Featured Articles

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Managing Stormwater Runoff

Traditionally thought of as a municipal issue, stormwater runoff can be eased with well planned landscape projects. Landscape contractors can play a critical role in encouraging homeowners to consider designs that beautify their homes while simultaneously reducing the impacts of stormwater runoff....
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Show Preview: GIE+EXPO 2014

The Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) will be held Oct. 22-24, 2014 in Louisville, Ky. The Hardscape North America (HNA) conference and show will once again co-locate with GIE+EXPO. In addition, PLANET's Green Industry Conference and the Professional Grounds Management Society's (PGMS) School of Grounds Management will also take place in Louisville during GIE+EXPO. GIE+EXPO will also once again feature a 19-acre outdoor demonstration area, allowing users a chance to get their hands on some of the latest industry equipment. Education, equipment, networking and even entertainment are all part of GIE+EXPO 2014. The following is our preview of some of the key offerings for landscape and irrigation industry professionals....
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STIHL Inc. Celebrates 40 Years of Manufacturing in the United States

In 2014, STIHL Inc. is celebrating 40 years of manufacturing in the United States. Founded in 1974 by Andreas Stihl AG & Co. KG, Waiblingen, Germany, STIHL Inc. began with less than 50 people assembling one model of chain saw. It has grown to 1,900 employees in Virginia Beach (with 200 more employees in branch locations) building more than 70 different models and more than 275 model variations in the U.S....
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Applied Research and the Bottom Line: Turf and ornamentals work at the Kao-Kniffin lab

Cornell University Assistant Professor of Horticulture Dr. Jenny Kao-Kniffin is “working on a bunch of integrated research projects about how to manage weeds in landscapes and turf without the need for pesticides.” Her ability to handily boil down sophisticated research into plain language is something she uses daily in her outreach and extension work as a weed ecologist of urban landscapes. Urban Landscape Weed Ecologist Dr. Jenny Kao-Kniffin (right) with Weed Scientist Dr. Andy Senesac at the Cornell Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center Weed Garden, which is overseen by Senesac. Photo by Kevin Kniffin...
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Major Change in Overtime Pay under FLSA Will Have a Big Impact

On March 13, 2014, the Obama administration released a Presidential Memorandum in which the president stated “… regulations regarding exemptions from the Act’s overtime requirement, particularly for executive, administrative, and professional employees (often referred to as “white collar” exemptions) have not kept up with our modern economy. Because these regulations are outdated, millions of Americans lack the protections of overtime and even the right to the minimum wage.” He directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to propose revisions to modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The specific regulations are those that define the exemptions from both minimum wage and overtime for executives, administrative, professional, and outside sales employees. Those regulations were last revised in 2004 and had not been revised previously since 1975....
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A Pond for Every Property

Some people love water features. Others are downright passionate about them. Whether a client longs for the tranquility of a container-size pond that can be enjoyed on the back patio, or they are looking for a soothing escape from the frenzied pace of daily life, there is a pond solution for any size landscape....
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Understanding Heat Break Legislation

An employee at any company might tell his supervisor, “Hey, I’m feeling too hot. I want to sit down and take a rest.” Hopefully, few supervisors would dismiss or deny such a request in outdoor industries such as landscaping, agriculture and groundskeeping. A competent supervisor shouldn’t wait to be asked a direct question. He or she should be aware of the signs of physical discomfort commonly associated with heat exhaustion, heat stroke or other heat illnesses. Factors that contribute to overheating include high temperatures, humidity, direct sunlight and natural body heat from physical activity. Dizziness, weakness, clammy skin, irritability and nausea are signs of heat exhaustion that need immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, faintness and seizures. Common sense, compassion, and workers’ compensation costs should make the decision to authorize time for an employee to “cool down” automatic....
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Beyond Fire Pits and Pergolas

Outdoor kitchens, fire pits and pergolas are buzzwords for residential landscape contractors. Demand for these design features remains strong. In a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), which polled residential landscape architects about the estimated popularity of various design elements for 2014, 94.2% of respondents agreed gardens/landscaped spaces would be the hottest trend of the season; and 92% anticipated kitchens and entertainment spaces would also be in high demand....
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Growing Your Business With Tree Health

If your clients already trust you with their landscape, lawn, or property maintenance, you are in the perfect position to start caring for their trees. That said, tree health care is also a service that can seriously damage your reputation if you do it wrong. Screw up someone’s turf pretty bad and you might get stuck re-sodding a section of the property. Screw up someone’s 100 year-old oak tree and there is very little you can do the remedy that. When you take on a new venture, you put the reputation of your business on the line. Your customers won’t care if you’re new at this -- they have service expectations that have to be met. So what resources are available to help you be successful?...