Tricolor Amaranth Care: Tips On Growing Joseph’s Coat Amaranth

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Joseph’s coat amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor), also known as tricolor amaranth, is a pretty annual that grows quickly and provides brilliant color. The foliage is the star here, and this plant makes a great border or edging. It also grows well and looks stunning when put in as mass plantings. Tricolor amaranth care is easy, and it makes a great addition to many gardens. What is Joseph’s Coat Amaranth? Common names for this plant include Joseph’s coat or tricolor amaranth, fountain plant, and summer poinsettia. It grows as an annual from spring to fall and thrives in most USDA zones. You can grow tricolor amaranth in beds or in containers. The leaves are what make Joseph’s coat spectacular and appealing to gardeners. They start out green and grow to three to six inches (7.6 to 15 cm.) long and two to four inches (5 to 10 cm.) wide. The green leaves

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Survival Plants – Information About Plants You Can Eat In The Wild

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In recent years, the concept of foraging for wild edible plants has gained popularity. Depending upon where you live, various survival type plants can be found in uninhabited or neglected spaces. While the idea of harvesting wild plants for survival is not new, familiarizing oneself with edible wild plants and the safety concerns surrounding these plants, can broaden gardeners’ horizons. You never know when you might find yourself in a predicament where relying upon such plants for survival becomes necessary. About Survival Plants When it comes to plants that you can eat in the wild, it is first important to establish whether or not consuming the plant will be safe. When foraging for edible wild plants, they should never be consumed without absolute positive identification that they are safe to eat. This is especially important, as many edible plants closely resemble others that are toxic to humans. Choosing plants you

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Harvesting Small Grains: How And When To Harvest Grain Crops

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Grains provide the basis of many of our favorite foods. Growing your own grain allows you to control whether it is genetically modified and what chemicals are used during production. Harvesting small grains as an individual can be tricky, without big threshing machines, but our ancestors did it and so can we. Knowing when to harvest grain is the first step, but you also need to know how to thresh, winnow and store it for best results. When to Harvest Grain Learning how to harvest grains is crucial for the small farmer. Each type of grain will ripen at a slightly different time, so you need to know how to recognize ripe seeds and then step into the world of reaping. If you are lucky, you will have a small combine and the grain harvest is a breeze. The rest of us will have to do it the old-fashioned way.

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John Deere designs augmented reality experience for mower

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CARY, N.C. – John Deere recently unveiled an augmented reality experience that allows Apple iPhone or iPad users to interact with a virtual John Deere Z994R Diesel ZTrak Zero-Turn Mower and explore its physical features. With the new feature, customers can use their iPhone to drop the mower into their surroundings, whether it be their yards or unexpected places like their work cubicle.

“We see our customers increasingly using digital media to do research and be entertained,” said Jaremy Flake, the manager of marketing communication at John Deere. “We want to attract them to our products by making it fun, then give them the information they need. With this experience, they are able to interact with our equipment – without physically going to the dealership – and then have an opportunity to learn more about the product.”

Using the link on the Z994R model page of the John Deere website, users with an iOS12 device can drop the machine into the space around them using Quick Look technology. This augmented reality experience enables users to spin the mower around, resize it and go inside the mower deck to see the blades. Users can go to the John Deere website using the Safari browser to enjoy this experience without downloading a special application.

“There are all kinds of possibilities with this technology, and I think we’re going to see a lot more of this in the future,” Flake said. “Just like John Deere is leading in equipment, we’re striving to do the same in how we engage with our customers.”

To experience the John Deere Z994 in augmented reality, visit the Z994R model page. This experience is only available while using the Safari browser on an iOS12 Apple iPhone or iPad.

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The move to manager

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By Cyndi (Crother) Laurin, Ph.D.

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 transition to manager in a much less stressful and more rewarding manner for everyone.

Often times, in predominantly labor-based industries, such as landscaping, people get promoted to manager because of their efforts, work ethic, or because they’re the best at what they do. While these promotions generally come with a boost in pay and other perks, many new managers find the transition challenging and downright overwhelming. The stress of managing people, customers, and inventory doesn’t end at the end of the shift…it often causes sleep and anxiety issues through the night.

Brandon Varney, owner of Pristine Green located in Phoenix says, “I could have never imagined how much stress it would be to transition from doing the majority of the work to managing a landscape team. Once after returning from a weekend vacation, I was bombarded with messages from customers saying their yards were not serviced. Apparently, our team lead was out sick and didn’t let clients know he wouldn’t be able to get the team out. No weekend away was worth the stress of having to recover accounts and get caught up.”

Why is this? At the most fundamental level, the skills someone has leading to a promotion are not the same skills that will serve them as manager. Think back to before you became a manager. As a laborer, work was very process oriented. You followed the process, and the work got done. As a manager, it’s not as clear cut. At any given time, you’re dealing with people not showing up, poor workmanship, or turnover. If your team is ship shape, a good chunk of your time may be spent managing customer complaints or resolving scheduling or inventory issues.  

What’s generally missing is a process to manage people. Without one, many default to how they were parented. If your parent was a yeller, under pressure you’re going to yell at your employees. If your parent was a pushover, under pressure you’ll give in to your employees. Neither is effective because parenting is not managing.

So what does work?

  1. Effective management is the practice of regular observation and providing clear, specific feedback in real time. When you see or hear your employee do something right (even if it is part of what is expected of him or her), let them know. Behavioral science says people receive critical feedback from their manager much better when balanced with specific, positive feedback. Rather than saying, “Nice job,” let your worker know exactly what they did that you want to see more of.  What about undesired or ineffective behavior? Nothing shuts an employee down faster than being yelled at or demeaned in front of their peers. Rather than parent them, you need to first make sure the employee is very clear on what the expected behavior is.
  2. Next, state the specific, observed behavior needing adjustment followed by letting the employee know the ripple effect of the behavior. Finish the conversation by making the behavioral expectation very clear. It’s much less costly to give a worker the opportunity to get it right before cutting them loose and starting over again.
  3. Another best practice is to conduct a daily huddle. This is a great way to get your crew on the same page by sharing the plan for the day and eliciting feedback on resources they need or any other obstacle that could prevent accomplishing the day’s goal. As manager, this becomes your to-do list to ensure your crew has every possibility of staying on track and meeting goals or deadlines. Pristine Green uses a daily group message because they are not all in the same location. Varney says, “It’s really benefitted our landscape team by alerting them of items needing care due to change in seasons or a new strategy we’re incorporating. The team has a better understanding of what is expected, and our customers benefit from better looking yards.”

Your job as manager is to remove obstacles and provide tools and resources so your crew can effectively do their job. In essence, you must be committed to their success. This is especially true in industries where the labor shortage is a huge concern. We all know turnover is expected, but when good employees are walking out the door, so do your profits. Combine this with the statistic that nearly two-thirds of all workers leave their job due to quality of the day-to-day relationship with their direct supervisor. This means it’s up to you to create an environment where they want to stay.

The author is Founder of Guide to Greatness, a consulting company based in Arizona.  

 

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What Is Western Honeysuckle – How To Grow Orange Honeysuckle Vines

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Western honeysuckle vines (Lonicera ciliosa) are evergreen flowering vines that are also known as orange honeysuckle and trumpet honeysuckle. These honeysuckle vines climb up some 33 feet (10 m.) and decorate the garden with sweet-smelling orange blossoms. Read on for information about these vines including tips on how to grow orange honeysuckle. What is Western Honeysuckle? This North American native vine that produces lovely, fragrant flowers. Bees and hummingbirds love western honeysuckle vines for the fragrant, trumpet-shaped blossoms, rich in nectar. Kids also love to suck the sweet nectar from the base of a honeysuckle flower. Gardeners, on the other hand, appreciate the way these vines twine their way up fences and trellises or ramble over trees. They provide year-round greenery as well as brilliant flowers in season. Western honeysuckle vines bloom in late spring. The orange-red flowers hang in clusters at the tip of branches. True to their common

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Are Horse Chestnuts Edible: Learn About Toxic Horse Chestnuts

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When you hear the song about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, don’t mistake these nuts for horse chestnuts. Horse chestnuts, also called conkers, are a very different nut. Are horse chestnuts edible? They are not. In general, toxic horse chestnuts should not be consumed by people, horses or other livestock. Read on for more information about these poisonous conkers. About Toxic Horse Chestnuts You’ll find horse chestnut trees growing across the U.S., but they originally come from Europe’s Balkan region. Brought to this country by the colonists, the trees are widely grown in America as attractive shade trees, growing to 50 feet (15 m.) tall and wide. The palmate leaves of the horse chestnuts are also attractive. They have five or seven green leaflets united in the center. The trees produce lovely white or pink spike flowers up to a foot (30 cm.) long that grow in clusters. These

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Garden Plants Toxic To Chickens: What Plants Are Bad For Chickens

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For many urban dwellers and small homesteaders, chickens are among the first additions when it comes to raising animals. Not only do chickens require considerably less space than some other livestock, but the benefits are numerous. Whether raising these birds for meat or their eggs, meeting their needs will require research and effort from first-time owners. One important aspect of this relates directly to maintaining healthy living environments for your chickens – ensuring that the flock is always safe. And this includes knowing what plants are bad for chickens, especially when they’re free to roam your property. Garden Plants Toxic to Chickens While predators are obviously a threat, many people overlook other more common issues that may already be present. By nature, chickens are grazing animals. As they roam, it will be likely that they take a nibble (or more) of various plants that are growing. Plants that are poisonous

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Kosui Asian Pear Info – Learn About Growing Kosui Pears

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If you love pears but have never grown an Asian variety, try the Kosui pear tree. Growing Kosui pears is much like growing any European pear variety, so don’t be afraid to give it a go. You’ll love the crisper texture of these Asian pears coupled with a sweet taste and versatility in the kitchen. What is a Kosui Asian Pear? It’s important to get some Kosui Asian pear information before you decide to grow this variety, especially if your experience with Asian varieties is limited. Asian pears like Kosui are true pears, but in many ways the fruits are more like apples. They are typically round—some are indeed pear-shaped— and have a crisper texture than European pears. Kosui pears are small to medium in size and rounded like an apple but with a little bit of flattening like a Clementine orange. The tender skin is brown with a gold

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Davey Tree adds two Canadian companies

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Hamilton, ON – Dominion Tree Service in Windsor, Ontario, and Mountain Maple Garden & Tree Service, in Vancouver, British Columbia, have joined Davey Tree Expert Company of Canada.

Dominion provides residential and commercial tree care services, operating out of its office in Windsor, On. Dominion has approximately a dozen employees, all of which will be retained. The owner, Robert Laliberty, is also staying on as a production manager in the new Davey Windsor office. 

“I wanted to take care of my employees and my clients,” Laliberty said. “With this change, Dominion clients will benefit from more extensive service offerings, including Davey’s wide range of plant health care options. Additionally, employees at Dominion will be exposed to more education and training opportunities, as well as the opportunity to become employee-owners and grow within the Davey Company.”

Current Davey employee Alexandria Buchanan will be the new district manager for Davey Tree Windsor. Buchanan has worked on multiple Davey Windsor-based projects. Most recently she worked on a large telecommunications project for Bell Canada. This entailed several Davey crews being dispatched and managed to ensure proper pruning specifications were executed for the client to install new fiberoptic cable lines for all the neighborhood communities in Windsor. 

“We have a great group of people who are very knowledgeable and share a love for this industry,” Buchanan said. “I look forward to working with Rob to make Davey a staple in the Windsor community.”

In western Canada, Mountain Maple, an urban forestry and arboricultural consulting firm based in Vancouver, will be adding a handful of arborists to the Davey Resource Group consulting team. 

The owner of the company is Kerin Matthews and her team holds numerous industry certifications as International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists and Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) Certified Tree Risk Assessors.

“I have great respect for the Davey Company, its history, products and services, and I welcome the opportunity to work with the best in the industry,” Matthews said. “Mountain Maple will bring our experience and expertise on construction and development to Davey clients, and Davey will allow us to expand on the types of services we offer our clients.” 

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