being cautious, Bowen said that employees are staying calm in the meantime.

“The tone is really that we’re not worried for ourselves but realize there are people in the community who are especially vulnerable. We want to protect those people by being,” he said.

Bob Grover, president of Pacific Landscape Management, also in Portland, said that while the health risks are undeniable, he is more concerned about the economic impact.S

“My biggest concern over the Coronavirus is the potential impact on the economy,” he said. “We are hearing of all the things being cancelled or postponed. The impact that the Coronoavirus has on the travel, hotel and convention industries will have ripple effects into the overall economy.”

Grover added that beginning late last week, Pacific Landscape Management began researching and formulating a plan.

“We want people to practice good hygiene,” he said. “That means washing your hands when you get to work, when you go home and throughout the day. Also, coughing or sneezing into your elbow. We told employees don’t come to work if you feel sick. If you do come sick, and we feel that you’re coughing, or feverish, we will send you home.”

Grover said he believes that in states without mandated sick leave employees will show up to work even if they have some of the symptoms.

“The good thing about Oregon is we’re a very progressive state and it’s required that all employees have sick leave,” he said. “So, it’s not as big of an issue here in Oregon as it might be in other states.”

At Pacific Landscape Management some employees have scheduled travel plans that may be cancelled and others may choose to cancel trips in highly affected areas.

“We told employees that they have the choice to self-select out and not go if they are not comfortable,” he said. “We want everybody to take their personal health into their own hands. We want to encourage people to do that and not feel like there will be any retributions.”

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Aromatic Desert Flowers: Fragrant Plants For Desert Regions

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The desert can be a harsh environment and punishing to gardeners. Finding appropriate aromatic desert flowers might pose a challenge. Filling the landscape with desert plants that smell good isn’t as hard as one might think though. There are several native plants that will thrive and even some super tough perennials. Keep reading for some fragrant desert flower ideas to perfume your garden. Choosing Fragrant Plants in Dry Climates When you think of sweet-smelling flowers, often the tropical beauties come to mind. However, the desert is an altogether different environment. The extreme heat and cold, blazing sun, and lack of water mean plants have to be very tough. Cactus is a perfect example and while many do get flowers, few actually smell nice. Fragrant plants for desert gardens will balance the traditional plants used in arid regions. You can expand the variety of plants you grow in an arid landscape

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Painted Garden Rocks: Learn How To Hand Paint Garden Rocks

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Decorating your outdoor space goes well beyond just choosing and tending to plants and flowers. Additional décor adds another element and dimension to beds, patios, container gardens, and yards. One fun option is using painted garden rocks. This is an increasingly popular craft that is easy and inexpensive. Using Painted Garden Stones and Rocks Putting painted rocks in your garden is limited only by your imagination. Rocks big or small, painted anyway you like, can set the tone for your beds, add an unexpected splash of color, and even serve as memorials. Here are some ideas for how to use this trendy new garden decoration: Use painted rocks as labels for your herb and vegetable garden. Just lay a rock down by each plant or row with the name or picture painted on the rock. Paint stones to look like native animals and tuck them under and around plants. Use

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Gardening In A Crate: Tips For Growing In Slatted Boxes

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Repurposing wooden crates into rustic looking flower and vegetable planters can add depth to any garden design. Wooden box planters can be made out of a garage sale crate, a craft store slatted box container, or can be homemade from scrap wood or a discarded pallet. Container gardening in a crate is a creative and fun way to add plants to any location, from the patio, deck, or front porch to creative indoor displays. Read on for more info on growing plants in wooden crates. Planting in a Slatted Box Container Growing plants in a wooden crate is easy. Line the crate. Select a sturdy, well-made crate with slats less than two inches (5 cm.) apart. Line the crate with plastic, landscape fabric, coir, or burlap to contain the soil. If necessary, drill holes in the crate and poke holes in the liner to provide adequate drainage. Fill the crate

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Horticultural Research Institute unveils best practices for combating boxwood blight

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Horticultural Research Institute is invested in helping the industry understand the complex nature of boxwood health. New boxwood blight best management practices for landscape management were released last month in tandem with updated best management practices for production. HRI continues to guide research, monitor results, and provide an expanding toolbox of resources on boxwood health directly to the industry.

Boxwood blight continues to cause producers and landscape managers headaches. Reports of the disease continue to rise as scouting prowess increases in our industries and weather conditions (warm, wet/humid conditions, 60-82° F) continue to favor disease development. Researchers are making headway at unraveling boxwood blight’s secrets.

Some of the latest areas of research currently underway includes:

  • Longevity of chlorothalonil fungicide applications, modeling fungicide resistance, and looking at fungicides that induce boxwood’s natural resistance, such as acibenzolar. Dr. Sara Villani, North Carolina State University
  • Horticultural Research Institute

  • Possible biocontrol agents, such as Trichoderma koningiopsis, Pseudomonas sp., and Burkholderia sp. Dr. JoAnne Crouch, USDA ARS and Dr. Ping Kong, Virginia Tech
  • Development of a rapid, equipment-free diagnostic assay. Dr. Xiao Yang and Dr. Doug Luster, USDA ARS
  • Population changes (in term of genetics), Dr. JoAnne Crouch, USDA ARS
  • Continuing evaluation of cultivar tolerance and susceptibility. Dr. Jim LaMondia, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Dr. Marc Cubeta, North Carolina State University, Dr. JoAnne Crouch, USDA ARS, and Dr. Nina Shishkoff, USDA ARS
  • Surveys of boxwood production in Oregon, Dr. Jerry Weiland, USDA ARS

It is important to remember, though, that the risk to boxwood does not rest solely in boxwood blight.

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How To Get Rid Of Clover In Your Lawn Naturally

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Lawn Mowing Local attempts to provide the first-rate online journals on keeping your yard looking delightful. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we endeavor to cover the entire scope of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the journals below and find it useful in your grass.

Unkempt garden yard with crab grass and clover weeds
To learn more about our editorial integrity policy and how we make money through affiliate partnerships, read our full disclosure here. If four-leaf clovers bring good luck, three-leaf clovers bring stress to gardeners and homeowners everywhere. Clover is commonly considered a weed since it grows so abundantly in North America and throughout much of Europe. Although it does have some uses, it grows fast enough to overtake many turfgrasses, and its small white flowers distract from a lush green lawn. There are plenty of ways to get rid of clover without using synthetic weed killer, and we’ll go over the most common and effective methods. However, keeping a lawn free of any kind of weed takes a great deal of time and effort, and not all homeowners want to perform this level of maintenance themselves. If that’s the case, hiring a professional lawn service is a good way to go.

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Working on the workers

Sourced content from: http://www.lawnandlandscape.com/Article/workforce-development-summit-working-on-workers

Lawn Mowing Local works to provide the exceptional blogs on keeping your back yards looking impressive. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we attempt to cover the entire scope of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the substance below and find it useful in your front yard.

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Whether it’s fixing your culture or investing in better technology, the green industry is looking for ways to fix the lack of quality labor. At the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Workforce Development Summit, people from inside and outside the industry contributed ways to solve the labor crisis. Here are some takeaways from the event:

Devils in the details. Many business owners can specifically cite reasons why customers should do business with them. But when they talk about why someone should want to work at their company, the answers aren’t as clear. You have to go beyond the overarching statements like “we’re family” or “we have fun.” Not only does the organization need to establish what makes them a better employer than the competition, the employees have to be genuine in their answers when asked about it. “They have to answer it so quick, and it can’t be rehearsed,” said Eric Chester, a workforce development author and speaker, who kicked off the event. “It has to come from them.”

Survey says. When is the last time you surveyed front line people? Chester recommends asking three questions regularly of frontline employees. 1. What do you like about working here 2. What don’t you like about working here? 3. If you were in charge, what would you be doing? These have to be asked without repercussion or, when the answers are delivered, greeted without argument from the manager.

On your feet. Chester said he interviewed Bill Marriot, executive chairman of Marriot Hotels, and Marriot told him every leader is required to hold a 5-minute stand-up meeting every day. Why a stand-up meeting? Because “when you sit down, you get down.” Standing up you are “eye to eye, belly to belly,” Chester said. During the meeting three items are addressed – staff are told what they are doing well. Then areas of improvement are covered (though not calling out individuals). Finally, staff are asked what they need to be more successful at their job. If the request can’t be met, make sure the reason is explained.

Reaching out to local high schools (and even younger schools) is something the industry has been turning to as a way of exposing the younger generation to landscaping as a career. But when approaching high schools about exposing kids to the industry, don’t focus on what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. Landscare’s Mark Hopkins, regional vice president at LandCare, said some of the schools he worked with had facilities like greenhouses, or equipment they weren’t fully-utilizing, which LandCare could help with. He added LandCare is working with 24 high schools in four states and said none of the students were aware of landscaping as a career. You also need to follow-up relentlessly since the contacts at school are busy like you, and you may not hear back initially. “You’ll get discouraged before you have success,” he says.

Robot revolution. Frank Mariani, CEO of Mariani Landscapes, has recently began deploying robotic mowers as a service and anticipates having 100 machines on lawns by the end of 2020, with 5,000 labor hours saved and no jobs eliminated. Mowing labor can be moved over to blowing, edging and trimming, which will elevate the quality of the work, Mariani says. When rolling out the program, he says to let clients know that the first month the lawn may look like “a bad haircut” because of the mowing pattern. He added to try the service out on a customer who is interested in sustainable practices before charging for the service.

No turf talk. Tyler Bloom is the superintendent at Sparrows Point Country Club in Baltimore, Maryland and had a major turnover problem. That was until he shifted his focus to developing his club’s culture and recruiting high school kids who he could mold into qualified employees. The shift worked, and he hasn’t had to replace someone in two years. One piece of recruiting advice was to avoid leading with the specifics of the job when speaking with a potential candidate. Instead, focus on what the potential employee will learn when it comes to leadership, and show them the career path for growth.

 

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Harbor Freight Mower Lift

Sourced content from: https://www.lawnsite.com/threads/harbor-freight-mower-lift.494557/

Lawn Mowing Local seeks to provide the first online journals on keeping your garden looking outstanding. From tips on do it yourself projects to how to keep your lawns green we strives to cover the entire dimensions of every homeowner’s landscaping needs. We hope you enjoy the blogs below and find it useful in your grass.

Is this lift decent for a 48" standers and a 52" walk behind? It says lifts up to 300 lbs.
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