Page 1

April 2019

VOL. 41, NO. 4

The right soils for tree success Mentor and inventor: Gerry Brouwer Prevent customer service regrets

Research, genetics and love promote

chestnut renaissance PM40013519

NOW Available in 60mm Units!

Decaston (60mm), Cathedral shown




Working. Smarter. Together. DECASTON® The Decaston line from Oaks enables holistic design concepts for your project. With its large format, smooth surface, clean edges and reduced joint spacing, Decaston is ideal for creating inviting spaces, and meets wheelchair access specifications. At 80mm (3.15”) thick, this paver is best suited for light traffic in areas such as driveways or parking areas. Our new 60mm (2.36”) thickness offers complete versatility for use in pedestrian areas.

Decaston (80mm), Moraine shown | 1.800.709.OAKS (6257) |

Vehicular Traffic

Pedestrian Traffic

Our Canadian-made products are stronger and greener with CarbonCure.

Contents EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Lee Ann Knudsen CLM |

APRIL 2019 VOL. 41, NO. 4

ART DIRECTOR Kim Burton | LANDSCAPE ONTARIO MAGAZINE EDITOR Robert Ellidge | MULTIMEDIA DESIGNER Mike Wasilewski | ACCOUNTANT Joe Sabatino | ACCOUNT MANAGER Greg Sumsion | COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Angela Lindsay | 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: Fax: (905)875-0183 Web site: 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 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.


14 Soils promote tree planting success

Research on tree survival in tough highway conditions shows promise — the right soil recipe is key.



20 Management solutions

Efficiency, systems and knowing your numbers all promote profitability, and also pave the way to a great succession plan.


24 Road to success

Nobody gets do-overs when it comes to customer service.


28 Legal matters

Protection from collection problems for contractors as projects draw to a close.



Mechanically inclined sod farmer Gerry Brouwer reflects on his career helping people.




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.


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.


Landscapers will find that completing the trimming needs is effortless with the performance and reliability of the FS 91 R brushcutter. With the low-emission engine and the larger fuel tank of the FS 91 R, it is able to run 30% longer than its predecessor. When you’re out in the field all day, you require a starting system that is dependable and ready to go. STIHL has the solution for you...the 3-2-1 starting procedure and the stop switch with “standby” mode of the FS 91 R has got you covered. It also features a superior air filtration system that allows an extended service life. The FS 91 R is exceptionally reliable, outstandingly easy to maintain and built with uncompromising STIHL quality. Everything that is needed for working on large areas of tough grass and navigating through obstacles. • • • • • •

Engine is always ready to start – Engage Choke, Pull, Open Throttle and Go! Stop switch with “standby” mode – Always ready to go Large 710 mL fuel tank enables longer running times Efficient filtration system that delivers an extended service life Improved rubberized loop handle design to offer extra comfort with fewer vibrations Redesigned guard to reduce weight

FS 91 R

Displacement Power Output Weight †

28.4 cc 0.95 kW 5.5 kg/12.1 lb

Weight without fuel, cutting attachment or deflector.

PRO-FLEET COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPE PROGRAM STIHL’s Pro-Fleet Commercial Landscape Program is designed to provide commercial landscapers a volume discount on major purchases of 5 or more landscaping power tools. Visit your STIHL Dealer today to find out more and take advantage of the savings!

QUALITY AT WORK FOR OVER 90 YEARS. For over 90 years, STIHL has been a world market leader and innovator in outdoor power equipment. German engineered products featuring the latest pioneering technologies make STIHL the preferred choice for professionals, consistently providing uncompromising quality. STIHL products are only available at independent STIHL Dealers who provide personal advice and expert service. Thank you for the continuous support and for making STIHL the brand you trust.


* “#1 Selling Brand in Canada” is based on an independent market share analysis of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment from 2018. Source: TraQline Canada.







ng. misi s pro i s t tnu ches free t h lig on b used c o f arch Rese

d g an omin o l b are tnuts Ches

n agai nada a C n ing i thriv


Living legacy returns in time for edible landscaping enthusiasts

American chestnut, Castanea dentata, once comprised 25 per cent of southern Ontario’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.



Today, many forms are widely available for landscape and forestry uses — 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,



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.


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.


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.


Build the following outdoor living features quickly and easily: ▶ FIRE PITS ▶ WATER FEATURES ▶ COOKING SOLUTIONS ▶ DINING ELEMENTS ▶ SEATING

Each feature is complete with material lists, step-by-step instructions and detailed drawings.

View and download free construction guides: >


THE ORIGINAL AND STILL THE BEST At Unilock we pride ourselves in having the highest quality standards as well as the latest, leading-edge technology. For us, it’s all about partnership. We better ourselves in order to better you. We’ve been helping contractors grow their business for over 45 years and we’re not about to stop. Partner with us to take advantage of our vast array of products, seminars, training and customer service support that’s second-to-none.

WE’VE HAD LOTS OF FIRSTS AND WE’RE NOT ABOUT TO STOP. Connect with us at or call 1-800-UNILOCK to speak with a local Territory Manager today.




To address growing concerns for stormwater management, we began manufacturing permeable pavers. Today we have more permeable paver design options for residential and commercial than anyone. UNI-ECO-STONE




Our founder, Ed Bryant, saw how successful concrete paving stones were in Europe and brought the concept to North America. That same year we held our first Contractor Training Seminar. UNI-STONE





Some said homeowners would never be willing to pay a premium for these ‘antiqued’ pavers. But Brussels Block quickly became the most popular product in our line, leading to Brussels Dimensional Stone®, and scores of imitators.




2018 PATENTED U-CARA WALL With contractors in mind, the U-Cara Multi-Face Wall was developed to deliver unlimited design flexibility with a single wall system that brings EnduraColor™ finishes to vertical features. Only Unilock holds the patent for this product. US PAT. 9,453,341

Before Unilock Series, all pavers in North America were thrumix. We were the first to introduce facemix technology, now known as Enduracolor. Some manufacturers are trying to market facemix as something new, but we’ve been selling it for more than twenty-five years.

Now the winner of a “red dot” award for high design quality and innovation.

Unilock remains the only manufacturer in North America with the Ultima™ Concrete technology that makes our Elegance products second-to-none in beauty and durability.

Improving soil for success Greening Canada’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 Canada’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

Bobcat of Barrie Barrie 705-726-2228

Bobcat of Hamilton, Ltd. Stoney Creek 905-643-3177

Bobcat of Stratford Stratford 519-393-6040

Bobcat of Brantford, Inc. Brantford 519-752-7900

Bobcat of London, Ltd. London 519-455-4900

Bobcat of the Tri-Cities, Ltd. Kitchener 519-579-9100

Bobcat of Durham East, Ltd. Courtice 905-404-9990

Bobcat of Ottawa Valley Casselman 613-764-2033 Cornwall 877-244-5593 Ottawa 613-831-5166

Bobcat of Toronto Brampton 416-679-4172 Scarborough 416-679-4171

Bobcat of Grey Bruce Owen Sound 519-372-9100

Bobcat of Parry Sound Nobel 705-342-1717 ww

Can-AmTractor, Ltd. Chatham 519-351-4300 • 888-294-8818 ww

Carrier Centers Sarnia 877-336-4840 Windsor 888-956-8785 John’s Equipment Sales & Service, Ltd. Frankford 613-398-6522 McGavin Farm Equipment Ltd Walton 877-887-6365

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

In Ontario, trees are being planted along the Highway 401 corridor from Trenton to the Coroner’s Office in Toronto.


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

Robust Rebloomer TUFF STUFF® Red Hydrangea serrata ‘SMNMAKTSR’ pp#28672, cbraf This hydrangea begins blooming in early summer and continues through autumn, ensuring a showy, abundant display of large, lacecap flowers. Deep pink-red blooms, set off by lustrous, deep green foliage combined with its small, rounded habit make this hardy mountain hydrangea extra versatile in a wide variety of landscape uses.


TUFF STUFF® Red FULL TO PART SUN USDA ZONE 5, AHS 9 2-3' tall and wide


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






U P.

F R O M S TA R T T O F I N I S H .™ The Toro® Z Master® 7500-D was designed for those who know that getting the job done right is the only option. With the legendary TURBO FORCE® rear discharge deck and a cutting width of 96 inches, it’s built for productivity. The 37 HP* Yanmar® diesel engine and fuel-saving Horizon® Technology maximize efficiency. Plus, wing decks flex to follow the contours of the terrain and fold up for easy transport and storage. It’s performance you can depend on every day.


| TORO.COM/7500-D

*As configured to meet safety, emission and operating requirements, the actual engine horsepower on this mower may be significantly lower. © 2018 The Toro Company


Systems to promote succession


“ 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

Virtually eliminate weeds (including liverwort) with the

Weed Prevention COCODISC®

Patent # 6,640,490 biodegradable = 100% natural air can penetrate, allowing for proper root development will not attract or trap heat like plastic discs weighty enough that they will not blow off guaranteed for a minimum of 2 years containers covered with our COCODISC® require substantially less water and consequently will have less run-off available in sizes from 4" to 35 7/16"

With our COCODISC® you can sell a weed-free plant to your garden center, landscape or chain store customers that looks more attractive.

TIMM ENTERPRISES LTD. Mail: P.O. Box 157, Oakville, Ont., Canada L6K 0A4 Office & Warehouse: 5204 Trafalgar Rd., Milton, Ont., Canada L9E 0Y7 Phone 905-878-4244 Fax 905-878-7888 Sales 1-888-769-TIMM (8466)


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.

NEW ENHANCED INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE Join us on our digital platforms! View landscape projects through virtual experience. Discover exclusive interactive content on our new 2019 catalogs. It’s free on the Rinox EXP App. We’re reinventing the industry!


Rinox EXP App available free on iStore and Google Play.




The time machine: If only I could have made that customer happy


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


NATURAL STONE AND PRECAST CONCRETE PRODUCTS t: 905-886-5787 or t: 416-222-2424 Main Office & Yard: 8081 Woodbine Ave. SE Corner Woodbine/407, Entrance off Miller Ave. Office & Yard: 125 Langstaff Rd E., SE Corner Yonge/Hwy 7-407 Manufacturing Plant: 12350 Keele St., Maple


We Deliver!



Run with a 3EE SSeries eriess Tra TractoR actoRR BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO TURN THIS LAND INTO YOUR LAND. Transforming your property has never been easier. The 3E Series unlocks your land’s potential with a best in class turning radius, intuitive operator station, and features that let you swap out attachments in no time. And with a 6-Year Limited Pow Powertrain Warranty, we’ve covered from the ground up. wertrainn W arrannty, y we ve got yyou covere

Nothing Runs Like A Deere™ | Run With Us Search “John Deere 3E Series” for more

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


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.

DELIVERING SUPERIOR SOD AND QUALITY SERVICE #1 Kentucky Bluegrass • Low Mow • Extreme Fescue • Premium Bentgrass * Custom grown sod available * Large or small rolls


Phone: 877-727-2100 17525 Jane St. | Kettleby, Ontario | L7B 0J6 APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |



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 1.866.567.4162 28 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES

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-

HLA Rotary Brooms are the ideal tool for year round clean up for the commercial landscaper. Uneven surfaces and decorative concrete or block surfaces can be difficult to clean with traditional snow equipment, but the stiff pliable bristles of HLA brooms allow you to clean to the surface without marring it. As the gauge wheels roll along the surface the brooms forward and lateral float adjust to the surface providing a clean sweep.

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 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. 



1 888 799 4422 IT’S ALL ABOUT QUALITY APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES Find the HIAB Crane that’s right for your job at



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.

Vineland’s 49th Parallel Collection Chinook Rose

“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


404 Stone carries a complete selection of landscape stone and materials, meticulously organized on 25 acres Natural Stone Decorative Rock Interlock Cultured Stone Soil & Mulches Aggregates Bulk Bags Masonry Products DELIVERY AVAILABLE

OPENING SPRING 2019 - VISIT OUR 2ND LOCATION 18599 Yonge St., North of Green Lane in Newmarket • 905-887-3404 • 2686 Stouffville Rd., Stouffville, ON L4A 2J4 30 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES

Spring may be right around the corner, but this offer is right here now.

Spring may be right around the corner, but this offer is right here now.

Get $400 off 1on a new Z915E mower, PLUS an additional $390 off 2 with a John Deere Rewards Platinum1 Membership. Not only is spring in the air but so is a great deal on a new ZTrak™ Z915E zero-turn mower. Because right now, we’re offering $400 off 1 this incredible ZTrak™mower. Better yet, if you’re a John Deere Rewards Platinum 1 member, you can get an additional $390 off 2 instantly. See your John Deere dealer today for a deal on a new ZTrak™zero-turn mower.

Keep Mowing

1 Offer valid from April 2, 2019 to June 3, 2019. Get $400 off the agreed upon purchase price of a new John Deere ZTrak Z915B or Z915E commercial mower. Offer available in Canada only. Attachments and implements sold separately. Some conditions apply. See your participating dealer for details. Offer subject to availability and may be discontinued or modified. Taxes, setup, delivery, freight and preparation charges not included. 2 Get an additional $390 off a new ZTrak Z915E or Z915B Commercial Mower with your John Deere Rewards membership. To be eligible for the offer, purchaser must be or become a Rewards member and meet qualifying purchase levels. Amount shown above is based on Platinum level 1 savings. Qualifying levels and savings will vary depending on the quantity and combination of equipment purchased. See complete membership information, discount details, and terms & conditions at or a participating John Deere dealer.


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

Beech announces amalgamation

An exclusively Canadian hands-on certification testing for Landscape Industry Certified Technician will be launched in Jauary 2020.

will be offered for the remainder of 2019: British Columbia, June 14-15 and Oct. 4-5; Alberta, spring and summer dates to be announced; On-

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

Canada Red SPM



The wall-less, bottom-less RootSmart propagation tray promotes healthy root distribution when iti really counts.

Two great brands. One product. One phone call.



Healthier trees, Rooted in science. 32 | APRIL 2019 | LANDSCAPE TRADES / 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

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 LT

Water Resistant

The case for zero-carbon buildings









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

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

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

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 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


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

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.



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 |



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 to read more. For business insurance, please contact Marsh Canada Limited at 1-888-949-4360 or

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: Recertification-Form-2018.pdf. If you have any questions or want help with the form, please contact Professional Development at CNLA;, 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 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 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 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 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 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 for more information.

events June 15 - 23 Garden Days,

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.

Bobcat Company 15

Dutchmaster Nurseries Ltd 35

Gro-Bark (Ontario) Ltd 32

July 13 - 16 Cultivate ‘19, Columbus, Ohio

Horst Welding 28

John Deere Limited

June 19 - 21 Salon du Végétal, Nantes, France, June 23 - 26 Garden Centers of America Summer Tour, Nashville, Tenn.

25, 31

Miller Compost 26

Miska Trailers 39

Neudorff North America 21

Oaks Landscape Products 2

Aug. 13 - 15 Independent Garden Center Show, Chicago, Ill.

Permacon Group Inc 40

PRO Landscape by Drafix Software 33

Aug. 21 - 23 The Far West Show, Portland, Ore.

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

Unilock Limited

Aug. 11 - 14 ISA International Trade Show and Conference, Knoxville, Tenn.

Aug. 21 - 23 Plantarium, Boskoop, Holland Sept. 10 - 12 GLEE, Birmingham, U.K. Sept. 25 - 26 CanWest Hort Expo, Abbotsford, B.C.

12, 13

Zander Sod Co Ltd 27

Oct. 9 -10 Canadian Greenhouse Conference, Niagara Falls, Ont. Oct. 16 - 18 Green Industry Show and Equipment Expo, Louisville, Ky. Nov. 14 - 15 LANTA Green Industry Show and Conference, Calgary, Alta. Nov. 20 - 22 Fihoq Expo, Drummondville, Que. Dec. 2 - 6 Irrigation Show 2019, Las Vegas, Nev. LT

As leaders Grow... Retention Grows... Business Grows l Take


l Make

changes l Transform your business Follow the pathway to effective leadership. Join today!

Visit to gain self-paced information and tools on strategy, leadership and people development.




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.


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

Profile for Mike Wasilewski

April 2019 Landscape Trades  

Canada's Premier Horticultural Trade Publication

April 2019 Landscape Trades  

Canada's Premier Horticultural Trade Publication