Page 1

Growing Concern


January 2014

A p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e O h i o La n d s c a p e A s s o c i a t i o n

OLA Meeting – NE Ohio January 21, 2014 — Broadview Hts. PAGE 2

Build a Better Landscape Business 2-Day Workshop January 23-24, 2014 PAGE 11

OLA Meeting

Announcement 2013/2014 NE OhiO MEETiNg SPONSORS EMERALd LEvEL

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 Exciting Plant Combinations featURing

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Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD Bobbie’s Green Thumb

Learn how to combine perennials, ornamental grasses, and shrubs in pleasing combinations for particular sites. See examples of how changing just one plant can affect the combination. These combinations can be applied to the garden, as well for use in containers! Discussion will also revolve around the elements of landscape design: form, texture, color (of both the flower and foliage), and scale. Join us for an informative and enjoyable evening! agenda 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

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President’s column

Be Optimistic As we roll into 2014, I find myself in the unusual position of being more than a little optimistic. Not that I don’t believe in the power of positive thinking (I do), it’s just that I don’t always practice it! When things are not going so well either personally, professionally or economically, I have always focused on how I can make things better. Even when things seem to be cruising along nicely I always seem to worry and wonder if I did enough to maximize the upward trend. My wife will tell you that I’m never really happy (and she’s never wrong).

I have been a Certified Irrigation Designer (CID) with the Irrigation Association since 1994. I have been married to my best friend for the same 26 years. She still kids me about me “getting a real job.” Honestly, she will tell you that I came to Wolf Creek as a temporary job while I was going to start my own business. I incorporated my business, but soon fell in love with the green industry and the rest is history. We have a freshman in college and a junior in high school and it has been the joy of my life watching them turn into young adults.

For those of you that don’t know me, I have worked at the Wolf Creek Company for the past 26 years. The first 25 years I was in charge of sales in NE Ohio for irrigation, low voltage lighting, ponds and a variety of green industry products. In 2013 I hired my replacement and went on to sales manage our company which spans all of Ohio, Kentucky and Western PA.

As I sit here and write my first article as president of the OLA, I do feel optimistic. I’m optimistic about the economy (at least stabilizing for the moment unless they can find another cliff or wall to muck things up), our green industry as a whole, and the OLA in particular. I’ve been honored to work with some phenomenal people in our industry on

Joe Twardzik, CID Wolf Creek Company

…say hello to some new eager faces with fresh ideas…

continued on page 6

The Growing Concern x January 2014 x 3

Ta b l e o f c o n t e n t s ja n u a r y 2 0 1 4 w w w . o h i o l a n d s c a p e r s . o r g

Ohio’s Professional Green I n d u s t r y A s s o c i at i o n Ohio Landscape Association 9240 Broadview Road Broadview Heights, Ohio 44147 Phone: 440-717-0002 or 1-800-335-6521 Fax: 440-717-0004 Web: or Editor Sandy Munley, Ohio Landscape Association Regular Writers Michael J. Donnellan, King Financial, Inc. Jim Funai, COLP, Cuyahoga Community College Shelley Funai, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens Sandy Munley, Ohio Landscape Association Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD, Bobbie’s Green Thumb Joe Twardzik, CID, Wolf Creek Company



President’s Column

Be Optimistic


Fiscal Fitness

Collectables as Investments


For Safety Sake


Plant Of The Month


Perennial Focus

Mowing and Trimming Safety, PART II Aronia Chokeberry 

The Garden in Winter, Part I

24 Better Job Costing for Landscape Companies



A Reminder For CDL Drivers

Inside Every Issue

31 33 34

Advertising Index ClassifiedS Welcome New Members

Advertising Information Submission deadline: 10th of month prior to publication month. For advertising and classified rates, please call 1-800-335-6521 Disclaimer The Ohio Landscape Association, its board of directors, staff and the editor of The Growing Concern neither endorse any product(s) or attest to the validity of any statements made about products mentioned in this, past or subsequent issues of this publication. Similarly, the opinions expressed in The Growing Concern are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Ohio Landscape Association.

Officers President Joe Twardzik, CID President-Elect Steve Moore Treasurer Bryan Taynor Immediate Past President James Arch, ASLA OLA Staff Executive Director Sandy Munley Membership Coordinator Jean Koch

Directors Eric Brubeck, ASLA Adam Capiccioni Jason Cromley Nathan Kowalsick Maria McConnell Cathy Serafin

Ca l e n d a r o f E V e n t s U p c o m i n g OL A m e e t i n g s , e d u c a t i o n s e m i n a r s a n d o t h e r g r e e n i n d u s t r y e v e n t s


Landscape Industry Certified Technician – Exterior – Written Test JANUARY 14, 2014 Prove your professionalism. Register to take the written portion of the test in Columbus at CENTS. The hands on portion will be held July 24 at OSU/ATI in Wooster, OH. For more information contact Jan Elliott at ATI at 330-287-7511 or visit or

OLA Meeting – NE Ohio JANUARY 21, 2014 Exciting Plant Combinations – Presented by Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD, Bobbie’s Green Thumb. Held at St. Michael’s Woodside in Broadview Heights. For more information or to register online, contact the OLA at 1-800-335-6521 or visit

Techo-Bloc 2014 Contractor Showcase JANUARY 21, 2014 Held in Independence, Ohio. Educational and collaborative event showcasing Techo-Bloc’s state of the art technologies and products. For more information and to register online go to

Techo-Bloc 2014 Contractor Showcase JANUARY 22, 2014 Held in Columbus, Ohio. Educational and collaborative event showcasing Techo-Bloc’s state of the art technologies and products. For more information or to register online go to

OLA Build A Better Landscape Business JANUARY 23-24, 2014 Two-Day Workshop held at Ohio CAT in Broadview Hts., Ohio. Take the guess work out! Learn your costs, build a budget for your company and learn how to estimate your work for profit! For more information or to register online go to


Landscape Industry Certified Technician – Exterior – Written Test FEBRUARY 4, 2014 Prove your professionalism. Register by January 14 to take the written portion of the test in the OLA Office in Broadview Hts. The hands on portion will be held July 24 at OSU/ATI in Wooster, OH. For more information contact Jan Elliott at ATI at 330-287-7511 or visit or

Landscape Industry Certified Technician – Exterior – Written Test FEBRUARY 13, 2014 Prove your professionalism. Register by January 24 to take the written portion of the test in Wooster at the OSU/ATI Business Training and Educational Services Office. The hands on portion will be held July 24 at OSU/ATI in Wooster, OH. For more information contact Jan Elliott at ATI at 330-287-7511 or visit or

Landscape Industry Certified Technician – Exterior – Written Test FEBRUARY 18, 2014 Prove your professionalism. Register by January 28 to take the written portion of the test in Maineville at the offices of Thornton’s Landscape. The hands on portion will be held July 24 at OSU/ATI in Wooster, OH. For more information contact Jan Elliott at ATI at 330-287-7511 or visit or

OLA Meeting – Central Ohio FEBRUARY 20, 2014


OLA Meeting – NE Ohio MARCH 20, 2014 SBA Programs That Can Help Your Company, presented by Gil Goldberg, Small Business Administration. Held at St. Michael’s Woodside in Broadview Heights. For more information or to register online, contact the OLA at 1-800-335-6521 or visit


Landscape Industry Certified Technician – Exterior – Written Test JULY 23, 2014 Prove your professionalism. Register by May 20 to take the written portion of the test on July 23 and the hands on portion on July 24 at OSU/ATI in Wooster, OH. For more information contact Jan Elliott at ATI at 330-287-7511 or visit or

Landscape Industry Certified Technician – Exterior – Hands On and Written Test JULY 24, 2014 Prove your professionalism. Register by May 20 to take the written and hands on portions of the test on July 24 at OSU/ATI in Wooster, OH. For more information contact Jan Elliott at ATI at 330-287-7511 or visit or


OLA Scholarship Golf Classic AUGUST 7, 2014 Join us for a fun day of golf, networking, food and liquid refreshments at Mallard Creek Golf Club in Columbia Station. For more information contact OLA at 1-800-335-6521 or visit

Leveraging Your Professionalism, presented by William Ripley, APLD, LEED GA, Topic. Held at Ohio CAT in Columbus. For more information or to register online, contact the OLA at 1-800-335-6521 or visit The Growing Concern x January 2014 x 5

President’s column continued from pg 3 Over 1800 Different Species And Cultivars To Meet Your Needs! bamboo grasses perennials ferns vines roses dwarf conifers bog & marginals

the OLA boards and Sandy Munley and her staff who are the best in the business. Those various groups over that period have instituted some significant upgrades in the “OLA experience” and have laid the ground work for many more improvements in the future. With improvements in educational opportunities, OLA “nights out” social gatherings, upgrades in quality speakers and programs at OLA meetings, and putting together a long term strategic plan, your OLA board and staff are working diligently to continually improve your OLA experience. Now, as we move forward into 2014, we say goodbye to several of our key board members who have dedicated themselves to your OLA, and say hello to some new eager faces with fresh ideas, there is reason to be optimistic about this year. As an industry and an organization, we look forward to your input and ideas as well to help steer the OLA. After all, it’s not about us on the board; it’s about your OLA experience. Be optimistic about it!!

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6 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

OLA Central Ohio

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Leveraging Your Professionalism Featuring

William Ripley, APLD Architectural Landscape Design, Inc.

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Fiscal Fitness

Michael J. Donnellan King Financial, Inc.

Collectables as Investments Are collectibles – of any kind – good investments? Most investment advisors say no. Physical assets do not provide income like bonds or dividend stocks. They have no cash flow. Add in maintenance costs, and you’ve got expense without income. To compare investment opportunities, you must compare potential rates of return over some period of time. Many argue that collectibles make poor investments because their future returns are unpredictable. They view collectibles as speculation rather than well-planned investments. Wealthy investors have different diversification needs and can better handle the risks. They can also afford to buy the most elite collectible specimens, which typically hold value better

than the mass of common items. This has historically been true for baseball cards. Individual cards and sets in the 6 to 7 figure range have proven to be financially worthwhile over the years, while less expensive items have very mixed records. Surprisingly, the history of the lowly baseball card tells a lot about how new “investments” are created and publicity’s role in promoting them. Cards illustrate how speculative bubbles form and why they burst. continued on page 10

8 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

A financial bubble occurs when a product trades at a value highly inflated over its intrinsic value.

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Fiscal Fitness continued from pg 8 Background Tobacco, candy, and food companies first printed baseball cards as product promotions in the second half of the 19th century. Production spiked in the 1930s, and again after World War II. From the 1950s to the 1970s, cards cost between a cent and a quarter per pack and could be purchased at grocery or drugstores. Kids played games with them and attached them to bike spokes. A few adult collectors quietly traded rare antique cards in a tiny market that few even knew existed.

The Bubble In the 1980s, everything changed. Card values exploded. Even common issues were suddenly cited as being worth much more than their purchase prices. Convergent trends drove this change: • The press decided baseball cards were a fun, trendy topic, and hyped them as collectibles. Then came profiles of cards as investments. • Price guides appeared. These provided a necessary market mechanism, widely disseminated lists of market valuations. • Professional grading services appeared, similar to those for rare coins, currency, and stamps. These conferred an aura of legitimacy for “investors” and gave assurances of authenticity and quality. • All the publicity brought in adults and monetized what was previously just a kid’s hobby. Baseball cards became a booming new business. Baseball cards entered a speculative bubble. News of their increasing values became self-fulfilling. As with all bubbles, eventually came the crash.

The Crash A financial bubble occurs when a product trades at a value highly inflated over its intrinsic value. Baseball cards are nothing but printed pieces of cardboard. Fleer sued Topps in the late 1970s and ended its near monopoly over the use of baseball players’ likenesses.

New printers flooded the market and priced kids out of the market, transforming the hobby into a business targeting middle-aged males with disposable income.

Lessons from the Bubble Speculative bubbles can occur with any asset, whether it’s tulip bulbs in 17th-century Holland, housing in 2008, or baseball cards. During the mania, card companies believed that they could effectively print money. For a few years, they were right. Analysts compare the collapse to how inflation destroys the value of a currency when a country prints too much. The take-away: • Promoters invent new asset types to sell to the uninitiated (whether those new assets are complex derivatives, tranched mortgage backed securities, or simply pieces of cardboard with pictures of sports heroes) • Those who believe the “sell story” about the new investment set themselves up for a loss • Only invest in proven markets • Media focus can drive interest in an asset, creating a bubble • When enthusiasm for an asset spikes, don’t passively trust valuations • Devise your own metrics for accurate valuation • Bubbles happen because it’s difficult to see through conventional wisdom. Owners can enjoy their assets, just as art collectors enjoy their paintings. Collectibles can diversify a portfolio. Many cite a low correlation between baseball card or art values to stocks. If you’re worried about inflation or the future value of U.S. currency, they could be good hedges. Bottom line, an investor has to understand the market and the risks involved, whether it be stocks, currencies, metals, art or even baseball cards. Talk to your financial and tax advisors, to determine your specific needs and how to reach your goals.

Michael J. Donnellan is President of King Financial, Inc., in Strongsville, Ohio specializing in stock selection and retirement planning. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments. Phone number (440) 878-9676.

10 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association


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BUILD A BETTER LANDSCAPE BUSINESS Make checks payable and send to: Ohio Landscape Association, 9240 Broadview Rd, Broadview Hts., OH 44147 The Growing Concern x January 2014 x 11 Register online, by mail, by phone or fax: Phone 1-800-335-6521 • Fax 440-717-0004 •

F o r Sa f e t y Sa k e

Mowing and Trimming Safety, PART II continued from December 2013 Prepare Mowing Area

Start Up Safety Procedures

Prepare the mowing area before beginning to ensure a safe working environment.

1. Make sure all attachments are disengaged. 2. Shift into neutral before starting the engine. • Always start string/brush trimmers on the ground. • Start riding equipment from the operator’s seat only. • Keep hands and feet away from the blade area when starting walk behind mowers.

Remove Debris — Walk the area to be mowed. Pick up debris such as rocks, sticks, bottles cans, wires, etc. Debris picked up by a mower or trimmer can be thrown from the machine at speeds as high as 200 mph or cause the equipment to jam or malfunction. Be Aware of Surroundings – While scanning the area for debris, locate other potential hazards, such as ditches, drop-offs or embankments. Be aware at all times of the location of co-workers. Keep all others out of the area while you are mowing or trimming. Make sure that the chute of the mower is pointed away from people, animals, buildings and traffic.

12 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

Safe Shut Down Procedures 1. Disengage the blade and other attachments. 2. Lower the attachments to the ground. 3. Shift the controls into neutral. 4. Set the parking brake. 5. Turn off the engine. 6. Remove the key (if applicable). continued on page 14

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F o r Sa f e t y Sa k e continued from pg 12 Safe Fueling Procedures Gasoline and other fuels are flammable. Follow safe fueling procedures to help reduce the risk of fuel ignition. • Always shut off the engine and wait at least 5 minutes for the engine to cool before refueling. • Use only approved fuel containers and store in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. • Never smoke or have an open flame near fuel. • Touch the fuel nozzle to the machine before removing the fuel cap to prevent a static spark from igniting the fuel. • Use a funnel or a non-spill nozzle when fueling to reduce spillage. • Keep the nozzle or funnel in contact with the fuel tank while filling. • Wipe up all spills immediately, before starting the engine. • Never clean your hands with gasoline. Use a nonflammable solvent instead.

Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can poison and kill. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, and the loss of consciousness. To avoid CO poisoning, operate all equipment outdoors. If you must work indoors, make sure there is adequate ventilation to prevent exposure to CO.

Preventing Rollover Accidents

• D  o not operate tractors and mowers on steep hills. Refer to the operator’s manual for the maximum slope allowed for your equipment. • Avoid sudden moves. Abrupt starts, stops and sharp turns can make the equipment rollover. • Slow down when turning and make wide, gradual turns, especially when mowing on slopes. Turning quickly and sharply can cause the mower to overturn. When mowing on slopes, don’t turn unless you have to. If turning is required, turn slowly and downhill. Riding Lawn Mowers/Agricultural Tractors – Mow up and down slopes, not across. Your mower can become unbalanced and overturn on slopes, if you do not drive in the correct direction. Mowing up and down slopes can help prevent a side rollover. Keep the heavy end uphill to avoid a rollover. Refer to your operator’s manual to determine which end is heavier. Walk Behind Mowers – Mow across slopes, not up and down, to keep you from sliding underneath the mower.

A human’s reaction time is too slow to stop a rollover once it starts.

Next Month: Mowing and Trimming Safety, PART III

When a mower becomes unstable or out of balance, it can roll over. A human’s reaction time is too slow to stop a rollover once it starts. Look over the area before you mow, noting all land elevation changes. Once you have assessed the area to be mowed, observe the following precautions to avoid rollover accidents. • D  o not mow near drop-offs, ditches, embankments or steep slopes. The wheels on your mower and attachments can drop off or slide over the edge, causing the mower to roll over. Use a string trimmer to cut grass in these locations.

This is an excerpt from Mowing and Trimming Safety for the Landscaping and Horticultural Services Industry, written by Sara Lind, Information Specialist and Mitch Ricketts, Coordinator, Health, Safety and Environmental Quality, K-State Research and Extention. K-State Research and Extension, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. Disclaimer: This material was produced under grant number 46G3-HT04 and revised and updated under grant number SH-19503-09-60-F-20 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor. The information in this publication has been compiled from a variety of sources believed to be reliable and to represent the best current opinion on the subject. However, neither K-State Research and Extension nor its authors guarantee accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this publication, and neither K-State Research and Extension or its authors shall be responsible for any errors, omissions, or damages arising out of the use of this information. Additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances. Go to to download the entire manual.

14 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

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Plant Of the Month

Jim Funai, COLP Cuyahoga Community College

Shelley Funai Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens



2014: the year of the rain garden. Or so it will be for us in the next twelve issues. Motivation for dedicating a year of articles to plants that thrive in a rain garden setting came from a few sources. A portion came from the hard work of finishing up the thesis for my Masters Degree, which focused on proper rain garden design. A more important reason to focus on this topic is the need for us to become better stewards to our environment. You likely have become aware of the growing need to install “green” features in the landscape such as rain gardens, permeable pavements, and rain catchment devices. When Shelley and I travel around we keep an eye on landscapes, like any good plant nerd. It is good to observe how others are designing the landscape around us, see what works and what doesn’t, as well as what you find aesthetically pleasing and what you don’t. This leads to the main desire to dedicate a year to woody rain garden plants, most of the people “designing” rain gardens out there are using what amounts to a pile of weeds in a ditch or bowl and calling it “green”. To outline criteria for our discussion this year, we both felt we should frame our point of view so readers know where we are coming from. First, a very simplified definition of a rain garden: a landscape designed as a depression in the ground, where storm water is directed and stored, with the goal of allowing it to soak

16 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

into the ground. The point of this type of landscape is to reduce how much water rushes into our storm water infrastructure after rain and snow because our systems cannot handle it anymore. A second goal is to clean the water, as there is a lot of biological activity that occurs in the soil, which breaks down petroleum byproducts, excess nutrients, and other environmentally polluting runoff. Proper function in the rain garden will take training, just like all construction, we need to learn to build it properly. The OLA helped sponsor some great training last year, and surely there will be additional training in the years to come on how to build proper storm water management systems. For the purpose of this article collection, we are going to focus on the second, and clearly overlooked, purpose of rain gardens, which continued on page 18

The Growing Concern x January 2014 x 17

Plant Of the Month continued from pg 16 is to LOOK GOOD. It seems with most of the rain gardens we see, all landscape design principles were abandoned and people try to make it look as “natural” as possible, just like Mother Nature designed it. Sure, that is a nice idea on paper; it makes us all feel green and happy. But think about the observer of that “landscape” who knows little to nothing about plants. Do you think they see a very functional garden with great native selections of plants and a unique way of dealing with storm water runoff, or do they see a hole in the ground with weeds in it? Any good landscape design does two things. It solves a problem and it looks good doing it. In this case, the problem being solved is excess storm water. But, please don’t forget to look good doing it. This includes considering the maintenance -- the more perennials, the higher the maintenance. Now, a quick outline of what makes a good woody plant for the rain garden. Proper rain garden design includes using amended soils that allow quick infiltration and percolation of water. After a big storm, the plants may be sitting in more than a foot of water. In the middle of August, they may not have seen water for weeks on end. Likely there will be higher levels of sodium in the water (if collecting from pavements) and plants must deal with soil salts. The rain garden is a specialized place, and a tough place for many plants to survive. Thus, we bring you, the year of the rain garden! Our first rain garden champion is actually two species under the genus, Aronia. Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) and Aronia melonocarpa (Black Chokeberry) are two great shrubs that have use in the landscape far beyond just the rain garden. As you have likely noticed over the years, the two of us love to find out why a plant is named what it is. We had difficulty in tracking down a solid explanation of Aronia, but the specific epithets make perfect sense. Arbutifolia means, “leaves like Arbutus” which is a broadleaf evergreen bearing very similar leaves. Melanocarpa is derivative of two Greek words, melan (black) and karpos (fruit), thus meaning black fruit. The common name is fairly self-explanatory; the fruits are very astringent and may suck your cheeks in if you eat right off the plant. The chokeberries are in the roseaceae family (apples/crabapples, roses, pears, cherries, etc.) but do not quite follow some of the traits of its cousins. Many plants in this family can be picky about cultural conditions, usually shying away from wet feet, but chokeberry is very tolerant of poor soils doing well from swampy conditions found in a rain garden in spring to the summer desert of the roadside.

What makes these plants great for the rain garden? They are natives of our area and are adapted to lowlands which makes them perfectly used to the conditions of a rain garden. White flowers in the spring cover the plants, similar to serviceberry, and give way to one-quarter to one-half inch fruits borne in clusters in either red or black. Besides differing fruit color, fall color is not as strong in the straight species of a. melanocarpa. However, these two species form natural hybrids and just about any chokeberry you find available in the nursery trade has been selected for having brilliant bright red fall colors (likely due to some a. arbutifolia genes mixed in at some point). Red chokeberries tend to hold bright red fruits longer into winter than that of black chokeberries, which may have been gobbled up by the birds by the time the snow flies. In the garden these shrubs typically stay under six to eight feet (depending on cultivar, maybe shorter) and will form a suckering colony. Best used in masses, try at least 5 in a grouping as a great background to some shorter shrubs and perennials. A fibrous root system will provide great erosion control as the rushing storm water enters the garden. Salt in the soil typically will not bother the plants (which along with drought tolerance makes them great near parking lots and roads). We have seen some nursery tags claim that these plants are very deer tolerant. In observations, we have seen young plantings of this shrub eaten very heavily by deer. It may be wise to protect from deer browse for the first couple of years until established. Tolerating a deer’s voracious appetite is certainly much different than not being a preferred food of deer. We highly recommend looking up chokeberries and considering them in more of your landscapes. Disease and pest issues will likely never reach a threshold needing intervention. Adapting to many soil types, pollution, compaction, pH, etc., make these a valuable tool in our landscapes, which are typically highly disturbed soils. Be certain you understand the mature size of this plant and give it room to grow and colonize. Given room, this plant becomes a nearly no-maintenance plant in the landscape. A plant with this many ornamental traits, high soil adaptability, minimal pest issues, and solves so many landscape problems, one can only wonder, why is it not planted more often? Hopefully now it will be!

Jim Funai is full-time faculty at Cuyahoga Community College, a PLANET accredited, associate of applied science in horticulture degree program, offering many paths to higher education to the green industry. He has an MS from Colorado State and is a licensed arborist. Shelley Funai is the Grounds Manager at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio that offers a historic estate designed by Warren H. Manning and a beautiful manor house museum. Both are graduates of The Ohio State University. Contact Jim and Shelly via email at

18 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association


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Perennial Focus

Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD Bobbie’s Green Thumb

Ilex crenata rarely needs pruning.

The Garden in Winter, Part I A well-designed landscape is always interesting and always changing. That requires a thoughtful mix of evergreens, deciduous woodies and perennials. The more avid gardener would also include bulbs and annuals in this mix. The true test of the “bones” of a landscape is its appearance in the winter. It should appear unified while flowing easily from one area to another. Winter is a good time to evaluate the landscape. When the leaves have dropped, what do you see? Try photographing the landscape in black and white to avoid the distraction of color. Then evaluate the photos. Are the lines of the landscape balanced? As you look from one area to another, do the weights of the plant material seem balanced? Too many evergreens will appear heavy. As a prelude to the creation of a design, it is crucial that the winter landscape be viewed from indoors, that being the place where most of us spend our winter. This viewing should be made with an eye to locating not only specimen botanical elements but also hardscaping elements such as walls, pergolas, arches, trellises, statuary and paths. Evaluate the areas where we (or our guests) walk when approaching and entering the house. Give attention to the walkway leading to the door and the surrounding area. Does it guide and continued on page 22

20 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

Another frequently overlooked aspect of the winter landscape is night lighting.


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Perennial Focus continued from pg 20 welcome visitors? All of this should be visualized twice: when the ground is bare and when the ground and all other elements are covered with snow. Frequently, the winter landscape can be improved with better use of existing plant material. Overgrown trees and shrubs can be thinned and pruned to emphasize their architecture and artistry. Hedges such as Buxus (Boxwood) or Berberis (Barberry), which delineate beds, will be more effective “bones” if they are carefully clipped to control their aggrandizing tendencies. The only perennials that should be cut to the ground after a heavy frost are those that are limp and those that the frost has blackened. The others lend presence and appeal. As winter advances, some perennials become ragged and can then be cut down, but others such as Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ still look good even as the new rosettes appear in early spring. Only then is it necessary to carefully cut down the stalks. Another frequently overlooked aspect of the winter landscape is night lighting. Darkness envelopes us so early during the winter that we feel starved of light. Therefore, a house and landscape that are well lit feel welcoming and warm. Lighting, which is generally regarded as a method of emphasizing focal points, thus provides an additional benefit. When designing lighting, remember that the specimen being lit may be viewed from inside as well as outside. This knowledge will affect the placement and type of lights. Lighting is much more effective if it is subtle and if the source is unseen. While most lighting is for emphasis, the use of “fairy lights” can create a totally different effect. I’ll never forget my first visit (in a long ago February) to the Tavern on the Green in New York’s Central Park. All of the deciduous trees were lit with strands of tiny clear lights wound through their branches. It was like being in a magical fantasyland. This is a concept worth copying. These strands of lights could also be wound up and through an arch or an arbor in a gesture of welcome The sun (when it does appear) offers us another aspect of lighting – shadows! Study the landscape during the winter to see where and when shadows are or can be cast on the ground or on significant walls and then pick plant material that will allow this feature to be employed.

Conifers in bondage – How not to enhance the landscape.

Container with coniferous greens and winterberry.

The containers could also be filled initially with ornamental grasses or conifers of unusual forms for year round interest. I hope that your outlook on winter has now changed. Instead of regarding it as a dreaded event, you can think of it as an opportunity to improve and beautify the landscape.

Bobbie Schwartz, FAPLD, owner of Bobbie’s Green Thumb in Shaker Hts., Ohio, is a landscape designer, consultant, free-lance writer, and lecturer whose specialties are perennial gardens and four-season landscapes. In addition to

Many buildings, whether residential or commercial, have large containers planted frequently with colorful annuals during summer and fall. Instead of being empty during the winter, fill them with branches pruned from conifers, broadleaf evergreens and berried woodies but be sure to do this before the soil freezes.

22 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

being an Ohio Landscape Association (OLA) member, she is an active member of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA) and Perennial Plant Association (PPA). Bobbie is a Past President of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). Bobbie currently serves as chair of the ONLA Plant Selection Committee. Bobbie can be reached at (216) 752-9449. Corporate Offices / Main Nursery 4534 Center Road Avon, Ohio 44011-0299 Email: Toll Free: 866-934-4435 / Fax: 440-934-5826


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Better Job Costing for Landscape Companies

Avoid the 6 Deadly Mistakes By Mark Bradley

There’s probably no topic that’s more over-talked and under-delivered than job costing for landscape contractors. Every owner wants to know how they did on each job, and almost everyone agrees – you need to be doing job costing – but very few companies figure out how to follow through effectively. Sure, many are collecting information every day but: • Is the information getting used regularly? • Is the information getting entered and processed in the most efficient way possible? • And, ultimately, is it improving your results? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, chances are that your business is falling victim to one (or more) of the six deadly mistakes of job costing.

Deadly Mistake #1: Doing Job Costing In Your Head “We’re a small company. I know how we’re doing on our jobs.” While this may be true, this will only ever work if you want to stay small and you want to stay in the field. Owners who can’t get out of the field are their own worst enemy! While they keep all the information “up here” (pointing to head), everyone else in the company is completely dependent on them for all the answers to every who, what, when, where and why. Nobody knows how to do their job. Employees get frustrated because they never know how they’re doing. The owner is frustrated because they feel like they have to hold everyone’s hand every day to get the job done right. Even worse, if it doesn’t look like you’re doing job costing – tracking hours and costs and comparing them to how jobs are priced, your people won’t think being profitable is important.

24 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

Deadly Mistake #2: Working Without a Good Estimate A good estimate is essential for job costing for landscape companies. The estimate solves two critical problems: • It defines success for the job (the crew has x many hours to complete the work given a specific list of equipment). It’s critical that the owner and the crew are clear about how long this job should take. • It defines how time and costs should be tracked. In our estimates, each “phase” of the job is assigned a cost code. Our cost codes are a simple, standardized list of categories that we track revenue and costs against. That way, no matter what we name the work on the estimate (e.g., Front Gardens, Zen Garden, Front Gates Entrance Garden, Vegetable Garden), our bookkeeper knows exactly how to enter those costs in accounting (e.g., 1090-Softscapes). Without standardization from job-to-job, bookkeepers and crews have to guess how you want to track their time and costs. Some people make no effort to guess well and the results are predictably useless. Other people try their best to guess correctly, but if they’re entering information in areas that don’t line up with your expectations, the results are still useless. You will want to create a list of codes for your company so that every part of every job can be assigned to one standardized code. (See sample codes) continued on page 26

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Deadly Mistake #3: Too Complicated A complicated system is another mistake made by many of us. I know because we lived through this mistake for years. We tried to track small details for every task on every job. We wanted to know how much time every component of every job took… • How much time did it take to excavate the pad? • How much time did it take to form up the area? • How much time to install and tie the rebar? • How much time to pour the concrete? With all this information, we were sure to become much better at estimating, right? Not in my experience. Unless I was going to pay a timekeeper to stand over this job with a stopwatch, the level of detail was far too much for any foreman to actually track. The result should have been predictable. Crews ‘guessed’ at time on their timesheets. What came in at the end of the day wasn’t what actually happened in the field, it was what the foreman thought I wanted to see. They simply made actual hours as close to estimated hours as they could, filling in hours not by what actually happened, but by what the timesheet form said should be happening. The data was useless. On top of that, the complex time breakdowns meant things often got missed and forgotten. Tasks would have 0 hours applied to them frequently. That meant another task was over-estimated. More useless information. Keep it simple. Only bother tracking what’s reasonable to expect to get back from the field. It’s not reasonable to expect our field staff to stop what they’re doing every single time they change tasks to record the time, especially when a foreman is trying to manage 3 to 5 other people’s time as well! Keep your tasks general and you’ll get better, more useful information.

Deadly Mistake #4: Punch-clock for payroll. Handwritten logs for job costing. Visit 10 job costing contractors and 8 of them make this mistake. A time clock (or some timekeeping system) is used for payroll, while daily sheets are filled out by the foreman for job costing. In my experience, this lead to a lot of ‘missing hours’ and a whole lot of overhead time invested in trying to reconcile the two systems. Payroll and job costing should be the same system, not different systems. Otherwise, the information coming back is rarely the same. You’ll have 10 hours in the payroll system, but only 8.5 logged to job costing. Who’s paying for the 1.5 “missing” hours and where did they go? continued on page 28

26 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

Landscape Construction.......................Code Carpentry/Woodwork......................................................1000 Gas + Electrical................................................................1010 Hardscape Installations (Walks + Drives)..........................1020 Hardscape Installations (Walls).........................................1030 Landscape Design.............................................................1040 Landscape Lighting..........................................................1050 Pools + Spas......................................................................1060 Site Prep + Excavation......................................................1070 Sodding + Seeding............................................................1080 Softscape Installations......................................................1090 Warranty Work................................................................1100 Waterfeatures...................................................................1110 Irrigation......................................................Code Irrigation Installation.......................................................2000 Irrigation Service..............................................................2010 Irrigation – Startups + Shutdowns....................................2030 Landscape Maintenance.........................Code Chemical Apps.................................................................3000 Cleanups..........................................................................3010 Enhancements..................................................................3020 Fertilizing.........................................................................3030 Garden Maintenance........................................................3040 Lawn Maintenance...........................................................3050 Mulching.........................................................................3060 Pruning............................................................................3070 Snow + Ice........................................................Code Plowing + Deicing............................................................4000 Walkways/Shovelling........................................................4010 Removal + Relocation......................................................4020 Site Inspections................................................................4030 Overhead........................................................Code Accounting ......................................................................9000 Dispatcher........................................................................9010 Employee Training...........................................................9020 General Condition...........................................................9030 Human Resources ...........................................................9040 Landscape Design ............................................................9050 Mechanical.......................................................................9060 Nursery ...........................................................................9070 Office Administration .....................................................9080 Sales + Estimating ...........................................................9090 Shop + Yard Improvements..............................................9100

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continued from pg 26 Here’s how the scenario always plays out: The crew punches in first thing in the morning and works all day. They remember to clock in the moment they start work. Then they work all day and ignore their paperwork because it doesn’t affect them and/or their payroll. At the end of the day, before punching out, the foreman sits down and fills out the daily log, or job costing sheet, to the best of his/her memory. It has nothing to do with “memory” in reality… they are filling out time in the way that makes everything look like its going as expected. If they spent more time on one site, they’ll shave time off another to make the sheet look good. Everyone wants to show that they’re bringing in jobs on time… but they don’t want to look too good and have their expectations increased. When they’re done the paperwork, they clock out. There’s a few things wrong with this picture: You, the owner, have no idea whether these hours are actual job times or just times made to look like actuals. The latter is useless information and a waste of everyone’s time to track and enter it. Secondly, what gets written on the job costing sheets isn’t the same as payroll. All kinds of hours are showing up on the punch clocks that are “missing” from timesheets. Time in the AM, PM and between jobs “vanishes” from your job costing, but not from your payroll. If you want accurate data, you need to pay someone to sort through these differences and correct them. This is not an efficient use of overhead resources. You wouldn’t need a person to reconcile if job costing and payroll were the same system. Employees are fantastic at tracking their time correctly… just look at how well they track their hours on their paychecks. Make payroll and job costing the same system/form and make sure EVERY hour get allocated to something (it doesn’t have to be a customer job – it can be shop time, or deliveries, etc.) and your job costing information will be far more accurate and complete.

Deadly Mistake #5: Too Many Systems. Most companies already have everything they need to use for better job costing… their accounting software. Your costs need to get entered into accounting for proper bookkeeping. To reduce errors and time, the most efficient way to jobcost your landscape projects is to use your accounting software that you already own. Quickbooks and Sage 50 (formerly Simply Accounting or Peachtree) both do job costing… but most businesses don’t use it. Why not? It’s not because it doesn’t work – it’s because the company doesn’t have systems or processes in place to get the job costing data into accounting accurately.

Owners who can’t get out of the field are their own worst enemy! We’ve seen many companies who use several different sheets for job costing. We’ve done it ourselves. Crews fill out one sheet for payroll and other for job costing. This sheet goes to the owner, this one is used for billing, and then the office manager goes through and re-enters the information into a spreadsheet that goes back in the design file…. The same data is getting entered and re-entered several times over and even worse… often each one shows a different picture. Not only are you wasting too much time entering information, you can’t really trust any of the sources to be 100% accurate. Keep it lean and keep it simple. You don’t need information getting entered twice and three times in different systems. You need it to get entered once, correctly. We use our accounting because all costs must get entered there anyway. We couldn’t change the way Quickbooks did job costing, but we could change the way we did job costing to suit Quickbooks. Things got much easier (and leaner!) when we looked at changing our processes to suit our tools rather than using many different tools to suit our processes.

Deadly Mistake #6: No Feedback Back to the Crews. If you’re going to do job costing, share the results with your landscape crews. Without feedback, one of the most common frustrations of your good staff will include “We never know how we’re doing.” Your bad staff won’t care. Without feedback, you’re driving out your good performers and you’re giving your weak, unmotivated people a nice comfortable place to pickup a paycheck every other week. Share job costing information. Give a status update on each job at least each week… more often if your jobs are smaller. You’re not only keeping them in the loop, you’re showing your staff that being profitable is important. For the sake of everyone’s job, and everyone’s standard of living, it is.

Mark Bradley is the president of TBG Landscape (The Beach Gardener) and the Landscape Management Network (LMN). OLA is holding a 2-Day Workshop, “Build a Better Landscape Business” instructed by LMN on January 23 & 24. The workshop is hosted and sponsored by Ohio CAT. Go to for more information about Landscape Management Network and to www.ohiolandscapers. org for information about the upcoming workshop.

28 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association


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A Reminder For CDL Drivers In January of 2012, I told you of a change in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for CDL Drivers that beginning January 30, 2012 all CDL holders will need to self-certify their expected type of commercial driving to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Well, the deadline is now upon us.

Sandy Munley Executive Director Ohio Landscape Association

If you have not already self-certified, you MUST do so by January 30, 2014. If you do not, you will not be able to legally drive a CDL vehicle on or after January 30th and run the risk of losing your CDL privileges.

If you have not already self-certified, you MUST do so by January 30, 2014.

CDL drivers who drive interstate will have to submit a copy of their medical certification along with the form. If you are not subject to the federal medical requirements you must: certify that you are excepted; certify that you only drive intrastate (only in Ohio) and are subject to state requirements; or certify that you are excepted from state requirements, as listed in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4506.03(b)(1-10).

The Self-Certification Authorization form and the Medical Examiners Certificate can be submitted by mail, fax, e-mail, or delivered in person to a Regional Reinstatement Office or a Deputy Registrar (locations are listed online). We highly recommend that you keep proof that your documents were received.

It sounds confusing, but the form (BMV Form 2159) is pretty simple and self-explanatory. To make it easier for you, you can find additional details on the OLA website, We have also posted a link to Form 2159, a link to the Medical Certificate and one to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Frequently Asked Questions about this topic. You can also go to and look under BMV Online Services, “Commercial Driver License (CDL) Self-Certification� for the online application to self-certify. They also have a dedicated toll free number (855) 240-8844 to answer your questions about this matter.

This information was originally brought to my attention by Daryl Lengyel of CDL Training Consultants. He is one of our OLA Member Service providers and he does a fantastic job keeping OLA members up to speed on the current rules and regulations when it comes to driving commercial vehicles. And CDL Training Consultants has again brought this to my attention because they are getting a lot of questions about this as the deadline approaches. Remember your driver must have a CDL license to operate any combination of vehicles with a combined gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more. It is the rating that is important continued on page 32

30 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

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6 Klyn Nurseries

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32 Medina Sod Farms

13 Mentor Recycled

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OLA Annual Meeting November 17, 2011 Page 7

Sales Clinic

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6, 23 VanCuren Tree Service

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How To Set Goals For New Employees Page 32

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The Growing Concern x January 2014 x 31

Directions continued from pg 30 here. Be sure to check your vehicles and trailers for their weight rating, not what they are actually carrying on a given day. We want you to be legal, but most of all be safe!

Ohio grown proudly for over 50 years!

With the new year, I would like to welcome our new board members, Eric Brubeck, ASLA (Brubeck Design Studio), Adam Capicciano (Ohio CAT), Nathan Kowalsick (Western Reserve Landcare), and Marie McConnell (Lake County Nursery). I am sure that they will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the OLA.

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I hope that you might be inspired to get more involved with the Ohio Landscape Association by joining an OLA committee. Generally speaking, committee work is not a huge time commitment, but it is very helpful to us and a great networking tool for you. It is also the first rung on the ladder (so to speak) to becoming a future board member, if you have interest in that. Not all our committees have been very active over the last couple of years, but it is our goal to change that. Some of our committees have done exemplary work and we hope to use them as a model.

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let it snow. 32 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

CL A SSIFIED s For an up-to-date listing of all classified/help wanted ads, please visit OPENINGS - DESIGN/ARCHITECT/SALES + ACCOUNT MANAGER + SALES Moscarino Outdoor Creations an award winning design company, a leader in commercial lawn maintenance/snow management and has exceptional opportunities to join our team of professionals as we expand our service line. LANDSCAPE ACCOUNT MANAGER Responsibilities include managing a portfolio of landscape maintenance contracts, providing excellent customer service and personnel management, recommend enhancements, prepare proposals, develop and train employees and deliver quality services to ensure maintenance contract renewals. Applicants with background in landscape management or horticulture and the snow industry are preferred. This position also requires excellent organizational, leadership, communication, and time management skills.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN / SALESPERSON NEEDED Landscape professional needed for the position of landscape design / sales for an expanding landscape company & full service garden center. Position requires design skills, plant knowledge, organization, & communication skills. Ideal candidate will have a minimum of 2 years of experience and / or an associate degree in landscape design. Previous customer service or sales experience preferred. Must have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record. Offering competitive compensation. Send resume to or apply in person, M-F between 9 & 5 Graf ’s Landscape & Design A division of Graf Growers, 1015 White Pond Drive, Akron, Ohio 44320 330.836.2727 Drug Free Work Place

LANDSCAPE DESIGNER/ARCHITECT/SALES Seeking an industry professional with minimum 5 years landscape design/build and aggressive sales experience. Must have superb horticultural and construction knowledge as well as strong computer skills, including CAD (we currently use Dynascapes software). If you are update, energetic, computer savvy and love working with plants and hardscapes this is the dream job for you!!



We are a leader in the residential and commercial landscape construction industry that provides astonishing landscapes throughout our area.

Essential functions of this position include: • Generate sales by obtaining leads from industry and community resources including calling on prospective clients, gathering and analyzing the client’s needs and then providing up to date information on product services and pricing. • Deliver and follow up on bid packages to ensure that clients have enough information to make an informed decision.

Vizmeg Landscape Company is seeking a highly motivated Landscape Design and Sales Professional who has a strong desire to be part of our well established and leading landscape firm. We are looking for an aggressive sales person who is able to create a landscape design, present the concept and supervise the project.

Position Requirements Include: Conduct research on site. Prepare and manage drawings and presentation. Tally costs of labor and material. Communicate and translate design concepts through all phases of design to client. Prepare and manage teams. Represent Vizmeg Landscape with professionalism. Establish and maintain client relationships. Continually increase sales and clientele.

Requirements of this position include: • Relevant business to business commercial contract sales experience in the service industry. • Excellent oral and written communication skills. • Organized and able to manage time. • Proficient with computer software programs including MS Office suite. • Industry or local knowledge and contacts preferred.

Position Qualifications: Bachelor Landscape Architecture. 5 years of proven landscape sales experience. Excellent interpersonal, leadership and presentation skills. Excellence in CAD (Vector Works). 3-D Modeling (i.e.: Sketch-Up) a plus. Proven networking relationships. Excellence in Microsoft Office. Expertise in presenting information based on clients’ needs. Willing to travel to job sites

Compensation packages will be tailored for an experienced individuals. Valid Driver’s License Required. EOE/Drug and Smoke Free Workplace.

To Apply: Interested candidates should submit the following information to or under Careers: • Resume and Cover Letter • Portfolio with highlighted 5 best residential projects • Other materials, references or data that highlight your qualifications for the position.

Please email resume to: or apply online at www.

continued on page 34 The Growing Concern x January 2014 x 33

CL A SSIFIED s c o n t i n u e d For an up-to-date listing of all classified/help wanted ads, please visit OPERATIONS COORDINATOR


Vizmeg Landscape Company is seeking a highly motivated Operations Coordinator who has a strong desire to be part of our well established and leading landscape firm. We are looking for a self-motivating person who is able to organize schedules, communicate with team, develop relationships and schedule drivers, material and equipment.

Now hiring full-time experienced landscape maintenance, enhancement, and construction crew leaders. Pre-employment background check & drug screen required. Competitive pay. Benefits include medical, dental, 401(k) with company match. Applications accepted at Impullitti Landscaping, 14659 Ravenna Road, Burton, OH 44021, or email resume to

We are a leader in the residential and commercial landscape construction industry that provides astonishing landscapes throughout our area.


Position Requirements Include: Reviews and approves purchase order placement. Develops relationships with vendors. Negotiates pricing and seeks best quality and price combination. Identifies new product demands and schedules needs. Forecasts product need and replacement. Purchases material and supplies needed for landscape. issues and requests bid requests and reviews quotes. Schedules drivers to pick up material and deliver. Knowledge of job materials needed. Position Qualifications: Associates or Bachelor Degree in Horticulture or similar degree. 3 years of proven experience. Excellent interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills. Valid drivers’ license. Ability to work with all levels of the team. To Apply: Interested Candidates should submit their resume and salary requirements to or under Careers.

The Wolf Creek Company is looking for a Territory Manager for the NW Ohio area (from west side of Cleveland to Toledo). We are design/distribution company that has been in business for over 50 years in green industry wholesale distribution. We are a distributor of irrigation, landscape lighting, water feature, drainage, and allied green industry products. The territory has a mature client base and the right candidate would be responsible for servicing and maintaining the current client base, while creating new sales by expanding to new clients and/or expanding our other lines to current clients. Must be able to work and communicate well with current warehouse staff as well as product specialists and management. Must have the ability to do some design work or the ability to learn proper design techniques. Please send resume or email your interest to jtwardzik@


The Ohio Landscape Association is delighted to welcome the following new members to the association: REGULAR MEMBERS: All Scapes and Sizes, LLC

ASSOCIATE MEMBER: The Keenan Agency, Inc.


4609 Hunt Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45242 (513) 257-3141 Michael Barlion

6805 Avery-Muirfield Dr., Ste. 200 Dublin, OH 43016-7183 (614) 764-7000 Michael Keenan / Rick Bersnak

Secrest Arboretum 1680 Madison Ave. Wooster, OH 44691 (330) 464-2148

Penniman Brothers Landscaping PO Box 86 Conneaut, OH 44030 (440) 593-6879 Clint Penniman

34 x Official Publication of The Ohio Landscape Association

Paul Snyder Secrest Arboretum 1680 Madison Ave. Wooster, OH 44691 (330) 464-2148

STUDENT MEMBERS: Cuyahoga Community College: Andrzes Czarniecki James Francisco Catherine O’Connell Andrei Sandu Erik Zavarella

Tolles Career & Technical Center: Jess Maslar

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March 13, 2014 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Instructed by

Chris Pascoe Tri-R-Stone Held at


Garfield Heights, OH Sponsored and Hosted by

With the proper tools and the right skills, you can dress stone on the job and save money using age-old techniques. Join us for this hands-on clinic where you will learn rockfacing, cutting, dressing, coping, splitting, and tooling. You will learn the difference between sandstone and limestone, and their different varieties and grades that require different techniques; as well as the skills for handling barnstone.

Qualifies for 6 CEUs for Landscape Industry Certified

Chris Pascoe is a Master Stone Mason and has over 25 years of experience in the stone industry. He grew up and studied in England before traveling to the US to work on the Cathedral St. John The Devine in New York city.

To register online or to download a registration form, please visit and click on the Education page. REGISTER EARLY - class size is limited to only 24 participants and will sell out quickly! •

January 2014 Growing Concern  
January 2014 Growing Concern  

The Official Monthly publication of the Ohio Landscape Association