VOL. 41, NO. 4
The right soils for tree success Mentor and inventor: Gerry Brouwer Prevent customer service regrets
Research, genetics and love promote
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Contents EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Lee Ann Knudsen CLM | email@example.com
APRIL 2019 VOL. 41, NO. 4
ART DIRECTOR Kim Burton | firstname.lastname@example.org LANDSCAPE ONTARIO MAGAZINE EDITOR Robert Ellidge | email@example.com MULTIMEDIA DESIGNER Mike Wasilewski | firstname.lastname@example.org ACCOUNTANT Joe Sabatino | email@example.com ACCOUNT MANAGER Greg Sumsion | firstname.lastname@example.org COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Angela Lindsay | email@example.com ADVISORY COMMITTEE Gerald Boot CLM, Laura Catalano, Jeremy Feenstra, Mark Fisher, Hank Gelderman CHT, Marty Lamers, Bob Tubby CLM, Nick Winkelmolen, Dave Wright Landscape Trades is published by Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association 7856 Fifth Line South, Milton, ON L9T 2X8 Phone: (905)875-1805 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (905)875-0183 Web site: www.landscapetrades.com LANDSCAPE ONTARIO STAFF Scott Barber, Darryl Bond, Amy Buchanan, Tony DiGiovanni CHT, Denis Flanagan CLD, Cassandra Garrard, J. Alex Gibson, Meghan Greaves, Sally Harvey CLT CLM, Keri MacIvor, Heather MacRae, Kathy McLean, Kathleen Pugliese, John Russell, Ian Service, David Turnbull, Lissa Schoot Uiterkamp, Tom Somerville, Myscha Stafford, Martha Walsh
Landscape Trades is published nine times a year: January, February, March, April, May, August, September, October and November. Subscription rates: One year – $46.90, two years – $84.74; three years – $118.64, HST included. U.S. and international please add $20.00 per year for postage and handling. Subscribe at www.landscapetrades.com Copyright 2019. All rights are reserved. Material may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Landscape Trades assumes no responsibility for, and does not endorse the contents of, any advertisements herein. All representations or warranties made are those of the advertiser and not the publication. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the association or its members, but are those of the writer concerned.
6 New hope for the chestnut
Some trees, such as the American chestnut, resonate emotionally. Thanks to breeding and research progress, its reestablishment in Canada is underway.
BY PAT KERR
14 Soils promote tree planting success
Research on tree survival in tough highway conditions shows promise — the right soil recipe is key.
BY DR. DARBY MCGRATH
20 Management solutions
Efficiency, systems and knowing your numbers all promote profitability, and also pave the way to a great succession plan.
BY MARK BRADLEY
24 Road to success
Nobody gets do-overs when it comes to customer service.
BY ROD McDONALD
28 Legal matters
Protection from collection problems for contractors as projects draw to a close.
BY ROB KENNALEY
38 Mentor moment ISSN 0225-6398 PUBLICATIONS MAIL SALES AGREEMENT 40013519 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT LANDSCAPE TRADES MAGAZINE 7856 FIFTH LINE SOUTH, MILTON, ON L9T 2X8 CANADA
Mechanically inclined sod farmer Gerry Brouwer reflects on his career helping people.
DEPARTMENTS GREEN PENCIL 4 B.C. UPDATE 18 NEWSSCAPE 30 NEW PRODUCTS 34
CNLA NEWS 36 COMING EVENTS 37 ADVERTISERS 37 APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
greenpencil Implement the best succession strategy:
Develop your people M
ost companies in our sector start from
a passion fuelled by amazing energy and drive. After about 25 years, owners see a new challenge: How to keep their companies going after they retire. Since 70 per cent of company purchases are made by employees, developing great people is the deciding factor on the future success and longevity of your business. It’s the owner’s role to engage, lead and coach in all areas of business performance. Developing people becomes the owner’s main focus as companies evolve. Some use proven business management practices, while most learn lessons over time, understanding this becomes the focus for future growth. Every business needs a long-term plan for personnel growth. In my personal journey this came from mentors, peer By Brent Ayles groups and much trial and error. Industry-led education gives us a benchmark and starting point for sure; real life situations prove whether or not they work. To focus forward on a path our vision must be clear, and remember, the path is never straight, as we learn most in the valleys and turns. The following points have proven to work for many toward developing people that build your company’s value as time moves forward.
Education and development Making our places of employment educational institutions is critical. At a Congress event over 10 years ago I heard a speaker say, “The largest school should be our daily workplace.” That has stuck with me for years. Now we are realizing that sharing, learning, teaching and coming together as a group is the best return on our largest investment — OUR PEOPLE. The military’s main purpose is to set clear rules and expectations through disciplined activities, and to obtain a desired outcome. I am not suggesting in any sense that green business activities are equivalent to the efforts of men and women in our Canadian Forces. It’s just that if we expect people to perform at a certain level, we had best teach them how to act and react. Former NCAA basketball coach John Wooden, one of the most-winning coaches in history, made things clear. The first thing he did with new team members was to sit them down and explain how to put on their socks and tie their shoes. Because he wanted their best and knew how to prevent injuries. We must show and tell others often how we expect them to perform. Standards really help outline clear expectations, as well as build consistency and rhythm. This is another form of communication. How do we start making our work place an educational institution? Just start! Line up chairs. Set up a white board. Schedule the meeting. Meet and communicate. Invest time in your people. I believe we have a development issue within our industry, far more than a retention problem.
Management A strong management team that is well qualified in sales, operations and accounting is key to longevity, whether your company has three people or 63. Map the team out on paper, into a past/present/future organization chart to help guide growth and decision making. Assign Key Performance Indicators to keep decision-making focused on numbers, NOT feelings.
Communication Communication tends to be an area where companies break down. Keeping open communication lines becomes very challenging as a company grows past about six employees. Ensure communication is as clear and direct to the source as possible. Whether it’s a visual scoreboard, a client share system, or regular reporting checklists, just do it! A communication process map is a great idea to help everyone understand processes and proper channels.
4 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Relationships Building relationships that matter helps focus efforts forward — bankers, accountants, legal counsel, mentors, vendors, clients, customers (yes, there is a difference between the two), future managers, peer groups, other business groups, etc. all help expand our reach and potential. Exposure to these groups enhances the long-term growth and continuation of our operations. Energy is as valuable as is time, but much more important. As leaders, knowing where to spend your energy is critical. LT Spend it on the area of largest return, your people.
Brent Ayles is president of Ayles Natural Landscaping, based in Riverview, N.B.
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Living legacy returns in time for edible landscaping enthusiasts
American chestnut, Castanea dentata, once comprised 25 per cent of southern Ontarioâ€™s forests, and was considered by many as the most important forest tree. But numbers plummeted in the 1940s. So great was the demise, most Canadians have never tasted a true American chestnut from Canada; we are roasting larger imported or hybrid chestnuts. Like the apple tree, the chestnut has been developed, bred and adapted by hobbyists, professional growers and connoisseurs of healthy food.
6 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
BY PAT KERR
Today, many forms are widely available for landscape and forestry uses â€” and like the apple, there are concerns still to be overcome. The history of the chestnut in Canada is greatly romanticised, and this is both a help and hindrance to the reintroduction of native chestnuts. Since the loss of this magnificent canopy tree, a few photographs of significant chestnuts have circulated. But the truth is, like beech and elm, most chestnut trees never reached the size of these
wide s. ave a ce level h e l n b a a r l i e l a av d to ntly f, an curre tics, lea s e e tr ris tnut acte Ches y of char t varie ces sour any m om gs fr edlin e s t tnu ches has s. n o i t e Sta chniqu arch te Rese ogation e o c p m o i r S The ifferent p d and
New hope for the
chestnut monsters. The current record for an American chestnut is from Belgium at 36.9 m high. “The story of the chestnut tree is a sad one,” said Ernie Grimo of Grimo Nut Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. “With the right work, it can be recovered. Customers love chestnuts but we can’t provide enough. Unless the stature is back, they won’t over-top every other tree and they won’t survive in a forest setting.” Dennis Fulbright, a retired U.S. chestnut researcher and
current chestnut consultant who does mechanical chestnut harvesting, said, “Bringing back the chestnut is ecologically significant, not just as a commercial venture. Without change, the ecology will be lost.” THREAT FROM THE EAST In 1876, and again in 1882, Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata) seedlings were imported to the eastern U.S. for commercial growing of a larger chestnut on a shorter tree,
APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
incidentally carrying what was called Asian bark fungus. We now know the disease as Cryphonectria parasitica, or chestnut blight. The Asian trees were resistant to the condition and it was not thought to be a problem. In 1904, in the New York Bronx Zoo, the
“Bringing back the chestnut is ecologically significant.” American chestnut was found to be in decline. Between three and four billion chestnut trees were destroyed, and by 2007, the American chestnut in Canada was listed as endangered. We now know chestnut blight kills saplings in one year and mature trees in a couple of years. From the root of a mature diseased chestnut, shoots spring up that will grow to about 9 m and 100- to 150 cm in diameter, or less than half the tree’s healthy potential. On sunny sites, these may reach flowering
Chestnut researcher, Dragan Galic has developed a technique for grafting seedlings with mature stock to support early production of pollen.
8 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Tree research is working.
size, but it is rare for any to seed. Another problem, once the disease was identified, was people in general gave up on the tree, and healthy and diseased trees alike were cut for their valuable wood. We now know some of these trees were likely tolerant to the condition, but their genetics are forever lost. Pioneers and First Nations loved the sweet nuts and they carried the seeds across the continent. Some chestnut trees have done well outside its natural range, especially those planted in the American southwest, where wet winters and dry summers discourage the blight. Healthy specimens are known to be on the Dalhousie property in Nova Scotia, in Sault Ste. Marie, northern Ontario and Revelstoke, B.C., east of Vancouver. SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION The Canadian Chestnut Council implemented a project searching for these often-solitary trees. A 2017 University of Guelph study suggested there could be many more chestnut trees growing in Ontario than previously thought, possibly as many as 2,000. Ontario seems to have greater survival rates than other parts of the chestnut’s natural range. Once found, “mates” are being planted in the vicinity of the solitary chestnuts, to encourage cross-pollination, as the chestnut self-pollinates only about one per cent of the time. The chestnut mates are not just any chestnut. These are trees being propagated
using a new technique developed by Dragan Galic at the Simcoe Research Station in Ontario. They start as a true American chestnut seedling that is grafted with mature stock. The resulting grafted seedlings are outplanted, with hope and expectation they will produce catkins in five to six years, and burrs a few years later. The grafted stock is the result of crossing the hardiest and most tolerant Ontario chestnuts under study. If the graft fails, the root stock is still expected to grow to a true Ontario chestnut tree, although it will take longer to produce pollen and it is unlikely to live to maturity at 250 years. Chestnuts are described as “tricky” to pollinate. If the tip of the burr is damaged, there will be no pollination. Pollen must land on the tip. The Simcoe Research Station had 5,000 seedlings for outplanting in 2018, with a waiting list for more. Researchers are currently in the third cross of tolerant or less susceptible Ontario chestnut with tolerant Ontario chestnut. They also have crosses with Chinese, European and Japanese chestnuts, back-crossed to 93.75 per cent native genes, while maintaining a level of tolerance to the blight. After inoculation, as expected, most of the F2 crosses died. “We have 26 different genotypes,” said Galic. “We have seen signs of healing.” [After the trees were inoculated with two strains of the blight.] “There is less disease in mixed stands with oak, beech and maple present. I
The Canadian Chestnut Council is now outplanting thousands of chestnuts in many crosses, with a waiting list for more.
am going to talk with a mycorrhizal specialist to determine if there is an association.” Even as hope was shifting to expectation that these trees could be more than tender, short-lived, specimen trees and return to agriculture and forestry, the Oriental gall wasp crossed the border. As a new invasive species, there is nothing currently registered for it, but this is expected to change. The gall wasp, Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu, arrived in the U.S. in 1974 and in Niagara-on-theLake, Ont., in 2012. COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL Chestnuts being planted for commercial harvest in Michigan are often a Japanese/
Chestnut trees are maturing blight-free in Canada, but it hasn’t been easy and the work is not done.
10 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
European grafted cross. These trees, using clonal propagation methods and grafting, resist both the blight and the gall wasp. They are producing 10- to 30,000 lbs. of the larger nuts per orchard. “It’s about better cultivars for commercial harvest,” said Dennis Fulbright. “In Ohio, the presence of the gall wasp waxes and wanes. It never kills the trees, but it does reduce the flowering and consequently the harvest. Here in Michigan, we are planting more like California with specialized cultivars. We are marketing chestnuts in a big way. In orchards, people can afford to pay for treatments.” Another promising area of research is hypovirulence, a virus that attacks the blight. In Europe, the virus spreads naturally, resulting in natural regeneration; there are now extensive stands of the European chestnut. The trees show cankers from the root up the stem, but they continue to survive, and in some cases, thrive. This virus can be inoculated into the trees. In North America, although hypovirulence has been discovered, it has not spread naturally. A unique hypovirulent isolate found in Ontario is now under study. Some of the chestnuts in Simcoe had chestnut blight cankers, but their growth rate continued high and the cankers showed a level of healing. Not resistant, but they are native chestnuts, and chestnuts with a high percentage of native genes that showed lower susceptibility to the condition. In Michigan,
The chestnut tree is greatly romaticized by consumers.
hybrid crosses often do better than native trees with the inoculation. According to Dennis Fulbight, “These trees are being planted in Michigan as mast species for wildlife. After three or four cutovers, these trees become dominant. Foresters manage forests. When planting from seed you get a mix of tall, short, wide, lots of diversity. If you are planting for dominance you may choose a cultivar that is tall.” “We are crossing for winter hardiness,” said Galic. “Resistance is first but chestnuts can be used again in agriculture, forestry and more. We need different characteristics. Ontario Provincial Parks will take only pure native chestnuts to break the isolates. Research takes a long time. Funding usually only lasts one or two, maybe three years. What can you do in tree research in one year?” Galic said, “I love the chestnut. My father loved the chestnut. I will not retire until this LT is complete.”
Pat Kerr is an Ontario-based freelance writer.
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Improving soil for success Greening Canadaâ€™s Highways tree planting research update BY DR. DARBY MCGRATH VINELAND RESEARCH AND INNOVATION CENTRE
Understanding and improving the soil quality of a planting site that has been affected by construction is often critically important to ensure trees can become established. The construction process can significantly alter soil structure and function, as topsoil is removed and stockpiled and heavy equipment compacts sites. Water is the main limiting factor in tree establishment, so in post-construction soils where roots cannot access water and nutrients, trees often do not survive. On highway roadsides, trees face additional challenges because it is not standard practice to irrigate newly planted trees. Sites are seldom mowed, so trees must compete with ground vegetation for scarce resources. With the support of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Landscape Ontario, and the Landscape Alberta Nursery Producers Group, the Greening Canadaâ€™s Highways project was initiated to improve tree establishment in highway plantings. 14 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
ONTARIO RESEARCH TRIAL In 2014, we began soil remediation research trials in Ontario. The objective of the research was to develop a method for preparing soils that was economically feasible, and created the necessary soil properties trees need to survive and grow. We developed a remediation protocol that uses deep-ripping (fracturing the soil structure) to a depth of 90 cm, followed by application and incorporation of varying amounts of organic amendments into the soil. Using this method, we create a planting bed where drainage is improved, soil is workable and multiple trees can be easily planted together (in contrast to much more labour-intensive tree planting required in compacted soil). The remediated soil, which has been de-compacted and mixed with organic amendment to a depth of nearly 30 cm, promotes a rooting depth adequate for trees, but more importantly, space for roots to expand horizontally. We tested applying compost at 0-, 10-, 25- and 50 per cent rates, on a volume-to-volume basis. This helped us to understand the thresholds of organic matter required to reduce bulk density (compaction) enough to let tree roots grow, while also improving available water holding capacity (plant available water), porosity and nutrient availability in the soils. The treatment where we added 25 per cent compost amended into the soil proved to be the best for tree growth and improved soil quality. Soil texture, bulk density and organic matter interact to influence
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The Alberta research trial plot located in Airdrie, Alta., at Highway 2 and Veteran’s Boulevard (567).
water availability. The soil present on planting sites will differ based on these properties. Therefore, we used the trial to help create a soil remediation calculation tool that provides customized recommendations based on soil conditions at the planting site. Users of the tool can take soil samples for organic matter content and texture, and estimate the amount of amendment they will need to add to reduce compaction and improve soil conditions for trees. The soil calculator and a tree species selection tool that is unique to Canada, as well as information on how to sample soils and carry out soil remediation for tree planting, can be found at www.greeningcanadianlandscape.ca.
In Ontario, trees are being planted along the Highway 401 corridor from Trenton to the Coroner’s Office in Toronto.
16 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
ALBERTA RESEARCH TRIAL In 2016, we planted separate research trial sites in Edmonton, Calgary and Airdrie, Alta., to build on research findings from Ontario. At these sites we tested different organic amendments that would be available to the local landscape sector. We used municipal compost (comprised of leaf and yard waste, and in Calgary including manure from the Calgary zoo) and composted pulp and paper residuals (waste products that are currently incinerated during the paper-making process). These amendments were incorporated into planting beds and compared alongside trees planted according to the current planting specification of each city. With support from the Landscape Alberta Nursery Producers Group, we are continuing to monitor the trial sites in Alberta for two more growing seasons, but so far the findings from the research trials are promising. Compared to the current municipal planting specification treatment of the trial at each site, tree growth and soil quality have generally been improved in soils that incorporated both municipal compost and the composted pulp and paper residuals. PUTTING RESEARCH IN PRACTICE — FROM LAB TO LANDSCAPE Much of the information available about soil quality is based on requirements for producing agricultural crops. For instance, a commonly cited organic matter content goal for agricultural soils is three to five per cent. Although this is a value that reflects the requirements of agricultural crops, it is often the default range used for assessing organic matter content in urban soils for tree planting projects as well. Soils in forest ecosystems resemble neither urban soils nor agricultural soils. They tend to be high in organic matter content, have high water holding capacity, and receive regular inputs of organic matter through fallen wood and leaf litter, resulting in a pool of stored and readily available nutrients, thanks to the myriad actions of soil biota. Therefore, when sampling soils with tree establishment in mind, the soil analysis recommendations available from labs may not accurately reflect improvements needed. It is worth noting that the highway roadside soils possessed soil organic matter contents between 2.5 and four per cent, pre-remediation, but previous tree planting efforts at these sites had not succeeded. The research findings from our project suggest that increasing organic matter content of the planting soil to approximately eight to 10 per cent resulted in the greatest improvement in soil quality and tree growth. In many tree planting projects in urban or semi-urban landscapes, hitting the right levels of increased organic matter would help to reduce compaction and increase water availability for trees. To help with the hand-off of the research and methods we have developed, we have been working with the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute to design a standard practice for soil preparation and planting. As the Tribute campaign and project continues to roll out planting 117,000 trees along a stretch of Highway 401 between CFB Trenton and the Coroner’s Office in Toronto, it is exciting to see the project findings in action. For more information on the Highway of LT Heroes Living Tribute visit www.hohtribute.ca.
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britishcolumbiaupdate BCLNA works to eradicate Japanese beetle The BCLNA continues to work with its partners, including CFIA, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, the Invasive Species Council of B.C., the City of Vancouver as well as MetroVan, in the continuing Japanese beetle eradication efforts for 2019. The regulated area has increased slightly in size, with treatment areas to be determined over the next few weeks on both public and private lands. BCLNA member companies with clients in BCLNA booth at the Vancouver home show. the treatment area were able to ob- Growth for B.C. home show tain approvals for Bucking the trend of declining interest in shows, treatment in 2018, BCLNA members enjoyed brisk business at most of which are February’s B.C. Home + Garden Show, with still in effect good contacts for Gulshan Josan in 2019, enfuture business abling an earlier start to the application and also recruiting of Acelepryn in downtown Vancouver this potential staff. Oryear. BCLNA’s role is to facilitate dialogue ganized by Fanny and communicate the effect of the regulaSt. Hilaire, BCLtions to landscapers and retailers, and to NA’s Landscape provide information for their clients. Most Coordinator, the retailers and landscape suppliers who deal focus was on prowith trade in the restricted area will no lonviding professional ger take returns of plants. The eradication garden and landis estimated to take three to five years. scape advice to Laura Bryce, BCLNA’s Japanese Beetle Fanny St. Hilaire engage the public. and Technical Coordinator, will be taking the lead on the J.B. issue, as it continues to Labour Market take considerable collaboration and discussions Partnership project to continue the eradication initiative. Gulshan The BCLNA is well underway in its Strategy Josan, BCLNA’s new Marketing and Communi- Development Phase, to deal with severe labour cations Coordinator, will be working with Laura shortages for the landscape and ag-hort secto build on the 2018 work, increasing distribu- tors. Funded by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced tion networks into the landscape trade, which is Education and Skills Training, this multi-year estimated to be about 2,500 businesses in the project has strong support from industry leadgreater Vancouver area. ers. A Governance Committee has just met to develop visions and values, with a full PartGet ’em while they’re young! nership Committee meeting coming in April to BCLNA is actively working to support budding review the draft Strategy. It is anticipated this horticulturists to come into the industry through B.C.-focused program will pilot the outcome of a targeted plan, with visits and discussions with the Strategy in 2020, and is gaining considerstudents at horticulture education institutions able interest from other agricultural sectors inas well as career fairs. This is part of BCLNA’s cluding ‘fur and feathers.’ recruitment and retention strategy, to promote professionalism and leadership through the BCLNA’s associated programs and benefits. 18 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Climate change? This is written in March, after a balmy January led to a freezing February, with five times the usual amount of snow, and an all-time low temperature for the month since recordkeeping began. For nursery growers, it was a close call, as buds were about to break, which would have caused significant issues moving stock east. Shipping is now about two weeks behind the regular schedule, with Vancouver Island quickly opening up as the weather warms.
CanWest Hort Expo 2019 BCLNA’s planning and program development for CanWest has an early kickoff, with the addition of Chris Yee to assist CanWest’s marketing and promotions. Michelle Linford, BCLNA’s Operations Coordinator, and Karen DeJong of K. DeJong Marketing Services, the Show Coordinator, are building the program and trade show with new Chris Yee components and ideas. CanWest 2019 takes place in Abbotsford on Sept. 25 - 26; watch for details coming out early June 2019 at canwesthortshow.com.
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Systems to promote succession
BY MARK BRADLEY
“ There are a few times in life where you get to make choices that can have a multi generational impact. [Selling your business] is one of those times.” — Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewing It has been said nobody works harder, for less return, than a landscape contractor. Maybe a stretch, but it is close enough that you are probably taking a moment to think about it. Succession planning is critical to owning a landscape business. You may have a passion for the outdoors, but one day you will have a passion to do other things — outside your business. The hope is, by then, your business has created a situation for you where you can be comfortable. But for most businesses, that hope is just that. A mere hope. There is no real emphasis or planning for ‘the end.’ Just a vague desire that one day, the business will be able to pay you back for your risk, efforts, late nights, anxiety, and all the other joys of owning and operating a business. Don’t leave your future to fate. Here are three important ways you can start succession planning in your business.
l You don’t need to hard-sell them your
company. l Smoother transition for both current owner and new owners, as everyone already knows the business, the customers and the ‘way things get done.’ But engaging your employees when you are ready to sell your business is likely a few years too late. Not only does the employee know the company’s dysfunctions (all too well), but they also may see the situation as a threat to their employment and look elsewhere for greater security. There are two great reasons to increase financial transparency in your business if you are thinking about succession in the next 10 years. First, it is likely to improve profits and performance — which builds value in your business. And second, while employees understand a company’s dysfunctions, it’s rare that they understand the financials: equity, value, profit … all the benefits of running a business. There are some fantastic books (Great Game of Business is one) and methods to start engaging your staff around the numbers that drive your business. You don’t have to completely open the books, but you can (and should) start sharing more information than you do today. Good employees will rally round the numbers and use those numbers to help drive more efficient and better behaviours. Think of it like a scoreboard. Good athletes want to play for a score. Beer-league athletes are just looking for the occasional moment of glory. With employees, it is no different.
Embrace transparency Next to an engaged family member, selling your business to key employee(s) may be your best option for business succession. Transitioning to employees has some important advantages: l They are more likely to maintain the existing culture and values you set. 20 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Implement systems and processes Whether you are selling your business to a third party or to your staff, systems and processes are the backbone of a good business. They demonstrate a recipe for repeatable success, the likelihood of continued success, and they drive up the value of your business.
Far too many contractors without a plan, make the fatal mistake of assuming their business is going to be worth a lot because there are some healthy profits on the books in the final years. But the reality is, most of the company’s equity is tied up in (old) equipment and the knowledge and knowhow of the current owner — who is looking to leave! Today’s buyers are more savvy than that — and they have better options to choose from, too. If the value of your business is the value of your equipment at auction, plus a couple years’ profit as a goodbye present, you are doing your business (and your retirement) a great disservice. Valuable businesses that get picked up by successful buyers with deep pockets often share these traits: l Best-in-class equipment for maximum productivity and reduced dependence on labour. l Software systems that drive procedures and efficiency in the office. l Well trained, engaged staff who could run the business if you could not. l The prospect of recurring income, such as maintenance and snow contracts and client lists. l Organized shops, trailers, and procedures. Think about the type of businesses that sell themselves all the time — franchises. What are they selling? They sell systems, procedures, training, and the promise of repeatable success. Even if you are never going to franchise, think about your business as if you were, in order to get the most value when it is time to sell.
Know your numbers Mastering the numbers of your business will pay back more for your time than just about any other activity you can perform in your
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managementsolutions business. Sure, you might be worth $100 per hour because you can run a job so well … but a little investment in your financials will pay you back many, many times over in the future. Understanding your numbers will help ensure you price every job for profit. This sounds obvious, but in my meetings with hundreds of contractors, most of them assume they are pricing correctly, but really don’t have any actual numbers to back it up. Not understanding your numbers and how to price work has a really devastating effect on the profits and success of most companies. At LMN, we have had the privilege of teaching thousands of contractors about their numbers, and here’s a shockingly consistent fact: After learning to price from a budget and re-pricing some old jobs, the average contractor finds he is pricing 30 per cent of his work at break-even or less! This is especially true in property maintenance, but it is usually about the same in design/build. Owners are losing significant profits now, and future business value, because of guesstimating. Consider the following true story: I was working with a young hardscape contractor in the U.S., building his budget and ensuring his equipment and overhead was being recovered properly. To date, he had been pricing his hardscape work by square-foot pricing (as a benchmark), combined with a little intuition — adjusting prices up or down based on perceived difficulty. He had bid a project the night before for $19,500. Using the numbers from his budget to properly recover his costs, overhead and a 10 per cent profit, his post-budget price was $27,800. In fact his direct job costs (no overhead or profit) was $18,600 — leaving him with a paltry $900 to cover all overhead, profit, risk, warranty, etc. He was naturally skeptical of the higher price. So we revisited his estimate, line by line, double-checking his labour, material quantities and unit costs. When we were both certain there were no glaring mistakes, we returned to the price and declared the numbers 22 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
tell us this is a $27,800 job, and that is what you need to trust. He did — and, much to his surprise and delight, he even left the meeting with a deposit. Now look at the impact this adjustment will have on his business:
Revenue gained per single job with correct pricing..............................$8,300 Assume this kind of mistake happens on three jobs a year...........................$24,900 And this company has three crews.................................$74,700 And the company is in business (no growth) for 25 years................$1,867,000 I can’t overstate how important knowing your numbers is to your succession plan. That $1.8 million is going to make an enormous difference on when (and how) this gentleman will retire. It is also going to make a very significant difference in the valuation of the business — increasing the business’s worth and likelihood of sale, given its much stronger profit history. Not to mention, mastery of your numbers will assist you in all kinds of financial negotiations: selling your business, securing funding and loan capital, growing, merging … anything the future holds. You can fix this with some simple steps. If you can’t tick off all these steps below, start now! Understand your profit and loss statement. Make sure you know where all your revenues and expenses are being recorded. Understand your balance sheet. And understand how it differs from a Profit & Loss statement Identify key performance metrics. Some simple ratios help you know when your business is on track, and when it needs gentle correction. Run your business from a budget. A budget is a plan for profit — and make sure you have a pricing system that serves your plan. LT
Mark Bradley is the CEO of LMN Software, and former CEO of TBG Environmental, both based in Ontario.
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The time machine: If only I could have made that customer happy
BY ROD McDONALD
I had 12 to 16 high school students work at my garden centre every year. They were great! They were the legs of the organization; carry-outs, directing traffic, restocking the peat moss and all of the other fun jobs. They had enthusiasm and they had hustle, something I admire. They also had brains. I respected that while they were in an entry level job, they were destined to go on to important careers — and they did. One 16-year-old girl that worked for me in 1995 and ’96, was exceptionally smart. She also had a bit of lip, which drove her mother crazy. I told her mom that highly intelligent kids grow up to be interesting people. Of course, her mother, going through the battles of raising a teenage girl, took little comfort in my prediction. No surprise here, but that lippy 16-yearold went onto become a top-ranked lawyer. Her chutzpa served her well in that profession. This girl of 16 asked me a question I had never been asked before. The question: “What has been your biggest regret in life?” Wow! I was 45 at the time, and I had no ready-made reply. I thought about it for a few minutes
and gave her my answer. My biggest regret of my life, had been how poorly I had treated my mother and my beloved aunt at my Grade 12 graduation. I had, and I am engaging in understatement, a bit too much attitude at that particular moment in time. I said those things that stay with you for the rest of your life, and while forgiveness may be granted, no one ever forgets that you were the ass who spoke those words. I have no explanation for why I chose that ceremony to be rude, other than I was 17, and I am not certain if that is an explanation or a rationalization. I had been raised better than that, but I laid aside all of my upbringing to speak my mind. I had yet to learn the intense wisdom of speak in haste, repent at leisure. My 16-year-old inquisitor was surprised. She had anticipated something much grottier, something that contained more danger and risk. At 16, none of us can imagine a
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roadtosuccess regret for having been rude to our mom. Yet, that was my answer and still is today. This was, yet, another one of my incredibly long introductions. I was at the Manitoba conference in Winnipeg this February, as a speaker. A student stayed after my presentation and asked a similar question to the one in my introduction. He queried: “What advice would you give to yourself, if you were 20 years old, and starting out in this trade?” Great question from a student! While he did not ask for my biggest regret, he was asking what I would change — which is close enough for me. Words did not fail me. “I would tell my younger self not to take myself so seriously, to lighten up and to learn, again and again, the value of customer service.” Why was that my answer? Experience taught me that it would have been in my best interest to choose my words more carefully than I did at times. When I was well rested and not under stress, I could and did
26 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
offer up amazing levels of customer service. Then there were those times, in the spring especially, when I was swamped with reorders, scheduling, and all of the other tasks that come with the job. It was at those times
tell me he didn’t have time to talk. Then he hung up. He wasn’t being funny, rude or eccentric. He was stressed. He was overloaded. I called his sister and told her to check on her brother. She assured me they were quite
“ When I was rested and not under stress, I offered amazing levels of customer service. Then there were those times, in the spring especially, when I could be curt, defensive and snarky. I got my proverbial ‘knickers in a knot’ over small things.” when I could and would be curt, defensive and snarky. I got my proverbial ‘knickers in a knot’ over small things. I get it. All of us face stress, sometimes an incredible amount, especially during the spring rush. One of my friends, from this trade of ours, called me in May, at 11 a.m., to
aware that he was running on empty. All of us share that experience, of running on fumes. People who are not from our trade, even family members, do not understand what happens to us, the levels of stimuli we experience. I have had family members think I should just stop everything to go for brunch
when there were line-ups at all of the tills. How do you explain, nicely, that you cannot turn it off? Brunch is a July or February activity, not a May or June thing. Enough about us, back to customer care. How often have we witnessed others being legalistic? They defend their behaviour by relying upon the splitting of hairs as to what they said and how they said it. They have forgotten that the other party, the customer, has left feeling they have not been taken care of and that is what they wanted. When we split hairs and are busy defending our positions, we often forget that adage: Long after who said what is forgotten, all that will be remembered is how you made them feel. Think back to a place that you dealt with, perhaps for a number of years, and when you really needed their assistance, they were not there for you. Did you feel abandoned? As if they did not value you as a customer? That is a situation that we have to learn to avoid when we deal with our customers. I often tell the story of the customer who returned a hanging basket of geraniums that had been purchased the year before. She said she had waited for them to start growing again, but they did not appear to be alive. I explained to her that hanging baskets were annuals and they were not meant to live a second year. When I tell that story, people from the trade and gardeners, laugh. We wonder how could someone not know this? Yet, there she was. Had I to experience this interaction again, I would have given her a new basket, along with the explanation, and wished her well. It would have cost me so little and yet I dug my heels in because everyone knows hanging baskets are not guaranteed for a year, right? Wrong. She gave me such a good story it had to have been worth a hanging basket. I should have, I could have and I most certainly would have — if I had the chance again. I work part-time in the spring, at a small, family-run greenhouse. I have encouraged them to be much more generous with their customers than I ever was, as it is easier for everyone. I realize, you do get taken advantage of now and again, but not too often. However: You cannot make policy based upon one customer experience. When a customer calls to say their basket does not look great, we give them another one. No hassle, just APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
come down and get another one. And why not? As we finish the greenhouse season, we give away the leftover baskets to senior homes, so why not a few as customer service? Last year, we only had to replace a handful. The cost is minimal when you think about it. Always be building that precious customer base and protect it at all times. Being at our best with customer service always keeps us on the road to success. LT
Rod McDonald owned and operated Lakeview Gardens, a successful garden centre/ landscape firm in Regina, Sask., for 28 years. He now works full-time in the world of fine arts, writing, acting and producing in film, television and stage.
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Managing construction debt collection
Part III: As the project draws to a close BY ROBERT KENNALEY
This month, we complete our series of articles on debt collection issues with a discussion of what contractors, subcontractors and suppliers might do to protect themselves as a job moves towards completion. At this time, in particular, unpaid suppliers of services or materials must be careful to consider their options and to prepare, and document, their files. As suggested in our last article, it is extremely important to understand the notice provisions and other contractual prerequisites to a claim. If your claim is for extras or delay, your contract will often impose conditions to be met in seeking payment. While a failure to meet these conditions might not be fatal, it is better to take the issue off the table, rather providing a reason for non-payment to the other side of a dispute. A common mistake is the failure to properly compile documentation necessary to support a claim. For example, trades who seek additional compensation as an extra under their contracts often fail to properly track the work for which they are claiming. They may invoice for time and materials, for example, without documenting the support for the amounts claimed. As lawyers brought in to enforce the claim much later on, we all too often find backup to the claim is sorrowfully lacking. Our clients will tell us, for example, that they put two men on the extra work, for eight hours, while incurring $1,000 in material costs. Yet, by the time HLA - Landscape Trades - H_Quarter
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we have the file, the only backup to these costs are timesheets that show the men were on site for eight hours, on the day in question. By this time, of course, it is impossible for these men to actually tell us what they were doing on that day. This leaves the other side to argue the time might have been spent on the original scope of work, or on deficiencies. Further, if the actual invoices or materials price lists are not attached to back up your claim for material costs before the job is complete, it is often extremely difficult to locate such documentation later. The time to document the backup to your claim is when you are on site, when the details are fresh in your mind and when the men and required information are readily available. It is also very important to respond to any suggestion that your work is incomplete or deficient, particularly as a project draws to a close. This is because, firstly, it is towards the end of the job that the owner and its consultant will generally issue deficiency lists. Unfortunately, it is also because it is all to common for a party who has run out of money on a project to issue somewhat dubious lists of deficiencies and incomplete work as a basis for non-payment. In addition, allegations of delay may be made as a way to off-set your claim. These should also be responded to. Claimants should also understand the difference between, and keep separate, correspondence which puts your factual position on the record and correspondence with sets out your position on settle-
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ment. This is because if the two are combined, any suggestion that you might take less might be admissible in a trial and taken as an admission that your claim is not as strong as you say it is. Settlement proposals should be sent separately, and be clearly marked “without prejudice” so that the letters will not be admissible in evidence. We would also suggest that settlement possibilities be explored at an early stage. This is because, unfortunately, litigation can be very expensive and time consuming. If lawyers are to be involved, however, (and depending on the amounts in issue) they should be brought in at an early stage to help protect your position and to ensure that all possible options are explored, including information requests under construction lien legislation, mediation or arbitration, bond claims, lien claims, trust actions and other legal proceedings. Your lawyer, if experienced in construction matters, should also be able to assist you, as required, to draft letters in response to allegations of delay or of deficient and incomplete work made by the other side. Again, you should ensure that as you are negotiating a potential resolution, you nonetheless make sure you are following the contract as regards necessary steps and notices. Some contracts will include stepped negotiation phases that must be followed. Some may also require that matters be submitted to the next level, or to arbitration, failing which the claim will be deemed to be waived. Lastly, you should ensure that any rights you have to preserve a
claim for lien or to claim on a labour and material payment bond do not expire before you have had the opportunity to determine whether or not the pursuit of those remedies make economic sense in the circumstances. In the end, it is easy to focus on getting the job done, leaving debt collection issues to be dealt with later. Yet contractors, subcontractors and suppliers who take steps to manage debt collection throughout the life of a project will generally find themselves in LT a better position to collect at the end of the day.
Robert Kennaley practices construction law in Toronto and Simcoe, Ont. He speaks and writes on construction law issues and can be reached for comment at 416-700-4142 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. This material is for information purposes and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers who have concerns about any particular circumstance are encouraged to seek independent legal advice in that regard.
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newsscape New research leadership at Vineland The Board of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, based in Vineland, Ont., has appointed Dr. Ian Potter as Chief Executive Officer. “Having served in senior leadership roles with both the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF) throughout his 25-year career, Ian has substantial experience in the Canadian research and innovation Ian Potter space,” said Dr. Warren Jestin, Vineland’s Board Chair. “He is a well-rounded executive who brings significant operating expertise and commercialization know-how to Vineland. His team-focused ap-
proach aligns well with the extensive skill base and expertise already within the Vineland team and will support continued growth and impact for the horticulture sector.” “I am excited to be joining Vineland as CEO and look forward to working alongside key stakeholders to expedite opportunities for further collaboration and success within the Canadian horticultural space,” said Dr. Potter.
Vineland releases Chinook Sunrise rose Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) officially released Chinook Sunrise, the second in Vineland’s 49th Parallel Collection of roses developed for their hardiness and ability to blossom almost anywhere in Canada. Chinook Sunrise is a low-maintenance addition to landscapes because of its black spot tolerance and winter hardiness across Canada. It’s also a repeat bloomer, so it stays stunning all season. Chinook Sunrise will be available at gardening centres and greenhouses across the country in time for the 2019 growing season.
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“Chinook Sunrise really stood out with consumer panels when compared to the top-selling roses already on the market,” said Amy Bowen, Vineland’s Research Director Consumer Insights. “The spectrum of colours it offers and its glossy green foliage made it the right choice for release under Vineland’s 49th Parallel Collection. More information is available at 48throses.com.
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newsscape Certification update Since the U.S.-based National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) eliminated hands-on testing for the Landscape Industry Certified (LIC) Technician exam, the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) and provincial nursery and landscape associations have talked with industry stakeholders, and established that most practitioners support a Canadian certification that includes hands-on testing. Consequently, the decision was taken to launch a new, Canadian certified landscape technician test by January 2020. In keeping with CNLA and partner associations’ commitment to excellence in professional development, the new CLT test will preserve hands-on testing, and maintain and align tests with Red Seal Occupational Standards (RSOS) for the five sub-specialties: softscape and hardscape installation, turf and ornamental maintenance, and irrigation. The goal is streamlined tests with improved accessibility. The decision to launch a new CLT test will not affect other LIC designations. Current CLT tests
tario, June 22 and Sept. 21, and Atlantic region, Apr. 26-27 and Nov. 1-2. Equivalency tests will be developed to ensure in-progress candidates transition seamlessly when the new test is implemented. Periodic status updates will be provided on the new CLT test development. More information visit landscapeindustrycertifiedtechnician.ca/certification/exam-registration.
Beech announces amalgamation
An exclusively Canadian hands-on certification testing for Landscape Industry Certified Technician will be launched in Jauary 2020.
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Hall Tree Spading, Beech Nursery West and Beech Nursery Toronto have amalgamated under the name Beech Nursery Group. Formerly known as Hall Tree Farm, Hall Tree Spading of King City, Ont., has operated over 50 years, and is one of the largest tree spading companies in Ontario. Beech Nursery West of Schomberg, Ont., is a grower and supplier of wholesale trees and plant material. Beech Nursery Toronto is a one-stop downtown garden centre. “We are very excited about this transaction as it now transforms Beech Nursery Group into
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Healthier trees, Rooted in science. 32 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
www.gro-bark.com / 1.800.GRO.BARK
a multi-dimensional landscaping supply company,” said Rick Borges, General Manager and Operating Partner.
Horticultural tour of the Netherlands FloraCulture International (FCI), a global trade magazine for the horticulture industry, has developed a program of professional visits to an area of the Netherlands dubbed the country’s Greenhouse Capital. FCI Tours are organised in partnership with the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) and in collaboration with GreenTech 2019, an international horticultural trade show. For information or to book visit www.aiph.org/aiph-events/fci-tours.
lettertotheeditor Re: March Green Pencil I loved your article about the Lawn Combine. I remember seeing a unit all over the Georgetown area in the ‘70s. And they looked so impressive and professional, with the operators wearing uniforms as well. That has sadly been dropped by so many. :-( Time sure flies. My first mowers were all reel type mowers like you still see on golf courses. We had a fleet of them, and they did such a great job, but are so slow by today’s standards. Always good to read your stories, Lee Ann. Keep up the good work. Brian Perras BP Landscaping and Snow Removal, Caledon, Ont.
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently released a report on the value of zerocarbon buildings. “Making the Case for Building to Zero Carbon demonstrates definitively that zero-carbon buildings offer meaningful greenhouse gas reductions and positive financial returns,” the Council states. “Specifically, the study, a first of its kind in Canada, shows that Zero Carbon Buildings provide a positive financial return over a 25-year life-cycle, inclusive of carbon pollution pricing, and requiring only a modest capital cost premium.” The report is available at www.cagbc.org. LT
The case for zero-carbon buildings
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APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
newproducts Wall veneer unit The new Madria Tandem Next Wall veneer unit from Permacon evokes the look of natural wood in wall applications, and is quick to install with its 24-inch length. Permacon www.permacon.ca
Angle and pickup broom attachments John Deere is updating its line of Worksite Pro attachments with three new angle brooms and five new pickup brooms. The BA72C, BA84C and BA96C angle brooms and the BP72C, BP84C, BR60C, BR72C and BR84C pickup brooms were designed for effortless cleanup in turf, snow and construction applications. John Deere www.deere.ca
LTE radio The new Digital LTE IP501H from Icom is a waterproof, license-free radio that provides Canada and U.S coverage, talk and listen at the same time, group calls, individual calls, and is fully secure. The radio is available in portable and mobile versions. Icom Canada www.icomcanada.com
Loppers The new Felco 211 loppers have a cutting head design that is shaped and positioned to hold wood in place close to the centre axis to prevent slippage. The 211 is available in three lengths: 40 cm, 50 cm and 60 cm. Felco www.felco.com 34 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
34 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Walk-behind mower Toro announces a number of enhancements to the Toro ProStripe 560 walk-behind mower and striping unit. Key enhancements include a commercial-grade Kawasaki four-cycle engine, the incorporation of a trim side for trimming around edges, and a larger capacity, 1.7 litre fuel tank for longer mowing sessions.
New paver colours Rinox introduces two new colours to its paver lineup: mist and canyon. These new colours are available for the Aspen and Zuko Grande pavers and slabs, as well as the Monti wall. Rinox www.rinox.ca
Trimmer series Echo’s new X-Series 3020 30.5 cc trimmers offer category-leading 1.8 horsepower performance and a 20-inch cutting swath. Trimmers in this series are also equipped with professionalgrade air filtration, chrome-plated cylinder, two-ring piston and easy hot restartability. Echo www.echopower.com
Correction The Fibramulch skid sheer attachment announcement on page 22 of the March New Products issue included an incorrect model number. The attachment is the SR3.
45 YEARS INDUSTRY
We Make your day easier: Specialists in caliper trees. Vast selection of container plants. Various nursery supplies for sale. Growing with our customers in mind.
T : 905 683 8211 | F : 905 683 3734 3735 Sideline 16, Brougham, ON, Canada email@example.com | www.dutchmasternurseriesltd.com
APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
cnlanews Snow and ice risks Given the challenges the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) and associate provincial members face related to snow and ice liability, and obtaining cost-effective and sustainable insurance, the need for standardized Snow and Ice Operations Risk Management Guidelines has long been recognized. In October 2018, Marsh Risk Consulting worked together with the Landscape Ontario Snow and Ice Management Group to complete the first iteration of the CNLA Snow and Ice Operations Risk Management Guidelines document. For more information, go to gfl.me.h4r6 to read more. For business insurance, please contact Marsh Canada Limited at 1-888-949-4360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last call for certification! If your certification has lapsed, we want to give you one last chance to renew. Landscape certification will continue and is currently being revamped to become Canadian owned and controlled, aligned with the Red Seal Occupational Standard and streamlined to be more convenient and accessible. The new test will be launched in early 2020. Equivalency tests will be developed to ensure in-progress candidates transition seamlessly. CNLA has always, and will continue, to be the administering body for landscape certification in Canada. If you were certified in Canada and kept up your certification, you will automatically be grandfathered into the new program. Recertify now to avoid having to take the new test. Why recertify? Many credible accreditation programs require recertification (e.g. Health Care, Accountants, Lawyers, HR Professionals, Arborists, Landscape Architects). It is important to keep current with emerging information and technology, especially in an evolving industry such as ours. Recertification fees are directly invested back into the certification program and go towards promotion and continual upgrades. Please recertify to help build the critical mass of certified landscape technicians and increase public recognition of our profession. For the recertification form, visit: cnla.ca/uploads/pdf/ Recertification-Form-2018.pdf. If you have any questions or want help with the form, please contact Professional Development at CNLA; email@example.com, 1-888-446-3499 ext. 8620. 36 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Provincial shows throughout the year It can be challenging to keep track of all the trade shows that occur each year. We encourage you to mark your calendars now with the dates of these upcoming trade shows and conferences that are hosted by your provincial associations. JANUARY: Landscape Ontario Congress This show, put on by Landscape Ontario in early January at the Toronto Congress Centre, is a great way to start off the year. Plan ahead by checking out equipment you might need for the upcoming season or connect with different suppliers. Congress is the annual trade show and conference for Canada’s horticultural and landscape professionals. Rated as one of North America’s top shows for the green industry, it features over 600 booths covering eight acres, and more than 60 professional development sessions. Next year’s event is scheduled for January 7-9, 2020 — be sure to mark your calendars now! Registration will be open in September. Visit LOcongress.com. FEBRUARY: Grow Grow is hosted by the Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association at Canad Inns Destination Centre Polo Park in Winnipeg. The date for this year’s event was February 13, 2019. Building on the tradition of the Manitoba Green Show, Grow delivers more of what everyone wants. This one-day event is jam-packed with everything you need to get excited about the upcoming season — education, awards and a fun evening! Registration includes food, seminars, inspiration and a great opportunity to mix and mingle with peers and industry suppliers. No date has been set yet for 2020, but we will be sure to announce it when it becomes available. Visit grow.mbnla.com. SEPTEMBER: CanWest CanWest will be held on Sept. 25 - 26, 2019, at Tradex in Abbotsford, B.C. With the season for landscaping still underway, this is the perfect opportunity to find tools, equipment, or supplies you need to complete your projects. With a lot of work already completed, you can also use this show to think ahead for next year, see what changes you can make and how to better prepare yourself. CanWest is Western Canada’s
premier horticultural trade show, connecting buyers and sellers throughout Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Visit canwesthortshow.com. NOVEMBER: Green Industry Show and Conference The Green Industry Show and Conference (GISC) is Alberta’s premier trade show for the landscape, greenhouse, nursery, garden centre, turf and tree care industry. It is the largest trade show of its kind between Toronto and Vancouver, with over 140 exhibitors located in one convenient location. With a tradition of rotating between Edmonton and Calgary, the 2019 GISC will be held Nov. 14 - 15 in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park in Calgary. November weather may be tough to predict, but you can count on the wealth of knowledge and expertise you will acquire at GISC. To find out more about what you can expect, check out greenindustryshow.com. NOVEMBER: HortEast The HortEast trade show, traditionally held each November, rotates between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Moncton will host the event in 2019. HortEast is billed as the annual trade show for those who have an interest in the landscape industry in Atlantic Canada and surrounding areas. Network with new and old friends at social events, including a welcome reception and kitchen party, learn at pre-show workshops and conference sessions, participate in industry exams and visit over 50 exhibitors from across Canada. To keep track of all the updates, go to horteast.com. Whether you attend one or all the trade shows produced by Canada’s provincial associations, there is always something to be gained. Each of the shows strives to have something for everyone, including landscapers, retailers, growers and suppliers. Contact your provincial association to see what other events are planned in upcoming months. LT
The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association is the federation of Canada’s provincial horticultural trade associations. Visit www.cnla-acpp.ca for more information.
events June 15 - 23 Garden Days, www.gardendays.ca
advertisers where to find it COMPANY
404 Stone Limited 31
A.M.A. Horticulture Ltd 32
Allstone Quarry Products Inc 34
Atlas Polar Company Ltd 29
Beaver Valley Stone Limited 24
Best Way Stone Limited 9
June 25 - 28 SIMA Snow and Ice Symposium, Grand Rapids, Mich. www.sima.org
Bobcat Company 15
Dutchmaster Nurseries Ltd 35
Gro-Bark (Ontario) Ltd 32
July 13 - 16 Cultivate ‘19, Columbus, Ohio www.cultivate19.org
Horst Welding 28
John Deere Limited
June 19 - 21 Salon du Végétal, Nantes, France, salonduvegetal.com/pro/en/ June 23 - 26 Garden Centers of America Summer Tour, Nashville, Tenn. www.gardencentersofamerica.com
Miller Compost 26
Miska Trailers 39
Neudorff North America 21
Oaks Landscape Products 2
Aug. 13 - 15 Independent Garden Center Show, Chicago, Ill. www.igcshow.com
Permacon Group Inc 40
PRO Landscape by Drafix Software 33
Aug. 21 - 23 The Far West Show, Portland, Ore. www.farwestshow.com
QLD Communications 33
Rinox Inc. 23
Spring Meadow Nursery/Proven Winners Color Choice 17
Stihl Limited 5
Techo-Bloc Inc 11
The Toro Co 19
Timm Enterprises Ltd 22
Aug. 11 - 14 ISA International Trade Show and Conference, Knoxville, Tenn. www.isa-arbor.com
Aug. 21 - 23 Plantarium, Boskoop, Holland www.plantarium.nl Sept. 10 - 12 GLEE, Birmingham, U.K. www.gleebirmingham.com Sept. 25 - 26 CanWest Hort Expo, Abbotsford, B.C. www.canwesthortshow.com
Zander Sod Co Ltd 27
Oct. 9 -10 Canadian Greenhouse Conference, Niagara Falls, Ont. www.canadiangreenhouseconference.com Oct. 16 - 18 Green Industry Show and Equipment Expo, Louisville, Ky. www.gie-expo.com Nov. 14 - 15 LANTA Green Industry Show and Conference, Calgary, Alta. www.landscape-alberta.com/events/gisc/ Nov. 20 - 22 Fihoq Expo, Drummondville, Que. www.expofihoq.com Dec. 2 - 6 Irrigation Show 2019, Las Vegas, Nev. www.irrigation.org/2019Show LT
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APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
It’s all about people
erry Brouwer, in the sod business since 1959, is respected around the world as an industry leader. In the mid-1960s, Brouwer invented a tractor-mounted, mechanical sod harvester; it was patented, and Brouwer became one of those rare inventors able to take his idea to market, protect his patent and sell his product worldwide. Today’s Brouwer companies include equipment manufacturer Brouwer Kesmac, Brouwer Sod Farms, and lumber mill Brouwer Wood, all based in Keswick, Ont.
How did you, a farmer, come to be an inventor? Lots of innovations have been made by farmers; they have a lot of ingenuity. It drove me nuts that it was so hard to find dependable people to harvest sod. My friend had a welding shop, so I put some ideas together and built a prototype harvester. My second prototype led to a royalty agreement with the Ryan Company, who sold traditional sod cutters. Their engineers did not make the changes I recommended, and they were not successful with my idea — in August of 1971 they gave it back to me. By Gerry Brouwer November, I had built a new prototype, so we produced a simple machine that worked, fabricated in Keswick. In 1985 we had 95 per cent of the worldwide market for mechanical sod harvesters. Is there room for new inventions in the horticulture business today? Absolutely. Automation and more innovation is the only answer. Have other industry players asked you for advice? Sure, I helped establish the first sod farm on an Israeli kibbutz. It was good for us; if they grew sod, we sold equipment. In 1998, I got a call from Russia, from the agriculture minister’s office in the Kremlin. There was no sod in Russia, and they wanted sod now! The minister’s right-hand man came to Canada, and I later went over as a consultant, helped look for land to establish farms and advised on production methods. Working with the personalities was very interesting.
38 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Were the Russians good at launching businesses? Well, when we were starting the first Russian sod farm, they wanted to locate away from Moscow, but I said you have to be close to your market. I advised they should start with 100 acres, when they wanted to buy 500. I said, “Don’t grow more than you can sell. And you have to promote it!” There were different problems on the farm. For example, it was tough to get Russians to stack sod properly. They did not understand production demands, and took their own time. Many raised potatoes or vegetables as a livelihood on the side, and were eager to leave at 3:00 to do their own thing. If it rained, managers let people go home. I think my efforts had a lot to do with making Moscow and Russia greener. When I first arrived, the Kremlin was surrounded by weeds, junk and mud, but they cleaned up the boulevards. They never had any grass before, and the sod led to more extensive landscaping. Dutchmaster Nurseries and Vanden Bussche Irrigation were also involved in the efforts. It was quite a switch! Eventually, eight or nine new Russian sod farms were established, and again, we were able to sell equipment. Your son Eric says you have a hands-on leadership style, and you are known for being fair. Of your four sons, two are working with Brouwer companies. How did you raise them to be right for the business? I left it all up to my sons, and never interfered. Eric had a career at Magna, then joined Brouwer Kesmac on the manufacturing side. Gerald thought he would try the sod farm for a few months after college — and he never left. Do you see differences among the generations? The younger generation is less settled, and more apt to move on. While the older generation is steadier and more apt to stay with employers longer. I feel for the younger generation, as it is almost impossible to buy a home — in the old days, there was more opportunity for young people to advance. How do you nurture talent? I think people grow themselves. Some people are motivated, and if you assist them, they make a success of their lives. I always enjoyed helping people accomplish something. Business is all LT about people.
It you have a question to suggest, or a mentor to recommend, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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