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MINNESOTA NURSERY & LANDSCAPE ASSOCIATION . . . SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES GROW HERE!

THE

Insights and Information for Green Industry Professionals

VOLUME 34, NUMBER 3 March 2011

PAGES 10-16

Also in this issue:

Designers: Believe in the Power of the Plan PAGE 20

Garden Centers: Sign Up Now for Recycling Program PAGE 30

Nursery Coolers are not Bare Root Cellars PAGE 48

A ? NL nce M ’t ra sn Insu e o h 40 y Dealt page h W r H See fe Of


innovative plant solutions for tough landscape situations


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From the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Landscape Contractors . . . . . . . 10, 17, 37 Business Management . . . . . . . . . . . 12, 40 Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Stormwater Management . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Landscape Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Certification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-24 Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25-26, 28-29 Government Affairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32, 35 MDA Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Greenhouse & Herbaceous Growers . 36 Sustainable Environment. . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Garden Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Landscape Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Public Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Nursery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48, 49 Irrigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Commercial Arborists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Green Industry Careers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Plant of the Month . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

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ADVERTISER INDEX Anchor Block Company - 11 Ancom Communication & Technical Center - 4 Bailey Nurseries - 12 Belgard Hardscapes-Northfield - 31 Bourdeaux Enterprises, Inc. - 16 Bridgewater Tree Farms - 18 Bullis Insurance Agency - 24 Carlin Horticultural Supplies/ProGreen Plus - 9 Casualty Assurance - 10 Central Landscape Supply - 13 Central Wisconsin Evergreens, Inc. - 44 Cherokee Mfg. - 51 Crysteel Truck Equipment - 34 Cushman Motor Co., Inc. - 40 Evergreen Nursery Co., Inc. - 41 Fahey Sales Auctioneers & Appraisers - 44 Floral Plant Growers-Natural Beauty - 36 Fury Motors - 24 Gardenworld Inc. - 55 Gertens Wholesale - 23

Golden Valley Hardscapes/Xylem. Ltd. - 13 Hedberg Landscape & Masonry Supplies - 49 Jeff Belzer Chevrolet - 5 Johnson’s Nursery, Inc. - 21 Klaus Nurseries - 43 Kubota Dealers - 27 Maguire Agency - 54 McKay Nursery Co. - 16 Midwest Groundcovers - 2 MN Equipment Solutions, Inc. - 51 Out Back Nursery - 16 Plaisted Companies - 20 RDO Equipment Co. - 52 RMS Rentals - 37 Rock Hard Landscape Supply - 7 Stonebrooke Equipment Inc. - 26 The Builders Group - 43 Vermeer Sales & Service - 35 Ziegler Cat - 3


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Upcoming Events March 2 – Day on the Hill. For more information visit www.MNLA.biz. 5 – MNLA Landscape Gala. 317 on Rice Park, St. Paul. For tickets, call 651-633-4987. 9 – Gertens 2011 Education & Spring Buying Fair. Inver Grove Heights. For more information, see www.gertenswholesale.com. 10 – MNLA Certification Exam. Dakota County Technical College, Rosemount. For more information, see page 28 or visit www.MNLA.biz. 11 – 21st Annual Hedberg Contractor Education Day. Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center. For more information, see www.hedbergrocks.com. 14-15 – Pesticide Certification Workshop & Exam. University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus. For more information, see page 28 or visit www.MNLA.biz. 15-16 – Shade Tree Short Course. Bethel University, Arden Hills. For more information, visit www.cce.umn.edu/Annual-Minnesota-Shade-Tree-Short-Course/index.html. 16 – Landscape Lighting Technology (PLT Relicensure). Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul. For more information, see page 28 or visit www.MNLA.biz. Sponsored by Anchor Block Company. 16-17 – Pesticide Certification Workshop & Exam. University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus. For more information, see page 28 or visit www.MNLA.biz. 22 – NCMA Segmental Retaining Wall Installer Certification. Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul. For more information, see page 29 or visit www.MNLA.biz. Sponsored by Anchor Block Company. 24 – Creating Edible Landscapes. Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul. For more information, see page 29 or visit www.MNLA.biz. Sponsored by Malmborg’s Garden Center & Greenhouse. 25 – AquaBasin™ & Rain Barrel Day Seminar. Hedberg Landscape Supplies, Plymouth. For more information, call (763) 392-5920 or visit www.hedbergrocks.com. 30 – Bachman's Wholesale Nursery & Hardscapes Annual Spring Open House. Bachman's Cedar Acres Garden Center, Farmington. More information available online at www.bachmanswholesale.com. 30 – Introduction to Irrigation. Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul. For more information, see page 29 or visit www.MNLA.biz. 30 – Irrigation Installation. Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul. For more information, see page 29 or visit www.MNLA.biz. 30 – Landscape Irrigation Design: Design Principles. For more information, see page 29 or visit www.MNLA.biz. 30 – Landscape Irrigation Design: Application & Layout. For more information, see page 29 or visit www.MNLA.biz. 31 – Summit Brewery Tour. For more information, see page 31 or visit www.MNLA.biz. Presented by Hedberg Landscape Supplies.

THE OR R

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If interested in exhibiting or sponsoring, please call Betsy Pierre, 763-295-5420 / betsy@pierreproductions.com

Reserve Booth Space Now!

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GR EN E

January 4-6, 2012 6

www.MNLA.biz | MARCH 2011

NorthernGreenExpo.org or call 651-633-4987

Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association 1813 Lexington Ave. N. Roseville, MN 55113 651-633-4987, fax 651-633-4986 Outside the metro area, toll free: 888-886-MNLA, fax 888-266-4986 www.MNLA.biz • GardenMinnesota.com

MNLA Mission The mission of the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is to help nursery and landscape related companies in Minnesota and the surrounding region operate their businesses more successfully.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Bert Swanson, MNLA-CP, President Swanson’s Nursery Consulting, Inc. 218-732-3579 • btswanson@gmail.com Debbie Lonnee, MNLA-CP, Vice President Bailey Nurseries, Inc. 651-768-3375 debbie.lonnee@baileynursery.com Heidi Heiland, MNLA-CP, Secretary-Treasurer Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens 612-366-7766 • heidi@BloomOnMN.com Van Cooley, Past President Malmborg’s, Inc. 763-535-4695 van@geraniumsbygeorge.com Randy Berg, MNLA-CP Berg’s Nursery, Landscape/Garden Center 507-433-2823 rberg@smig.net Scott Frampton Landscape Renovations 651-769-0010 sframpton@landscaperenovations.com Tim Malooly, CID, CLIA, CIC Irrigation By Design Inc. 763-559-7771 • timm@ibdmn.com Bill Mielke Wilson’s Nursery, Inc. 952-445-3630 bill@wilsonsnurseryinc.com Herman Roerick Central Landscape Supply 320-252-1601 hermanr@centrallandscape.com Bob Fitch MNLA Executive Director 651-633-4987 • bob@mnla.biz Staff directory and member services directory near the back cover. The Scoop is published 12 times per year by the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association, 1813 Lexington Ave. N., Roseville, MN 55113. Address corrections should be sent to the above address. News and advertising deadlines are the 5th of the month preceding publication.


The Scoop | FROM THE PRESIDENT

Tough Times Technology By Bert Swanson, MNLA President or the last several months we have discussed the management and business side of entrepreneurship in tough times. We learned that there are Bert Swanson many upper management, financial, human resources and other CEO/Owner types of changes and improvements that can be made to improve attention to detail in order to enhance the bottom line. However, it does not need to, and must not stop there.

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Have you reviewed and thoroughly investigated your "technical operations?” Are you using the latest technology to become lean, mean and efficient? It is often said: "I cannot afford all that new technology.” Perhaps, you cannot afford NOT to be using the latest technology and innovations! Or at least you cannot afford NOT to be innovative within all of your own operational procedures. Have you put a sharp pencil to each phase of every one of your operations in your business to determine where your costs are and what they do for you? Again, it essential to pay attention to detail. Such an exercise will give you the opportunity, or may force you to take advantage of new innovations in the industry. Combine the Business Improvements with some Operational Improvements and be in step with Ford Motor Company whose Business Acumen is to demonstrate Functional and Technical Proficiency. According to Bain & Company (www.resultsbrief.bain.com/0909/rb090 9bos.pdf ), the most innovative companies combine creativity with commercial savvy throughout the organization to generate a steady stream 8

www.MNLA.biz | MARCH 2011

of new products and procedures regardless of the economic climate. In fact, they must generate new and proficient methods and techniques for all operations. Bain & Company states that innovation is vital to success, however, very few individuals have the combination of both brains – commercial and creative – to be world class geniuses. Nor do we always recognize that the creative skills of one person must be matched with the commercial skills of another person to provide the vital combination of business success. The big successes in business today have found, and developed this partnership, such as Starbucks, Nike and Apple Computer to name a few. Also in turbulent times, innovation efforts are often cut, rather than encouraged. This results in a recipe for disaster.

"Are you using the latest technology to become lean, mean and efficient?" Therefore, to make the most of successfully implementing new technology and innovations, a partnership must be employed consisting of an imaginative, intuitive "Right Brain" individual looking for new ideas and procedures, PLUS a "Left Brain" executive that makes commercial decisions based on hard-nosed analysis. This "Brain" analogy is used by Bain & Company to characterize BothBrain® organizations, as it takes BothBrain® Innovation to generate and commercialize profitable ideas. Additional information on this concept can be found at the website cited above.

Information on green industry technical operations in a down economy can be found in a special insert in Nursery Management and Production, November, 2010. Several aggressive growers are cited that have taken the lead to use or develop technological advances for their company. These areas of operation include: 1. Use of Plant Growth Regulators to reduce manual pruning. Bailey Nursery, Inc. 2. Finding or developing the right container to grow 20% more plants in the original space. JLPN, Inc. 3. Properly use Controlled Release Fertilizer to reduce liquid feed and topdressing. Bennett's Creek Nursery. 4. Use a Mobile or 2-D plant tag which when downloaded, leads the consumer to a wealth of knowledge about that plant. Bailey Nursery, Inc. 5. Use all field employees as the front line of defense in scouting for insects and diseases. Atman Plants, Inc. 6. Use proper and timely cultural practices to reduce the cost of disease control. Windmill Nursery. 7. Use shipping carts to load and unload shipments faster, increase the payload and to improve customer handling of the plants. Dewar Nurseries. 8. Use automated spray booms and spreaders to reduce hand labor, reduce time of actual application and increase consistency and accuracy of herbicide application. Imperial Nurseries. Additional details on each of these operations are available in the Journal citation listed above or are on the company website. Many more new and maybe not so new, but underused, opportunities for technology and innovation to improve


every day operations are out there. They just need to be located and implemented. Some examples include, but are not limited to the following: 1. Web distributed Pesticide labeling which allows the user to download streamlined pesticide labels specific to the use and state in which the application will occur. 2. Use of new Hemlock hybrids that are tolerant to the invasive Hemlock Woolly adelgid. 3. Use a new expandable twist tie for faster staking and tying of trees and vines. 4. Use solar power to reduce growers annual energy consumption by 10%. 5. Use CarbonLite bio-containers that are made primarily of plant starches to reduce container costs and subsequent recycling. 6. Investigate the use of plant containers now being developed from chicken feathers. 7. Investigate the use of singleslope energy efficient solar greenhouses such as those used in China for 20 years. 8. Use "Virtual Grower"; a software that calculates heating costs of greenhouse production relative to

construction, improved efficiency and better management of growth and scheduling. 9. Watch for a low cost GPS controlled ground vehicle and aerial drone which carries sensors and photography equipment that provides field inventory solutions for accuracy in counting and plant quality information in significantly reduced time requirements. It is referred to as a low-altitude MultiRotor System (MRS) that creates images for plant inventory purposes. It can also monitor weed and pest pressure or plant stress on an as needed basis.

"i-Tree software allows you to promote a better understanding of the benefits of plants and landscaping." 10. Utilize tensiometers to automate and improve irrigation scheduling. 11. Adopt plant tagging that uses RadioFrequency Identification (RFID)

microchips for marking, identification and labeling of lookalike plants such as rose varieties and many others. 12. Market your product and services with all the forms of Social Media Marketing: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Bulletin Board, Blogs, You Tube, On-Line Dating, Craig's List, E-Bay and all the other "wonderful" opportunities of the Internet. This is just the tip of the iceberg if all of your technical operations are truly examined, researched and investigated. In fact, there is even some software available, known as i-Tree software, that allows you to promote to your customers, a better understanding of the benefits of the plants and services that you sell. This helps justify to themselves and to the community, their investment in your plants and services. Remember, it takes the BothBrain速 Innovation: Left = Commercial and Right = Creative, to form that partnership that creates and commercializes profitable ideas, even in, or especially in, turbulent times. I wish you the best of sales for a wonderful spring! q ________________________________ Bert Swanson is the president of MNLA and can be reached at btswanson2@gmail.com.


The Scoop | LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS

Our goal is to exceed your expectations.

Pre-Season Training By Todd Peterson, Todd's Landscaping am a huge Minnesota Viking fan (don’t hold that against me). I look back over this past disappointing season and figure it all started in the pre-season. They were predicted to win it all after such a great year before, and with 95 percent of the team returning, it was a sure thing. With all that in hand, I don’t believe a person prepares themselves enough when you are suppose to be #1. Everything that could go wrong did throughout the season including the collapse of the dome on a collapsed season of my favorite team.

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www.MNLA.biz | MARCH 2011

Physically, is your body ready for the work of the coming year? Just like in pre-season training and conditioning, we need to physically get our bodies ready for the hard work and grueling hours that are about to come upon us. Go join a health club and work out, go for daily walks, and just start doing a regular routine for your daily activities. Your body will thank you for this and you will feel better when the long hours and hard work start up. Get with fellow employees or another contractor and work out together three times a week for a couple of hours. You will thank yourself later and everyone will be better for this. What a great time to spend together and talk about the coming year.

"We are only as good as our preparation."

This also happens to contractors as well. We will only get out of it what we put into it! We have about one to two months left until we hit the ground running again for another season. What have you done to get ready for this season? If you haven’t done much, it is not too late to get started today. Mental preparation is important. When the season starts to get going, all else seems to go out the window and times flies by. There are many education and continuing education classes still available through MNLA and other resources as well. March is a great month for these! Spend time with fellow contractors and fellow workers and prepare yourself and others for the coming season. Get together with other contractors and go out to lunch and spend some time talking about issues that are common to the both of you, such as current government related issues to our industry. It is important to spend time and make friendships with other industry leaders.

No matter what sport you like, all professional athletes prepare for their season during their time off. We can all take a look at these professionals and take away some lessons. We are only as good as our preparation. Start today and take in the classes, start preparing for the season by working out, and spending some quality time with your families. I wish everyone a great year! q ________________________________ Todd Peterson is a member of the MNLA Landscape Professional Advancement Committee and can be reached at todd@toddslandscaping.com.


The Scoop | BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

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The 3 Most Common Green Industry Violations of Employment Law By Patrick McGuiness, Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC mployment law is a complicated topic and one that is very boring for a lot of people. Personally, I find it fascinating and consider myself lucky to be able to do so. There are many different laws, rules and regulations which apply to Green Industry companies. Sorting through all of that red tape and legislation can be hard even for Patrick McGuiness attorneys. So, this month, in order to convey as much useful information as possible to readers of The Scoop, I decided to share the most common Employment law violations I see in the Green Industry.

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1. Misclassification of Workers: This is a huge problem for the industry. Many companies do not want the extra work that comes along with hiring employees and figuring out payroll. So instead of hiring their workers, they treat them as ‘Independent Contractors’ or ‘Subcontractors’. There is a common misconception it is compliant to have a worker sign an independent contractor agreement and issue them a IRS form 1099 at the end of the season. Unless a worker is truly an independent contractor, then taking these steps will not matter if the business is ever audited by the Department of Labor. When DOL comes calling, they look at the circumstances under which the work was taking place. If the worker is paid by the hour, does not bring their own tools to the jobsite, and their work is controlled by the business, chances are they will be classified as an employee by DOL. Then, the business will owe back taxes on the worker and possibly back overtime pay in addition to any fines and penalties which are assessed by DOL.

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www.MNLA.biz | MARCH 2011

2. Not Paying Overtime: Time and again people tell me that they don’t think it is fair that they should have to pay overtime for seasonal work. Whether or not it is fair could be the subject of a very long discussion. What matters however, is that it doesn’t matter if it is fair, just that it is not legally compliant. Even if the employees agree to not being paid overtime, that does not make it compliant. During a DOL audit, unpaid overtime will be assessed for any hours


over 40 in a given week, regardless of how well paid the employee is at their regular pay rate. If the DOL audit is random, the assessment will go back 2 years. If the audit is triggered by an employee complaint, the audit can go back 3 years. Bottom line is that employees must be paid overtime unless they qualify for an exemption from overtime. Employees whose job is performing labor are generally not going to qualify for any exemptions. While there are some exemptions, many times they are applied incorrectly which leads me to the 3rd common violation of employment law. 3. Paying Salary to Foremen: Whether it is to provide financial security for their foremen, or to avoid dealing with overtime pay, many companies believe that it is legally compliant to pay their foreman a salary and not pay them overtime. Unfortunately, this is wrong. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all workers that perform manual labor must be paid overtime. The definition of manual labor includes things like operating a skid steer and on site supervision of other workers. If a DOL audit takes place, they will assess back overtime pay for salaried foremen, no matter how well paid the foremen are. They calculate back pay based on the hours which were worked in excess of 40 for all weeks that went over 40 hours. The assessed rates are generally time and a half, so with well-paid foremen, things can add up very quickly. These are the most common violations of employment laws which I see in the Green Industry. While there are some exemptions and special circumstances which allow businesses to pay less in overtime, they are not a good fit for all companies. Before the season gets in full swing, take a look at the employment practices of your company. Do any of these issues look like they may need addressing? Take action now so that you do not regret it later if you are audited by the Department of Labor. This article provides general information on business matters and should not be relied upon as legal advice. A qualified attorney must analyze all relevant facts and apply the applicable law to any matter before legal advice can be given. If you would like more information regarding employment law or other legal matters, please contact Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC at 651-206-3203 or info@zmattorneys.com. q ________________________________________________ Patrick McGuiness is one of the founding partners of Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC. His law practice focuses on assisting contractors & other small business owners. He is also part owner of One Call Property Care, LLC a Minneapolis landscaping & property management company.

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SAFETY | The Scoop

Ladder Safety: Simple Solutions to Combat Employee Injury By John Primozich CSP, ARM, Loss Control Manager

ach year a staggering 130,000 individuals require emergency medical attention due to ladder related incidents. Also, it estimated that 300 John Primozich individuals are killed annually while working from a ladder, many of which are construction workers. These are troubling statistics that have hit close to home. So why are these injuries happening and what can we do as a group to combat this major problem?

• Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.

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Although the causes of ladder injuries are diverse there has been one area in particular that has been a primary loss driver. It has been found that one of the primary factors that cause the most severe injuries have been due to the ladder not being properly secured at the base causing the ladder to slip out and ultimately fail. Solution: Secure & Level at the Feet On soft ground, flip up the ladder shoes so the spurs poke into the ground. On decks and wood floors, simply screw down a cleat. Before you set up the ladder on hard surfaces, clean the bottom of the ladder feet and sweep away sand and dirt that could cause the ladder to slip. If it still seems like the ladder could slip, tie ropes, straps, or cam-buckle operated ties to both ladder legs and tie the other end to a solidly anchored object at or near the base of the structure.

• Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.

Although safe ladder use often times comes down to good old common sense many situations require a more thoughtful, well planned, practical approach to prevent employee injury. Below is a comprehensive list of general rules per MNOSHA that should be followed to help in the prevention of ladder related incidents:

• Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing.

• Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder. • Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder. Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment. • Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.

• Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes. • Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet. • Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement. • Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height. • Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder. • An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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A Deeper Shade of Green Local Genetic Origins

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the point of support. Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder. • The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface. • A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder. • Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.

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• Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment. q ________________________________________________ The Builders Group (TBG) is a self-insured workers’ compensation insurance fund that has been protecting Minnesota’s construction industry for more than 10 years. For more information, go to: www.tbgmn.com.


LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS | The Scoop

Speak the Good Word of Our Industry By Mike McNamara, Hoffman & McNamara Nursery and Landscape hile the current state of the economy may have provided a slight reprieve from the immediate challenges of finding skilled Mike McNamara employees for some, many wise entrepreneurs are always on the hunt for talented employees to elevate their business and help make their visions reality.

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As a member of the MNLA Landscape Education Committee, the Green Industry Careers Task Force, the Foundation Board of Trustees, and a former member of the Landscape Contractor Committee, I have witnessed firsthand a very impressive momentum occurring recently throughout the MNLA. The momentum I am referring to is promoting careers in the green industry. Promoting employment in irrigation, arboriculture, landscaping, horticulture, and the like is not a new ambition of the MNLA. What makes the current thrust so different, and already successful, is the strategic manner in which it has been approached. Thanks in large part to the skillful guidance of the talented MNLA staff, and partly due to the fate and coincidence of a variety of MNLA committees and task forces, this project is being approached from a variety of angles all with one goal – to speak the good word of our industry and the careers we offer. At its core is a national, widely popular website,

www.TheLandLovers.org, that debunks myths and lore about our professions and provides students of various ages with a fun way to learn more about our careers. As a side note, the MNLA should be very proud of the role our organization had in the creation of this site – which was paid for with support from associations across the country. We also have the Adopt a School program which connects MNLA members with schools looking to educate students on horticulture related topics, as well as promote potential careers within our industry. The Schoolhouse link on the bottom of the MNLA homepage provides MNLA members with a quick path to get started on connecting with the many local schools that have expressed interest in having a member connect with their school. While their primary focus may not be solely promoting careers in our industry, other MNLA events such as Green For Life and the MNLA exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair have helped further the careers cause. Green For Life is the very successful tree planting campaign that took place at schools this past September and will be taking place again this coming September. The State Fair exhibit and Green For Life put the MNLA front and center of thousands of students, teachers, and parents across our region all while providing valuable services for free to the schools and fairgoers.

All this coupled with many of the MNLA’s tried and true programs, such as the Arbor Day poster contest, truly are helping to spread the positive message about our industry and the great potential it can provide. A year or two ago, I was told of a focus group that took place with high school age individuals. When the students were asked what their parents would think if they came home and told them they were considering exploring a career in the green industry, many of the students replied that their parents would be disappointed with their choice and would encourage them to explore other potential career paths instead. I found it very disappointing that an industry and career that has provided my family and myself with so many joys and opportunities was being widely shunned by parents in lieu of other professions. Hopefully, the calculated efforts of MNLA volunteers and staff are slowly breaking down these stereotypes and misnomers. So please take a minute to visit the Schoolhouse link on the MNLA.biz site, or sign up for Green for Life 2011. Or, if you plan to work the MNLA booth at the fair this summer, please talk a bit about your career and why you choose to devote so much energy and time to it. You never know, you may be talking to a future employee! q ________________________________ Mike McNamara is a member of the MNLA Landscape Education Committee and can be reached at mike.mcnamara@ hoffmanandmcnamara.com.

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The Scoop | STORMWATER MANAGEMENT

Stormwater Management in Woodbury By Michael Kelly, TerraMax Inc.

he use of stormwater management tools should increase the business for many of the firms in the MNLA. However, we have to convince the government authorities and the engineers that we have viable solutions to these water issues.

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Plant material and absorbent soils can provide an answer to water surges and long term filtration of pollutants.

in this mix). This was all tilled together with a reverse tiller called a Blecavator. The seepage area was firm enough to maneuver a tractor or heavy equipment on the surface. The area infiltrates all the water from the other side of the road. It is generally dry. If there is a surge event, the stormwater can build up to a height that overflows into a catch basin. This overflow is about 8’ above the bottom of the seepage area. If the water reaches this level, the water should be almost all clean rainwater. I have not yet seen any excavation maintenance of the project.

"We have to convince the government authorities and the engineers that we have viable solutions to these water issues."

About 8-10 years ago, the Washington-Ramsey Watershed/Metropoliton Council/Barr Engineering/Rehbein Company joined together to build a retention and filtration system for Woodbury on the corner of Tower Road and Valley Creek Road. This facility receives a huge amount of stormwater from a pipe that transfers the water from a major commercial area on the north side of Valley Creek Road. (See related photos on page 19.) The treatment train was designed to run through a few dug ponds, a snaked little stream then to spill over into a seepage area. This area had drain tiles placed in pea rock under an infiltration mixture of “sand” or “loamy sand “ and pea rock and Netlon Mesh element (I cannot remember the exact mix formula. There was most likely some organic matter included

Wholesale B & B Trees. Grown on heavy southern Minnesota loam soil. 5’ to 15’ Evergreens Shade & Ornamental Trees.

These types of treatment trains do work and they need more exposure. Anyone that is driving by this facility would not appreciate the amount of water that is being treated in this corner of the road.

Stop and take a look at it closely. Walk into the area. Let’s get involved. Is there a better set of plant material that should have been used? Is there new drainage technology? Have they used porous pavers on the other side of the road on any of the commercial property? Our involvement can make a difference. q ________________________________________________ Mike Kelly is a member of the MNLA Stormwater Management Task Team and can be reached at mgkelly100@yahoo.com.

Please call for Field Direct Pricing. Just off Interstate 35 in Northfield, MN. Nursery visits encouraged.

Contact: Dave Maloney office (507) 663-0393 • cell (612) 221-0514 or email davem@bridgewatertreefarms.com 18

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Stormwater Management Scenes in Woodbury

Increase your plant and hardscape sales with MNLA’s Outdoor Living Catalogs. Titles include Trees & Shrubs, Perennials, and Ideas for Outdoor Living. Visit MNLA.biz or call Sue at 651-633-4987.

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | LANDSCAPE DESIGN

Believe in the Power of the Plan By Randy Berg, Berg's Nursery & Landscape LLC his is not my first Scoop article. In fact I have written several articles over the years for other committees. This is, however, the first for the Landscape Randy Berg Design Committee. As a landscape designer of over 30 years, I was eager to join this committee as the Board of Directors’ liaison. Over the past 30 years of design work, I have seen a lot of changes. In the early years designs were looked upon as unnecessary or overkill. Many viewed a design as something only needed for a large

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commercial project. As time progressed, designs proved to be essential to the success of a project. Designs have become an indispensable tool to sell projects, estimate, and install your vision. They can also change lives. As my career progressed, I started to realize that some of the projects we designed and installed had a huge impact on clients’ everyday lives. One such project was for an elementary school. I was asked by an instructor to design and install a project called ‘Bush Math’. We used four separate blocks of various quantities of plants (in different variety and color) to create an outdoor life-sized puzzle. This ‘Bush Math’ garden allowed the instructor to present a problem to his students in an easy to understand method. His problem would read; Yellow flowering plants+red leaved plants-purple flowering plants = ? The gardens were created in triangles, squares, rectangles etc. so geometry also came into play. The kids responded very favorably and almost ‘by accident’ learned math. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to design and create a Memorial Sensory Garden at a long term care facility. This project was to honor a reasonably young woman who passed away from cancer. Her final year was spent at this facility. What she missed most was the ability to go out into her garden and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the beloved garden. The resulting project created a handicapped accessible garden featuring a gazebo and shade structure, a water feature, elevated planting spaces easy to reach and touch filled with annual, perennial, herb and shrub plantings. This garden is used everyday by the residents experiencing the joy of plants. The sight, smell, texture, of the garden allows all residents regardless of physical issue to enjoy some aspect of the garden. In conversation with the staff, they truly believe this garden has extended lives. By far the most exhilarating project came relatively recently. A client requested a design for a small landscape at his residence. As is our policy we spent time getting to know our client

through a few preliminary meetings. Our client was nearing retirement. He had worked for a company for 30 + years. As an officer of the company, he had many demands on his time, leaving little else in life but work. He explained to me that his favorite time of year was his vacation time to the Boundary Waters. He loved the outdoors especially the north woods. He simply had few opportunities to enjoy it. As I worked on his design, it began to grow. The outdoor space was limited. They enjoyed entertaining. The hard surfaces were not adequate. The sterile back yard lacked definition. A fence would be added to screen unsightly neighboring property, a water feature fit perfectly into an existing slope, extensive plantings complimented the area, and a new deck/patio with stone steps leading in and out created a very natural environment. As I left this project, I was proud of my company’s efforts, but what I didn’t realize was the extent of which this

project changed my client’s life. He and his wife would start their days with coffee on the patio. They would retreat at the end of the day for grilling dinner and enjoying a glass of wine. They would entertain family and friends and, yes, they would work in the garden keeping it clean, fresh, and beautiful. All of this happened really without me knowing until one day at my store while buying pond chemicals my client exclaimed “Berg you changed my life.” Taken by surprise, I asked him to explain. He responded, “I don’t know what I would do with myself without that garden you built. We love it, we live for it, and it changed my life!” As designers, it’s easy to think what we are doing is insignificant. That is far from the truth. In fact, I believe it is essential to life! Believe in the ‘Power of the Plan!’ q ________________________________ Randy Berg is a member of the MNLA Landscape Design Committee and can be reached at bergsnursery@smig.net.

Always be up to date Availability lists sent directly to your e-mail Field | Yard | Restoration | Liners

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | CERTIFICATION

Insight into the Certification Process By Ernie Hammero, Berg’s Nursery & Landscape, Inc.

he personal struggles and embarrassment that I went through to become certified has inspired me to assist others through the certification process. My story begins like this: I entered the nursery industry 14 years ago, working on an installation crew at the age of 17. I did not know where I was going after high school. Should I go into my family’s awning business or go to college? If I decided to go to college, I had better have a plan in mind, for my parent’s sake.

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Since I discovered that I enjoyed the landscaping and garden center business, I was drawn to landscape design. My parents did not understand the landscape industry, so they were apprehensive. I entered a 4 year landscape design program at South Dakota State University. When I started college, I did not know the difference between a spirea and a potentilla. The program was great and I learned a lot, but I was naïve. One thing I should have realized while in college was that instructors wanted you to pass and they gave you the tools to succeed. It was up to the student to utilize them. I thought I knew everything there was about design and plants by the time I graduated (was I wrong!). Fresh out of college and back at my old job, I was encouraged to become certified. ‘No problem’ I thought. I found an old certification manual (actually my boss’ manual from when he became certified 15 years before). I briefly read through it, and thought in my mind that I just graduated from a four year program, this test will be a piece of cake. Test time came, and I quickly realized that I was not well prepared for the test. At that time, there was an oral portion to the test. The moderators actually asked 22

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if I needed to take a break to relax because I was so visibly nervous. I knew in my heart that I failed before the test results CERTIFIED even came back. In Professional fact, I left before the scores were posted. It was no surprise when I received the results in the mail - I had failed miserably. It took a year or so for my ego to heal and to get the nerve to try again. This time I enlisted some help. The first person I went to was my boss, who was certified. He set up mock plant identification tests. We tested each other on general horticulture. It was a learning experience for both of us. I also purchased a current certification manual and studied it inside and out. It is amazing how practices and technology changed in 15 years! One positive thing I learned from the first test was that all of the answers and most of the wording of questions came right from the manual. Next, I attended a certification prep course. I was quizzed on general horticulture knowledge, plant ID, and we took a practice test. This gave me a look into the actual certification test process: how questions are worded and what answers they are actually looking for. I was no longer going into this test blind! By utilizing the tools provided to me by my boss, the MNLA, and my own personal experiences, I was successful the second time around. The positive feeling of becoming certified was much greater than the embarrassment of failing the test, as I had the first time. After the second test, I remember waiting for the results with greater anticipation, knowing I had done better this time because I was well prepared. The excitement was so overwhelming, that when the results

finally came back, and I truly had passed, I ran right out to my car, called my wife and drove off! I had forgotten to even look at my test, and to get my picture taken for The Scoop. If you take a few critical things from this article, you will have a greater chance of success. When you do take the test and if you do not pass the first time, stick around and review your test. Ask the committee members questions. If you feel you are right, challenge them. We all make mistakes. By reviewing your test, you will at least find out where you need to concentrate your efforts the next time. Certification is a big accomplishment. If it was easy and did not push you to become more knowledgeable, it would diminish the status of becoming a certified professional. Distinguishing yourself from others is crucial in this industry. The best way to make you an asset is to become certified. All of the tools are given to you succeed; you just have to use them. The goal of the Certification Committee is for you to be successful through knowledge, and that is why I wanted to become part of the Certification Committee. Take this article as an inspiration. Whether you have taken the test and did not pass, or are preparing to take the test, you have now been given the insight into the process of being successful. q ________________________________ Ernie Hammero is a member of the MNLA Certification Committee and can be reached ehammero@hotmail.com.


Congratulations! New MNLA Certified Professionals Passing the Certification Exam January 21, 2011

CERTIFIED Professional

From left to right: Meghan Running, SMSC; Jennifer Monroe, SMSC; Rachel Kinny, Barrett Lawn Care; Emily Bartsch, Malmborg's Garden Center & Greenhouse; Audrey Schmitt, Bachman's/Bluff Creek Farm; Nick Rau, Winco Landscape & Design; Lucy Dinsmore, EnergyScapes, Inc.; Dimitre Mollov, University of Minnesota. Not pictured: Jared Cutting, Michaela Ostertag, Sheila Hawthorne, Hawthorne Landscape Designs; Brandon Lowry, Bachman's; John McCambridge, Sunnyside Gardens; and eresa Helgeson, University of Minnesota - Crookston

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | CERTIFICATION

Wow! That’s a Lot of Ground to Cover By Tim Vogel, Bailey Nursery, Inc.

andering up and down the aisles at the 2011 Northern Green Expo gives you an idea at just how broad the spectrum is of our industry. From seedlings, perennials, shrubs and trees to golf courses, hardscapes, equipment, landscape design; the scope of knowledge and CERTIFIED Professional experience in the green industry is truly impressive. We come under an umbrella organization called the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association. The MNLA has established a program to certify professionals in the industry; from the manual “Certified Professional (MNLA CP) Program is designed to improve, and objectively examine the skills and knowledge of nursery and greenhouse growers, landscapers, and garden center personnel.” To come up with a way to "objectively examine the skills and knowledge" of green industry professionals across such a wide range of professions is a daunting task. Stop for a minute now and think about all the experiential knowledge that you have gained in your profession; now think about another respected professional you know - how much has their experience taught them, how much could they teach you?

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Bringing it to a point; there is a lot of material out there and no one knows it all. Period. Attempting to deal holistically with the wide range of occupations in the industry the certification test underwent a change a few years back; we have a basic section of the test (everyone takes this part) and a “specialization” section; consisting of Landscaping, Garden Center and Grower (you choose one to take). The test split is 50/50 between basic and specialization. The certification test has been called “hard”; understandably so, to be tested over the contents of the manual (a 3” binder) trying to cover the scope of the industry and applying that knowledge in situations represented by the test questions, and achieve a passing score of 80 percent is no small thing. Writing his article on test preparation in the December Scoop, Bert Swanson stated 10 times in bold type “Read and Study the Manual!” Passing the test is an accomplishment to be recognized and celebrated. Next time you are in your favorite garden/landscape center or browsing the web, look for the certification plaque or seal - it’s meant to give you confidence that the individual is serious about their career. q ________________________________________________ Tim Vogel is a member of the MNLA Certification Committee and can be reached at tim.vogel@baileynursery.com.


MINNESOTA HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY | The Scoop

March/April Minnesota State Horticultural Society Classes he following classes are sponsored by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, but are held at various locations, as noted. Enrollment is limited, and preregistration is required. To register, call 651-643-3601 or 800-676-6747, ext 211, or visit their website at www.northerngardener.org

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Advanced Vegetable Gardening Tuesday, March 15, 6:30 to 8 p.m. $15 members, $25 non-members. Location: MSHS classroom, 2705 Lincoln Drive, Roseville. Grow beyond the basics with this informative and interactive program. You will learn practical ideas on composting and mulching, plant rotation to minimize diseases and insect damage, maximizing your space with vertical, container, and inter-planting, extend your growing season with succession planting, and cool and warm weather vegetables. Instructor: Larry Cipolla is a Hennepin County Master Gardener who has been gardening for more than 40 years. Larry is on the Hennepin County Executive Board and the State Advisory Board. Design for Sustainability Tuesday, November 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $15 members, $25 nonmembers. Location: MSHS Classroom. Learn about ways to landscape around your house to save energy and reduce storm-water runoff. Bring in details and information as well as specific questions you have about your yard. Instructor will give an overview, and then topics will be discussed as a group. Instructor: Douglas Owens-Pike founded EnergyScapes nearly 20 years ago with the goal of creating beautiful landscapes that benefit people as well as our environment. 30 Native Plants for Your Garden Tuesday, March 22, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $15 members, $25 non-members. Location: MSHS classroom, 2705 Lincoln Drive, Roseville. Many MN native plants are just as pretty and in some cases more beautiful than cultivated hybrids and other introduced plants growing in our gardens. With rain falls being so unpredictable during the growing season, it makes sense to take a careful look at Minnesota native plants. Learn which plants work in our gardens to help cut back on watering needs, which ones are suitable for rain gardens, and which ones attract butterflies. Instructor: Shirley Mah Kooyman is a botanist with a specialty in plant taxonomy, and Vice-President of the MN Native Plant Society and also Vice-President of The Wild Ones, Twin Cities Chapter.

Perennials for Sun and Shade Tuesday, March 29, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $15 members, $25 non-members. Location: MSHS classroom, 2705 Lincoln Drive, Roseville. Plants have varying light requirements. Sunny and shady areas create different settings for perennials. Gain insight into which hardy perennials work for Minnesota gardens in sunny or shady spots from spring to fall. Perennials in the proper location can bring you many years of enjoyment. Instructor: Shirley Mah Kooyman is a botanist with a specialty in plant taxonomy, and Vice-President of the MN Native Plant Society and also Vice-President of The Wild Ones, Twin Cities Chapter. Composting 101 Wednesday, March 30, 6:30 to 8 p.m. $15 members, $25 non-members. Location: MSHS classroom, 2705 Lincoln Drive, Roseville. Everything you need to know to begin your own composting system at home. Find out how you can turn your kitchen food scraps and yard waste into a humus that will help your plants grow and reduce the need for fertilizers, water and pesticides. Ask the expert instructor questions and share your experiences with other composters. Instructor: Ginny Black works for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as its organics recycling specialist. She assists the private, public and nonprofit sectors in reusing and recycling food residuals and non-recyclable paper. She also works with compost facilities to develop markets for high quality compost. She has served as a Board member of the U.S. Composting Council board of directors since 1995. Container Garden Design Using Proven Performing Plants Tuesday, April 5, 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. $15 members, $25 non-members. Location: MSHS classroom, 2705 Lincoln Drive, Roseville. Want beautiful, healthy, long-lasting and colorful container gardens that will last for 5 months? Not sure where to begin? Michelle will get you started on finding fast-growing, vigorous nursery plants with season-long color. See image after image of beautiful plant combinations that are easily created and plants readily available from local nurseries. A detailed handout will be provided. Instructor: Master Gardener Michelle Mero Riedel is a professional photographer and has published articles on container garden design. q

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM

March Events at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum he Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will host an exhibit of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association's 2011 Landscape Award winners from March 11 through May 1 in the lobby of the Snyder Building. These awards honor excellence in landscape design, installation and irrigation. Stop by to check out the displays - and take home ideas for your own landscaping.

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Also "on tap" at the Arboretum in March are the 25th annual Sugarbush Pancake Brunch and Maple Syrup Tours on Saturday and Sunday, March 26 & 27. The brunch, in the Oswald Visitor Center, features pure maple syrup from the Arboretum's maple trees, pancakes, sausage and more. The maple syruping tours are self-guided explorations of the Arboretum's "sugarbush" (maple woods) and sugarhouse at the Oswald Visitor Center. Both events run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the breakfast may be purchased the day of the event at the Oswald Visitor Center info desk.

The following gardening classes are slated for March: Basic Garden and Landscape Design Saturday, March 5, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $30 member/$40 non-member, Snyder Building. Learn the principles and theories of landscape design, including the elements of style, balance, texture and scale. Gain insights that can be applied to your own garden and outdoor setting. Perennials through the Seasons Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. $30 member/$40 non-member, Beginner-Intermediate, Lecture / Demo, Limit 30, Snyder Building. The perennial garden is like an orchestra where different sections play their part at different times. Knowing when perennials bloom can help you orchestrate the color display in your garden. Learn about perennials from A to Z with an expert in the use of perennials and be able to apply that knowledge immediately to your own setting. Gardening in the Shade Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. $30 member/$40 non-member, Beginner-Intermediate, Lecture / Demo, Limit 30, Learning Center. Selecting plants for shady locations is far more challenging than for sunny locations. Go beyond begonias and impatiens and learn which plants will thrive in the shade. Gain insights from an experienced gardener and find out how the texture, color and shape of plants such as hostas can add interest to the shady portions of your setting. If you have a chance, stop by for the "Rhythm of the Seasons" photo exhibition (through March 6) and the "Seed Stories" exhibit highlighting seed catalog covers from the Andersen Horticultural Library's expansive collection, on display through April 3 in the Reedy Gallery. For more Arboretum classes and events, visit arboretum.umn.edu. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the largest public garden in the Upper Midwest, is part of the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. It is located nine miles west of I-494 on Highway 5 in Chanhassen. Open daily except for Thanksgiving & Christmas Day. Adults: $9; free for ages 15 & younger and free for members. Admission is free all day Thursday, November through March. q

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UPCOMING EVENTS MNLA CERTIFICATION EXAM March 10, 2011 | 8:30am—12:30pm | Dakota County Technical College, Rosemount

Interested in sitting for the MNLA Certification Exam? Go online to www.mnla.biz to purchase your Certification Manual today and start studying to earn your MNLA Certification this winter.

PESTICIDE CERTIFICATION: WORKSHOP & EXAM March 14-15, 2011 | Day One: 7:15am—4:00pm; Day Two: 8am—3:00pm | Location: U of M, St. Paul - or March 16-17, 2011 | Day One: 7:15am—4:00pm; Day Two: 8am—3:00pm | Location: U of M, St. Paul

Looking to obtain a pesticide applicators license for the first time or need to re-take the exam? Prepare for the category A and E pesticide applicator certification exam by attending this 1 ½ day study program. The workshop can also be viewed as a refresher course for those already certified. Topics covered will include: State Laws and Regulations Integrated Pest Management (Insects, Diseases and Weed Control) Pesticide Formulations Health and Safety Issues (Toxicity, Heat Stress, Personal Protective Equipment) Taking the Exam on Day 2 is optional and will require an additional license fee due to the MN Dept. of Agriculture. Note: Attending this study course does not guarantee passing the category A & E exams.

LANDSCAPE LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY (PLT RELICENSURE) March 16, 2011 | 8:00am—5:00pm | Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul

This class provides eight hours of Power Limited Training credit orientated specifically towards the landscape lighting specialist. The 8 hour class will contain: Two clock hours of specific National Electrical Code training; and 6 hours of applicable training. Technical training will include: Principals of 12 Volt Outdoor Lighting: Design; Landscape Lighting Installation – Wiring and Circuits; and LED Landscape Lighting - How New Technology is Changing the Landscape Lighting Business. DOLI Course # 101122.01. Session Sponsor:

Visit www.mnla.biz for registration and details for these and other programs! Questions? Call 651.633.4987.

Sponsorships are available for these seminars. Call Betsy at 952-903-0505 or e-mail betsy@pierreproductions.com. 28

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UPCOMING EVENTS NCMA SEGMENTAL RETAINING WALL INSTALLER CERTIFICATION March 22, 2011 | 8:00am—5:00pm | Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul

The Segmental Retaining Wall Installer Education Program is a seminar series designed to reinforce national standardized installation and site practices within the SRW installer community. Level I is structured for all employees involved in SRW installation and provides fundamental instruction on minimum installation guidelines, material and system component properties, soils and compaction, site practices and equipment selection. Those successfully completing the classroom seminar and passing a written examination become recognized as a NCMA Level I SRW Installer. Furthermore, your learning doesn’t end when the program is completed! This program includes a wealth of valuable course information and reference material that attendees take back to work for implementation as money-saving and profitmaking ideas! Participants will take the NCMA exam at the end of training. Session Sponsor:

CREATING EDIBLE LANDSCAPES March 24, 2011 | 8:30am—11:30am | Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul

Edible landscaping is one of the hottest trends in home gardening. This style of landscaping frees fruits and vegetables from the confines of traditional garden rows, and brings them front and center into the ornamental realm. Plants are chosen for their aesthetic qualities, site suitability and food-producing potential to create visually stunning, highly productive and nutritious landscapes. In this session we’ll go over some of the important considerations of sustainable landscape design when designing with food-producing plants, discuss ornamental and edible plant combinations, and take a look at inspiring examples of edible landscape design. A small-group activity will give participants the opportunity to explore the range of possibilities in edible landscaping. Session Sponsor:

IRRIGATION TRAINING DAY March 30, 2011 | 4 Half Day Sessions | Dorsey-Ewald Conference Center, St. Paul

Join us for one or more of the following half day training sessions focused on irrigation: Introduction to Irrigation Irrigation Installation Landscape Irrigation Design: Design Principles Landscape Irrigation Design: Application & Layout More information on these sessions is available online at www.MNLA.biz. Visit www.mnla.biz for registration and details for these and other programs! Questions? Call 651.633.4987.

Sponsorships are available for these seminars. Call Betsy at 952-903-0505 or e-mail betsy@pierreproductions.com. MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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ATTENTION GARDEN CENTERS! MNLA's Green Industry Recycling Program Returns! Good news! Choice Plastics has provided a commitment to the MNLA recycling program for the 2 0 1 1 s e a s o n . MNLA and Choice Plastics are joining forces again in 2011. Our goal is to continue to run a lean, efficient program – and that will take great cooperation from participating members. The challenges continue to be mixed materials which do not meet cleanliness standards, significant labor expenditures, and lowend market pricing on these low-end materials. Despite the challenges, Choice Plastics continues to be committed to MNLA and the recycling program. The parameters outlined below will help extend this program well into the future without significantly hampering member’s ability to collect and deliver the material to Choice for recycling. For the 2011 season, the program will start April 15th and run thru October 15th. Garden Centers MUST adhere to these parameters in order to participate in the program:

All incoming loads MUST HAVE A DOCK TIME and no material will be dropped outside. Delivery drivers will check in at the Choice offices and receive dumping instructions. A member of the Choice Plastics staff will conduct a visual inspection of each load.

Choice will accept ONE DUMPSTER per day as well as ONE SMALL LOAD from a non-dumpster facility per day. Members will need to be aware that the schedule during the busy months may push them out several days or more when they call for a dock appointment. There will be no exceptions to this schedule. Choice must regulate the inflow of material.

Choice will not accept any types of Ag. Film, Silage Bags, or any other types of greenhouse film or bags. The only acceptable materials will be rigid plastics-pots, trays, flats, and containers. If there is any question about whether a particular material is acceptable, members can call the Choice offices for an answer.

Members must do the best they can to eliminate outside waste, garbage, heavy organic matter, aluminum cans, etc. N o n - c o m p l i a n c e w i t h t h e s e p a r a m e t e r s w i l l r e s u l t i n r e j e c t i o n o f t h e d u m p s t e r a t t h e d o o r . If Choice accepts a dumpster and later finds excessive non-conforming material, pictures will be taken to document the materials and d i s p o s a l f e e s w i l l b e a s s e s s e d t o t h e m e m b e r i n question.

I have read the above parameters and understand that to participate in the MNLA Green Industry Recycling Program I must adhere to them. Failure to meet the parameters will result in exclusion from the program. Signed: _____________________________ _____________________________ ______________________________ Name Company Email

Please contact Dan Mayer or Jon Horsman with any questions. Dan Mayer, Choice Plastics 952-472-3070 5338 Shoreline Drive Mound, MN 55364

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Jon Horsman, MNLA 651-633-4987 jon@MNLA.biz

To sign up for the 2011 Recycling Program, fax this signed form to MNLA at 651-633-4986 or 888-266-4986.


MNLA Summit Brewery Tour

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just for fun!!!

Join fellow MNLA members for an evening of networking on All members are welcome and young professionals are especially Thursday, March 31 at our very own hometown Summit Brewing encouraged to attend! Company. You will: Schedule Presented by: Hear the history of Summit 4:15: Registration See how Summit brews their beers 4:30-5:30: Tour & Tasting Walk through Summit's fermentation cellar and bottling 5:30 - 6:30: Pizza & Networking house Sample beer after the tour Location Have time for networking with MNLA members Summit Brewing Company 910 Montreal Circle What goes better with beer than pizza? After the tour, hang St. Paul, MN 55102 United States around for networking, eat some pizza and enjoy all Summit has to oer! Cost $10 per person—register online at www.mnla.biz!

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

The Mean Season? In a challenging economic period, we should turn TO our industry association, not away… By, Timothy Malooly CIC, CLIA, CID 2008 EPA WaterSense Partner of the Year; Chair, MNLA Government Affairs Committee

s many of you know, my industry specialty is landscape irrigation and water management. Over the past few years, I’ve opened or closed articles and Timothy Malooly presentations with a statement something like this:

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“…There’s no question about it: What we do individually and as an industry in the use of our precious water resources really matters….” The statement is meant to be impactful, illustrating the power of the individual to make a difference. That statement can be adjusted to reflect the impact we can have on our industry in terms of membership and participation in our Association. What we do individually in our choices to help our industry really matters… In the fall of 2008, President Bush appeared on television to tell us what many of us already knew – the economy was in trouble. An economic cycle had commenced sometime in 2007 and we were placed on notice that it was official in the eyes of our government. At the time, our state and national associations were conducting business on our behalf whether preparing for upcoming events, planning educational sessions, perfecting certification programs or defending our rights to exist as an industry in the face of the “Green Movement”. MNLA, its staff and volunteers were in the midst of delivering value to you in 2008 and they still are. But lately we’ve found some members are taking a second 32

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look at their membership in the wake of the economic slowdown. Some members have chosen an aggressive or angry stance when visiting with staff or member volunteers about their membership and the value they perceive. That’s too bad. Or is it somehow a compliment to MNLA? After all in times of stress, we often hurt those we hold most dear… Make no mistake, careful business management has never been more necessary than right now. However, when evaluating the importance of MNLA membership, please consider the tangible and intangible benefits of your participation. Instead of evaluating MNLA in terms of cost to be a member, perhaps you can evaluate your membership in terms of what YOU have done to extract the value of membership that YOU look for. In the January 2011 issue of Landscape Contractor magazine, Publisher George Schmok wrote an editorial that appears to indict green industry associations as self-interested bureaucracies, blocking opportunity to make better, the industry (www.landscapeonline.com/ research/article/14434). I’ve read the article several times, and while Mr. Schmok is entitled to his opinion and his approach, I cannot decide if he is a fool or if he’s craftily trying to get the reader to rise to action in his/her choices to participate in a state association and become more involved. Here’s a fact: MNLA exists to serve its membership. Its policies, governance, programs, certification, government

affairs efforts and its future are all dictated by the members. The members pay dues to fund the operation of the organization and then volunteer time to set and implement plans and programs. MNLA is “we”; not “they”. MNLA staff is employed to implement our policies and programs and guide day-to-day operations – in excellence – enabling us to attend to the day-to-day of our businesses. MNLA is a forum developed specifically for you to contribute your ideas, develop and nurture new opportunities, and set a course for the next generation of professionals who enter your chosen industry. Large companies and small have an equal voice at MNLA. Take a look at the make-up of its committees. Of the 1,100 member companies, there are approximately 180 persons serving on 17 committees. There are at least 150 additional persons who contribute regularly without serving on committees. Of those 330+ contributors, every single person is just like you, an owner or employee of a small business who chooses to get involved via the MNLA structure and make a better future for themselves, their families and their industry. In government affairs activities the past few years, consider what might be if MNLA volunteers and staff didn’t exist: • There would likely have been many plants labeled “invasive” and removed from sale locally. • Nursery & greenhouse operators would be left out of the state’s Green Acres law. • The green industry would not have a seat on the Minimum Impact


Design Standards (MIDS) board which submits recommendations for development of stormwater management rules. • MNLA, representing the green industry would not have been the ONLY non-profit organization interviewed the day Emerald Ash Boarer was discovered. • There would likely still be a sales tax on agricultural equipment purchases made by nursery and greenhouse growers. • Minnesota would not have been the first state to pass rain sensor legislation, saving millions of gallons of water waste annually. (The February SCOOP contains an article by MNLA Executive Director Bob Fitch, who expands on these accomplishments –and more!) Here more broadly, are few more items to consider… If there were no MNLA… • There’d be no Expo. • There’d be no certification program. • There’d be no connection with higher education. • There’d be no speakers to enjoy and learn from. • There’d be no awards program for you to be recognized by your peers. • There’d be no place for you to hone your skills as a professional and as an employer. • There’d be no connection with other state associations – or the national associations. • There’d be no connection with the federal government. • There’d be no representation, no organization, no conduit to emerging trends, no regulatory watchdog mechanism looking out for you, no classes to better yourself and your employees, no forum to network and make friends, no handy access to specific information…

…In short, you’d have NO VOICE and little opportunity to contribute effectively to a better future for you, your employees and family. MNLA membership begins at $175; the price of a good dinner and a movie. Granted, many of us pay $395 to $595 annually. Aren’t we fortunate to have businesses that grew to be in those higher dues categories? Don’t you think MNLA has played some part in helping your business prosper?

MNLA (www.MNLA.biz, keyword committee application). How about attending the Green Industry Day on the Hill March 2nd with 50-75 fellow member-volunteers? Not into public affairs? OK, how about attending the social event of the year, the 2011 MNLA Landscape Awards Gala March 5 at 317 on Rice Park, St. Paul. Meet and mingle with members and enjoy the celebration of excellence among peers in your chosen industry. Call 651-633-4987 to reserve your seat.

"Please know that you are not alone in facing difficult and challenging conditions."

When President Bush appeared on television the fall of 2008, the greater green industry was in near panic in the face of a “Green Movement” that was (by accident or intent) threatening the very existence of the green industry as we know it. Guess what; regardless of the current state of the economy, the “Green Movement” is still at work, not caring about you or your current economic circumstances. MNLA volunteers are working hard to keep you in business. In fall of 2008, new technologies were being introduced that affected business practices throughout the Green Industry. Whether they be SMART irrigation controllers, new inoculations for EAB or best practices for permeable paver installation, new technologies MNLA provides forums to learn about and incorporate them into your business. Please consider not only renewing your membership in MNLA but EXPANDING your membership by getting involved. Want to know where you can best help? Contact a committee chair or vice chair! They are just like you; paying members who choose to volunteer some time and lead by example. When you’ve found a committee you want to serve, complete an enrollment form and you’re on your way to extracting the value you want from

Want to help expand MNLA visibility among the consuming public? There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer including: • The State Fair display. • Holiday decorating at the State Capitol. • Arbor Day activities. • Adopt-a-School and participate in the MNLA Green For Life event September 22, 2011.

Finally, as you consider your membership in MNLA and contrast that membership against your current economic concerns, please know you are not alone in facing difficult and challenging conditions. Consider your membership in MNLA and the contacts and resources it brings to help you make good decisions in the face of challenging times. On an especially challenging day, consider looking through the MNLA Membership Directory; pick up the phone and have a gentle conversation with a peer to help you cope. You’ll likely be glad you did and you can arrange to catch-up in person at an upcoming committee meeting or event. What we do individually in our choices to help our industry really matters… q ________________________________ Tim Malooly is a member of the MNLA Government Affairs Committee and can be reached at timm@ibdmn.com. MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | MDA UPDATE

Final MDA Proposal Will Change State’s Japanese Beetle Status fter sifting through comments received from the MNLA, industry representatives, the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Regulatory Advisory Committee and other state plant pest regulators the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has developed a final proposal to regulate Japanese beetle. Presented below is the final draft announcement. It reflects the regulatory direction supported by the comments received. Unless there is compelling new information, comment or concern raised in response to this article, a signed and dated communication will be sent to the National Plant Board for publication on its website. It will also be posted on the MDA’s website and distributed directly to other state plant pest regulatory officials.

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CHANGES TO JAPANESE BEETLE REGULATION IN MINNESOTA The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) last conducted a formal survey for Japanese beetle (JB) in 2002. By

that time JB was detected in over 30 counties. While not found in high numbers, this distribution led to the repeal of both our external and internal JB quarantines and the discontinuation of the annual JB survey. Despite the discontinuation of the annual survey, nurseries interested in being certified JB-free are still offered JB trapping or soil sampling as certification options. In 2009, JB emerged as a noticeable public nuisance and has attracted considerable attention as local, high infestations of JB have impacted homeowners. The following year, JB was found in nursery stock grower locations. Currently the MDA Plant Protection Division treats JB as a regulated non-quarantine pest (RNQP). The U.S. Domestic Japanese Beetle Harmonization Plan (JBHP) defines a Category 3 State as a state partially or generally infested by JB or where JB has no regulatory significance. In this situation, infestations are sufficiently widespread that natural spread cannot be effectively slowed and regulation of host commodities is not likely to be effective. The JB situation in Minnesota clearly indicates that the state has transitioned from a Category 2 state to a Category 3 state. Given this new reality, MDA will no longer regulate JB as a RNQP. Instead, JB will become a quality pest whose presence at low levels will be noted during an inspection but treatment and control will not be required for sale or movement of nursery stock. As with other quality pests, when JB is present at high levels, treatment of the infested nursery stock before sale or shipment will be required. Minnesota established JB regulations in 1992 and successfully suppressed introductions and spread for over a decade. While JB populations remain generally small and isolated reclassification to a Category 3 is appropriate even though we recognize that this classification increases our risk that incoming nursery stock will be infested with JB. Minnesota citizenry is keenly aware of JB through outreach programs and is not likely to purchase stock visibly infested with JB. Please call Mark Schreiber, 651-201-6388, email Mark.Schreiber@state.mn.us, with questions or comments. q

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GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS | The Scoop

Forums Highlight Immigrants, Economy he Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition united forces with labor unions, religious organizations, and social welfare advocates to hold a series of forums across the state in January focusing on the importance of immigrant workers to the state’s economy. One of the forums was held at Bailey Nurseries Inc. where about 100 people packed the company’s classroom.

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“Even in these economically challenging times, there are still many types of businesses that struggle to find enough qualified workers, especially in the manufacturing and agricultural industries,” said Bill Blazar, senior vice president at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. “An adequate number of reliable workers is vital to economic recovery and growth,” Blazar said, “and that means the need for immigration reform continues.” Why hold these forums now when the political winds are blowing against any immigration legislation? According to

MNLA Executive Director Bob Fitch, “From 2000 to 2005, if the business community as a whole had been actively educating itself and speaking up, and speaking in unison with labor and social advocacy groups, maybe we would have had the political clout to win in 2006 or 2007.” “We can’t wait to tell the story of the needs of employers and the need for fair treatment of families who want to share in the American dream. Strong political forces are aligned against reasonable solutions and we must relentlessly run this race, even if it’s a marathon,” Fitch said. MNLA is a founding member of the Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition, along with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, and Hospitality Minnesota. The Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, a non-profit organization, played a key role in the presentation of the forums. q

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | GREENHOUSE & HERBACEOUS GROWERS

Take Time to Evaluate Plants By Mike Heger, Ambergate Gardens

n addition to serving on MNLA’s Greenhouse and Herbaceous Growers Committee, I have been a member of the Publications Committee for almost 20 years. A sub-committee recently reviewed the existing perennial catalog for additions and deletions to a revised edition that will be available at the 2012 Green Expo. In going Mike Heger through that process, it occurred to me that some of the same parameters used in choosing plants for inclusion in the catalog are also appropriate in selecting varieties for either retail sales or usage in clients’ landscapes.

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Our product lines are well firmed up for the 2011 season and many of us have probably already given some thought to the 2012 season. As horticultural professionals, we have an obligation to provide our customers with the best performing woody and herbaceous plant selections for this harsh climate. The push in our industry today is to get new plants to the market in great numbers in the shortest possible time frame.

We could debate whether this is really healthy for the industry in the long run but that is another whole topic. One of the unfortunate results of this approach is that performance data over a wide geographic area is sometimes sorely lacking. Another negative factor is that many plants never get the opportunity to prove their long-term potential landscape value because they are quickly displaced in sales channels by something newer (and not necessarily always an improvement). Emphasis is constantly placed on the newest plant introductions but these plants are often unproven in our difficult climate. It is real easy, but potentially dangerous, to center our product lines around the myriad of new varieties that become available each season. When considering the addition of many new introductions, it behooves each of us to step back and ask some tough questions about those plants. In an ideal world, we would have a comprehensive local plant trialing program that would help answer many of those questions, but we all know that is just not economically feasible. In absence of that, we need to spend some time finding answers through other avenues. Nothing against sales representatives, but you must remember that their job is to sell product to you. I highly value their input but often look beyond the information they provide for additional answers. Our business tends to be quite conservative about the promotion of many new plants until we’ve had an opportunity to try them ourselves. We spend a lot of money and time each season acquiring and growing plants to see how they perform in this area. Beyond that, we look for data coming out of plant evaluation programs at other northern locations. For perennial growers/retailers such as us, this includes plant evaluation programs like that at the University of Minnesota, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the University of Vermont. Public gardens tend to be on the leading edge of new plant introductions and regular visits will allow you to observe plant performance in those settings. Also, don’t forget that your own peers can often provide some insight as well, other growers and designers in this area or from similar harsh climates may be able to offer valuable information on plants you have not yet had personal experience with. The lure of new plant introductions is now and will continue to be an exciting part of our profession. We just need to be careful in selecting appropriate varieties for our area and keep in mind that new doesn’t always equate to better. A successful product line, whether in retail or landscape design, encompasses tried and true performers in combination with strong-performing recent introductions. q ________________________________________________ Michael L. Heger is a member of the MNLA Greenhouse & Herbaceous Growers Committee and can be reached at info@ambergategardens.com.

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LANDSCAPE | The Scoop

MNLA Landscapers Report In: 2010 Met Expectations By Cassie Larson, MNLA Associate Director ompetitive bidding seemed to be the theme of the 2010 Landscape Industry Pulse Survey. MNLA landscapers (both contractors and maintenance professionals) report that the 2010 season met their expectations and that they anticipate 2011 will be similar or better than 2010. In December, we asked MNLA memberlandscapers how their past year went . . . everything from their gross annual sales to the number of jobs they bid.

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companies responding to the survey reported that their gross revenue was even with 2009 or up between 1-20%!

Job Bids The average number of jobs bid in 2010 by participating landscapers was 100 and, of those bids, 54.68 were converted into a sale. That’s over 50%! So, What Is The Outlook? Landscapers are optimistic overall about what 2011 will bring. î “irty-eight of the 41 respondents reported that they expected next year to be either the same or better than 2010.

Profitability The majority of participants reported that the economy made it difficult to make a profit. Many companies reported that competition for jobs is steep which forces margins down. However, more than half the

Forty-one companies participated in the 2011 MNLA Landscape Industry Pulse survey and a 15-page detailed report was provided only to the 41 participating companies. Watch for the next survey and be sure to participate so you can get detailed results that will help your business! q

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The Scoop | SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT

Drainage: It is More Than Just a Pipe in The Ground By Michael Kelly, TerraMax Inc.

oil drainage is all about physics or soil physics to be more precise. Soils are complex systems, or even ecosystems, that are made up of different particle sizes and shapes, mineral particles of various composition, organic particles, and micro and macro organisms. These all combine to make a complex unit that we simply call soil.

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There is a great book written by Keith McIntyre and Bent Jakobsen titled “Practical Drainage for Golf, Sports Turf and Horticulture.” It does a good job of explaining a “perched water table” which occurs any time a fine-textured soil is placed over a coarse one. It also relates to the drainage factors affecting the building of a garden bed, a lawn, or a sports facility. The drainage issues in these types of landscapes are similar in many ways. Perched water table conditions or other soil interface issues typically occur with disturbed or modified soils – and are less common with native upland soils. This occurs when imported soils (planting media) is placed on soils (or fill) having significantly different soil characteristics. Most of the horticultural soils used for planting media are “manufactured” soils which often have been moved multiple times. For subsurface drainage, a pipe in the ground is just a device for collecting and transporting free or unattached water. Free water is available when the soil is at or above the saturation point. The meaning of the term drainage to an engineer is completely different than to a horticulturist. An engineer wants to pack a site so that no water gets into the profile and they strictly rely on runoff or surface drainage. Landscapers and growers want to make a soil absorbent so that it can capture available water and 38

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provide air for the plant growth. Plant growers want to drain the excess water away by the movement of excess water downward through the soil profile. Agricultural drainage is usually geared both for surface drainage (no low spots) and dewatering of high “water table” water levels. Horticulturists look at the soil to determine if it is possible to get the soil characteristics to grow healthy plants with good plant nutrient retention, water holding capacity and also the ability to drain and have good aeration porosity. Will the soils drain enough to give us

Air pore space is as important, or more important than the water pore space. Neither can be eliminated, but it is hard to over-aerate while it is easy to overwater. The percentage concentrations of water and air changes as you go up and down the profile and as soils dry up between rain events or watering cycles. Soils dry out via water evaporation, transpiration of water through the plant, and internal drainage (percolation) of water through the soil. If there is an excess of free water supply in the lower portions of the soil profile, water can actually rise upward due to forces of capillary action.

Chart 1

those optimum conditions? Soil depth, soil texture, soil structure, soil aggregation and underlying soils all play a role in the soil physics properties and successful growth. Soils are an active growing media with air, water and a mineral/organic support structure that will sustain the vegetation. Theoretically the best soils are 50 percent solid particles, 25 percent water pore space and 25 percent air pore space.

In order to have drainage through a subsurface drain pipe, you need to have “free water” or saturated conditions around the drainage tile. If the soil is not saturated or the water cannot freely run through the soil above it, it will not drain. Therefore drainage trenches would need to be filled to the surface with sand if it is necessary to drain surface standing water. If not, the soil profile will absorb water slowly and once the soil exceeds the saturation point,


Note: In the landscape business, blending is done on a volume basis. One has to realize that sand is much heavier than OM (Organic Matter). A 90/10 sand/ peat mix by volume will roughly yield a 99/1 on a dry weight basis. Iowa has attempted to get a handle on the percolation rates for various soil textural classes. See chart 2. As shown, sand percent by DRY WEIGHT has to be well over 70 percent to get good internal drainage. Most high sand content sports fields will be in excess of 90 percent sand, of the correct size and shape. Specifications can be obtained in the American Standards Testing Manual, ASTMF2396 . (Plants can be grown only on sand if you use the EPIC technology and drainage cell. www.resisolutions.com). Often, heavytextured soils may be opened up (bulked up) by using coarse-fibrous OM but as those organic materials degrade the soil permeability is likely to gradually decrease.

water will enter the pipe and drain the soil until just drier than the saturation point. Heavy soils require deep drainage unless the trenches are backfilled with sand soils. Sandy soils will produce free water in a much shorter depth of profile. Soils should be permeable and free draining. The USDA has developed a “Textural classification chart” (chart 1), that differentiates soils by percentage sand, silt, and clay by weight. In order to determine a soil classification the soil has to be dried and screened. Other factors that are critical to drainage are the size and shape of the sand particles, the type of clay and the percentage and type of

organic material that is incorporated into the soil. Simply stated, the sand particles need to stack or come in contact with each other so they create void spaces. The concentrations of sand have to be fairly high. Clays will cling to the sand particles. Silt particles are the biggest problem in a soil mix because they may migrate within the soil profile and may then form sealed soil layers.( Reference to Mike DePew’s work if any) . Migrating silts may fill up the empty pore spaces between the larger sand particles. Having small amounts of cohesive clay minerals in a soil mix can serve to bind silt grains in a matrix with the sand particles and prevent silt migration and soil sealing.

When building things like rain infiltration gardens and drainage trenches, one should be aware of the science of the soils. The US Golf Course Association and the Sports Turf Managers Association have already laid out a road map for factors relating to measurable performance characteristics like percolation rates, bulk densities, capillary (water) porosity and aeration porosity. The effects of a perched water table are present anytime there are layered soils of different textures. This is extremely important when building a road ditch, a garden bed, a rain garden or a sports field. There is a science relating to what happens in our soils. The more we know and understand the more successful we can be and know why one installation worked and another did not. q ________________________________ Mike Kelly is a member of the MNLA Sustainable Environment Committee and can be reached at mgkelly100@yahoo.com.

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Why Doesn’t MNLA Offer Health Insurance? By Matt Felknor, Felknor Financial Group Inc. NLA frequently hears the question: "Why can't you offer a group health insurance plan to the members of the association?"

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This is a fair question, coming from an industry that has such a bright future. To answer this question, it will be helpful to examine a few of the roots of the Green Industry. The short answer is, at one time there was an association plan offered exclusively to members of what was mainly a florists association. The year was 1957 and my father, Jim Felknor, along with some of the others in the industry, developed the first green industry association health insurance plan in the state. The North Central Florist Association dated back to about 50 years ago. They formed an insurance

trust and insured it through a local insurance company called North American Life and Casualty. This new group insurance plan was offered to florists at a time when group coverage was mostly only offered to very large companies, so this was something new to small companies like the ones making up the NCFA. The cost for an individual policy was $12 per month, and family coverage was $18. All any florist had to do to get the coverage was be a member of the florists association and they received health insurance with no underwriting, no state filing, no compliance, and no hassle. It was truly the good old days. Eventually, the plan became self-funded and built up very good "reserves" (money set aside from premiums to pay claims). Over the next 25 years, the plan grew and our agency helped hundreds of small

groups get coverage through this plan. Everything went along just fine until about 1983, when the federal government issued an amendment to the 1974 ERISA laws - the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. One of the things that the ERISA amendment did was grant individual states the power to control and regulate self-funded "association plans.� Enter the state of Minnesota: quickly there became many requirements including underwriting standards, requirements for huge reserves, and other compliance like gender-neutral underwriting and age-bands, intended to stabilize these Multiple Employer Welfare Associations and require fairness and equality. Basically, from an insurance company standpoint, offering a selffunded association health plan (MEWA) became too unwieldy and difficult to comply with and eventually the plan was disbanded, after the required distribution of all reserves to the covered members of the plan. These small groups were then offered coverage in the regular market operating under all the new coverage mandates and compliance issues. Therefore, just like today’s Minnesota State Florists Association, MNLA also does not have a plan for its members because state laws make it so that starting another plan from ground zero would be extremely difficult from a risk/ underwriting/ insurance perspective. It would be difficult to find an insurance carrier who is willing to come to the table and operate under all the Minnesota state mandates and requirements for offering a true association plan. And this is also part of the reason why Minnesota currently has so few insurance companies offering group medical plans to small businesses in our state today. q ________________________________ Matt Felknor is the owner of Felknor Financial Group, Inc. and can be reached at matt@felknor group.com, 952-562-2456.

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MEMBER COMMUNICATIONS | The Scoop

What Do They Know That You Don’t Know? By Bob Fitch, MNLA Executive Director ight now, you are taking advantage of one of your biggest member benefits – reading MNLA’s flagship communications piece, The Scoop. At the MNLA office, we receive most of the magazines or newsletters from the other state green industry associations. Some are plain-Jane 4-page newsletters; some are graphically exciting; and some have reporters writing professional news and feature stories. While our magazine is certainly not the most graphically exciting one in the lot, it is unique because of the large amount of information provided by your fellow members. MNLA is very fortunate to have a cadre of volunteers who serve on our committees and take it upon themselves to share their insights, experiences, and wisdom with you – their colleagues and competitors – in monthly Scoop articles. In this issue alone, there are 17 articles written by members (including the Plant of the Month article which has been published with virtually no interruption for 30 years since Don Selinger of Bailey’s wrote the first article in October 1981). This kind of volunteer commitment to a publication is unprecedented anywhere else in the green industry. While the association can be justifiably proud of The Scoop, there are other communication tools MNLA offers that too many of you are missing out on. For the 500 or so members each month who open Grassroots eNews (sent on the 5th of the month) and MNLA eNews (sent on the 15th), what do they know that you don’t know? • Readers of the February issue of Grassroots eNews got inside information on what MNLA is bird-dogging at the state capitol to help keep your cost of business down. • February Grassroots readers also got a heads-up on potential changes to the Green Acres law and what threats there are to the green industry’s various sales tax exemptions.

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• If you read a recent MNLA eNews, you were linked to free, professional advice on 10 things you can do to give your marketing plan a big boost for a small price. • MNLA eNews readers received a link to a report of the business-building thoughts from the Garden Center Idea Exchange and the Crew Leader Idea Exchange at Green Expo. • Do you want to know how to increase your pest control profits at your lawn care company? You should have opened the January MNLA eNews. • Do you need to get some new employees training on retaining walls or pesticide application? MNLA eNews always has easy links to our calendar of events and on-line registration. If you’re not receiving MNLA eNews on the 15th of the month, go to www.MNLA.biz where there’s a sign-up button at the bottom of any page. You can also sign up for Grassroots eNews by going to the Legislative Center at www.MNLA.biz. Best of all, any of your company employees can get either enewsletter for free! Finally, did you know that MNLA’s most widely read publication is the Tips ‘n Clips e-newsletter (sent on the 25th of the month) which is opened by an average of 2,000 consumers? Publications Committee members like Debbie Lonnee of Bailey Nurseries and Stephanie Girgen of Simon’s Landscaping write great content promoting plants, gardens and landscaping. Two ideas to think about: (1) Send a link to GardenMinnesota.com to your customers and urge them to sign up for the Tips ‘n Clips mailing list. This is a great way to remind them that your company is a great source of professional information; and (2) Advertise in Tips ‘n Clips and have your message seen by 2,000 consumers every month. Take full advantage of the information available to you as an MNLA member. Sign up for these e-newsletters, open them upon arrival, and be a member in the know! q

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | GARDEN CENTER

The Value Proposition By Craig Corby, Linder's Greenhouse, Flower Marts, Garden Center & Landscaping ight now “value” is the hot term. So what constitutes value to your customer? How, as independent garden centers, do we deliver the message that IGC’s deliver value to our existing customers and also to the new consumer we are constantly trying to win? Let’s look at possible value categories we can use to determine what may constitute value for one consumer as opposed to another. • Price: Some consumers shop on price alone.(Probably not the customer we are trying to attract) • Quality: The consumer that has product quality at top of mind when making their purchasing decision, price being of little matter. • Selection: They are coming to you for your vast range of items either in a single category or your store as a whole. • Service and Knowledge: Customer service and the relationship they have with your staff and store is their highest priority because you make them feel special or provide the solutions they are looking for. • Performance: The end result and the ultimate performance of the goods and services you provide. • Convenience: This could be as simple as the geographical position of your store to their home or business. • Experience: The overall experience in your store might be the value they cherish most. We have identified the categories, now we need to analyze how we present them in our own stores. • Price: we do not want to have our consumers shop us on price alone. This is a recipe for disaster. But we do want our consumer to be aware we have good prices on certain items whether these are “known value” items or something more unique. Your known value items need to be positioned in store in appropriate positions, and supported by signage reflecting their weekly/daily value. Other products of good value need to be identified as such with supporting merchandising and information identifying their uniqueness or benefits and creating the perception of good value. This strategy will help you achieve good margins on other products within your store. Sale items and sale events need to be promoted in house as well as through media channels to promote the value of these events to the consumer. • Quality: The true quality of the products combined with style and selection will create the image and atmosphere of the category or entire store. As long as these items are priced accordingly to represent this quality (and achieve

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the necessary margins) and merchandised correctly, you can achieve high marks in the consumers mind in this value category. • Selection; How broad or defined in each product category do you go? If this is your niche then you will need to do your homework to achieve acceptable margins and balance inventory levels with the number of sku’s you wish to provide. You will also need the space to present the selection to the consumer in an inspiring format that represents your depth of product. If you do it right, why would the consumer need to shop anywhere else? • Service (and knowledge): Your customer service identity and relationships build with every visit to your store. If this is your known value, then continue to build it through staff education and training, special events, personalized service and great communications with the customer. • Performance: This is the end result of the plants, products and services you sell. If the results are consistently high and emotionally rewarding for the consumer, this will be strong reason for them to use performance as their value identifier. • Convenience: This can be as simple as your stores geographical position or your layout in reference to the products they purchase or even the time it takes to check out. How about the bathrooms? What about your web presence and the information you provide via mobile devices for their research before they come to your store. The time conscious consumer will have this at the top of their value meter. How can you improve the convenience factor for this consumer value category? • Experience: The in-store experience may be so exciting and stimulating that this overpowers all of the above and the consumer is just coming for the theatre and the rest is not a top priority in their mind. Congratulations! There may be other categories you may think of to place in your value equation, locally grown, organic, etc. Most independent garden centers will score good marks in the above categories. Is your consumer aware of the other value categories that are not their primary focus? We need to get the message out through whatever channels are available to us in the format that will best represent the value or combination of values you are trying to promote. All of the above is probably an intricate part of your brand equation, but that is for another discussion. Good luck for the 2011 season. Let’s hope the consumers see value in the strength of the independents! q ________________________________________________ Craig Corby is a member of the MNLA Garden Center Committee and can be reached at CraigCorby@linders.com.


Garden Minnesota Yearbook Promotes MNLA Members! ncluded with this month’s Scoop mailing is a copy of the 48 page 2011 Garden Minnesota Yearbook. Garden Minnesota Yearbook is an annual publication that provides information on landscaping and gardening to consumers. e goal of the publication is to inspire homeowners to invest in their outdoor living environment and to help connect them with the resources, products and services available from MNLA members. GardenMinnesota.com is promoted throughout. e highlight of this year’s circulation is that 100,000 will be inserted into the Wednesday, April 13th edition of the Star Tribune and distributed to households that meet our marketing criteria. We’ll also be distributing copies at the St. Paul Home & Garden Show and the Minneapolis Home & Garden Show (thanks to the Minnesota State Horticultural Society), and many thousands more homeowners or prospective homeowners will receive the magazine via realtors aligned with one of three local realtor associations. q

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MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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PUBLIC RELATIONS | The Scoop

You Did All That??? Really??? By Karen Filloon, Southview Design k, bottom line…the MNLA Public Relations Committee executes programs to promote its members and highlight the work they do in the Karen Filloon community and for the environment. We are raising public awareness about the MNLA. As my mother used to say “it doesn’t do any good to hide your light under a bushel basket.”

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Bushel basket aside, the Public Relations Committee is committed to shining the MNLA light…to make the public aware of what the MNLA and its members do within each and every community in Minnesota. To do that, the MNLA works with media outlets (radio, television, and newspapers), distributes the Garden Minnesota Yearbook, produces the MNLA Scoop, plus continually updates the GardenMinnesota.com website – all to advertise what we do within the green industry. Whew! We should all be proud of the work we do and we want to make sure the consumers know about it! But here is the problem: Although we have monthly articles in the Scoop about what the PR Committee is doing, apparently some of the members have missed those highlights and have been asking, “What has the association done for its members?” So, here is an outline of just what we let the public know about the MNLA and our activities:

January – Northern Green Expo. Need I say more? This is a prime time to network within the industry and take advantage of the seminars and roundtables. And 46

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although the Green Expo is not really open to the public, Dale Konetschka, The Garden Guy from Channel 9, has come the past several years to tell our industry’s story. This year he highlighted some new plants coming down the pike. Channel 5 came to the Convention Center this year to do a featurelength piece about the latest landscape trends – complete with sound bites from members! The 2011 Expo had more TV coverage than any previous Expo.

February – Updates are made to the GardenMinnesota.com website in preparation for the increased traffic in the coming months. Consumers can find an expert, read an expert opinion, and ask an expert a question all at GardenMinnesota.com. We send out press releases for the MNLA Landscape Awards, targeted to help consumers find an MNLA member to work with this year. March – Media are invited to the Landscape Gala where they can make connections with the professionals who’ve won MNLA awards. The MNLA cooperates with Minnesota State Horticultural Society to distribute Garden Minnesota Yearbooks at the St. Paul Home & Patio Show and the

Minneapolis Home & Garden Show we are spreading the word on why

it’s best to work with an MNLA member! Over the months of March and April, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum hosts an exhibit of the

MNLA Landscape Awards, and Garden Minnesota Yearbooks are on display there as well.

April – 100,000 Garden Minnesota Yearbooks will be inserted into the April 13th Wednesday edition of the Star Tribune, and distributed to targeted

households. MNLA members observe Earth Day by participating in the PLANET Day of Service, doing service projects in their communities. Each member is given tools to easily reach out to media in their area. In Minnesota, Arbor Day is the last Friday in April. MNLA reaches out to Minnesota 5th grade teachers inviting them and their students to participate in an Arbor Day Poster Contest. Packets of

educational information about why trees are important are sent to science teachers, then students create a poster with the current year’s theme. Voting takes place in February, and the winner’s school has a tree planting ceremony on Arbor Day. TV and newspapers are notified about the winners and the date/time of the planting ceremony. The 2010 winner is from New York Mills, and she became a local celebrity! In addition to her proud family and


classmates, the editor of the East Otter Tail Focus and personnel from the local radio station were on hand to interview her after the tree planting ceremony. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners are all honored at MNLA’s State Fair Display Garden.

May – We cooperate with Minnesota Grown during May. We have a promotion via their popular website and printed directory, and they distribute Garden Minnesota Yearbooks at the Living Green Expo for us. June - From April through October, the MNLA is proud to support the Green Industry Plastic Pot Recycling Program. Did you know there was a Plastic Pot Recycling Program? This is the sixth year of the program. Landscape companies can recycle the thousands of pots each year that would otherwise go right to the landfill. MNLA garden centers are eligible to be a part of the program and receive pots from their customers, plus on one weekend in June and another in September, even more sites are added and MNLA engages a media blitz to advertise the dates, times, and places. June, July, August, September – State Fair planning. Press Releases go out to radio, TV, and newspapers about MNLA’s involvement in the State Fair. S&S Tree Specialist invited MNLA on their WCCO radio program three weeks to talk about the Fair and answer questions from the audience. Did you see the yellow ribbons on 50 Ash trees at the State Fair last year? It was an MNLA project to bring educational information about the Emerald Ash Borer to the public. If you missed the trees and ribbons at the Fair, Channels 5

& 11 highlighted the project on their evening news.

MNLA is an active partner with member companies in caring for the State Fair Garden. Both spring cleanup and putting it to bed in the fall…the MNLA is there. And during the Fair, the MNLA is there to help staff the gazebo and garden grounds to answer the public’s questions.

September – Green for Life campaign. Member companies go out into their communities to plant trees at local schools. Educational information is given to participating schools to use with their science curricula about the importance of trees. October – This month is spent transitioning over to planning the Northern Green Expo. An event this big just doesn’t happen overnight! November – Arborists Day of Service. Each November 11, arborists and other volunteers gather at Fort Snelling National Cemetery to perform critical tree care. This year, two TV stations came out to get the story. The deadline for Landscape Awards is in November, and this program consumes a lot of well-spent staff and volunteer time. New for 2011, Midwest Home magazine partnered with MNLA to acknowledge work done by veteran and up-and-coming designers within the association – using a process similar to the MNLA awards. December – Capitol Decorating. This is one fun event! The MNLA has partnered with The Boys and Girls Clubs in the Twin Cities (there are 8 clubs) to

decorate the Capitol Rotunda Christmas Tree each year – 2011 is year four of the partnership. MNLA members provide the tree that stands 25 feet tall in the capitol rotunda and the wreaths and poinsettias that surround the center floor "northern star" inlay. MNLA members also donate the garland and wreaths that adorn the Governor's residence during the holiday season. The planning starts in February and there is always a theme for the tree. In 2010, it was “Naturally Sweet” and the Minnesota Apple Growers Association and the Minnesota Beekeepers Association contributed tree decorations. The boys and girls make ornaments as part of their summer camp activities. The Minnesota Beekeepers donated 20 hives for the Boys and Girls Clubs Camp to teach them about bees and beehives. The MNLA also helped in starting a garden at a club in 2010 and another is planned for 2011. MNLA members donate vegetables for the garden. The peppers and tomatoes were plentiful this past year! The kids had tomatoes for their barbecues and each Wednesday through the summer, they made homemade pizzas with fresh peppers for a topping. So, the kids learned how to maintain a garden and the importance of vegetables as part of our daily diet and good nutrition. Plus, they learned a few recipes using their bountiful harvest! The year-long activity culminates in decorating the 25 foot rotunda tree. The MNLA notifies each legislator about the tree’s theme and all who were involved in making it happen. The media outlets are notified and there is usually a photo opportunity with the Governor and an MNLA board member. As you can see, there is never a dull moment for the Public Relations Committee or the MNLA office! If your company is out in the community, let someone at the MNLA office know about it! We love promoting the work of our members! q ________________________________ Karen Filloon is a member of the MNLA Public Relations Committee and can be reached at kfilloon@southviewdesign.com. MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | NURSERY

Coolers are Not Bare Root Cellars By Vickie Pondell, Bailey Nurseries, Inc. are root storage facilities, also known as coolers, are much more than a cellar for storing plant materials. In these dynamic warehouses, there is a Vickie Pondell whirlwind of activity including grading to ANLA standards, packing plants to utilize space, meticulously recording locations, pulling and staging orders, receiving, shipping, and maintenance.

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grading is done in an assembly line fashion at permanent grading stations. The order of grading is prioritized by the need of a product so customer’s orders can be adjusted early, if needed, to avoid backorders. To utilize space in the coolers, plants are binned vertically. Because of this, one of the greatest concerns is falls. To prevent this and other Grading bare root plants for sales potential safety issues, employees are enrolled in a increase speed and reduce repetition. safety program and required to read Modern computer systems automate safety literature. To prevent falls, fall updating the inventory, conveying arrest systems, safety harnesses, are used. information to sales people, tracking Safety glasses are required for eye orders, printing pick tickets and strip tags, sequencing orders, and streamlining productivity.

Cold storage allows companies to ship bare root orders at any time by maintaining the ideal humidity and temperatures to keep plants dormant and hydrated. For most plants, this is 100% humidity and 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Some varieties such as Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac, Winged Burning Bush, and Dwarf Korean Lilac require drier conditions to keep from saturating. Just as important as the ideal conditions for plants are knowledgeable employees that are trainable and have a genuine concern for the nursery industry. To Binning trees with a fall arrest system motivate individuals, crews from other areas are left intact. In the coolers, these groups protection and new processes are manage plants they have grown or will be continuously developed to eliminate using as liners the following spring. bending and reduce repetition by rotating jobs. Work in the coolers commences in autumn with the bare root digging season. The plants are transported to the storage facility and their locations cataloged. During the winter, the varieties are graded according to the ANLA standards. To manage time, 48

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One of the greatest changes in bare root storage is increased automation. New technology is constantly utilized to increase efficiency, accuracy, and be ergonomically safe for employees. Electric pushcarts and conveyor belts

The bulk of the shipping season is in April, depending on the weather. The computer prints orders and the components of the order are pulled by location sequence. One new development for the safety of employees and efficiency of order pulling is an order selector. This is used in warehouses to move employees vertically and reduce the use of ladders. Then the orders are staged and loaded onto a truck to start the customer’s spring season. Finally, when bare root shipping ends in the summer, the coolers are cleaned, refrigeration units are repaired, and equipment is repaired and modified. Bare root storage employees and facilities are the driving force of processing and shipping orders. These warehouses are much more than bare root cellars. q ________________________________ Vickie Pondell is a member of the MNLA Nursery Committee and can be reached at vickie.pondell@baileynursery.com.


NURSERY | The Scoop

Oregon Pilots Program for 'Climate-Friendly' Nurseries By John Daniels, Bachman's, Inc. would like to begin this article with a short editorial on the experience of MNLA committee membership and general involvement. For the past 25+ years, I have participated on a variety of committees and in groups working towards a variety of horticultural ends. The work has been sometimes tedious, often times interesting, all the time fulfilling. While this work is important to the industry and is done for the good of all association members, I have an admission to make. My involvement has been largely of selfish desires – selfish in terms of self-fulfillment and learning. My involvement in these activities has had a very significant impact in my personal and professional growth. I have learned a great deal about this crazy business that I have been able to employ routinely in the management of our nursery business. I pass this along because I wish for all who read this to consider these “selfish” benefits of participation in the affairs of the MNLA – it’s a win-win for the association and the participant. An example of the benefits of committee participation is the relatively small, but very significant agenda item that the nursery committee tries to include with each meeting. We set aside a few minutes at each meeting for what we call “Professional Enhancement.” During this time, one member (a rotated responsibility) presents some piece of information that the committee membership might learn from and apply in their respective businesses. At a recent meeting, a very interesting publication from the Oregon Association of Nurseries was presented. I present the following brief synopsis of the publication for consideration. For the complete publication and for more information, visit www.climatefriendlynurseries.org. Best Management Practices for Climate Friendly Nurseries (version 1.1, August 2010) is a publication developed and published cooperatively by the following organizations:

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Oregon Association of Nurseries Oregon Environmental Council Oregon State University Ecos Consulting This project’s goal is “to help participating nurseries reduce energy, resource inputs, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while achieving greater economic efficiency and profitability.” The guide presents six best management practices that “when implemented, possess considerable resource and financial savings for nurseries.” For each best practice, real life examples at Oregon nurseries are presented which exemplify and demonstrate success by best practice implementation. The six best management practices for climate friendly nurseries are summarized as follows: 1. Lighting and Sensors Retrofit 2. Variable Frequency Drives (VFD’s) 3. Irrigation Efficiency Measures 4. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Continued on page 53 MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | IRRIGATION

Create Licensure That is Effective, Fair - And Enforceable By Craig Otto, CIC, CLIA, CWM, Water in Motion, Inc. uch is being written locally and nationally on the subject of licensure of irrigation contractors. I often hear that “we’ve gone down this road Craig Otto before with the PLT.” I don’t know many that would consider the PLT a success. It was a good idea in theory and ultimately the inclusion of irrigation and low voltage lighting in the PLT law enables contractors to operate legally in Minnesota. But without

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successful enforcement, it just becomes a tax on the irrigation professional and allows the “trunk slammer” to continue on without penalty. If our choice is licensure without enforcement or no licensure, I would take the side of no licensure without hesitation. But I think that is missing the point. In consideration of our nation’s increased concern over water resources, the landscape irrigation industry is on dangerous ground. I know that the irrigation industry in many states is already in crisis. Many have been experiencing dramatic changes to the way they do business. Southeastern United States had no water at all a

Each poster includes many beautiful color photos of plant species found in the northern landscape. Thirteen titles of woody & herbaceous plants. Visit the MNLA.biz Store or call Sue at 651-633-4987.

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couple years ago. We hear about water shortages and related issues in California and the Southwest all the time. It might seem ironic to talk about water shortages and water conservation and efficiency when you are surrounded by 10,000 lakes. But I can see that we are headed for a situation that will likely significantly affect our industry. It is a real issue that will affect Minnesota sooner rather than later. I agree with the argument that rather than wait for someone else to impose licensure on us or some other restriction; we should be the ones to introduce the concept so we can make sure it works. That makes sense, but we need to create

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something that is effective, fair and most important, enforceable. That is the only way I would support anything like licensure. It needs to be enforceable. We don’t need another tax on professionalism.

SMART controllers, and moisture sensors; educate the end user on the importance of proper scheduling and management of the systems; insist on regular maintenance of irrigation systems.

What can we do in the mean time? The fact that our industry has been largely unregulated makes things difficult. I believe we, as an industry, have not been doing a good job managing water resources. The EPA estimates that over 50 percent of irrigation water is wasted due to poor installation, maintenance and management of irrigation systems. As a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor, I can tell you that I think their estimate is conservative. We need to do better.

Independently of licensure, enhance your professionalism. Look into continuing education and certification. Certifications can offer proof of knowledge and dedication to the industry. It’s also leadership by example. If licensure is a foregone conclusion, IA certifications will likely be a component of the program.

Independently of licensure, promote efficient irrigation practices and management. Design and install efficient systems utilizing best management practices; embrace the use of emerging technologies including

The MNLA Irrigation Industry Committee is committed to offering continuing education that informs and challenges all levels of irrigation professionals. At the upcoming spring training days at the Dorsey-Ewald Center

in St. Paul, the Irrigation Industry Committee will continue to offer introductory classes and has also added higher level irrigation design classes. The intention is to continue to provide increasing levels of irrigation year after year.

"We don't need another tax on professionalism."

It may sound trite, but we take on a great responsibility in the handling of one of our most precious resources. Maybe licensure is inevitable. If so, I want to be in on the conversation to make sure it is something that works. There’s no question about it: What we do individually and as an industry in the use of our precious water resource really matters. Let’s not let people that know nothing about our industry dictate our future. q ________________________________ Craig Otto is a member of the MNLA Irrigation Industry Committee and can be reached at Craigo@watermotion.com.

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MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | ARBORIST

The Basics of Basic Business Insurance By Jim Ostvig, Ostvig Tree Service

very year my insurance agent and I sit down to go over my company’s insurance coverage. After doing this for 25 years we still find risks that I did not Jim Ostvig realize we had or where I was not covered. Here are some insurance basics I have learned over the years.

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According to many experts, basic business insurance coverage should consist of five fundamental types of insurance: workers’ compensation, general liability, auto, property/casualty and umbrella coverage.

Every business must have workers’ compensation insurance to protect injured workers. Some things to ask your agent: What is our experience modification? How is it calculated? How does it affect my premiums? What is a reserve and how does it affect my experience modification? Do I have enough workers’ compensation employers liability coverage? (This is the coverage that protects your company if you are sued by a third party as a result of an employee’s injury.) Commercial general liability coverage insures a business against accidents and injury that might happen on its premises, as well as risk exposure related to it’s services. A question to ask your insurance agent would be what is not covered in my policy? For example, if

you are sued for wrongful termination by a former employee, most general liability policies will not cover this. You would need a separate Employment Practices and Discrimination Liability Coverage to be protected. Auto insurance is fairly straight forward. Make sure you have the amount of coverage you are comfortable with. Raising your deductibles and making sure those who drive your vehicles have and maintain good driving records can save you money. When protecting your property, be sure that your property/casualty insurance is written on an “all risks” basis and carefully go over the policy’s exclusions. Are floods, riots, explosions, etc. covered? Many companies have an additional layer of insurance coverage called an “umbrella policy.” This protects you from payments or losses in excess of your existing coverage. Again, it is important to verify this policy truly covers all exposures you are concerned about. In purchasing insurance for your business, a good agent is a great help in determining the risks faced by your company, developing strategies to minimize those risks and finding an insurance company to share those risks. A good agent will also work to save you money for your insurance needs. q ________________________________ Jim Ostvig is a member of the MNLA Commercial Arborist Committee and can be reached at JimOstvig@aol.com.

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Continued from page 49

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Tim Power, Regulatory Affairs In addition to association activities, the MNLA staff provides management for:

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he 2011 Membership Directory has been mailed to all MNLA members who did not pick theirs up at the Northern Green Expo. If you have any changes to your listing, please login to your MNLA account and update your profile. Don’t know how to access your account? 1. www.mnla.biz 2. Username: Email address 3. Click forgot your password 4. You will receive an email that contains your password. 5. Once logged in select My Profile for your personal information, or My Organization to update your company information. Please Note: username is default; it will be different if you have changed them. If you do not have an email address listed with MNLA, please call our office for your username.

Executive Director Bob Fitch • bob@mnla.biz Associate Director Cassie Larson, CAE • cassie@mnla.biz Membership Director & Trade Show Manager Mary Dunn, CEM • mary@mnla.biz Communications Director Jon Horsman • jon@mnla.biz Executive Assistant Susan Flynn • susan@mnla.biz Accountant Norman Liston • norman@mnla.biz Receptionist Jessica Pratt • jessica@mnla.biz Advertising & Sponsorship Sales Pierre Productions & Promotions 952-903-0505 Betsy Pierre, Advertising Manager, betsy@pierreproductions.com Erica Nelson, Advertising Sales, erica@pierreproductions.com Government Affairs Consultants Boland & Associates John Boland, Legislative Affairs McGrann, Shea, Carnival, Straughn & Lamb Doug Carnival, Regulatory Affairs

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Membership Directory

651-633-4987

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5. Greenhouse Insulation 6. Reuse and Recycling of All Wastes 7. Nutrient Use Efficiency is a seventh best practice that is currently in development. In addition to identification of these best practices, this document presents a number of strategies to achieve these best practices that range from no to very low to high cost options. The document also presents relative measures of return on investment for these strategies. While this document is developed by and for the nursery industry in Oregon, many of the principles are directly applicable for our Minnesota businesses. This document is very forward thinking and is important reading for all of us. We should all consider taking the time to audit our businesses through the lens of this guide for best management practices to see how we might become more “Climate Friendly” nurseries while, at the same time, achieve financial benefits. For more information or to download the complete guide, visit www.climatefriendlynurseries.org. q ________________________________ John Daniels is a member of the MNLA Nursery Committee and can be reached at JDaniels@bachmans.com.

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Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association 1813 Lexington Ave. N. Roseville MN 55113 651-633-4987, fax 651-633-4986 Outside the metro area, toll free: 888-886-MNLA, fax 888-266-4986

Order forms or links for many of the services listed below can be found at www.mnla.biz Companies endorsed by MNLA:

THE CREDIT CARD DR./Better Business Solutions 651-330-9804 877-272-0741 (Toll Free) dan@the CCDr.com www.TheCCDr.com Business Legal Services (Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC) 651-331-6500 Business Succession (AgStar) 507-386-4620 Fuel Discount Card (Speedway/SA/Marathon) 651-454-7776 ext. 208 Fuel Savings (Holiday Stationstores) 952-830-8889 Horticultural Books (MN State Horticultural Society) 651-643-3601 Workers Compensation Insurance (The Builders Group) 651-203-6793 Contact the MNLA office at mnla@mnla.biz or 651-633-4987 or toll-free 888-886-6652 for information on the following products or services.

Catalogs/Outdoor Living publication series Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge Fleet Program Educational Programs/MNLA Academy Employee Recruiting/ On-Line Job Board Employee Training Manuals (PLANET) Garden Center Plant Posters Garden Center Carryout Trays Irrigation Specifications (www.MNLA.biz) Northern Green Expo Trade Show Booths MNLA Certified Professional manuals, exam Sales Tax Rules / Nursery-GreenhouseLandscape (www.MNLA.biz.) Spanish Pocket Reference Guide

www.MNLA.biz www.GardenMinnesota.com www.NorthernGreenExpo.org www.TheLandLovers.org

MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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The Scoop | CAREERS

MNLA Foundation Takes Careers Message to New Audiences Jodi Larson, MNLA Foundation Green Industry Careers Project Coordinator

well as numerous high school career fairs. Attendees of these events, including industry members, the general public, school teachers, and high school students and their parents, learned about theLandLovers.org website and the various career options available in the industry.

he LandLovers.org career display has been making its way around the Twin Cities, presenting its careers message to new audiences. In the last months visits have been made to the fall Midwest Home Show, the Northern Green Expo, the winter Ag Tech Conference for agricultural educators, as

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The mission of the Land Lovers display builds off of the MNLA Foundation’s efforts to build awareness of green industry careers and extends Page 1 beyond, working to change public misconceptions of the industry. Behind the scenes, staff has worked to Careers Project Coordinator Jodi Larson create and finetune both its image and message. If you know of an event that would be appropriate for this display or would like to use it yourself, please let us know! We can begin to change the image of green industry careers, one face and one event at a time, teaching those we interact with that they really can find a field they’ll love in the green industry. q

and Nationwide Agribusiness

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The Scoop | PLANT OF THE MONTH

Evergreen Trees that Deserve Wider Planting By Jeff Buell, Buell's Landscape Center

Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

s I drive my kids all around town to hockey games I see a lot of the same evergreens being used. I would like remind us of many underused and hardy evergreens choices we have. This is in no particular order, I let my mind wander.

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Plant of the Month

Weeping White Spruce – Picea glauca ‘Pendula’ This stately evergreen has nice blue-green foliage that hugs the trunk sweeping downward to create a focal point. Extremely useful where a narrow foot print is needed. Prefers sun to part sun and can tolerate some harsh conditions. 30’ H – 4’W These are just some that come to my mind. The main point being is to give our customers some good, hardy options in their landscape plans. q ___________________________________ Jeff Buell is a member of the MNLA Nursery Committee and can be reached at jeff@buells.com.

Image copyright ©1999-20011 by Iseli Nursery, Inc.

Swiss Stone Pine – Pinus cembra Great potential in the landscape when a tree for small spaces is needed. Slow growing, dense when young, becoming more open with age. Dark green needles with bluewhite undersides and dark blue cones. 30'H - 15'W Tannenbaum Mugho Pine – Pinus mugo ‘Tannenbaum’ A very hardy and adaptable Mugho Pine that has a Christmas tree shape. This tree was developed in South Dakota so hardiness will not be a issue. 10'H - 6'W after 25 yrs. Columnar Mugho Pine – Pinus mugo ‘Columnaris’ A dense, columnar forming Mugho pine. Good for tight spaces. 8'H - 2'W Hillside Creeper Scotch Pine – Pinus sylvestris ‘Hillside Creeper’ This creeper spreads out to form a flat mat of layered branches covered with thick green needles. A good groundcover choice for banks, walls and around boulders. 18" H - 8'W MARCH 2011 | www.MNLA.biz

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Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association 1813 Lexington Avenue North Roseville, MN 55113-0003

GardenMinnesota.com www.MNLA.biz

The Scoop Online – March 2011  

The official publication of the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association featuring insights and information for green industry professional...