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My Favorite Tool Word on the Street Member Profile

Volume 35 No. 5 May 2013

What Goes Into a Great Job Posting?

Also Inside

Managing Business Risk

t h e o f f i c i a l p u b l i c at i o n o f t h e M I n n e s o ta N u r s e r y & L a n d s c a p e A s s o c i at i o n



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To find out what a Chevrolet Business Elite Dealer can do for your business, call or contact one of the experts below. JEFF BELZER CHEVROLET George Miller (952) 469-6820



Howie Lee Kristal Bechtold (763) 786-6100 763-222-1913


Ron Hogan 651-255-8295


Darin Trees 952-913-0036

Volume 35 No. 5 May 2013

contents 21



15 Fighting the Good Food Fight The state of our nation’s food systems is a problem the green industry could help to solve.    

21 Utilizing Turf Grass Strategically Creative design solutions for those areas where turf doesn’t thrive in the landscape.  

34 Engaging Customers with Facebook Maintaining Facebook pages takes time, but is rewarding if done well. 

36 A Guide to Alternative Fuel Options for powering commercial lawn equipment with alternative fuels. 

41 The Promise of Propane It might be time to make the move to this cleaner-burning fuel with a lower cost of operation.   

52 Business Controls for Managing Risk “Statistics indicate that with the backing of a poor economy, embezzlement and employee theft will certainly continue its upward trend.”   Landscape & Hardscape Install & Design  Garden Services & Landscape Management  Garden Centers  Growers: Nursery & Greenhouse  Irrigation & Water Management  Arborists & Tree Services  All

50 IN THIS ISSUE 8 Events 10 From the President 12 My Favorite Tool A time-trimming machine with many uses in small spaces. 24 Grassroots Efforts Growing Results 26 Member Profile Property Upkeep Services 50 Perennial Virus Survey MDA to run survey during 2013 growing season. 54 Networking News The latest takeaways from MNLA’s Networking Groups. 57 Identifying Gypsy Moth Please review and be ready to report a finding. 60 MNLA News Business briefs, new MNLA-CPs and classifieds. 62 Word on the Street What is your favorite business and personal app?

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mnla .biz


Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association

A Top Notch Equipment ................................................................................... 59

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 •

Alliance Designer Products ................................................................................ 4

MNLA Mission: The mission of the Minnesota Nursery &

Carlin Horticultural Supplies/ProGreen Plus ..................................................... 51

Landscape Association is to help members grow successful businesses.

Central Landscape Supply ................................................................................ 59


debbie lonnee, mnla-cp, president

Bailey Nurseries, Inc. 651-768-3375 •

heidi heiland, mnla-cp, vice-president Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens 612-366-7766 •

herman roerick, secretary-treasurer

Central Landscape Supply 320-252-1601 •

bert swanson, mnla-cp, past president Swanson’s Nursery Consulting, Inc. 218-732-3579 •

randy berg, mnla-cp

Berg’s Nursery, Landscape/Garden Center 507-433-2823 •

scott frampton

Landscape Renovations 651-769-0010 •

tim malooly, cid, clia, cic

Water in Motion 763-559-7771 •

mike mcnamara

Hoffman & McNamara Nursery & Landscaping 651-437-9463 •

bill mielke

Bachman’s Wholesale Nursery & Hardscapes .................................................. 46 Beberg Landscape Supply ................................................................................ 48 Bridgewater Tree Farms ................................................................................... 44 Bullis Insurance Agency .................................................................................... 28

Cushman Motor Co. Inc ................................................................................... 25 D. Hill Nursery Co. ............................................................................................ 49 Edney Distributing Co., Inc. ............................................................................. 48 Evergreen Nursery Co., Inc. ............................................................................. 61 Farber Bag & Supply Co. .................................................................................. 61 Fury Motors ...................................................................................................... 19 Gardenworld Inc. .............................................................................................. 56 GM Fleet and Commercial ................................................................................. 3 Gopher State One-Call ..................................................................................... 49 Great Northern Equipment Distributing, Inc. ................................................... 31 Haag Companies, Inc. ...................................................................................... 20 Hedberg Landscape & Masonry Supplies ........................................................ 30 Jeff Belzer Chevrolet .................................................................................. 32, 33 Johnson’s Nursery, Inc. ..................................................................................... 28 Landscape Alternatives..................................................................................... 56 Maguire Agency ............................................................................................... 59 Natural Industries ............................................................................................. 40 Out Back Nursery ............................................................................................. 19 Plaisted Companies ............................................................................................ 7 Prairie Restorations, Inc. ................................................................................... 49

Waconia Tree Farms LLC 612-237-1728 •

cassie larson, cae

RDO Equipment Co. ........................................................................................ 51 RDO Integrated Controls ................................................................................. 25

MNLA Interim Executive Director 651-633-4987 •

Rock Hard Landscape Supply division of Brian’s Lawn & Landscaping, Inc. .... 28

Staff Directory

TerraDek Lighting, Inc. ..................................................................................... 19

interim executive director:

Cassie Larson, CAE •

membership director & trade show manager:

Specialty Turf & Ag ........................................................................................... 11 Titan Machinery ................................................................................................. 2 Tri-State Bobcat, Inc. .................................................................................. 14, 39

Mary Dunn, CEM • communications director: Jon Horsman • executive assistant: Susan Flynn • receptionist: Jessica Pratt • accountant: Norman Liston •

Truck Utilities & Mfg. Co. .................................................................................. 28

Jodi Larson •

Xylem, Ltd. ....................................................................................................... 49

mnla foundation program director: advertising sales:

Pierre Productions & Promotions • 763-295-5420 Betsy Pierre, Advertising Manager •

government affairs consultants:

Doug Carnival, Legislative Affairs Tim Power, Interim Government Affairs Director


ad list

Volume 35 No. 5 May 2013

➾ sectio n title

mnla .biz

may 13

Unilock Chicago, Inc ......................................................................................... 55 Vermeer Sales & Service ................................................................................... 31 Wheeler Landscape Supply ........................................................................ 40, 61 X-Seed Inc ........................................................................................................ 44 Ziegler CAT ....................................................................................................... 64 All original works, articles or formats published in The Scoop are © Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association, 2013, and may not be used without written permission of MNLA. The Scoop is published 12 times per year by MNLA, 1813 Lexington Ave N., Roseville MN 55113. Address corrections should be sent to the above address.

➾ calendar

june 19–22

MNLA Event


SIMA Snow & Ice Symposium

Garden Party

The Porch at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul 651-633-4987 Join us for the ‘social event of the season’! The summer Garden Party features an evening of food, fellowship and fundraising to celebrate scholars, donors and the future of our industry. Proceeds benefit the career development work of the MNLA Foundation.

Minneapolis Convention Center The Snow & Ice Management Association presents its 16th Annual Snow & Ice Symposium. Join together to discuss all aspects of the work you do as snow and ice professionals. Featuring a trade show and education on the best principles of business management, snow and ice operations, leadership, and more!

MNLA Event


AUG1 july Garden Center 13–16 Tour ➾


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OFA Short Course (Trade Show: July 14–16) 651-633-4987 Greater Join yourColumbus colleagues and Convention Centergarden tour the following centers: Bachman’s Inc. The OFA Short in Fridley, Rock Course Gardens trade show, educational and Waldoch Farms in sessions, and networking Lino Lakes, Malmborg’s events areand all designed in Blaine, Mickman to provideInc. theinanswers Brothers, Ham you need to keep Lake. Network andyour bring business successful (and back ideas to implement help you sleep better at at your own garden cennight). ter and share your ideas with your peers!

Lake Service Provider Aquatic Invasive Species Training

DNR Central Region Headquarters Office, 1200 Warner Rd, St. Paul, MN 56106 Contact: April Rust 651-258-5706 The Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses in Minnesota so they can legally work in the state’s waters.

aug15 Carlin Buyerfest St. Paul (855) 487-8108 Customers have plenty of opportunities to visit with vendors, ask questions and learn about new product offerings.

2013 MNLA seminars generously supported by John Deere Landscapes

MNLA Event

july 13–16 OFA Short Course (Trade Show: July 14–16) Greater Columbus Convention Center The OFA Short Course trade show, educational sessions, and networking events are all designed to provide the answers you need to keep your business successful (and help you sleep better at night).

Perennial Plant Symposium Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Vancouver, Brit. Columbia The Perennial Plant Symposium is open to both members and nonmembers of the Perennial Plant Association, and is the only annual professional education conference dedicated solely to growing, retailing, and designing with herbaceous perennials.

Event Education

OFA Course UofM Short Les Bolstad (Trade Show: St. JulyPaul 14–16) Golf Course, Greater Columbus Convention Center 651-631-4987 Join your fellow Hackers TheHorticulture OFA Short Course for for the tradeannual show, educational 23rd Widmer sessions, and networking Golf Tournament. This eventshas arebecome all designed event a to providefeaturing the answers tradition, lunch, you need toakeep your dinner, and day of golf business successful (and with a fabulous group of help youand sleep better to at people a chance night). win great prizes. Proceeds benefit the Research Fund of the MNLA Foundation.

aug 18–21 2013 International Low Impact Development Symposium


july23 july Widmer Golf 13–16 Tournament

july 21–27

Saint Paul River Centre 612-624-3708 The LID Symposium will bring together over 1,000 professionals to share their research, implementation, policy, financing, and education strategies to build and restore cities while protecting our environment.

SEPT18 ➾

MNLA Shootout South St. Paul Rod & Gun Club 651-633-4987 Don‘t miss this annual sporting clays charity event that raises money for scholarships! This course runs at a beginner’s level — the focus is on fun. Proceeds benefit the MNLA Foundation Scholarship Fund.

All information on these and other industry events are online at may 13

mnla .biz


➾ fr om the president

Best Wishes for a Great Spring! Because I know you are busy, I’m going to keep this short and sweet (and include a fun photo, too).

Debbie Lonnee

Bailey Nurseries, Inc.


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i’m going to bet that by the time this May Scoop reaches your inbox, you are well into the spring rush and way too busy to read my article. That’s OK, I know many of you will come back and read when you have a free moment, a rainy day, or an evening at home where you just want to play catch-up. I know that May is the month where we best “make hay while the sun shines.” Whether you are a designer, work in a garden center, or grow nursery stock, what a crazy month this is! My best wishes for a busy, healthy, fun, profitable and, keep your fingers crossed, good weather May!

Please take time to take care of yourself. Stop and smell the roses. Kiss your spouse and your kids, or at least give them a nice grunt hello. Make sure you wear your sunscreen. Drink plenty of water. Eat healthy foods, at least eat three meals a day and stay strong, you will need the stamina to make it through this month. Enjoy this incredible green industry that we work in! Next president’s message I’ll get back to a meatier topic, which I hope is all about a new Executive Director for the MNLA! debbie lonnee can be reached at:

➾ my favorite tool


favorite tool Toro Dingo C o mpact Utilit y L o a der

Erin Buchholz

MNLA CP Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Lyndale Park Peace Garden All photos courtesy of Erin Buchholz

Erin Buchholz moves heavy composted leaf mulch in the Perennial Trial Garden at Lyndale Park. In years past, volunteers from the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Minneapolis (mostly retirees) would need to move this heavy mulch by hand throughout the 250-foot long border. Being able to move the Dingo into tight spaces, and not worry about its weight killing the plants below, the Garden Club members were very grateful that a formerly strenuous chore is now easy on the body.

one of the main challenges for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in these times of a difficult economy is a reduction in staff numbers. How can we continue to maintain an aging infrastructure and build new construction projects with fewer people? More to the point — can we really do more with less?

We’ve struggled with the volume and frequency of workplace injuries. Our industry has seen that digging in compacted areas, loading mulch and soil, and tilling and cultivating are all hard on the body when done by hand. The Park Board uses skid loaders and tractors whenever possible, but much of our work is done in confined spaces. As such, those spaces sometimes don’t receive the careful attention they need. These problems are disappearing with the use of our newly acquired Dingo TX-427 Wide Track. We selected this model for its light ground pressure, notable 27 HP engine and easy-to-use drive system. Upon learning of all the possibilities with its many available attachments, we’ve grown even happier with our Dingo.


mnla .biz mnla .bizmay may1313

How can we continue to maintain an aging infrastructure and build new construction projects with fewer people? More to the point — can we really do more with less?

The first thing I noticed was how much time it saved me when loading mulch into my utility vehicle. One cool morning (after I’d had my coffee) it took me three minutes to load a full box of dry woodchips with a scoop shovel. When I used the Dingo for the next load, the time dropped to just over one minute for three bucket-loads of one cubic meter each. If it can save that much time first thing in the morning, imagine how much better it would be during the after-lunch grogginess, high temperatures, and humidity that often reduce productivity in the afternoon. The most important benefit is that my arms, shoulders, back and legs do not suffer; the Dingo is very user-friendly. While the bucket currently gets the most use, we are quite pleased with our other attachments. The grapple rake has become an essential addition to our workload. I’ve been able to move limestone boulders, up to the Dingo’s maximum capacity of 1,530 lbs. for lifting off the ground, and 535 lbs. to lift to the maximum height. If you’ve been to the Peace Garden in Minneapolis, you’ve seen just how many boulders there are. Our park keeper at Lake Harriet used the grapple rake to remove overgrown Junipers by the Bandshell. We estimate that it would have taken hours for one person to hand dig and cut each one out, with the high probability that most of the root structure would remain. With the Dingo, he removed all six Junipers in two hours and used the bottom tines of the rake to remove the bulk of the roots from the top 12 inches of the soil bed.

Note how well the Dingo loads our utility vehicles. The bucket is the perfect size, so no mess is left behind.

We’ve used the tiller attachment on our large beds in the annual/ perennial border of Lyndale Park, as well as the large circle bed at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. It certainly outperforms smaller tillers with respect to depth, clogging, and compacted soil types. While the specifications say you can till to a depth of 6", after the first pass, we have been able to lower the boom to till down even further. With numerous attachments manufactured by Toro and offered by Toro partners, we are compiling a wish list of attachments that will further simplify our work. Interest has been shown in the stump grinder for our annual tree replacements, the trencher for irrigation system repair, and even the vibratory plow and bore drive head for laying pipe and cable while minimizing the disturbance to our garden beds. As we currently need to contract this type of work out, we expect the financial benefit of owning the Dingo to become more apparent with each new project. While the Dingo won’t replace larger equipment for larger jobs, it is an essential and versatile tool. Crew leaders, park keepers and horticulturists have all given highly favorable feedback: jobs are completed faster, bodies are not sore from the work, and tight spaces are once again being properly maintained.

Ryan Sullivan, the park keeper at Lake Harriet, used the grapple rake to remove large junipers from this very narrow space without damaging the building or utilities.

april may 1313 mnla mnla .biz .biz


fighting the

good food

fight DCTC Landscape Horticulture program offers new Sustainable Food Systems certificate. Matt Brooks | Landscape Horticulture Instructor at Dakota County Technical College

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mnla .biz


➾ sustainable food s y stems


hile teaching a new course in Sustainable Landscape Practices several years ago, I discovered that my students were hungry to delve deeper into the sketchy dynamic between food and health in the United States and around the world. My students knew their future careers in the green industry were somehow linked to the fate of food — they just didn’t know how. They devoured several illuminating books by Michael Pollan, a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, including Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Second Nature and Botany of Desire, all centered on bettering humankind’s often precarious relationship with nature, plants, and food. My students also viewed a number of documentaries profiling today’s globalized food systems and their direct and indirect


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effects on our environment. Poisoned Waters, a Frontline documentary, poured dark light on the grim state of our nation’s waterways and the degradation caused by industrialized agriculture, urban runoff, and the toxic soup of pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene products flushed into municipal water systems every day. Food, Inc., took an unnerving peek at the nation’s corporate-dominated food industry, where modern agribusiness seems fixated on plopping cheap, expedient, food-like portions on the pie-chart parcels of MyPlate (formerly the food guide pyramid). Other documentaries focused on the urban and suburban obsession with green, weed-free lawns and their hidden environmental costs. Still others reminded us of the natural landscapes that once thrived across our country and how a return to that more pristine state could help restore our fragile ecosystems.

Both the reading list and films alarmed and awakened my students, leading to lively class discussions and thoughtful essays. My students shared connections they made between the abysmal state of society’s collective health, a health care system addicted to prescribing pills and removing body parts, unsustainable health care costs, and the nutrient-deficient substances people are resigned to calling “food.” Early on, student reactions fluctuated between anger and despondency. Many saw little hope for change. As a landscape architect with a passion for healthy food and sustainable landscapes, I saw things differently. I told my students to look on the greener side. Problems are opportunities in disguise. And the state of the nation’s food system was one big problem knocking on our door. After viewing the documentary, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil,

my students perked up and became more hopeful. The film tells the story of Cuba’s “Special Period,” which is the traumatic space in the island nation’s history when the Soviet Union imploded. The year 1990 infused desperation in the Cuban people. Imports from the Soviet Union were slashed, oil by 50 percent, food by 80 percent. Cuba’s industrial-style agricultural machine, once sustained by petroleum and mass-production pesticides and fertilizers, returned to a system of old, one based on organic food grown in nearby urban locations using a local labor force. The “new” farming methods emphasized healthy soils and nutrition. The success of the urban farming revolution catapulted horticulturists and farmers to a loftier status as the benefactors of their produce began to recognize and appreciate their creativity and resolve. More jaded consumers in developed countries like the U.S. typically overlook the hard work of their farmers, sealing off their connection to food at supermarkets and big-box grocers, where price and convenience trump nutrition and taste. After completing the Sustainable Landscape Practices course, my students were making brighter connections between concerns for their own health, the bizarre state of planetary food systems and the disturbing corruption of the world’s ecosystems. They wanted to do something about it. I wanted to do more, too. Equipped with both undergraduate and master’s degrees in landscape architecture, along with 30 years in the landscape industry, the last 13 teaching at DCTC, my core philosophy on designing landscapes that are both aesthetically compelling and wholly protective of people and the environment hasn’t changed much. And while my expertise in the essential ornamental facets of horticulture has served me well during my career, as time went on I experienced both personal and professional yearnings that were going unfulfilled. Inspired by my students’ enthusiasm for learning more about sustainable landscapes and our common interests in the intricate labyrinth of healthy soil — healthy food — healthy body, my interest in more ecological, food-based landscapes increased to the point where I resolved to augment

highlights of the sustainable food systems certificate 27-credit certificate built upon foundational courses in plant and soil science, pest management, sustainable landscape methods and other core courses offered as part of the landscape horticulture diploma and AAS degrees offered at the college. Courses taught on campus utilizing traditional classroom lectures, outdoor labs in the new DCTC Sustainability Demonstration Garden and state-of-the art greenhouse, and off-campus field trips to local sustainable farming enterprises.

my knowledge base. I needed to know more about how horticultural best practices could work together to satisfy the human desire for beauty, healthy minds and bodies, and elemental nutrition. Starting three years ago, in my own back yard, I tore out an ornamental privacy planting just three years after it was installed to make way for a vegetable garden and garden shed with passive solar greenhouse that today provides nutritious food year-round. The following year I earned certification in urban farming from the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI)–Cold Climate in Minneapolis and this past summer became certified in Permaculture design from Whole Systems Design in Mad River Valley, VT.

Enthused by these learning experiences I decided to apply for and was granted a one-year sabbatical leave to research different methods of small-scale sustainable agriculture along with the smartest ways to teach those methods. As part of my sabbatical, I am participating in the Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings program and recently attended the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES) conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Attending the conference was an amazing and encouraging experience. While the information gleaned from workshops presenters and tradeshow vendors was enough to satisfy, meeting so many people dedicated to growing healthy and nutritious food without the sacrifices typical of conventional agriculture may 13

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➾ sustainable food s y stems

new courses offered as part of sfs certificate Sustainable Food Systems This course explores agricultural systems from early history through current practices and beyond with an emphasis on emergent trends in urban agriculture and local food production. Students will gain a historical perspective in the development of agricultural systems, the socioeconomic influences driving our modern day food systems and its impact on human health and the environment. The emphasis of this course will be on the exploration and investigation of current methodologies in urban agriculture through research of case studies allowing students the opportunity to sharpen research skills while focusing on areas of particular interest. Permaculture-based Food Systems Design This course explores Permaculture-based design principles and their application to the smallscale homestead or urban farm. Through research and hands-on design studio exercises students will learn how to small-scale food systems in urban environments that mimic the resiliency and abundance of natural ecosystems. Students will learn techniques for gathering and organizing critical site information in preparation of the site analysis, program development and a successful design solution. Information and skills learned in this course will be synthesized in a final design project for the student’s own homestead or urban farm. Sustainable Food Crop Production This course is designed to introduce students to sustainable practices in food crop production including the identification of both annual and perennial species suitable for growing in the upper mid-west, propagation techniques, cultural requirements, harvesting and storage techniques and procedures and regulations involved in bringing food crops to market. Through both lecture and hands-on experiences in the campus greenhouse and demonstration gardens, students will plan their own garden layout, create crop production calendars, and propagate the crops they plan to grow on campus. Students participating in the on-campus internship will also have the opportunity to see their crop production plans through to harvest and sale. Infrastructure for Sustainable Food Systems This course introduces students to the multitude of man-made and natural structures essential to the successful production of food crops including composting, soil building and bed preparation, raised beds, trellising and other means of plant support, water catchment and irrigation systems, structures for season extension and protection from garden predators. Through hands-on exercises and projects, students will learn about the materials, tools and techniques used in their construction and upkeep. Sustainable Food Systems Internship This course immerses students in the daily routine of operating an urban farmstead through participation in planting, observation, maintenance and harvest of crops on the campus demonstration gardens. Depending on time of season, students may also be involved in the marketing, preparation, and sale of various farm produce as well as off-season activities such as garden cleanups, soil building and other infrastructure maintenance. In addition to the required 64 hours of participation in campus farm operations, students will keep a daily journal of observations and tasks completed, and write a final reflective essay on their internship experiences. DCTC Sustainable Foods Demonstration Garden To provide the hands-on experience of growing nutritious food, the DCTC Landscape Horticulture program is breaking ground on a new Sustainable Foods Demonstration Garden on the college’s Rosemount campus. Located just south of the program’s state-of-the-art greenhouse, the Demo Garden will create an active learning environment for teaching sustainable food systems and landscape practices. Preliminary work took place during fall semester 2012, permitting the garden to enter early phases of production by spring and summer 2013. The Demo Garden will serve as a food systems lab area for demonstrating sustainable food production techniques while providing space for student-led research and testing of new and upcoming methodologies, such as season extension, and soil building with bio-char and cover-cropping / green manures. We hope the garden will draw as much excitement and participation from the entire DCTC campus and surrounding community as it does from students in our own program. We really see this as a community asset that will pay off in increasing dividends as more and more of the DCTC community and area residents become involved.


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was worth the trip alone. This spring and summer I will continue my sabbatical research through informal farm visits as well as organized farm tours, work exchanges and field days through the Land Stewardship Project and Farm Beginnings program. By far the most exciting outcome of my sabbatical research will be DCTC’s new certificate offering in Sustainable Food Systems starting in fall of 2013. I’m confident the coursework will fill a gap for students wishing to expand their horticultural knowledge to include proven sustainable methods of growing nutritious (and better tasting) food. The certificate option provides affordable access to this vital information, giving our students the ability to broaden their horticultural skill range while opening doors to exciting and fulfilling career opportunities not typical of traditional horticulture programs. To learn more about the new certificate offering and other goings-on in the landscape horticulture department at DCTC, visit our website at and follow the links to Programs/Majors — Design — Landscape Horticulture. matt brooks can be reached at

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Native Minnesota Woody & Herbaceous (651) 438-2771 • Fax (651) 438-3816

Call us first for all your native planting needs

Opportunities for Reducing

Turf Grass Spring is the season of new beginnings. Fresh green blades of grass in Minnesota lawns are evidence of that. But…will it last? Carolin Dittmann | Verbena Design and Landscaping, LLC.

âžž RE DU CIN G turf grass

Use turf strategically. Photos by Carolin Dittmann.

Re-naturalize areas where grass does not thrive. Photos by Carolin Dittmann.

Create an oasis within an arid stretch of turf. Photos by Carolin Dittmann. 22

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n much of the U.S. (including large portions of Minnesota) the question is brewing: “What kind of a growing season will it be?” Will dry conditions of recent years continue? Many of us are hopeful that precipitation over the winter months is a sign of drought relief, but it’s a long road to autumn. We may be seeing a trend for landscape challenges of the future — when we consider that three of the last four Septembers have been among the six driest on record for Minnesota. (MPR, Sept. 2012) As the fall of 2012 was drawing to a close, many of us were struggling to maintain turf areas that were not simply undergoing drought dormancy, but were literally dying of thirst. “The typical suburban lawn consumes 10,000 gallons of water above and beyond rainwater each year. How and where turf is placed in the landscape has a significant impact on the amount of irrigation water needed to support the landscape. Lawns require a large amount of supplemental water and generally more intensive maintenance than other vegetation.” (EPA, 2012) Without supplemental irrigation, the average Kentucky blue grass-dominated lawn will become decidedly brown and sparse by the end of a dry growing season. The decline of drought-stricken turf opens the door to erosion and invasion of weed species. The amount of water and other inputs required to keep turf looking green and healthy is making some homeowners wonder if a large expanse of lawn is really worth it. A sustainable approach to landscape design looks for opportunities to take portions of a lawn off life support. Use Turf Strategically

Confine high maintenance lawn to areas where it aesthetically highlights a residence and where it has a practical function, such as in play or recreation areas. For example, a small urban backyard may feature a patio area for outdoor entertaining (for maximum water management, consider permeable pavement options). Planting beds designed to capture and infiltrate runoff surround and compliment the hardscape. The completed landscape may incorporate a relatively small turf area that stands out against the backdrop of gardens and structural elements. Convert Turf to Drought Tolerant/Low Mow Grasses

The fine fescue blends sold commercially as “Eco-Grass” or “Eco-Lawn” can be a reasonable substitute for high maintenance grass in moderate traffic areas. Thin grass blades and deep roots give low mow varieties the advantage of drought tolerance. Thin blades are not as forgiving as bluegrass to traffic or mowing (although a more traditional cropped lawn appearance can be achieved through occasional mowing). Eco-grass is probably best utilized in places where it can be allowed to flourish as a meadow. This approach does require patience. A full growing season is needed to establish an eco-lawn when started on prepared soil. Overseeding to convert an existing bluegrass lawn to eco-grass takes four to five years and involves annual reseeding. Re-Naturalize Areas Where Grass Does Not Thrive

Attempting to nurse a lawn under a dense tree canopy is usually a losing battle. Replacing turf with woodland plants (and mulch) in shade conditions makes the best use of limited sunlight while maximizing water retention. It also reduces the competition from

Convert turf to drought-tolerant/low mow grasses. Photos by Carolin Dittmann.

turf grasses for soil moisture and nutrients. Steep slopes are another area where turf is often difficult to maintain. Rehabilitation of eroded areas may involve designated drainage, pathways for walking, hardscape retention and soil-stabilizing plant material. Create an Oasis Within an Arid Stretch of Turf

The larger an expanse of lawn is, the more water it will consume. Incorporating trees, shrubs and other leafy plants helps to optimize site conditions. The “micro-environment” created by a simple island planting can retain water after a rainfall, control runoff, and provide shade where too much sun (and not enough water) is an issue. In dry, sunny areas, native prairie species are an excellent choice because of their extensive root systems adapted for seeking out water during periods of short supply. Build On What You Already Have

Any area in the landscape where turf interfaces with a foundation or border planting provides an opportunity for expanding the planting bed and reducing the turf area. A single landscape may have quite a few different areas where lawn may be chiseled away in phases. Finding alternatives to turf encourages us to look for creative solutions and sustainable options for whatever our changing climate holds in store.

can be reached at

carolin dittmann

may 13

mnla .biz


➾ government affairs

Grassroots Efforts Growing Results MNLA’s grassroots efforts in government affairs have been paying off! thanks to all the mnla and mtgf members who attended the Green Industry Day on the Hill on March 6th for their outstanding efforts. Thanks also to those members who responded to our later legislative alerts, sending letters and e-mails to legislators. As I write this on March 20th, it is a little early for final results, but we supported a number of pieces of legislation that appear to be headed for success.

Tim Power

MNLA Regulatory Consultant

• MDA’s “agency” bill includes language that is needed to update Minnesota’s Noxious Weed Law in a way that may help us deal with horticultural plants that have shown up on invasive species lists. • Pesticide applicator training manuals will be updated more quickly and converted to a digital form for easier future use and update, thanks to a bill authored by Rep. Rick Hansen, South St. Paul. • Perhaps most importantly for MNLA member firms who work as subcontractors on construction contracts, we appear to be headed for success on bills that deal with the broad form indemnification through insurance requirements that has become common practice in construction contracts. In addition to the legislative arena, we have been active on the regulatory side as well. For example, MNLA has been monitoring the activities of the Minnesota Plumbing Board as it seeks to replace the current Minnesota Plumbing Code with a national code with Minnesota amendments. The code they have chosen (Universal


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Plumbing Code or UPC) is much more prescriptive than the International Plumbing Code (IPC), upon which the current Minnesota code is based. We are concerned not only about the Plumbing Board’s actions, but about their process as well. We have been working with the Association of Minnesota Building Officials to craft an appropriate response to the Plumbing Board. In February, MNLA sent out a request to members for letters to be sent to the Plumbing Board, asking them for a hearing on the UPC/IPC issue. MNLA and MTGF members responded in grand fashion, with over a hundred members downloading the form letter prepared for them by our Government Affairs team. In fact, only 52 members actually mailed those letters, but the actions of those who mailed letters resulted in a very clear message to the Plumbing Board that we are concerned about their process and about the direction this process is going. It remains to be seen what effect our efforts will have on the Plumbing Board’s actions, but I am thrilled with the clear message that was sent. As you read this in early May, I hope you are so busy that you only see this message on a rainy day. Remember, however, that your MNLA Government Affairs team is working for you year-round and needs your support to remain the effective well-targeted program it has become. Have a great spring!

tim power

can be reached at

Your One Tractor Solution

excellence in government affairs on target Only one area of association programming is not undergoing a major modification as a result of the new MNLA Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan working group, with the input and insight gathered from a member/non-member focus group, concluded that MNLA legislative and regulatory activities were hitting a target level of excellence. MNLA plans to continue to be a prominent resource for lawmakers on environmental, agricultural, construction, and small business issues. Senator Franken and his office have called on MNLA three times since Jan. 1 regarding comprehensive immigration reform. MNLA has testified at the legislature nearly ten times this year on topics ranging from pesticide applicator manuals to subcontractor rights.


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The association lobbied on five issues at this year’s Day on the Hill and visited over 50 legislators to share information about our industry. Through smarter data mining of the MNLA database, a recent request for action garnered over 50 letters to the Minnesota Plumbing Board.

The most important program augmentation needed is the creation of better venues for members to interact with association leaders on government affairs issues. The Communication + Technology Committee has made communicating the issues and stories of MNLA’s government affairs program a topic of discussion and has plans for making those issues clearer and more concise. The Networking Committee has provided a platform for communicating issues from the membership at large to the Government Affairs committee via networking groups. More improved communication may take the form of open forums, either in-person or online. MNLA plans to continue to foster partnerships to help represent members in local, state and national government affairs; to grow the capacity to influence regulations affecting members; and to enhance MNLA’s government affairs program by working with the Minnesota Green Industry Political Action Committee. 152325 MNLA ad - April.indd 1

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4/2/13 8:55 AM

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➾ member profile

member profile Propert y Up k eep Services Meta L. Levin


Owner: Tom Polak Date Company Started: 1980 Services Offered: Landscape Maintenance Landscape Enhancements Irrigation Plant Health Care Snow Removal Volunteerism: Several MNLA committees in the past; currently on the Northern Green Expo Joint Programming Board Website:

Tom Polak’s relationship with MNLA has always been give and take. run his company, Property Upkeep Services in Chaska, MN, in a professional manner; he has been active in the organization helping it do the same for his colleagues. “MNLA has done a lot for the industry,” he says.

he credits the association with helping him

Polak bought Property Upkeep Services from the original owner in 1988 and joined MNLA in the mid-1990s after a friend approached the association board about including services for landscape management professionals in its offerings. Almost immediately he found himself on the newly created Turf and Grounds Committee, which later became the Landscape Management Committee. Following a recent MNLA restructuring, Polak agreed to become the landscape management representative on the Northern Green Expo’s Joint Program Board, which helps to oversee scheduling and educational opportunities for the popular annual event. Started in 1980 by Loren Haugen, Property Upkeep Services originally provided only snow plowing. Haugen, a property manager, became dissatisfied with the company who had the snow removal contract for the industrial park he managed. He bought a truck and a plow and did it himself. Pretty soon he was doing the adjacent facility, then several more. When Haugen decided to add lawn-mowing services, he found he was able to take care of that on the weekends with the help of some friends. However, within a couple of years he had so many customers that he began hiring employees who worked all week.


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“Having good people who know what they are doing is critical.”

In the spring of 1986, Haugen hired Polak part-time. A mechanic by trade, Polak was recovering from surgery for injuries sustained in a car accident. By that fall, Haugen offered him a full-time job and in 1988, Polak bought the business from him. Property Upkeep Services has continued to grow, primarily through word-of-mouth and referrals. Polak now employs 22 people, five of whom are full-time, year-round employees, and 17 are full-time during the season. The company provides landscape maintenance, design, and installation; landscape enhancement; irrigation installation and maintenance; and holiday lighting and décor. While commercial customers and townhome associations comprise most of the landscape maintenance and enhancement work, as well as snow and ice removal customers, the company’s landscape design and installation services are generally done for residential clients. Polak keeps a close eye on trends in the industry. In the last few years he has seen his customers become much more price-conscious and sensitive to increases. At the same time, his landscape design/

build clients have been eager to have work started right away, but often divide projects into more affordable pieces. “They do what they can afford now and do the rest later,” he says. Another approach he has seen is when one client decided to wait a year to get started until they thought they could afford to complete the entire project at once. Sure enough, at the beginning of this season they called him to get rolling on it. Even though clients are price-conscious, they seem to want to find ways to be environmentally conscious as well, plus look for ways to bring a more natural environment into their landscapes. For instance, Polak reports rising demand for natural stone for patios and similar projects, rather than the pavers he’s been installing for many years. As clients want to update their property, they frequently will ask to eliminate shrubs that have been in the ground for many years. Nevertheless, they are insistent on replacing them with plants that still offer a low-maintenance feature. To accomplish that, Polak loves to suggest the use of perennials. Using varieties that offer color

throughout the season, he chooses low-maintenance types and supplements the plant palate by using annuals just in smaller highlight areas. MNLA has been a big part of Polak’s success, he says. In addition to the landscape maintenance-oriented committees, he has served on several others over the years and plans to remain active in the organization. He believes that it is important to contribute to an association that has, among other things, given his industry “a seat at the table” in the state legislature when matters affecting his business are discussed. Polak personally takes advantage of MNLA programs and educational opportunities, plus he sends his employees to classes, workshops and seminars. It is important, he believes, to invest in your employees. “Having good people who know what they are doing is critical,” he says.

may 13

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a o t n i s e hat go

b o j t a e r g ? g n i t s o p w

est working rd a h e th h c ore qualified want to rea m u o e y h T If l. . e ra e m n a le as tes in ge numbers g from. Simp ore candida e m s Hiring is a o h o c a h c re to st you mu ill have candidates, more you w e th , h c a re you applicants Sort of. that, right? PLLC uiness Patrick McG


M | Zlimen &

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ven if your job posting is reaching thousands of people, you still need to get them to take the next step and actually apply to work for your company. So how do you do that? You write a great job posting. The average job seeker looks at each job posting for fewer than 30 seconds. Grab their attention immediately and make them want to apply for your position. Where would you want to apply? Somewhere fun and inviting? Or somewhere with a boring, unclear job posting that sounds like all the rest? What exactly goes into a great job posting you ask? 1. Write an advertisement, not a legal document. Keep in mind that a job posting is different from a job description. (That comes later in the hiring process.) If you want to attract a lot of applicants to your company or organization, you must write a job posting that makes it sound like a place people would want to work. The posting should be interesting so that it draws in applicants, makes them read further, and excites them about the job. 2. Make it unique. Too many job postings say “our organization is seeking applicants who are hard-working, have excellent communication skills, and are team players.” That sounds like almost every canned job posting I have read recently. Nothing will cause an applicant’s eyes to gloss over faster than reading the same posting for 10 completely different jobs. Make your organization’s job posting unique so that job seekers actually read past the first sentence.  3. Tell a story. When a stranger asks you what you do, hopefully you make your job sound pretty cool or at least like it can be fun from time to time. (If not, work on your speech or find a new job.) Your job posting should be similar. Explain to job seekers why your organization is a vibrant place to work and why it would be awesome for them to be a part of the mission. Sell applicants on your organization the same way you would sell it to a customer, administration, or clientele. If you aren’t excited about your workplace, you can’t expect others to be.  Follow these steps and you will attract a bigger and better pool of candidates for your company or organization. Keep in mind that while you are not writing a legal document, you still must keep the law in mind. Do not use language that is or could be perceived as discriminatory.

This article provides general information on employment law 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.

is an award-winning speaker, author, and attorney, as well as a founding partner of Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC. His law practice focuses on assisting contractors & other small business owners. He can be reached at If you would like more information regarding employment law or other legal matters, please contact Zlimen & McGuiness, PLLC at 651-206-3203 or patrick mcguiness


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using to Engage Current and Potential Customers Facebook — you either love it or you hate it. Either way, if you have a business you should use it. Anna Linder | Linder’s, Inc.


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ust having a Facebook Page isn’t enough; it’s important to be active. Using Facebook can draw in lots of new customers, as well as current, loyal customers. Facebook is a special type of marketing tool. It’s very informal and a great place to build a more personal relationship with your customer. Take caution however; even though it’s informal you still have to be careful not to cross lines. As a business it’s best to avoid stating opinions on “trigger subjects,” like politics. With that said, here are a few things I’ve found that will help improve your presence on Facebook:

1. Study and understand your Page’s “Insights.”

• Facebook has a very basic “Insights” page and each topic has a description of where the data comes from and what it means. Get to know this section. • Pay attention to which of your posts get the most attention (likes, shares and comments). I betchya 20 bucks your top post is a photo, which is a perfect segue into my next point… 2. Post photos!

• Our world is very visual these days, so take advantage of that. Lucky for us, our industry is full of beautiful things. Every single post you write should include a photo relating to the post. • According to, photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes than the average post. 3. Post links in each post. Communicating with your customers on Facebook should be fun, but it should also generate sales. If there is any possible way to link your Facebook post back to your website, you should do it. For example, if you take a photo of a container garden and post it on Facebook, link it back to an article about how to care for container gardens. 4. Post often! It’s good practice to post unique and relevant

more often if you have enough content. Try not to be too “sales-ey.” Educational material is best; it shouldn’t all be product related. 5. Give people free stuff.

• People love deals. Even better than deals, people love free stuff. If you’re having a big event, give it an extra push by doing a giveaway or holding a Facebook contest. If you’re having a sale, post a photo of the items that are on sale. • There are a few rules with Facebook to follow when it comes to advertising. Go to to see them all. You don’t want to get yourself booted from the top social media website in the world. 6. Reply to your Facebook fans. If a customer posts a question

or comment, positive or negative, it should be addressed immediately. There is nothing worse than negative comments that go unanswered. Remember to remain calm and answer in a professional manner. Something as simple as, “I’m very sorry to hear you had a negative experience with our company. If you could send your concerns to, we’ll do our best to make it right!” 7. Follow your competition as well as other successful retailers.

Watch what other people are doing on their Facebook Page. Don’t be afraid to try some new things on your Page. Also, follow your business partners. Facebook can strengthen business-to-business relationships, as well. There are loads of resources out there with lots of tips and guides for creating and maintaining a Facebook Page. Maintaining these pages takes time and is a big commitment, but should prove to be rewarding if done right.

anna linder

can be reached at

content on your Facebook Page once a day. You could post even may 13

mnla .biz


âžž alternative fuel

a guide to alternative fuel

for lawn equ

Lawn mowers shown here from left to right use compressed natural gas, propane, and diesel. Photo courtesy of Dixie Chopper.


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From information provided by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Minnesota Propane Association.

uipment Powering commercial lawn ser­vice equipment with alternative fuels is an effective way to reduce petroleum use. A single alterna­tive fuel commercial lawnmower can annually use as much gaso­line or diesel fuel as a commercial work truck.


lternative fuels can also reduce pollutant emissions compared with conventional fuels. Numerous biodiesel, compressed natural gas, electric, and propane mowers are now available to help keep the grass green and the nation clean. Turfgrass is a fixture of the American landscape and the Ameri­can economy. It is the nation’s largest irrigated crop, covering more than 40 million acres.1 Legions of lawnmowers care for this expanse during the growing season. The annual economic impact of the U.S. turfgrass industry has been estimated at more than $62 billion.2 Lawn mowing also contributes to the nation’s petroleum con­ sumption and pollutant emissions. Mowers consume 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline annually, about 1% of U.S. motor gasoline con­sumption. Commercial mowing accounts for 35% of this total and is the highest-intensity use. Large property owners and mowing companies cut lawns, sports fields, golf courses, parks, roadsides, and other grassy areas for 7 hours per day and consume 900 gal to 2,000 gal of fuel annually depending on climate and length of growing season. In addition to gasoline, commercial mowing consumes more than 100 million gallons of diesel annually. Alternative fuel mowers are one way to reduce the energy and environmental impact of commercial lawn mowing. They may also save on fuel and maintenance costs, extend mower life, reduce fuel spillage and fuel theft, promote a “green” image, and may not be subject to operational restrictions on ozone alert days. Alternative fuel commercial lawnmowers are a powerful and cost-effective way to reduce U.S. petroleum dependence and help protect the environment. Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a renewable alternative fuel produced domestically from a wide range of vegetable oils and animal fats. It is nontoxic and can reduce pol­lutant emissions when compared with petroleum diesel. It also improves engine operation by raising diesel fuel’s lubricity and combustion quality. Biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel

can be used to fuel diesel vehicles without modifying the vehicles — 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel (B20) is the most popular blend. B20 or other biodiesel blends are approved for use with some diesel-powered commercial lawnmowers without modification. Contact mower manufacturers to determine if B20 is approved for use in their diesel products. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

Virtually all natural gas consumed in the United States is produced in North America, and, compared with gasoline and diesel engines, natural gas engines can produce lower amounts of some harmful emissions and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The cleaner-burning nature of natural gas may result in reduced maintenance requirements, such as less-frequent oil changes, and ex­tended mower life. In addition, natural gas does not spoil or clog fuel systems in lawn equipment during seasonal storage, whereas liquid fuels can. Natural gas must be compressed and stored at high pressure to enable adequate mowing time. This sealed and pressurized fuelstorage system has the advantage of eliminating evaporative emissions and spillage, as well as the potential fuel theft sometimes associated with liquid-fueled lawn equip­ment. As of August 2010, there were more than 800 CNG fueling stations in the United States with stations in almost every state. Over the past decade, CNG has been the least expensive U.S. motor fuel. Electricity

Electric power is quiet, requires little maintenance, and produces no tailpipe emissions. Electric mowers connected to an electricity supply with a cord or powered with rechargeable batteries are popular for residential use, but the rigors of commercial mowing have limited their use for this application to date. However, recent improvements in battery technology have resulted in new products with potential commercial application. Some mower models

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mnla .biz


➾ alternative fuel

provide up to 80 minutes of continuous mowing time, enough to mow more than an acre.

the lawn barbers llc goes propane


Also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG or autogas, propane is the most widely available alternative transportation fuel in the United States. As of August 2010, there were 2,503 propane vehicle-fueling stations with locations in all 50 states. Most propane consumed in the United States is produced domestically, and compared with gasoline and diesel engines, propane engines can produce lower amounts of some harmful emissions and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. The cleaner-burning nature of propane may result in reduced maintenance requirements, such as less-frequent oil changes, and extended mower life. Also, like CNG, propane does not spoil or clog fuel systems in lawn equipment during seasonal storage, which can be the case with liquid fuels. Propane is stored as a liquid under relatively low pressure and becomes a gas at normal pressure (meaning it enters the engine as a gas). The liquid storage gives it a high energy density, so a mower can run a long time on a tank of fuel, while the sealed and pressurized storage has the advantage of eliminat­ing evaporative emissions and spillage as well as potential fuel theft. Propane Incentives

There are two options in the propane arena: Buying an OEM propane mower, or converting a conventional one to run on propane. Both options have financial incentives available to encourage you to make the switch to propane: • National Propane Mower Incentive Program. PERC (Propane Education and Research Council) has a program that offers $1,000 per mower, up to 10, for a company to buy new propane-powered mowers. Participants in the program provide feedback and performance data for one mowing season. A limited number of incentives are available. It’s recommended that you apply for participation in the Propane Mower Incentive Program before you make a purchase of a qualifying mower or conversion kit. You will be notified shortly thereafter of your acceptance into the program. See testimonials from landscapers and fill out the application here: • Minnesota Commercial Lawn Mower Incentive Program. This program is designed for companies that use commercial size mowers on a daily basis, such as; lawn care professionals, landscape companies, golf courses, cities, universities, etc. The goal is to incentivize these companies or institutions to try propane as an off-road engine fuel. The program pays $750 for the conversion of an existing gasoline powered mower to propane and $1,500 for the purchase of a new factory-direct propane-powered mower. Full rules and details can be found by following this link, calling 763-633-4271, or emailing

When Dan Gross took over lawn care company The Lawn Barbers LLC, he wanted to do something he loved, make a living, and make a difference. With propane-powered mowers in his fleet Dan has definitely helped the “make a living” and “make a difference” portions of his business. According to the Minnesota Propane Association (MPA), The Lawn Barbers were the first company in Minnesota to buy and integrate propane-powered mowers into their lawn care fleet. As he purchased his mowers, two different companies told Dan that his mowers were their first sale of propane commercial mowers in the state. His first and foremost goal in going propane was the environmental side of the equation. Propane-powered mowers produce approximately 50% fewer carbon emissions than their gasoline counterparts. In addition, propane does not contaminate the soil and ground water from spills as gasoline does. All of that is nice and makes a difference to Dan and his customers. But another benefit is that using propane can save money. Propane today is selling for about half of what gasoline is, and for a company that uses 1,500 gallons of product per year for mowing, the savings can be upward of $2,200 per year. That goes a long way to justifying the purchase of new equipment. What are the environmental advantages of going propane for a lawn care fleet? Here are some: Propane is non-toxic, non-caustic and will not create an environmental hazard if released as a liquid or vapor into water or soil. Propane exhaust emissions exceed the requirements for clean fuel vehicles and surpass eco-friendly expectations in all aspects. U.S. Government energy policy makers and energy administrative bodies list propane as an approved clean fuel. Propane is not damaging to freshwater/saltwater ecosystems, underwater plants or marine life. Propane vapor will not cause air pollution and is not considered a greenhouse gas. Propane vapor is not harmful if inhaled by birds, animals or people.

about Dan Gross and The Lawn Barbers, go to their website at

to read more

continued on page 54 38

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propane Lawn maintenance companies can now power their mowers using a fuel that’s as green as the grass they’re cutting. That fuel is propane, a product that’s been powering gas-burning appliances at rural homes, farms, and businesses for decades. Found in both crude oil and natural gas, propane burns cleanly, especially when compared to gasoline and diesel fuel. Mark Linkletter | Ferrellgas

may 13

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ropane, which is approved under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 for use by federal and state fleets as an alternative fuel, has an octane rating of 104 to 107 and allows for a higher compression ratio, enabling a propane engine to run just as powerfully and more efficiently than with gasoline, which has an octane ratio between 87 and 93. As a result, propane-fueled vehicles can meet the very tough Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards. Lower Maintenance Costs

Propane’s higher octane level, higher compression ratios, and closed systems, while being environmentally friendly, have another benefit — they lower maintenance costs. Tests have shown that oil, oil filters, spark plugs, carburetors, and engines in propane-powered equipment last up to three times longer than gasoline-powered equivalents, and that during the lifespan of that equipment, fewer tune-ups are required. At present, new propane mowers can be slightly more expensive than traditional gasoline equipment, but lower fuel and maintenance costs over the lifetime of the equipment more than balance the equation. Lower Fuel Costs

For most grounds maintenance applications, propane is either delivered and stored in bulk tanks on site or delivered in ready-tomount mower cylinders that are re-filled by the supplier after use. Either way, there is a significant cost savings over gasoline. Overall, the price of propane compares favorably with the price of conventional or reformulated gasoline, historically running at under 75%

of retail costs. Many states offer fuel tax incentives or alternative fuel benefits to encourage the use of propane, helping to further increase fuel savings. Another center of expense — fuel shrinkage — is virtually eliminated in a transition to propane. Propane is, at present, not a common fuel for cars and trucks and is less vulnerable to theft in the field and on site. Also, because of propane’s closed storage and delivery systems, fuel budget losses due to loss, evaporation, spillage, and theft, as well as contamination from rain, dirt, and other contaminates, are essentially eliminated. Environmental & Safety Benefits

A number of states across the union are either eyeing or actively pursuing legislation to cut the emissions of mower fleets owned by the state or its institutions. This, coupled with heightened senses of environmental and fiscal awareness at every level of business and education, bring new attention to clean-burning and economical propane as a fuel. It is well known that gasoline engines on grounds maintenance equipment, in particular, emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides. Those engines produce, on average, 5% of the nation’s air pollution, a number that can be significantly higher in metropolitan areas. Emissions are so low with propane mowers that they can be used during “Ozone may 13

mnla .biz



Propane tanks are also safer to have at your facility, having been rated at up to 20 times more puncture-resistant than gasoline tanks. Action Days” — days deemed by cities or states as especially likely to foster the production of ozone — when the use of gasoline-powered engines is either prohibited or discouraged. Propane-fueled equipment has minimal emissions. Studies indicate that smog-forming hydrocarbons are lowered 60% to 70% in propane-fueled engines vs. gasoline, along with 12% less carbon dioxide, 20% less nitrous oxide, and 60% less carbon monoxide. Toxins and carcinogens such as benzene and toluene are eliminated almost entirely as well, seeing 96% reduction in their levels. Gasoline, in addition to being a heavy post-burn pollutant, is a spillage and evaporation hazard. While propane is a gas in its uncompressed state, it is compressed and stored as a liquid. “Closed” storage and delivery systems, meaning airtight systems that keep propane in its compressed, liquid state, prevent leaking and evaporative emissions by their nature — effectively removing spillage hazards from your environment. Should a leak develop in the system, propane escapes as a non-toxic gas, and the environmental impact is minimal. Propane tanks are also safer to have at your facility, having been rated at up to 20 times more puncture-resistant than gasoline tanks. On the whole, propane is a safer, more environmentally sound option than conventional or reformulated gasoline. Propane has been referred to for years as an alternative fuel, but when it comes to powering mowers, there may be no better alternative. is Mower Fuels Sales Manager for Ferrellgas, a nationwide propane company headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. Find out more at

mark linkletter




mnla .biz

may 13

Looking for even more information on converting your equipment to propane? Watch for a session on this topic at Northern Green Expo 2014!

➾ LAWN sectioCARE n title

5 common mistakes small & startup lawn care c o mpanies s h o uld av o i d


working too large of a territory Too often company’s customers are so spread out that they drive past 10,000 potential customers or five to ten miles to get to their next client’s lawn. Saturate a central location and work outward from this location. Turn down inquiries or estimates that are not in your territory.

#2 #3

It can be tempting to take on a job or say yes to a potential customer, but do not lose focus and get yourself in trouble. Clearly define which services you provide and stick to these services.

believing you can match or beat a competitor’s price because you have lower overhead First, know your current costs and future costs. If you are not generating positive cash flow or are not priced to have better employee benefits, new trucks, an increase in wages, and/or a larger warehouse; you will never obtain these items.

#4 #5

taking on a job that is not your specialty

waiting to purchase business software or hire key employees Small companies often feel they have to reach a certain size before purchasing a good software program to manage their business or before hiring key employees to help run the business. Software designed to manage your business is one of the most important items at the very start. Great employees are priceless.

underestimating the amount of capital required to grow your business Companies that grow fast typically have financial backing or a larger percentage of sales dollars returned into marketing and sales.

is a horticulturist, turf expert, and nutrient management planner. He loves to share what works, what does not, and how to build a successful lawn care company. Contact Peter at (703) 965-6876 or

peter haakon

may 13

mnla .biz



Permeable Paver Systems Task Team Report

Tim Oberg

Southview Design, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Southview Design

most contractors are getting into the installation of permeable paver systems because it is a new source of income from a product a lot of people want as it can help with water pollution and is a Best Management Practice (BMP) for stormwater management. As a matter of fact, if you did not know, MNLA has a task team devoted to Permeable Paver Systems (PPS). I thought it would be nice to let everyone know what the task team has been doing since January 2010. The task team has: • Been involved with the Minimal Impact Design Standards (MIDS) board in putting together information for Minnesota’s new Stormwater Manual. Robert Race, PE of Race Engineering is MNLA’s official representative. Tim Power has also been devoting a lot of time to the project. • Created a professional packet of materials and an accompanying PowerPoint presentation to be presented to municipal, county and environmental

groups. To date, several presentations have been given and we hope to give many more. • Created a flyer that outlines stormwater management BMP’s and points to MNLA as a resource for solutions for stormwater management. We hope to have MIDS members include these flyers with their material as they give presentations across the state. • Created a new page on for information on PPS. Thanks for the most part to Jon Horsman, MNLA Communications Director. • Developed a new contribution program to support the continuation of the work of the PPS task team. If you would like to contribute, contact MNLA and tell them it is for the PPS task team. As you can see, the task team has been hard at work on your behalf, and hopes to continue helping a lot more people become knowledgeable about PPS as a BMP. may 13

mnla .biz



Photo courtesy of Bonestroo

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the volunteers who have made all of this possible. They have put in hundreds of hours to accomplish what they have. The task team includes; Nick Tamble of Lawn & Landscape Gardens; Matt Mallas of Hedberg Landscape & Masonry Supplies; Robert Race PE of Race Engineering; Patrick McGuiness of Zlimen and McGuiness PLLC; Tim Oberg of Southview Design; Tim Power, MNLA Regulatory Consultant; and Jon Horsman, MNLA Communications Director. Nick Sowka of Anchor Block and Dave Otter of Belgard have recently joined the task team as well. If you are a contractor who installs PPS or are thinking about adding it to your product offerings, be sure and thank the members of the PPS task team when you see them for all they have been doing. They are “paving” the way for you to make more money. I hope you have a great year and install a lot of pavers. If I can answer any questions for you don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Special thanks to these companies who support MNLA’s PPS program: Anchor Block Company & Belgard Hardscapes

can be reached at

tim oberg


mnla .biz

may 13

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Designing, Installing & Maintaining Native Landscapes Six Locations in Minnesota 800-837-5986 763-389-4342


virus survey M innes o ta t o I mplement an Ornamental P erennial V irus S urve y Joshua Plunkett

Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Tobacco Rattle Virus on Dicentra. Photo credit: Josh Plunkett (MDA)

the minnesota department of agriculture

(MDA) would like the nursery and landscape industry and other Minnesota producers to be aware of a Farm Bill-funded survey of viruses taking place in the 2013 growing season.

To help safeguard plant health in our state, MDA has been tracking the number of plants infected with viruses since the early 1990s, starting with rose mosaic virus, then hosta virus x in the early 2000s. In 2013, MDA will join a regional effort with sister agencies from the upper Midwest to identify ornamental perennials infected with viruses. A University of Minnesota virologist will contribute to this effort by identifying exotic or unknown viruses. This multi-state survey will provide information on two concerns associated with virus levels in nursery stock. The first is identifying exotic and unknown viruses being introduced into the state. Because most of our virus-infected nursery stock can be traced back to foreign sources, identifying these viruses will determine if they are endemic, exotic or truly unknowns. A second concern is the amount of Tobacco Rattle Virus (TRV) in our perennial nursery stock. TRV has the largest host range of any virus. Besides infecting perennials it infects potatoes and other vegetables, decreasing yields as well as the value of the crop. In a Farm Bill-funded virus survey conducted by Wisconsin in 2011, they were able to detect several unknown viruses in nursery stock, indicating that there is a need for further survey and diagnostic


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collaboration. The current multi-state survey will focus on production and dealer sites that import stock from foreign and out of state sources. MDA Nursery Inspectors will begin sampling production sites in March 2013 and continue sampling retail dealer sites throughout the summer. A list of plants to be sampled includes: anemone, Astilbe, clematis, Dicentra, delphinium, Lilium, hosta and a few others. Invasive species, including viruses and diseases, have negative impacts on many growers and garden centers every year, especially because the vast majority of these companies are small, family-owned companies who can ill afford crop loss. Among the possible benefits of this survey effort: • The potential to diminish the loss of unmarketable plants due to virus (and the corresponding loss to the state’s landscape and nursery industry). • The reducing of the economic and environmental impact of viruses on Minnesota’s commercial crops. • The results from the survey will allow appropriate regulatory action to halt the distribution of infected plants. Participation in this multi-state collaboration will increase diagnostic skills within MDA and regional awareness of virus populations. Information and images collected will be shared with regulatory officials, scientists, nurserymen and the public on a website designed for this purpose, once the survey and testing are complete. Your nursery inspectors will have more details as this survey progresses. Look for a follow up article in the Scoop next year for details on results. is a Plant Health Specialist (Nursery Inspection & Export Certification Unit) with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and can be reached at joshua plunkett

may 13

mnla .biz


simple internal controls for small businesses to

manage risk

A recent Minneapolis news article reminds us how costly it can be for a business to turn a blind eye or neglect its internal financial controls. In this recent article, an individual embezzled in excess of $100,000 from a local area church synod. According to law enforcement statistics, 2012 was another record year for employee theft, preceded by a string of years that showed a strong upswing as well. Statistics indicate that with the backing of a poor economy, embezzlement and employee theft will certainly continue its upward trend. Patrick Kelly | Kelly Green Irrigation, Inc.


tatistics show that the most common form of embezzlement scheme involves issuance of forged or unauthorized company checks. With this in mind, here are some simple steps we all can take which could potentially save you a lot of money and headaches. The best part is that these steps cost little, if anything. 1. Sign checks yourself. If your schedule and daily work permit,

signing your own checks is a must-have precaution. 2. If you can’t sign checks yourself on a regular basis, authorize

one other person to sign checks in addition to yourself. 3. If someone else has signature authority, make sure that person

is someone different from the person who writes the checks. 4. Keep your checks under lock and key, whether written or

unwritten. Smart thieves can fabricate a check, even without your check stock. Easy access opens the door for all sorts of problems. 5. Approve invoices yourself. It doesn’t take long, considering

the ramifications possible from neglecting your invoices. Make it so that the person who approves them is different from the person who is writing and signing the checks. 6. Have the cancelled checks mailed to your home, instead

of the office. This one is key. Open the envelope and sort through the checks, verifying the vendors and signatures. Even if you only spend minimal time on this, shuffle the checks so it looks like you were attentively examining them. This will show or at least give the impression of some sort of review to the person who does the bank reconciliations.

people should approve invoices, prepare checks, sign checks and reconcile the checking account. Also, different people should be handling incoming cash and checks, posting payments, making deposits and reconciling the checking account. 8. In this day and age, we all take credit cards; a statistically

common fraud opportunity is for a person with access to the credit card merchant account to give occasional credits to a card of their own or a partner in crime. It is easy to overlook the credit card merchant account statement as long as you see the proper credits from the merchant bank on your bank statements. We have all done it. Take a moment to at least review the statements and/or have your merchant account statements reviewed by someone other than the person who enters the transactions, and watch for credits. 9. Do background checks on all new employees. Maybe even

a credit check as well. Employee theft statistics show that a person caught stealing has stolen from a prior employer as well. Take it a step further and check references and dig deeply into the references. There are multitudes of ways employees can steal from you. Establishing and implementing a simple internal process as a precaution does not cost much other than time, but may head off many theft opportunities. Another subject on this matter and an absolute requirement to manage risk and theft is inventory control. Now that is a bigger, more costly, and time consuming monster lurking in the corner!!

7. In a somewhat larger organization, divide up processes in

your office for handling the payment process. Different

patrick kelly

can be reached at

may 13

mnla .biz



networking news Garden Center Leader:

Jeff Pilla, Bachman’s, Inc.

Meeting Date:

March 20th at Purple Onion Café in Minneapolis Topic: Attracting Customers next Meeting Date:

June 19th at Purple Onion Café in Minneapolis

Top Takeaways: 1. Develop community garden w/ extra adjacent land. All Seasons has developed 110 20' × 20' plots that consumers rent; each renter receives a 50.00 gift card. All Seasons has experienced an increase in traffic during the summer months. 2. Let groups use vacant greenhouse space during the winter months. Examples are farmers markets, craft shows, trunk sale. 3. Summer Garden Parties draw large crowds and help to reduce long suits in inventory.

CEO Leader:

Dennis Ullom, St. Croix Tree Service Inc.

Meeting Date:

March 20th at Champps in Maplewood Topic: Marketing for Sales Growth next Meeting Date:

Top Takeaways: 1. Print/yellow page becoming much less significant. Some not using it at all. 2. Special event advertising works well (print and radio). 3. Move to internet marketing is universal across all segments.

July 17th at Park Tavern, St. Louis Park

Commercial Flower Growers Leader:

Dean Engelmann, Tangletown Gardens

Meeting Date:

March 19th at Lynde Greenhouse

Top Takeaways: 1. The meeting on March 19th was a great success. There was about 100 people there, and John Erwin’s talk “News You Can Use” was well-received. We’d like to have a tour and meeting like this once a quarter. 2. Have a real time online discussion group to help answer questions with current growing problems. 3. Have more of a Focus Day at the MNLA show. One day all the talks are around Growing, one day all Garden Center, etc. Not all split up. Some people said they didn’t go because there wasn’t enough on one day that interested them.


Companies can participate in both programs, meaning you could receive $2,500 towards the cost of a new propane-powered mower. Special Considerations

Some mower engines are designed to run on alternative fuels with little or no modification. Others are not. Using alternative fuels or fuel blends that are not specifically approved for your equipment can cause serious damage to the engine or significantly reduce performance. To ensure alternative fuel or fuel blend use won’t damage your mower, be sure to consult your equip­ment’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer or dealer. 1. Energetics Inc. 2009. Propane Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Com­parative Analysis. Washington, D.C.: Propane Education & Research Council. 2. Haydu, J.J.; Hodges, A.W.; and Hall, C.R. 2006. Economic Impacts of the Turf­grass and Lawncare Industry in the United States. Gainesville, Fla.: University of Florida IFAS Extension, 54

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may 13

mnla welcomes members new

Cityscapes Landscape & Property Maintenance LLC, Burnsville, MN Crosswood Solutions, Orono, MN David Tupper & Associates, Edina, MN JR Bernick Inc. /dba Emerald Green, Delano, MN Lake Country Fireplace & Exteriors, Wilmar, MN Pine Tree Apple Orchard, White Bear Lake, MN Sabas Outdoor Services, Champlin, MN Thane Hawkins Polar Chevrolet, White Bear Lake, MN Unilock, Aurora, IL

STYLE. It’s something that’s unique to you. And only Unilock has the broad range of versatile colours, textures and looks to let you fully express yourself. From modern to traditional, Unilock has everything you need to create a one-of-akind outdoor living space. CONFIDENCE. It comes from choosing the brand that leads the industry with proprietary technologies like EnduraColor™ Plus an embedded surface layer of exceptionally strong and resilient minerals that guarantees a long-lasting beauty with colors that never fade.

Vis it o ur


1-800-UNILOCK (864-5625)

IDEAS GALLERY for your landscape inspiration at today!

➾ garden party

garden party 2013

the ‘social event of the season’ is back! A limited number of tickets are still available for the 2013 Garden Party. Don’t miss your chance to network and rub elbows with fellow leaders in the industry at the summer Garden Party. Back for its second year, the Garden Party features an evening of food, fellowship and fundraising to celebrate scholars, donors and the future of the green industry. All proceeds benefit the career development and promotion efforts of the MNLA Foundation, helping to recruit, engage and educate the future of our industry. Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 6:30 P.M. The Porch at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul, MN. Tickets for the Garden Party are $80 and can be purchased on the events page of, or by calling the MNLA office at 651-633-4987. A limited number of tickets are still available for this popular event. Purchase yours today and help to show your support for our industry.

d v c w y c i o h y t

W 56

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– i


correction Identif y ing G y ps y M o t h

of the March 2013 issue of the Scoop, a photo was run which was NOT a photo of Gypsy Moth. It was, in fact, an image showing tent caterpillars.

on page 31

MNLA regrets this oversight, and directs your attention to the below photos that show an accurate depiction of this destructive pest. Please train your staff to recognize gypsy moth life stages, and inspect all stock you receive to verify that it is free of gypsy moth. Contact the MDA immediately if you find any gypsy moth life stages. MDA Contact: Arrest the Pest, 888-545-6684 | For more information on gypsy moth and Minnesota’s efforts to monitor this invasive species, visit

Gypsy moth female laying an egg mass.

Gypsy moth male on grass.

Gypsy moth caterpillars show distinctive characteristics such as a large head capsule and the five pairs of blue then six pairs of red “dots” going down the back of a late-instar larva.

Many life stages found on an oak tree; shed caterpillar skins, spent pupa cases, and a fresh egg mass.

Male gypsy moth and spent pupa case.

may 13

mnla .biz


➾ volunteer



volunteers needed Fo r c o ntributi o ns t o T h e S co o p

The MNLA invites all members to get actively involved in your association. There are numerous volunteer opportunities that will expand your network and knowledge while supporting the green industry and the mission of MNLA. This month we’d like to highlight an opportunity for members to write articles or contribute in other ways for MNLA’s monthly magazine — The Scoop.

Write an Article and/or Submit Photographs for The Scoop

Get involved! Who doesn’t like seeing their name in print?

Feature Stories/Member Articles: Do you enjoy writing or feel passionate about an industry-related issue? We encourage you to start typing and send us an article or even two! One of the things that makes this publication truly unique, is the amount of member-submitted content we are able to publish on a monthly basis. We can learn more together, than we can individually, so let’s share. Articles can be submitted at any time to MNLA Executive Assistant Sue Flynn at and will run in the soonest available issue based on deadlines. If you like to write, but need a writing prompt, contact MNLA Communications Director Jon Horsman at Industry Response Questions: Not feeling up for a full-blown feature story? We have some new short member-response highlights like “Word on the Street” or “Ideas That Work” that showcase answers to specific questions. “Word on the Street” highlights responses to hot topics. “Ideas That Work” answers the question, “What practices, procedures, software, or equipment has improved your profitability, efficiency or safety; and how?” “My Favorite Tool” allows you to share with your colleagues the one tool that makes the biggest difference in how you do your work. Let us know that you’d like to be added to the schedule for future renditions of these features. E-mail MNLA Executive Assistant Sue Flynn at and we’ll add you to the list! Photographs: Perhaps you don’t feel like you’re a strong writer, but you’ve got some great photographs that you’re willing to share (with a photo credit of course!). Or maybe you want to be on a resource team and we can e-mail you when we’re looking for specific photos to run with a story. If this sounds like an opportunity for you, get in touch with MNLA Communication Director Jon Horsman at


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may 13

Maguire ad:Maguire Agcy-05RB1/4 Page


9:18 PM

and Nationwide Agribusiness


➾ mnla news

business briefs


M ay 2 0 1 3

N ew MN L A Certifie d P r ofessionals

Gerry De La Vega Honored with AOLP Industry Achievement Award On February 14, 2013, the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP) held its annual awards reception to honor professional excellence in outdoor lighting design. During the reception, AOLP presented their 2013 Industry Achievement Award for leadership and pioneering efforts in the outdoor lighting industry to Gerry De La Vega. De La Vega is the owner and president of MNLA member Terradek Lighting, a retail and wholesale distributor of outdoor lighting equipment. De La Vega has continuously given back to the landscape industry in many ways: He is an AOLP Board member and Treasurer. He has served on their Conference, Membership and Bylaws committees, as well as chairing their Legislative Issues committee. De La Vega is a certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician (CLVLT) and has also served on the AOLP’s CLVLT committee.

The following individuals passed the Certification Exam on March 15, 2013 at Dakota County Technical College:

Pictured from left to right, front row: Jessica Schwarz, McNeilus Steel, Inc.; Reed Aronow, Linders, Inc.; Elizabeth Philbrick, Sargent’s Landscape Nursery; Mary Gardinier, General Mills, Inc. Pictured from left to right, back row: Jonathan Slama, Bachman’s Inc.; Casey Andersen, Simon’s Landscaping, Inc.; Meghan Running, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community; Dan Haberman, Oak View Nursery; Daniel Joseph Guhanick, Guhanick Gardens

He is the AOLP representative to the UL Standards Technical Panel for UL 1838 and 2108. He is certified by the state of Minnesota to provide continuing education in Outdoor Lighting Design and Installation.

De La Vega previously served on the MNLA Landscape Lighting Committee. Congratulations to Gerry on receiving AOLP’s top honor for his service to the outdoor lighting industry.

From left to right: Steve Montain; Chelsea Andra Caye, Grove Nursery; Patrick Beezley, Bachman’s Inc. – Apple Valley; Susan Thurber, Lawn King, Inc.; Craig Wagner, Hamline University

scoop classifieds Searching for your next great employee? Looking for a buyer? Place a Scoop Classified ad. Contact Betsy Pierre 763-295-5420


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may 13

For Sale 70,000' × 15' wide Dewitt 3oz blanket. Call 515-341-5678.

Professional Products Sales Rep. Specialty Turf & Ag, Inc. is looking for an experienced sales professional to represent them in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Understanding of turf grass needs, fertilizers, and chemicals desired. We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package. Contact: or 320-845-7689 for further information.

probably not on that list because it is often taken for granted would be

would expect them do. And if they fail once or their price is slightly higher than

Continued on page 42

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➾ th e last word

word on street the

question: what is your favorite 1) business app and 2) personal app?

randy schmitz, scenic specialties

eric hagen, the mustard seed landscaping & garden center

Business App: Dropbox (free up to 2GB) has been a lifesaver! As a landscape design and salesperson this app has been an easy way for us to save and share large drawing or photo with our team or with our landscape clients. The app is available for mobile devices as well as for desktop computers. The application works like a cyber space file cabinet — you can control who has the keys and it can be accessed anywhere with internet connectivity.

Business & Personal App: The apps I use the most are GoodReader ($4.99) and Evernote (free; $4.99/month, $44.99/year for premium version), and they both help my in my business and personal life. Using these apps has allowed me to work at a time that’s convenient for me. It allows me to have access to my job information via my iPad wherever I am. I have a data plan for my iPad now, and though it costs extra, it’s worth the investment as I can work wherever I am, at whatever time of day. It may sound like that’s a bad thing, but it means I don’t have to physically stay at our shop to do my job — in fact by being more mobile I can do my jobs better. As a landscape foreman AND the company’s IT specialist, I can get calls from job sites or the office and be able to respond quickly while referencing the latest information. I use encryption for both apps, so they are locked down and ready for business.

Personal App: It’s a toss-up between and (both start with free options). Both applications allow me to access my personal computer while I am away at work. This is important when I need to find an archived file or check the status of something while I am away. Show my PC is a great tool for those of you who get phone calls from your significant other, friends or family members asking to help solve their computer issues. Instead of having to explain things over the phone you can temporarily take control of their computer desktop and find a solution for their issue. It seems a little scary watching someone take remote control of your system the first time — but it works great to be able to visually see how the issue is resolved. I use the free versions.

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I use the premium version of Evernote so I can easily link everything to my desktop computer. Mostly, I use it for my customer file system. I keep a separate folder (or “notebook” as Evernote calls them) for each project with each client.

diana grundeen, trio landscaping

brandon gallagher, rainbow scientific

tim huinker, anchor wall systems

Business App: I like Dr. Michael Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder ($14.99) for showing clients other plant options while on site, but currently it is just available for iPhone... I’m waiting for them to update it for iPad (I am a Dirr fan! ).

Business App: Skitch, (FREE). Discuss a pruning or landscape job with a client while drawing right on a photo you just took. Save and email that photo off to the crew who will be performing the work to improve communications and minimize pruning the wrong limb or planting the shrub in the wrong location.

Business App: My favorite business app is Google Maps (free). I use that for finding just about everything from businesses to addresses to phone numbers. It’s better than dialing 411 and it’s free.

Personal App: Words with Friends (free or ad-free for $2.99). I use it as a down time/ keep me thinking/learn something new outlet.


GoodReader gives your iPad a file structure with folders. For the most part, I fill the folders with PDFs — manuals, or any kind of documentation I need to reference. It links to my Dropbox account so I can easily move things around from iPad to computer. I can also email right from GoodReader, plus the app makes it possible to take notes right on your PDF. I use it quite a bit.

may 13

Personal App: Camera+, ($0.99). Being a photo geek and Photoshop geek myself, Camera+ offers enough basic editing tools like white balance adjustment, rotate/crop, and aperture priority to be a well rounded and useful camera app. It also includes a few dozen Instagram-esque filters so you can make your $700 phone look like a junky 1970’s point-and-shoot, as is the style of the time.

Personal App: My favorite personal app would be TvFoodMaps (free). It finds area restaurants that have been featured in some TV show. It’s always nice to find a fun local spot to eat when I am traveling.

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

The Scoop Online – May 2013  

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

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