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February 2017 | Volume 38, Issue 2


Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition Exceeded Expectations The 2017 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) provided a unique and inspiring backdrop as more than 6300 industry professionals gathered in Fort Lauderdale to start their business year by making 2017 the Year of the Plant! With “greenery” as the pantone color for 2017, the five acres of live plants which exhibitors showcased at TPIE put everyone attending ahead of the Trends curve for 2017. TPIE buyers represented a broad mix of industry professionals, including corporate retail buyers, independent garden center professionals, florists and floral designers, interiorscapers, event planners, interior designers, landscape professionals, wholesale brokers, governments and municipalities as well as production nursery purchasing agents. Exhibiting companies represented a cross section of categories including young plants, tropical outdoor, indoor blooming, succulents, orchids, indoor foliage interior décor, decorative containers and nursery production supplies. A true international event, TPIE attracted attendees from 47 states and 49 countries. As part of its promise to Elevate Expectations, TPIE 2017 set itself apart as the show to learn key trends to use in product development and marketing plans for 2017 and 2018. Jane Lockhart opened TPIE with a keynote presentation discussing Where Plant and Lifestyle Trends Connect. From Toronto, Jane’s experience as an interior designer and trend spotter provided insights on the design styles which will be in demand, including retro resurgence (think 1980’s), bold color contrasts, modern gothic (black is the new white), strong textures, authentic, raw and rusted, just to name a few of the trending themes. Plant design and interior design styles were matched as part of a creative TPIE display featuring three interior room vignettes each designed by Anya Cesar, AISD, of Anya Renise Designs. The presentation included a bedroom with plants selected for wellness attributes, a kitchen with herbs and botanicals inserted in counters with cut-out trenches (provided by Dynamic Designs) and an elegant bathroom with a stunning wall of plants serving as the backdrop for the architectural tub (provided by Ferguson). Cesar gave daily tours of the showrooms followed by classes by Cosentino North America and Sherwin-Williams offering CEUs for interior designers. Keeping in line with the trending design styles, the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) offered four workshops at TPIE’s Create Continued page 3


Robert Shoelson, FCLC FNGLA 2016-2017 President

A Busy Winter, Busy Spring Filled with Happenings The New Year is off to a running start. As busy as my December was, January was no different. The TPIE (Tropical Plant and Industry Exhibition) was held January 18-20 in Fort Lauderdale. If you have never attended this show, you are definitely missing out. This is one of the most colorful, beautiful tradeshows you will ever attend. I had the pleasure of presenting the TPIE booth awards this year and all I can say is the judges did not have an easy time with so many spectacular booths! Congratulations to all of the winners and special congratulations to Costa Farms for earning the award for Best of Show. As soon as the show floor closed that first day, the party moved outside to the front of the convention center. All of the exhibitors and attendees poured out to mix and mingle. The weather was perfect and it seemed everyone was happy with the traffic and business from the first day. This happened to be the first time my company, Getting Green, exhibited at TPIE. We had been trying to expand into the foliage and export markets and could think of no better way to achieve this goal than by attending the TPIE Show. I just want to say we made several good contacts from the show and one of these is turning out to be a great potential customer. That’s all it takes to make the show worthwhile. I’m sure we will be exhibiting at TPIE for a long time to come. On the second TPIE evening, I had the pleasure of attending the National Horticulture Foundation’s reception. No, you are not reading that incorrectly. The National Foliage Foundation is changing its name and made the announcement during the party. In part, this change is underway as recognition that the Foundation’s far-reaching impacts on scientific research and educational scholarships continue to be much broader than tropical foliage and houseplants which will remain a primary focus. There are many other aspects of our horticultural industry which this Foundation embraces, so it’s easy to see why the name is changing. NHF President David Liu (Foliage Design Systems) did a remarkable job as host and emcee of the evening. It was great to see all of the donations made by the end of the evening. Overall TPIE was a huge success. All the exhibit booth spaces were sold out and more than 6,300 attendees representing 47 states and 49 countries walked the aisles. Perhaps the most impressive stat is the 53% increase in interiorscape buyers over last year! There was a very positive attitude from the exhibitors and attendees with whom I spoke and the overall consensus was business is growing and people are buying plants. The following week, I headed back up to Orlando to attend


a meeting for the ‘Flip My Florida Yard’ television show with which FNGLA has partnered. The message is homeowners can have beautiful landscapes which are environmentally friendly! We are working with the show to create four episodes in four areas of our state where each home will have its landscape transformed into a beautiful, water efficient and easy-to-maintain yard. One episode has already been filmed in the Gainesville area thanks to the wonderful hands-on leadership of FNGLA’s Frontrunners Chapter. The next landscape installation will be filmed in Orlando, followed by one in Broward County and the fourth show will be filmed in the Tampa area. These episodes will air statewide sometime this spring on the ABC television network. I will be sure to keep you posted. Just three short days later, I ventured back to the center of our state for FNGLA’s Landscape Division Leaders’ meeting. This was a very productive and informative meeting with some of the best landscape professionals around the state. We discussed some of the major issues currently affecting the landscape industry: irrigation, labor shortages, plant material shortages and worker’s compensation insurance rates. There are many folks out there who still perceive FNGLA as a nursery-only association. This is just not the case any longer. FNGLA is tackling some of these issues affecting the huge landscape segment of our industry. The majority of new members joining FNGLA are landscape firms who are realizing the benefits of being part of this great association. One of the issues I mentioned which we addressed is probably the most important to our industry - water. As Florida’s population rises, so does the demand for water. FNGLA’s landscape leaders believe a well-rounded irrigation technician certification is needed to raise the education and professional training for landscape workers as we move forward. This new FNGLA certification is just now being developed. Once launched, it will be instrumental in helping our industry play an even bigger role in reducing overall water use in the landscape. Having the skills and knowledge to install and maintain an efficient irrigation system for a landscape is just as important as putting the right plant in the right place. February doesn’t look like it will be slowing down much. I will be headed up to the Jacksonville Landscape Show on February 9 & 10. Soon afterwards, the FNGLA Board of Directors will head to Tallahassee to sit down with some of the newly elected state senators and representatives. I am very much looking forward to that trip. Stay warm and see you in March. Robert Shoelson, FCLC Getting Green Plant Service, Inc. (Davie) & Betrock Information Systems, Inc. (Hollywood)

FNGLA HAPPENINGS Continued from page 1

Theater providing new ways to merchandise plants at the retail level. The featured themes included Modern Wonders – Simple Lines Blended with Old Asian; Into the Jungle; An Urban Fever with Vivid Colors; The French Connection - Falling in Love with France All Over Again; and, The Force of Nature - Letting Nature Take its Course. Especially for interiorscapers was a session showcasing interiorscape projects matching current industry trends. Debbie Kotalic (G-Sky Plant Systems) highlighted several successful green wall projects, while Jonathan Senneff (Plant InterScapes) and Caroline Puller (SeasonScapes) gave tips and ideas on increasing holiday-related sales. The TPIE Road Show provided “Pick Two” options which included a morning workshop combined with an afternoon tour. Choices included sessions on pest management or trends and merchandising and tours of either production nurseries or stops which highlighted design ideas, both for interior and exterior plant use. Attendance topped 250 participants. TPIE attendees had an opportunity to learn cutting-edge technology bringing natural light to underground parks. Mark Mini and Andrew Engel, both of John Mini Distinctive Landscapes, shared their experiences developing the Lowline Lab, which uses innovative solar technology to illuminate the world’s first underground park. As in past years, TPIE’s Exhibitor Showcase highlighted dozens of the industry’s newest plants and products. The Favorite New Flowering Plant in the showcase was Tillandsia ‘Samantha’ by Deroose Plants. The Favorite New Foliage Plant was Aglaonema ‘Georgi’s Ruby’ by Costa Farms and the Favorite New Product was “Aquastick” by Chrysal USA. Sixteen stand-out products were selected by attendees to receive TPIE’s Cool Products Awards. The winning products included a mix of unique plants, containers, well-merchandised products and even a training program. The selection committee was made up of independent garden center owners and interiorscapers from across the country. TPIE is known for the impressive displays created by exhibitors and this year was no exception. In fact, exhibitors Elevated Expectations with displays that not only showcased their plants, products and services, but offered creative ideas, innovation and inspiration for those attending to implement in their own businesses. The TPIE booth award judges had the tough job of selecting the best of the best from the 869 exhibit spaces. Congratulations go to Costa Farms for winning the coveted TPIE Best of Show Award. The Costa team set up a twostory small house with themed spaces integrating Costa plants and products as part of the interior décor. In the category of Island Exhibit award, Penang Nursery took first place with its own version of a garden shop. Check out all the 2017 TPIE booth award winners to see who Elevated Expectations at this year’s show: TPIE’s Opening Day temperate weather provided ideal conditions for TPIE’s Happy Hour which took place in the outdoor fountain courtyard. Sponsored by Suntory Sun Parasol, this popular reception offered a chance to continue TPIE connections while enjoying a drink with a vista of cruise ships and the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. As the party opened, sponsored drones flew above the courtyard fountain, adding a touch of new technology to the show. Friday brought nearly 200 students to the FNGLA Horticulture Career Fair. Led by FNGLA Past President Sandy Stein and featuring Florida’s FFA State Officers, FNGLA business leaders shared with high school students various career opportunities within the industry as well as learned from the students of their career interests. Students then had access to the show floor where they were able to experience the full breadth of the tropical plant industry and its career potential. Several students and seasoned horticulturists spent time at the FNGLA Certified Landscape Exam showcase, testing their plant ID knowhow and learning more about the FNGLA Certified Landscape Technician programs. Anchored by the FNGLA and NFF booths, the Certification Showcase was a popular area to learn more about the important programs and opportunities offered through FNGLA to enhance professionalism and elevate expectations within the industry. TPIE is one of the many important activities produced by FNGLA. While managed by FNGLA staff, TPIE is developed and planned by a committee of FNGLA members. Those members include: Chairman Lloyd Singleton (University of Florida/IFAS); Vice Chairman Bisser Georgiev (LiveTrends Design Group); Immediate Past Chair Theresa Riley (Rockledge Gardens); Chris Beytes (Ball Publishing); Manny Rodriguez (Plants In Design); Marcella Lucio (Silver Vase); and, Patrick Prussing (Sunshine Horticulture). Planning for the 2018 TPIE is already in the works. Mark your calendar for January 17-19, 2018 to take advantage of the TPIE experience.


TPIE Happy Hour & Lanyard Sponsor & Innovation Lounge

Opening Session Sponsors

Cool Stuff @TPIE

Exhibitors’ Showcase

Create Theater presented by AIFD

Morning Coffee

Tradeshow Bags

General Sponsor

Rest Stations


You can continue to use TPIE’s mobile web/app: from any mobile device.

Mark Your Calendar for TPIE 2018: January 17 - 19 View TPIE’s Complete Photo Gallery: 5

FNGLA HAPPENINGS Garden Communicators from Across Nation at TPIE In an effort to link Florida’s nursery and landscape businesses with the nation’s premier garden communicators, FNGLA extended an invitation for garden communicators to attend and experience TPIE. The 41 communicators who made this trek experienced an amazing time exploring South Florida’s most unique and inspiring gardens and TPIE’s key happenings. With the experience starting the day prior to the show’s opening, garden communicators and media toured botanic gardens, private estates and commercial spaces in a more-than-full day as part of the TPIE Road Shows. A second full day of tours, on Thursday, was also part of the special happenings. Garden writer guests enjoyed front-row VIP seating at the TPIE Opening Session presented by Jane Lockhart, Where Plant and Lifestyle Trends Connect, followed by a personalized tour of the show floor, given by TPIE Show Chair Lloyd Singleton. From touching and feeling the plants and products to seeing show-stopping ideas in the aisles-- the tour ended at the TPIE Create Theater Stage as AIFD designer Jenny Thomasson began her session. From there, the show itself offered an array of educational sessions where these communicators continued to build their base knowledge of Florida’s plants. Writers who attended included those with affiliations to many TV and radio shows throughout the nation, AAA travel, many gardening book authors and others who communicate regularly about gardening to the general public. The tweets and social media posts started immediately after they left their homes, and, quite frankly, haven’t stopped! And, many have already written about their experiences, spreading the word about Florida’s plants and tropicals. We’re pleased with the coverage of Florida plants and of TPIE. Special thanks to FNGLA member Sylvia Gordon (Landscape by Sylvia Gordon) who was instrumental in piecing together both the tour and the entire garden writer experience at the show. For more details on FNGLA’s engagement with garden communicators or to be involved in further efforts to connect with this important media group, contact FNGLA’s Jennifer Nelis,

FNGLA has a long history of interacting with garden media and communicators. For TPIE, garden communicators were invited to attend two days of South Florida tours and Opening Day happenings at TPIE. 41 writers participated. Search #GardenWriters or #GWA to stay connected on social media.


FNGLA HAPPENINGS National Foliage Foundation Expands Scope, New Name

FNGLA’s Certifications Showcase at TPIE

The National Foliage Foundation has been an innovator enhancing the foliage industry through research and education since its inception in 1987. Comprised of an esteemed team of contributors and board members dedicated to seeing the industry grow and thrive well into the future, Name Change in Progress: there’s no better way to celebrate 30 years of National Horticulture Foundation accomplishments by adjusting its name to include the scope of its research and activities.

With its expansive plant ID area and lots to see and learn about FNGLA’s Certification programs, the FNGLA Certification Showcase made a significant impact on TPIE and its attendees.

The new name, National Horticulture Foundation, Inc. encompasses all walks of the industry. The Foundation’s research will remain broadly beneficial to the industry.

Thanks to the sponsors who brought an interesting look at FNGLA’s certification exams to TPIE attendees: Brad’s Bedding Plants, Brantley Nurseries, Bushel Stop/Atlas, Excelsa Gardens, Pine Island Nursery, Plant Life Farms, Railroad Nursery and Sun-Fire Nurseries.

In addition, the new name allows for a wider swatch of possible contributors. “It has become clear in the commercial plant world, we are still regarded as the ‘foliage’ foundation by groups from where we seek support. This perception has led some to not support our efforts solely because of our name,” said Joe Cialone in a January letter addressing the name change. The Foundation boasts research efforts in four areas: production, distribution, marketing and utilization; production research focuses on methods to improve plant quality and longevity, as well as development of greater diversity of products; distribution research focuses on the development of better shipping and storage methods that will preserve plant quality and longevity; marketing research focuses on the better understanding of purchasing motivation of consumers and methods of increasing demand for foliage products; and, utilization includes finding new ways to improve plant longevity indoors, maintain quality, and provide care not in conflict with environmental standards.

The National Foliage Foundation held its annual $1,000 Drawing at TPIE. The event brings recognition to the foundation, its efforts and is a fun way to raise a few dollars for its efforts. (Above) NFF The Foundation is also rooted in scholarship efforts and, over Administrator Linda its history, has funded in excess of $400,000 in scholarships to Reindl and board member over 250 students. Jonathan Borghi (Farm Credit Associations of Florida, Homestead) pull the The Foundation’s current President is David Liu (Foliage Design Systems, Orlando). Contact Linda Reindl, for details winning name from among the entries-- (Left) John Albers (Amerigo Farms, Inc., Apopka)! on the Foundation’s efforts or visit for more details.





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FNGLA Industry Awards Nominations Deadline Is February 15 FNGLA is fortunate to have many hard-working volunteers who generously share their time, expertise and resources with fellow members to help build a better association and a better industry. Make sure the folks who go above and beyond for FNGLA get the recognition they deserve. Take the time to nominate deserving volunteers for one of FNGLA’s prestigious industry awards and help FNGLA put the spotlight on an FNGLA Superstar. The deadline for nominations is February 15, 2017. Winners are recognized and honored at FNGLA’s Annual Meeting held each June at FNGLA’s Annual Convention. The Wendell E. Butler Award recipient(s) and the FNGLA Hall of Fame inductee(s) are specially honored, yet all recipients are celebrated. Nominations are being accepted for the following awards:


FNGLA’s most prestigious award which recognizes one who has worked to advance the industry and FNGLA through his or her leadership and service.


Sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Florida, this award honors an FNGLA member under the age of 39 who has made an outstanding industry contribution.


Awarded to any local chapter member who, through his or her leadership, enthusiasm, time and talent makes a difference in the success of the chapter.


Recognizes one who has contributed faithfully to advancing the industry.


Presented to an educator actively involved in teaching horticulture.


Recognizes the lifetime achievement of an individual who’s given unselfishly to the industry through areas including pioneering, teaching, production, legislation, marketing services, or research.

Access previous years’ winners, nomination forms and more details online at


Mark Your Calendars: Florida Flower Trials, May 18 & 19, Orlando Florida Flower Trials is a two-day annual event where top plant breeders, education experts who advance your knowledge and key industry members come together to explore some of the latest ornamental plant releases ideal for Florida’s tough climate. A launching ground for some of the newest plant varieties, you’ll experience three trial sites and get an early look directly from producers on the recommended growing, landscape use and retail strategies to create the best business success possible. There’s lots of learning, collaboration, networking and you get to experience the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival to see some of the industry’s finest products, Disney style. Mark your calendar now to attend this once-a-year event designed to keep you “in the know” for what’s hitting the market! The schedule of events, speaker line-ups and tour specifics will be available in the coming weeks. Interested in reaching this small, yet targeted audience with a tabletop display or by sponsoring an event? Contact FNGLA’s Linda Reindl, for details.

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FNGLA NEWS Education on the Go: Catapult Your Customer Relations

FNGLA’s Convention Fun: June 23 & 24 Save the date to attend FNGLA’s 65th Annual Meeting and Convention, June 23 & 24, 2017 in fabulous Ft. Lauderdale. Taking place at the B Ocean Resort, this popular association meeting is open to all FNGLA members, family and friends. The FNGLA Convention not only hosts FNGLA’s Annual Business Meeting, it’s the place to recognize the Association’s outstanding volunteers, report on the past year’s accomplishments and shift into a new year of FNGLA leadership. It’s the meeting where lifelong business connections and friendships are made and traditions celebrated. The convention’s opening event on Friday evening, June 23, will be a Beach Party reception on the beautiful beaches for which Fort Lauderdale is famous. Saturday morning’s program starts with a continental breakfast, followed by FNGLA’s Annual Business meeting. The President’s Gala will bring the convention to a grand close on Saturday evening as the FNGLA Big Shoes are passed from President Rob Shoelson to Incoming President Ed Bravo. The convention schedule will provide open time on Friday and Saturday to visit the area’s natural habitats, explore the waterways, browse among the shops and restaurants along Las Olas Boulevard or just hang out with friends and family by the hotel’s oceanfront infinity pool. Contact Linda Adams at to learn about sponsorship opportunities to reach this high impact audience. Mark your calendar now to attend this fun FNGLA people-topeople event in June. More details and registration information will be available soon.

FNGLA is proud to be part of a brand new experience – Education on the Go! This first series is tailored to landscape professionals. While the series has taken February 24 | Jacksonville place in various Florida locations, it’s headed to Jacksonville for Account Manager Boot Camp; A perfect opportunity for your key customer/account managers. Envisor consultants share best practices from the landscape maintenance industry for middle managers including: • Introduction to Account Management • Extra Mile Service – keys to customer service excellence • Onboarding new clients – a systematic approach to ensuring success • Site Visits - being efficient and effective • Upselling Enhancements – critical elements to vertical selling FNGLA is making this business experience convenient for you and your employees by bringing it closer to you! Education on the Go! is where landscape professionals will be if you want your business to prosper and succeed! Participation Costs: FNGLA Members attend the session for just $225; The non-member rate is just $255. Instructors, Ken Thomas and Ben Gandy started out as over 60% of landscape professionals in Florida did, with a little money in their pocket and a pick-up truck. They worked hard and as astute businessmen, not afraid to dig in the dirt, built and sold multimillion dollar companies. Now they are offering their expertise back to the industry. As operations experts, Ken and Ben know more than “what” to do, they know “how” to get your company to the next level. This program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes all day instruction and lunch.


Register to attend: https://www. or call FNGLA for details.


FNGLA NEWS FNGLA Looks to “Flip My Florida Yard” In an effort to showcase Florida’s amazing and diverse plant material and to advocate for professionally designed and installed landscapes, FNGLA is partnering with Crawford Entertainment, the producers of ‘How to Do Florida’ with their newest series ‘Flip My Florida Yard.’ The show selects Florida homeowners whose outdoor areas are in need of a facelift and teams up with professionals to provide a Florida-friendly yard which meet the homeowners needs. Along the way, Chad, and his featured make-over participants, teach Florida’s consumers best practices for creating their own robust outdoor space such as following the Florida-friendly principles and/or hiring a professional landscaper/designer to help bring the project together. Chock full of tips and Florida-based facts, the show will air this Spring. A pilot show was produced in 2016 featuring an all-native landscape with the help of the Florida Association of Native Nurseries (FANN). With FNGLA’s episodes, consumers will be directed to www. to source ideas, inspirations and assistance with their outdoor areas. FNGLA signed on as title sponsor for four episodes. One episode is filmed and being edited for airing later this Spring. The additional three will film in Broward County; Orlando; and, the Greater Tampa Bay area. Special thanks to the area FNGLA chapters and to the individuals who have and are in the process of coordinating this effort. It’s a sizeable task! FNGLA will communicate to our members the air dates for all four “FNGLA episodes” once they are set! For more details on FNGLA’s involvement, contact FNGLA’s Jennifer Nelis,

FNGLA’s first chapter to “flip” was Frontunners-who set a very high bar when they took the home of Brandon and Kim Kutner and gave them a turf-free front yard using Florida-friendly plant material. They also updated the back patio space (hardscape and palms) and installed several vegetable trough gardens to complete the home’s make-over.



SOARING HIGH At 29, Saperstein is an Industry Heavyweight By Kate Clary, FNGLA’s Strategic Engagement Specialist

At age 29, TreeTown USA CEO Jonathan Saperstein heads up America’s largest tree farm – a collection of seven locations and nearly 4,000 acres which wind across Texas and Florida. The Houston native and University of Texas graduate’s seven-year journey from sales and operations manager to the head of nearly 500 employees commanded national attention earlier this year as Forbes Magazine named Saperstein one of its 30 Under 30 for 2017 in Manufacturing and Industry. “It was a surprise. I did not expect to get recognized as one of the Forbes’ 30 under 30. I was humbled to even be nominated,” Saperstein said. “It took a while for it to actually sink in.”

Across its locations, Tree Town USA grows around three million plants per year. That includes roughly 1,000 different plant types in a wide size variety. Headquartered in Houston, the company has also pioneered four new items including its Morning Sun Japanese Blueberry. Saperstein took the helm of his family’s nursery in 2015, buying out his father, David Saperstein. The elder Saperstein started the company in 2001. In a similar fashion to his well-measured speech, and strategy-centric ideas, Saperstein has since led the company with a deeply business-oriented approach, putting people, growth and innovation out front.

IN DEPTH One of his first orders of business after taking the helm was purchasing a 660acre tree nursery in Bunnell, Florida, previously owned by Medallion Nurseries, and infusing a several-million-dollar capital investment into the location over the course of the last 12 months. As part of that capital investment, Saperstein brought along some of the innovations Tree Town USA first honed at its other locations, including a state-of-theart, fully-automated potting machine - a point of particular pride for Saperstein, as he showcases its capabilities during a pit stop along a tour of the farm one chilly morning in late January. “We want to make sure that this facility is continuing to grow, and it will be taken to capacity here very quickly,” Saperstein said. There may be great innovation taking place at Tree Town USA, but Saperstein makes it clear that his priorities revolve around his people. In fact, Saperstein added, he hopes to add more employees by year’s end. “As we bring in more technologies, it’s not to reduce head count,” he said. “It’s to be able to improve productivity while making the work safer and less intensive, so that we can do more.”

In an effort to assist employees in carving out career paths at Tree Town, Saperstein oversaw the development of regular performance plans for each employee - which heavily rewards employee performance. “I think we’re one of the few nurseries, that where every employee goes through a regular PMP, a performance management program, which drives their merit, and bonuses,” Saperstein said. “We have created incentives based on common, unifying goals that bring the whole team, across all departments and facilities together. It really leads to teamwork, and I think that’s the most exciting part. Our employees are by far the most important ingredient to our success and we strive to provide a safe, challenging and enjoyable work environment.” Being part of an association like FNGLA also helps strengthen the company’s industry bonds, Saperstein said. “When we partner together as an industry, we’re significantly stronger than we are separate,” he explained. “It really takes all of us working together and supporting each other -- whether it’s legislation, or the challenges that face all of us. Without that, we’re just never going to get to the place that we want to be.”

Along this morning’s tour, as the layer of dew around the farm continues to evaporate into the steamy atmosphere, and the din of progress hums, Saperstein reflects on the company’s journey so far. As he navigates a back section on the property, pointing out a few new pads, and row upon row of green and growing plants, Saperstein uses a past experience exhibiting at FNGLA’s Landscape Show to articulate his point about associations. He recalls how taking a break from his post manning the company’s booth for a quick tour around the show floor led to a chance meeting with a fellow exhibitor. “I walked next door, and I saw this trailer manufacturer that I had not heard of, and so I just started talking to him,” Saperstein recalled. “He had not heard of us, because, in Florida, we had only been a B&B operation.” At the time of the show, Tree Town USA was in the process of closing on the Bunnell location. Fresh on Saperstein’s mind was that, when the close was complete, they’d need equipment – lots of it. “I guess it wound up being a little bit of a surprise for him – we placed our first order for over 100 – and then had a follow-up order,” Saperstein said of the Floridabased manufacturer. “That never would have happened if it wasn’t for FNGLA’s tradeshow.”

Treetown USA has growing locations serving the Gulf States and the Southeast. There is a corporate location in Texas along with three growing locations and four production farms in Florida: Bunnell, Sandcut, Pahokee and Homestead. On approximately 4,000 acres, Tree Town produces nearly 3 million plants each year making them America’s largest grower of trees and palms.


INDUSTRY NEWS Gas Prices Remain Gov. Scott Proposes $83.5 Billion Stable Despite Record State Budget Florida’s Governor Rick Low Demand The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline remained relatively stable, with a recent per gallon average of $2.27. Although the average remains relatively flat, drivers are paying ten cents less per gallon month-over-month, and 52 cents more per gallon year-over-year. Pump prices have been pressured higher overall due to cuts in oil production globally, but increased U.S. production and low demand has led to a leveling out of prices over the last couple of weeks. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest weekly estimates of U.S. gasoline demand show that January 2017 figures were down 6% from January 2016 and were at their lowest standing for the first month of the year since 2012. Florida’s average is just over 1 cent higher than the national average, which is still considered relatively low. Increased U.S. oil production has pushed the pump pricing lower. For more on gas pricing, visit http://

Scott released his budget proposal last week: $83.5 billion, up about $1.5 billion from the current budget figures. Lawmakers will consider Scott’s budget recommendations when they develop the budget this legislative session which begins March 7.

“Florida businesses have added more than 1.2 million jobs over the last six years and our economy is booming because of our continued focus on cutting taxes, reducing burdensome regulations and fostering an environment where job creators can grow and succeed in Florida,” said Governor Scott. “Our ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ budget continues our hard work and cuts taxes by $618 million while making strategic investments in areas that are important to families.” Scott aims to cut sales tax, jobs programs and focus resources on various aspects of education, job growth and tourism, namely Enterprise Florida. Among Scott’s highlights in the realm of the environment is $360 million for water quality projects including: $65 million for Florida’s springs; $60 million for Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee clean-up efforts; and, $225 million for Everglades restoration funding. As Scott heads into the final two years of his term, he insists he isn’t slowing down in his push for tax cuts and job growth. Read more on Scott’s proposed budget at news/politics/political-pulse/os-scott-budget-proposal-2017-story.html.

Florida’s Employment Numbers Soar Florida’s job growth in 2016 brought the state’s employment numbers to an all-time high, according to a new report released by Florida TaxWatch, the state’s premier nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog. With an addition of 257,000 jobs in 2016, Florida continues to rise from the 2008 recession. Over the past year, nearly all of Florida’s major industries have seen employment gains, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8% continuing a steady trend over the past six years. Read the Florida Tax Watch report via Florida Trend at news/pdfs/Jan17ECFINAL.pdf


INDUSTRY NEWS Perdue to Serve as Head of Ag Under President Trump Former Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, has been selected as Agriculture Secretary by President Trump. Perdue’s background as a veterinarian, agribusiness owner and advocate for Georgia’s agriculture producers have given him the depth of knowledge about agriculture necessary to lead the USDA. FNGLA teamed up with 660 other leading farm, agribusiness and conservation groups across the nation to send a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee endorsing the nomination of Perdue to become the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Out of 30 USDA Secretaries since 1889 when the Secretary position was created, only two were working in agriculture when actually nominated. Perdue makes number three. As the last Cabinet pick to be nominated, a full Senate confirmation vote is likely a good month away. Perdue will oversee an agency with a $150 billion budget. The Agriculture Department is in charge of farm policy and food safety, and it funds food stamps, other nutrition programs and the Forest Service.


INDUSTRY NEWS HRI Funds Four UF Research Projects The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) recently announced 13 projects were funded based on a rigorous review system including both industry relevance and scientific merit. “HRI is pleased to support a number of excellent projects working to improve horticultural knowledge and practices. Supporting projects where outcomes can impact the bottom line for the industry is a top priority for our donors, our volunteer leadership, and our organization,” said Jennifer Gray, HRI Administrator. Dr. Jill Calabro, Science & Research Programs Director with HRI, agrees. “We received 53 total proposals this year that were thoughtful and representative of the entire green industry. The decision-making process was not easy. The projects ultimately selected address critical issues with sound science.” HRI will provide a total of $289,500 in 2017 to support research that benefits the green industry. The Florida-based 2017 recipients are: Assessing Human Health Benefits of Gardening Principal Investigator: Dr. C. Guy, University of Florida Objective: This project will demonstrate quantifiable, therapeutic benefits to human health through gardening and horticulture therapy. Determining the impact of soilless substrate age, composition, fertilizer placement, and irrigation regime on weed management in container nursery plant production Principal Investigator: Dr. C. Marble, University of Florida Objective: This project will provide the basis of an all-inclusive, systemsbased approach to weed control in soilless substrates to help growers reduce weed control costs.

UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology’s Urban Landscape Summit, March 16 & 17 The 2017 UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology Urban Landscape Summit will feature presentations of applied research or extension projects pertaining to urban landscape issues in Florida. The summit will include accepted presentations from state specialists and county faculty and a graduate student poster competition. • Build relationships among state specialists, county faculty, graduate students, and industry • Hear national or regional issue updates from the keynote speaker • Learn about the latest research in urban landscape issues • Model future projects after presented extension projects Location: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Straughn Extension Professional Development Center, Gainesville. Register to attend and see the event’s agenda at events/urban-landscape-summit.html. For more details, call 352-273-4511.

Evaluation of new herbicides and formulations to develop more effective and economical herbicide rotations for nursery production Principal Investigator: Dr. C. Marble, University of Florida Objective: This project will present herbicide control information in two commonly requested formats, direct efficacy comparisons of the newest products and formulations and a rotation schedule. Development of protocols for micropropagation of woody trees using last-generation bioreactors Principal Investigator: Dr. W. Vendrame, University of Florida Objective: This project will optimize protocols for the micropropagation of woody ornamentals, such as olive trees, hybrid palms, dwarf coconut trees, and various ornamental flowering landscape trees, using bioreactor technology. For details, go to or call 614.884.1155.


The Urban Landscape Summit promises to address regional and national water issues pertinent to Florida and Florida’s water users. Dr. Jack Payne, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of IFAS, will open the 2017 summit.

INDUSTRY NEWS UF/IFAS Quenches Thirst for Water Focus By Jack Payne, University of Florida senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and leader of IFAS, | @JackPayneIFAS It can take two to three years from the time I decide new scientists are needed to focus on a Florida challenge to the time I can actually make them employees of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. That’s why UF/IFAS got started years ago expanding our expertise in water. It’s always been essential to our day-to-day lives, of course. In 2016, there was increased public focus on how critical it is to our future. • A survey of Floridians by the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education found that more than 4 in 5 Floridians identified water as a highly or extremely important issue. Water ranked even higher than the economy. • The Water 2070 report concludes that without major efforts in conservation and compact development, we cannot support the agricultural productivity and population increases projected in the next 50 years. • The state legislature made water legislation the first item on its 2016 agenda. Regardless of the merits or faults of that the approved law, it marked water as one of the state’s most prominent political issues. And in 2016, UF/IFAS hired numerous water experts to make sure our response to the water challenge is guided by science. • We hired five regional specialized water Extension agents, who will work with state agencies to devise and communicate ways to protect the quality and quantity of our supply. • Our new state-funded faculty hires include experts such as Jorge Barrera, who will analyze large data sets from water utilities, urban water engineer Eban Bean, and geospatial analysis expert Basil Iannone. You can meet Barrera, Bean, and some of the new Extension specialists at the 2017 Urban Landscape Summit on campus in Gainesville on March 16 & 17. It’s the second annual summit, organized by Michael Dukes of the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology. It brings many of our water experts together from across the state for discussions of irrigation, fertilizer bans, water-saving smartphone apps, consumer perceptions, reducing algal blooms, and more, all underpinned by an ethos of conservation. Register for the summit: The summit is yet another example of how UF/IFAS continues to establish itself as the state’s leader in water science. Water is an issue so fraught with politics that good policy has to rely on neutral brokers of information. Public land-grant universities such as UF are positioned to serve in this role because we seek discovery, not profit. Our comprehensive expertise also enables us to assemble scientists from a wide variety of fields to focus on a single problem. The summit won’t be a water-only affair, but water will flow through much of the agenda. It will also be a debut of sorts for our expanding water brain trust. Of course, Dukes and our other established leaders in conservation will participate in the summit as well. I’m proud that Dukes has invited me to open the summit. It gives me the opportunity to reemphasize the UF/IFAS commitment to conservation. It will also be an opportunity to talk about what Water 2070 recommends – more support for Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ to alter Florida’s unsustainable and growing course for thirst.


Why We Need FFA Students in Our Industry Whether through Greenline or another news source, you hear a lot about Florida FFA. It is an organization supported by FNGLA on a variety of levels, including hosting the state horticulture competition for 350 students on March 4 in Apopka. What a great way to introduce students to Florida’s nursery and landscape industry, by actually having them DO something – whether identifying plants and pests, determining landscape costs or creating dish gardens. Who are FFA students? How can they help our industry?

The Florida Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is a non-profit organization committed to serving the needs of Florida’s professional arborists and tree-care consumers.

FFA is a part of agricultural education that helps make classroom instruction come to life through realistic, handson applications. Today’s FFA has evolved in response to expanded opportunities available in agriculture and its needs to hire skilled and competent employees for more than 300 careers. The organization helps students prepare for careers in business, marketing, science, communications, education, horticulture, production, natural resources, forestry and many other diverse fields. FNGLA continuously reaches out to the youth of Florida – tomorrow’s leaders – to position attractive jobs and careers in the nursery and landscape industry. Please support our efforts on March 4 by making a donation of cash, materials or volunteer time. Contact Merry Mott at or 407-295-7994 for more information.

Florida’s FFA kids are, in fact, tomorrow’s agriculture leaders. FNGLA tailors programs to introduce the nursery and landscape industry as a shining star and, most importantly, a possible place for employment.

CERTIFICATION NEWS Irrigation Education Expands with Florida Water StarSM In an effort to expand irrigation education across the state, Florida Water StarSM (FWS) traveled to Homestead in January – a first-time offering of water conservation education to professionals in South Florida. It was hosted at the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension Office, and brought the number of FWS Accredited Professionals to 325. A brand new irrigation training program that complements FWS begins February 14 at UF/IFAS Alachua County Extension in Gainesville. “Principles of Efficient Irrigation Systems” is a one-day course and featuring a field component so attendees can learn by doing. This course is ideal to prepare for FWS or for continuing education. Florida Water StarSM is a water conservation program focusing on Florida-Friendly LandscapeTM alternatives and irrigation requirements which can have a major impact on water usage. The Accredited Professional portion specifically brings training to landscape and irrigation professionals creating these FWS-approved landscapes. For more information, contact Merry Mott at FNGLA at 800-375-3642.

Landscape Technician Exams Return for Spring Engagement Join FNGLA and SeaWorld Horticulture in Orlando for testing on both the FCLT and the FCLMT on March 25. This is a special offering of the FCLMT exam, a once a year opportunity. The next stop is Davie April 28, hosted by the FNGLA Broward Chapter. This FCLT-Installation exam is the only bilingual landscape exam offering in the state and takes place at the University of Florida Ft. Lauderdale Research Center. Two options for training are available in South Florida for FCLT. English: April 7 at UF in Davie; and, Spanish: April 21 at UF Miami-Dade Extension in Homestead.

FNGLA’s Certified Landscape Installation Technician is offered twice in Spring 2017 – March 25 in Orlando and April 28 in Davie.

FNGLA’s Certified Landscape Maintenance Technician test returns to SeaWorld Orlando on March 25. 21

MEMBER NEWS Florikan/Rosenthal Named to Space Technology Hall of Fame The Space Technology Hall of Fame was established to increase public awareness of the benefits resulting from space exploration programs and to encourage further innovation. This international program honors innovations by organizations and individuals who transform space technology into commercial products that improve life on Earth. Among the 2017’s inductees is Staged Nutrient Release (SNR) Fertilizer, precise timed released polymer coated fertilizer granules that reduce fertilization applications and environmental damage. The inductees will be FNGLA member Ed Rosenthal and Florikan E.S.A., LLC. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events (including the annual Space Symposium) in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.” Space Foundation World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Congratulations Florikan and Ed Rosenthal on being recognized by another industry’s hall of fame!

EuroAmerican Propagators File Chapter 7 Euroamerican Propagators based in Bonsall, California, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Southern District of California (San Diego) U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Chapter 7 bankcruptcy usually calls for the liquidation of the company’s assets and distribution of the proceeds to its creditors. After the filing, the company released the following statement: “At this time we would like to say, thank you. We have appreciated all of our customers’ business over the past 26 years. We have received an outpouring of understanding and hopeful comments from many of our customers. We understand this is not ideal and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We are concerned for our employees, suppliers, growers and all those we have affected at this time. Unfortunately, this was the only option for EuroAmerican Propagators. We hope for the best.” Euroamerican Propagators was founded in 1992 by partners John Rader and Jerry Church. They purchased the propagation operation from Rader’s former employer, Weidner’s Gardens in Encinitas, CA, where he was production manager. EuroAmerican is also one of the founding companies of the Proven Winners plant brand along with Four Star Greenhouse, Carleton, MI, and Pleasant View Gardens, Loudon, NH. Both of these businesses are thriving and seemingly have no plans to follow suit. Proven Winner products are not expected to be difficult to source as the brand moves forward.



Welcome New Members ACTION Traveling Trees Inc. Tim Duncan 17643 Gladys St Montverde, FL 34756 352-988-8800 Rec’d by: Rich Kling, Transaction Services Veteranscapes, Inc. Bert Mejias 4022 Rex Dr Winter Garden, FL 34787 407-905-0019 BROWARD Flamingo Road Home & Garden Showplace Jim Dezell 1655 S Flamingo Rd Davie, FL 33325 954-258-8568 Rec’d by: Robert Shoelson, Getting Green Plant Service, Inc. Florida Draw Bridge Inc. Laura Porter 1901 E Atlantic Blvd Pompano Beach, FL 33060 954-788-0969 McMahon’s Irrigation & Landscaping, Inc. Kevin McMahon 2870 NW 107th Ave Coral Springs, FL 33605 954-753-2070 My Professional Lawn Service LLC William Purswell 1516 SW 14th Ct Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 954-605-8297 Ocean Blue International, Inc. Ken Yeung 1591 N Powerline Rd Pompano Beach, FL 33069 561-293-5657 SKD Acquistion Corp. Peter Leeman 1254 NW 21st St Pompano Beach, FL 33069 954-917-2715 FRONTRUNNERS Bayer Sheryl Wells (Supportive) 18763 NW 235th St High Springs, FL 32643 478-234-4440 Lamb Nursery Thomas Lamb 9750 SW 140th Ave Dunnellon, FL 34432 908-670-1162 MANASOTA Duyn Construction Allen Duyn 113 Milan Ave E Venice, FL 34285 941-484-5433

MIAMI-DADE antoniodeluca Farms Inc Denzel Alvarado Full 25 SE 2nd Ave Ste 301 Miami, FL 33131 817-914-7133 St. Vil Painting Group, LLC Daniel Pana 1815 NE 154th Ter Miami, FL 33162 786-247-5799 The Farm Agency/Pro Source Inc. Gail Brubaker PO Box 971502 Miami, FL 33197 305-661-7097 INTERNATIONAL Veradek, Inc. Lucio Bovolini Full 211 Bowes Rd Concord, ONT L4K 1H8 Canada 416-300-5955 OUTSIDE FLORIDA Central Park Villa LLC Ronald Meltzer 7438 E Green Lake Dr Seattle, WA 98115 415-484-2525 Hunter Industries Laurel Madden (Associate) 1940 Diamond St San Marcos, CA 92078 760-744-5240 Orchard Supply Hardware Tyler Davis 6450 Via Del Oro San Jose, CA 95119 408-365-2787 Orchard Supply Hardware Karen Taylor (Associate) 6450 Via Del Oro San Jose, CA 95119 408-365-2787 Sponzilli Landscape Group Inc. Richard Sponzilli 345 Passaic Ave Fairfield, NJ 07004 973-244-1425 PANHANDLE Wayne’s Landscapes Wayne Tharpe 2732 Sapp Rd Cottondale, FL 32431-7218 774-232-1994 PALM BEACH Deluxe Marble & Granite Inc. Eduardo Barros Full 18884 La Costa Ln Boca Raton, FL 33496 954-825-9158 Furniture by Telma Gordon LLC Telma Gordon 7788 Via Grande Boynton Beach, FL 33437 561-419-8175

The following are new FNGLA members from January 1, 2017 - January 31, 2016

1. Action 2. Big Bend 3. Broward 4. Central East Coast 5. Coastal Springs 6. Miami-Dade 7. Frontrunners 8. Highlands Heartland 9. Polk

10. Manasota 11. Northeast 12. Palm Beach 13. Panhandle 14. Pinellas 15. Royal Palm 16. Space Coast 17. Tampa Bay 18. Treasure Coast

Mentado Lawn Maintenance & Landscaping Susan Armas 2760 F Rd Loxahatchee, FL 33470 561-723-2509

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens Danielle Green (Supportive) 1590 Goodlette Rd Naples, FL 34102 239-262-5409 x148

PD Painting Inc. Daniel Pena 9020 Bellhurst Way Ste 113 West Palm Beach, FL 33411 561-360-3702

P & T Lawn & Tractor Pete Zielinski 15980 Old Olga Rd Alva, FL 33992 239-707-4611 Rec’d by: Brian Creel, Creel Tractor Company

PINELLAS Terra Chapman (Student) 1320 30th Ave N St. Petersburg, FL 33704 206-450-4156 PINELLAS Aaron Tracy Aaron Tracy (Student) 11700 5th St E Treasure Island, FL 33706 727-631-1228 Jeremias Velez (Student) 700 1st Ave S St. Petersburg, FL 33715 812-610-2659 ROYAL PALM ABC Lawncare of Florida Inc. Mitchell Blankenship PO Box 471 Copeland, FL 34137 239-821-4101 Firing Landscapes, Inc. Kendall Firing 7350 Green Acre Ln Fort Myers, FL 33912 239-633-5740 Greenery Wizard Jackie Belcher 4100 Corporate Square Ste 163 Naples, FL 34105 239-331-2531

Paradise Landscaping of Florida, Inc. Alejandro Rico 1885 47th Ave NE Naples, FL 34120 239-825-9189 Shane Burton’s Lawn Care Shane Burton 1762 Winkler Ave Ft. Myers, FL 33901 239-425-7077 Rec’d by: Matt Fleming, Steele Truck Center TAMPA BAY A-Z Lawn care of Tampa Inc. Paul Amari 6606 Gunn Hwy Tampa, FL 33625 813-376-0871 Environmental Landscape Services Gregory Holle PO Box 1908 Pinellas Park, FL 33780 727-423-3168 TREASURE COAST Michelle Peterson (Supportive) 772 NW Avens St Port St Lucie, FL 34983-1106 772-237-3217

Juan Huerta Lawn Maintenance, Inc. Juan Huerta 3291 7th Ave NW Naples, FL 34120 239-455-8828 Steele Truck Center, Inc.


Calendar of Events

Contact Us

See and submit events at, under calendar


February 16:

2017 Regional Turf Seminars, UF/IFAS Duval County Extension Office, Jacksonville


Pruning and Chainsaw Safety, UF/IFAS Osceola County Extension Service, Kissimmee


Tree and Landscape Short Course, Hillsborough Community College, Plant City


Outdoor Tree School, Fran Carlton Center, Apopka

21: Landscape U: Diagnosing Problems of Trees, Shrubs and Groundcovers, UF/IFAS Orange County Extension Service, Orlando 24:

Education on the Go! Account Manager Bootcamp, Ewing Branch 160, Jacksonville

March 8-10:

Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings & Holiday Market, AmericasMart, Atlanta. GA

11-19: Philadelphia Flower Show, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia 13-14:

SAF Congressional Action Days, Washington D.C.


Landscape U: Diagnosing Problems with Turfgrass, UF/IFAS Orange County Extension Service, Orlando

Phone: 407.295.7994 Toll-free: 800.375.3642 Fax: 407.295.1619 E-mail: Web:




President Robert Shoelson, FCLC Getting Green Plant Services & Betrock Information Systems PO Box 840107 Pembroke Pines, FL 33084 (954) 680-1819

President-Elect Ed Bravo Big Trees Plantation, Inc. 104 SW 131 St Newberry, FL 32669 (352) 332-2150

Past President Billy Butterfield, FCLC AmeriScapes Landscape Management Services, LLC PO Box 568762 Orlando, FL 32856-5041 (407) 872-0855

Secretary/Treasurer Will Womack, FCLC Tampa Bay Landscaping 5821 Maple Lane Tampa, FL 33610 (813) 368-9891

Connect with us: About FNGLA This publication is produced by the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) as a service to its members and the industry at large. The statements and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Association, its staff, Board of Directors, Greenline or its editors. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers or their identification as members does not constitute an endorsement of the products or featured services. The mission of the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association is to promote and protect the interests of Florida’s nursery and landscape industry.


1533 Park Center Drive Orlando, FL 32835-5705

Read the latest FNGLA news inside & visit Greenline online at

FNGLA's 2017 February Greenline  

FNGLA's official newsletter for association members and Florida's nursery and landscape industry's business professionals.

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