SYNKD South January|February 2023

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INDUSTRY LEADER Nate Moses | D’ASIGN SOURCE Guaranteeing Quality | SWA GROUP Leading the Way in Collaboration | LANDSCSAPE STUDIO Hollywood Haven | GUIDE Spotted Lanternfly Jan. | Feb. 2023 $6.99 USD SOUTH REGISTER FOR FEBRUARY 6–7, 2023, IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA

new year is here and with it comes fresh, new challenges and opportunities. This is the start of year three in our Southeast region and year one in our West region. Expanding to the other regions has been a milestone for us here, along with the rebrand in 2022 and we are excited to learn about other regions in the USA. Our yearly event, SYNKD Live, is approaching fast and we look forward to a successful EXPO and education event in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 6–7, 2023.

In this first South issue of 2023, we start with our Q+A section to see what the biggest issues in the New Year are from these leaders’ perspectives. What do you think? Send comments our way at Nate Moses, our industry leader in this issue, talks about his journey with Precision Landscape Management and how he thrives on the people side of the industry and wants to give back to help others. Our company profile on D’Asign Source also provides the roadmap to innovation. Franco D’Ascanio talks us through the inception of many other businesses to support the luxury


SYNKD 323 Polk St. Lafayette, LA 70501

MANAGING DIRECTOR Angelique Robb (337) 247–9497


Aimee Almaguer (337) 247–9337

EDITOR Cindy Whitt


Adevelopments in the Florida Keys and how challenges can develop into opportunities.

unique projects. The Greensmith was then born out of this need. Landscape maintenance, or rather management, integrated with the original design intent, will only lead to better project outcomes and elevate our potential as an industry.

Our education section has a variety of articles that range from interpersonal skills like emotional intelligence to a guide on spotted lanterfly and discussing budgets with clients. We also have information on a brand-new product entering the market as well as the Garden Trends Report for 2023.

Projects from Arkansas and Georgia illustrate why we need to be considering new ways of working in our industry—and using new products to solve environmental issues. In Arkansas, SWA Group transformed an automobile junkyard into a community asset that holds, treats and filters stormwater, but also created a program to connect landscape architects with maintenance personnel so they can manage the planting through more knowledge. In Georgia, Landscape Studio created an urban paradise through use of unique design and materials—but then saw a need for more detailed care of these


Erin Z. Bass


Anne Marie Fruge

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Published by © SYNKD

SYNKD is published six times a year and distributed to 5,000 qualified members of the green industry. Postmaster: Send address changes to 323 Polk St., Lafayette, LA 70501. SYNKD verifies information as much as possible. The views expressed by editorial contributors and the products advertised herein are not necessarily endorsements of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

From the team at SYNKD, we hope your new year starts off great and hope to see you in Atlanta, Georgia, February 6–7, 2023.

Cover image: ©D’Asign Source

www. synkd .io 3 January|February 2023
-Angelique From The Editor
INSIDE D’ASIGN SOURCE Page 16 Above: Colocasia Royal Hawaiian Waikiki Photo courtesy of ©Southern Living Plant Collection September|October 2022 4 synkd | our community @synkd.landscape @synkd_landscape @synkd-landscape our January | February 2023 Volume 1 Issue 3 inspirational raise the community works bar 08 10 13 News Industry News and Dates to Save Q+A What are the biggest issues facing the industry in 2023? Industry Leader Nate Moses Realistic Goal Setting for 2023 Deborah Cole Deborah Cole Connections Technologies for Irrigating Urban Landscape Damon Abdi LSU Ag Center Mini Interviews Fun questions from our audience 20 21 22 31 41 36 Hollywood Haven Landscape Studio Landscapers Guide to the Spotted Lanternfly Jay Worth SingleOps SYNKD Live Overview of our second national conference in Atlanta SOUTH FEATURE STORY DESIGN & BUILD COLLABORATION SWA Group Goes Above & Beyond to Integrate Maintenance Teams into the Development of Martin Luther King Jr. Park FEATURE STORY VISION TO REALITY Using Natural Stone as a Sculptural Element in Your Designs 26 @synkd_landscape For Latest Content, To View Digital Issues & To Find Out About Upcoming Events, Visit and/or follow us on these social media platforms: 38 INSIDE D’ASIGN SOURCE CONTENTS 16


Deborah Cole

As the founder and president of a commercial landscape firm with multiple locations throughout Texas, Deborah Cole has learned the importance of a people-centric leadership and communication. She now devotes herself full time to speaking, writing and consulting with a heavy dose of visual storytelling (photography) included.

Damon Abdi

Dr. Damon Abdi is an assistant professor in Landscape Horticulture with the Louisiana State University AgCenter. His horticultural career stemmed from working for residential and commercial landscaping and construction companies growing up. His research and extension interests are in developing sustainable landscaping that improves green spaces and water management across a variety of environments.

Jay Worth

Jay Worth is the marketing manager for SingleOps, which specializes in business management software for the industry. He brings to them over 20 years of experience in green businesses. He has done sales and marketing and supervised teams and now shares his knowledge widely in editorials.

Judson Griggs

Judson Griggs has had the good fortune of working with some of the best design/build companies in the country over his long career in the green industry. Through those experiences, he has been able to work in very diverse markets across the country. He knows what mistakes and pitfalls to avoid, and his experience over the years makes him a great resource.

Pam Dooley

Pam Dooley began working in the green industry at the age of 13, spending Indiana summers in cornfields before joining her grandfather at the local nursery/garden center. In 2005, Plants Creative Landscapes was born. In 2021, Pam expanded Plants Creative into the North Georgia mountains, opening a second location in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

Courtney Brown

Courtney Brown is an assistant account executive at Garden Media Group, a public relations firm that specializes in gardening. She is passionate about finding out what makes people tick on social media and loves designing and creating content on Canva.

www. synkd .io 5 September|October 2022 synkd | our community
45 47 48 50 Getting to the Real Budget Judson Griggs Harvest Landscape Consulting Emotional Intelligence Part 1 Pam Dooley Plants Creative Landscape Eco-Friendly Herbicide Monarch Chemicals 2023 Garden Trends Courtney Brown Garden Media Group
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Our yearly event is on for February 6–7, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia, at the COBB Galleria. This is the only national event that connects the sectors of design+build+maintain. For our audience of landscape architects, specifiers, designers, landscape construction, horticulture and land management professionals, we provide an EXPO with innovative products and services but also many educational sessions included in the ticket prices:

• Keynote speech by Jeff McManus—the launch of his new book: Cultivate

• Panel discussions on “Sustainability + Our Industry’s Part In It” and “Innovation + the Next Generation”

• Business topics (recruitment and retention, scaling your business, turning failure into success, employee-owned transition)

• Detailed education (automation, soil science, work smarter, lighting, irrigation, porcelain paving)

Recordings of the talks and educational sessions will be available after the event for anyone who cannot attend in person.


The inductees of the 2022 Green Industry Hall of Fame were announced this fall. The individuals nominated have made a significant impact or positive influence that assures the future of our industry in the lives of generations to come.

Once nominated, inductees are placed in the polls for voting. At the end of the year, the committee takes into consideration the votes and decides which candidates are inducted. The 2022 inductees are (from left to right) Perry Cardoza, David Cox, Richard Greenland, Janet Hartin, Steve List, Tim Nord, Victoria Phillipy, Katharine Rudnyk and Phil Steinhauer. January|February 2023 8 synkd | our community


Landscape Workshop continues to expand their footprint by acquiring Southeast Landscapes in Atlanta, Georgia. As one of the largest landscape companies in the U.S., the LW footprint includes all of Alabama and Tennessee and expands into parts of Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle.


The United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) ended in Montreal, Canada, on December 19 with a landmark agreement to guide global action on nature through to 2030. Representatives from 188 governments have been gathered in Montreal for the past two weeks for the important summit.

Chaired by China and hosted by Canada, COP 15 resulted in the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) on the last day of negotiations. The GBF aims to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems and protect indigenous rights. The plan includes concrete measures to halt and reverse nature loss, including putting 30 percent of the planet and 30 percent of degraded ecosystems under protection by 2030. It also contains proposals to increase finance to developing countries—a major sticking point during talks.

The stakes could not be higher. The planet is experiencing a dangerous decline in nature as a result of human activity. It is experiencing its largest loss of life since the dinosaurs. One million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades.


The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) released its 2022 Compensation & Benefits Report, which provides compensation and benefits-related statistics for landscape and lawn care companies. This report is presented in partnership with Aspire and is compiled from responses from 180 companies in more than 400 locations.

The report includes data on recruiting and retention, health care costs/ trends, retirement benefits, PTO and other leave and sales practices. The 2022 Compensation & Benefits Report costs $399 or $199 for NALP members.

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Photo courtesy of ©CBD & Photo courtesy by ©Landscape Workshop


As we head into 2023, there’s are few things the industry needs to look for. First, all the economic indicators seem to point toward some sort of an economic downturn or even a recession. If these indicators prove to be correct, your team can expect to see a downturn in new construction projects and enhancements.

I’ve never been one that likes to talk about problems. Instead, I like to talk about the positive outcomes and solutions to carry the industry through 2023.

If we do see an economic downturn, our industry should focus on recruiting people that may be looking for an industry that, in my opinion, has proven to be recessionand pandemic-resilient. Maintenance is a necessity in this country for commercial property owners and municipalities.

Langton group will focus a lot of its energy in the commercial and municipal space. Many procurement managers will try to convince our industry to decrease pricing, as they will argue they are needing to cut costs. I advise you talk to you renewals team or sales staff to combat that ask. We need to remind them that our industry has had major cost increases, and none of those costs are coming down for us in 2023.

Our labor pool has been stressed and held down in the past, but I urge the industry to remember we are needed.

Our labor pool deserves the same benefits as other professional industries receive. January|February 2023 10 synkd | our community
IN 2023?

Britt Wood

We expect 2023 to continue to bring strong demand for managed landscape and lawn care services. Industry companies are very resilient and have dealt well with the challenges of the last 12 months, including inflation, supply chain and labor shortages. Those pressures will continue by varying degrees into 2023. However, our members have shown the ability to mitigate those costs while still delivering value to their customers.

Inflation fears have varying effects across all industry sectors. They may affect some, like lawn care and commercial maintenan ce, a bit more than residential design-build services, which continue to show strong resistance to inflation pressures.

The industry faces climate challenges like droughts in the West and extreme weather, but the good news is that the work that in dustry companies do helps mitigate climate change. We are working to educate the public about the benefits managed landscapes provide and to focus on our industry’s positive impact on sustainability.

President of Association of Professional Landscape Designers New Milford, Connecticut

As a service-oriented industry, we find ourselves responding to issues beyond our control. In 2023, we face similar challenges and opportunities that presented themselves during COVID. Supply chain issues of hardgoods and plant material are present. Unlike some industries, where a manufacturer might increase production, plants are not widgets, and natural stone relies upon labor to harvest, dress and ship. We are also not strangers to labor shortages, impacting the implementation of the landscapes we design. Economic uncertainty looms large and might affect some clients’ decisions as to how and where to spend discretionary income. Living in a global economy brings with it introduced pathogens and insects that threaten the native and ornamental species we specify.

Despite these factors, we have increased opportunities to create thoughtfully designed, biodynamic and resilient landscapes, as the public has become acutely aware of the positive impact their home environment has on their physical and mental health.

Jeffrey Scott

CEO of Jeffrey Scott Consulting New Orleans, Louisiana

The biggest issue facing our industry in 2023 is the instability of the economy.

You must be prepared for all possibilities, for both inflation and deflation, for both labor market tightening and then loosening, for peak demands and sudden quiet in the market. Material supplies are loosening, but we will continue to see hiccups, especially as China’s economy continues with fits and starts.

Success in 2023 requires a nimble leadership team, with owners who spend enough time working “on” the business, with company leaders who are taking time to think, assess and proactively guide their teams. This requires everyone making use of real-time information.

The biggest long-term issue we will face in 2023 and beyond is the constant technological innovations, I.O.T. and market disrupters. As the old joke goes, “You may outrun the bear, but the guy with the faster sneakers will still outrun you.”

Stay on top of the trends, and staff your team with fast-thinking and technology-friendly leaders.

Flexible, informed and decisive are key traits in 2023.

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Growing up in the small town of Waterford, Michigan, Nate Moses learned early on in life the importance of hard work. His large family, including 11 siblings, never did without the essentials, but finances were tight. At the age of 10, his entrepreneurial spirit began to blossom when he was given the opportunity to cut his neighbors’ lawns for a small income. Little did he know at the time, but that experience would not only help establish his strong work ethic, but would also lay the foundation for a successful future in the landscaping industry.

At age 18, Nate left home and moved to Greenville, South Carolina, to attend college. He soon realized that formal education wasn’t for him. Seeking a new path, he began soul-searching and trying to figure out where his future would lead. Thinking back to his childhood, he remembered how much he enjoyed

working outside and being in nature, and it quickly became apparent that landscaping was the answer he was looking for.

On March 2, 2010, Precision Landscape Management officially opened its doors for business. Because he had to work a full-time job in a different industry to make ends meet initially, Nate started with just a few small residential and commercial accounts that he could manage in the evenings and on weekends. Eventually, he was able to quit his other job and start working at the company full-time.

According to Nate, the main focus during the first five years of the business was just getting the work done and doing it well, regardless of how large or small the project. Although lacking experience in sales and management, he knew how to work hard and would take on additional help as needed to be able to complete

www. synkd .io 13 January|February 2023
Nate Moses on Growing a Business & Lessons Learned Along the Way

larger jobs. With a small fleet of trucks and trailers operated out of his basement garage, he continued to turn out consistent, quality work. With word-ofmouth referrals being the only advertising and marketing utilized at that time, Precision began a period of rapid growth.

Due to the recovering economy and its budding reputation in the industry, the company doubled its revenue from $550,000 in 2015 to $1.1 million in 2016. Although there were major growing pains associated with how quickly the company grew, Nate says it “was a big learning experience for me to grow a company that quickly.”

From the outside looking in, Precision appeared to be very successful financially, but upon closer inspection, that wasn’t the reality at all. In fact, the company actually lost money in 2016, even with such a large revenue stream. At that point, Nate knew he had to decide if he wanted to continue investing and pushing to expand his company or call it quits.

After attending the Green Industry Expo that year, Nate left with restored inspiration and a shift in perspective. His eyes were opened to numerous possibilities of what his company could become on a larger scale. He feels that there is tremendous value in networking and sharing experiences with other companies.

somebody else out. One of the things that’s helped me so much in my growth as an entrepreneur is when other people have shared their story, and so if there’s anything I can do to continue to share my story and help other people out, that’s where my heart is, and I am so happy to continue a conversation,” he says.

Instead of continuing with a mindset focused on his own goals, Nate became inspired to build a strong team and focus on the collective goals that would outlast any personal aspirations. “I would say that January|February 2023 14 synkd | our community
“Anyone in the industry is willing to help
One thing you’ll find true about the landscape industry is we’re very welcoming , & we share a lot of information.

for me the most exciting part about business is the people side of it,” he explains. “Seeing other people learn and grow and take responsibility and provide better means and better opportunities for themselves, for their families and beyond.” This new approach motivated him to continue pushing through any difficulties the business faced with the determination and expectation that the company would succeed.

Although moving in the right direction and with a renewed sense of purpose, the company continued to make a minimal profit each year. Things would soon change late in 2019, however, when Nate discovered a book called Traction. The book helps small businesses get organized and develop important processes in order to operate as efficiently as possible. At the end of 2019, Precision’s revenue was $2.4 million. By maintaining mostly residential customers and offering a large variety of services, including designing, building, maintenance and lawn and plant care, Precision

Landscape Management has either met or exceeded its annual growth target each year since implementing the Traction principles. This year alone, they are expecting to bring in over $4 million in revenue.

With the continued financial success of the company, Nate is now looking for ways to invest back into his employees and create a workplace culture that supports personal and professional development. “Early on, what was particularly satisfying was doing good work and having customers be happy and satisfied with the end result,” he says. “While that still has a measure of satisfaction for me, what really keeps me excited and driving forward is seeing people that learn and grow, and so my core motivation is to continue to provide those opportunities for people to come into an organization, enjoy a good culture and grow within the team.” At Precision, teamwork does, in fact, make the dream work.

By having qualified people in leadership

positions, Nate’s role at Precision has evolved over the last few years. Since his natural strengths are in sales and finance instead of operations, he delegates the operational responsibilities to his competent management team, while he functions as the sales manager and CEO. In addition to these roles, Nate has also done some consulting, coaching and teaching in the industry and participates in a Jeffrey Scott peer group to help advance his own leadership skills.

“I would say, ever since 2016, I’ve really made it a point to try to meet people that lead incredible companies,” he says.

Nate’s ability to adapt to and overcome the challenges associated with being a business owner speaks volumes about his commitment to his trade, employees and customers alike. With him at the helm and the amazing team of employees working with him, Precision Landscape Management will continue to be a positive presence in the landscape industry for many years to come.

Get In Touch With...

Nate Moses

CEO of Precision Landscape Management, LLC

Phone: (864)729–0116


www. synkd .io 15 January|February 2023 synkd | our community
I attribute some of my growth as a leader to the friendships that I’ve developed in the industry



The Evolution of D’Asign Source Over 62 Years

Family-owned and operated D’Asign Source has evolved over the past 62 years from a small cast stone business to a fully turnkey design/build firm that offers architecture, engineering, construction, interior design, electronic integration and landscape architecture services in the Florida Keys. Brothers Tony, Franco and Amedeo D’Ascanio are the second generation to lead the multi-division company, along with six members of generation three helping to grow the business. The portfolio includes luxury home projects, renovations and outdoor environment transformations.

D’Asign Source clients enjoy the advantages of working with a design firm

that shares knowledge and experience between its divisions, as well as across the multiple generations working as one team. Cooperation between services, coordination of project flow and singular accountability give clients the confidence that their investment is in good hands.

Franco says, “Our customers who have hired star architects and star contractors in the past for their other homes tell us how hiring the best of everyone doesn’t necessarily result in the finest finished product.” The handoff between architecture, interiors, landscape architecture and the contractors that handle each can leave big gaps, misunderstandings and a lack of accountability, which can lead to less than

perfect results and costly overruns. Franco says, “We have to make sure those interfaces are correct and that one project flows to the next, not only in timing, but also in functionality, quality and aesthetics. That’s our advantage. Our in-house capability to perform and manage the whole project, which is much better than incredible design with rough handoffs,” says Franco.

Franco recalls one of these “rough handoffs” from the earlier days of the D’Ascanio family’s business. In the early 1980s, he and his brothers were admiring one of their latest projects—the architecture and construction were beautiful, having evolved beyond the typical boxy cement structures common to the Florida Keys at that time. “But we had the same half a dozen plants as all our neighbors, because we had subbed out the landscaping. The landscaping was not January| February 2023 16
Franco D’Ascanio

keeping up with the rest of the company,” he says.

They started searching for more interesting plants, but they couldn’t find enough of what they wanted. Franco says, “When we get involved, we get involved deep, so we started our own nursery.” Today, D’Asign Source Botanicals is a wholesale nursery that covers 20 acres in Palm Beach Florida, providing a palette of over 500 species of specimen palms, cycads and other rare tropical plants to supply D’Asign Source projects and other landscape architects and contractors to work with.

Another area where the D’Ascanio family has gotten involved deeply is in the designing of high-performance outdoor audio and lighting systems. With the opening of a 25,000 square-foot design center in 1999, they began not only using products for their own projects, but also selling home furnishings, fixtures and finishes along audio, and lighting systems to fellow contractors, designers and the

Testing Products in the Salt Chamber

public. Franco says, “We found we were replacing a lot of outdoor products within a year. The durability, reliability and performance of outdoor products was dismal. We’re in a harsh environment in the Florida Keys, and the manufacturers said, ‘Sorry, no warranty, you’re in a coastal environment.’”

Audio Prototypes

Digging in deep again, they started designing, engineering and testing materials, coatings and finishes, which led to several years of research and development informed by multiple generations of professional experience with the sand, salt, heat and hurricanes of south Florida. Then, in partnership with the Zimmerman Family of New Jersey, who brought manufacturing and distribution experience to the table, Coastal Source was created as a source for high performance durable outdoor audio and lighting equipment built to defy the elements. Franco says, “We’re manufacturing with protection and weathering systems built in to make them not only perform the day we install, but for long periods thereafter.”

www. synkd .io 17 January| February 2023
| our
Photos courtesy of ©Folland Photography and ©D’Asign Source BREAKWATER LANDSCAPE DOCK

Franco, who has been building speakers and lighting systems since his early teens, knows the inner workings of the equipment. The products are made of the highest-quality materials and durable in all harsh conditions, which has made them popular beyond the coast with over 1,000 dealers across the United States.

The products are all plug and play with air and watertight connections that save time on installation and increase reliability and performance. They are built to last, which not only reduces the hassle for clients but is a return to a standard in manufacturing that is often abandoned in the current throwaway culture of cheaper-to-replace products. January| February 2023 18 synkd | our community
The compliment I hear most often is that Coastal Source products are fun , which means they are enjoyable & profitable to sell, demonstrate, install & maintain.

High-quality products combined with full-service design is very attractive to D’Asign Source clients who are typically investing in a second, third or fourth home, a destination where the D’Asign teams have taken care to create spaces that draw people out into the entirety of their property. Franco says, “Some of these properties are large. If not executed correctly, people just stay right around the house or in the house. So, we create micro-climates—from amazing pools and outdoor living areas to tropical, shady rainforests, exotic fruit and flower gardens in protected areas.”

Every other year, D’Asign Source organizes the “Palms In Paradise” tour

where invitees tour several estate properties and clients share the stories of their homes and gardens. D’Asign Source’s seamless integration of services and experience-driven vision give clients confidence in their choice to invest in the precarious beauty of the Florida Keys.

Get In Touch With...

D’Asign Source

Marathon, Florida Phone: (305) 743–7130

www. synkd .io 19 January| February 2023 synkd | our community


Deborah Cole Offers Advice On Sticking To Your Personal & Business Goals In The New Year

This year will come a’ roaring into existence with the same excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm that always accompanies a brilliant new year. We eagerly meet the chance to redeem slips and trips of the past 12 months on January 1 with a sigh of relief that the past is in the past.

We are conditioned to make new resolutions and do goal setting with each new year. The challenge of viewing the future and planning for it is just what we do as responsible business owners. But can we truly commit to making these intentions a reality? Can 2023 be different?

productivity or grow sales must be a solid part of our goal setting. There must also be an easy method for tracking and monitoring progress. These are the pieces that are the least fun and, at the same time, most critical.

The biggest obstacle to achieving success of well-laid plans is not external but comes from within ourselves. Can we set those realistic goals or intentions and be as diligent about monitoring our progress as we navigate through the year? For example, we may be determined to stay focused on our target niche market, which we know yields positive results; however, this resolve may go out the window. We feel the lure of that bright and shiny new sale that may appear. We absolutely KNOW that our sweet spot for peak performance is in the residential, high-end design/build market, but then the phone rings and there is the enticement of a chance to pursue a commercial project in our back yard. Commitments to our niche clients fly out the window at the lure of a new opportunity.

your plan. This does not mean that you never welcome growth opportunities or chances to expand your portfolio. But those expansions come when it is a part of the plan.

In losing those 10 pounds of Christmas cheer, you do not deny yourself enjoyable food; conversely, you choose better food choices and better health for yourself. As you select for a better you or a better business, you empower yourself on so many other levels as well. You model resolve and commitment for those who work with and for you. When you have shared goals and objectives, others observe your commitment and learn from you.

This can be the year you keep your goals and solutions simple and maintain focus on sticking to them 110 percent. Challenge and monitor yourself and also include a friendly watchdog or pack of watchdogs to review progress along with you. Get feedback and graciously accept it. You’ve got this. Bring on 2023.

Successful outcomes can be ours if what we incorporate into our goal setting and resolutions is a clear plan for accountability and follow-through along the way. Losing that holiday 10 pounds gained must include a solid plan for making it happen. And, in a similar fashion, a clear, step-by-step plan to increase the company’s bottom line, improve

This year, 2023, should be the year of letting go of the allure of venturing off into areas that do not serve us, our business or our customers. Let go of being enticed by the bright and shiny possibilities … unless those have been included in your year’s targets. The word “no” is actually a “yes” within our business model. When you decline an “out of left field” business proposition, you are actually recommitting and staying focused on

About Deborah Cole

Deborah Cole is the founder of a commercial landscape firm with multiple locations throughout Texas. She now devotes herself full-time to speaking, writing and consulting. January|February 2023 20 synkd | our community



Irrigating the urban landscape is a delicate art, with each site bringing unique nuances that require consideration. A shady site tucked between buildings will almost certainly be less water-demanding than a landscape bed facing the sun’s full force. Plantings in lowlying areas may not need supplementary irrigation at all; however, a container arrangement will demand water daily. What about finding an accessible water source in an isolated landscape location? These are crucial considerations when irrigating the urban landscape. With a range of tools, design practices and a little creativity, irrigating the urban landscape can turn a trouble into a triumph.

Begin by applying the right amount of water. How much is that exactly? Do you even need water? Using a soil/substrate moisture sensor can help answer those questions. A portable probe sensor can measure

numerous locations in real-time, and you can leave a sensor semipermanently in the ground/container to measure soil drying and wetting fluctuations over a longer duration. Depending on your soil type and plant material, irrigation decisions can be made more efficiently. With the right sensors and equipment, irrigation can even be automated.

Sourcing water in an urban landscape can be challenging. Consider “leaning into” the vast impervious surfaces found in this type of environment. Rooftop runoff water can be harvested in storage tanks, providing a sole or supplementary irrigation source for your urban landscape. Bypassing the storage of rooftop runoff entirely is an option. Instead, designing gutter and drainage systems to provide water directly to planter boxes or landscape beds during storm events can keep your plants hydrated and relieve pressure on stormwater drainage systems simultaneously.

Tree planting in a remote location?

Consider using a tree watering bag. Simply attach the apparatus around the trunk of a tree, fill the bag with water and the water will seep out slowly. This way, water will have time to infiltrate the soil and properly hydrate your tree. Ensure that bags are not left on the tree for too long or the risk of disease increases. To be safe, fill up the bag, let it drain and remove it until it is needed again. This works best when establishing new tree plantings in the landscape.

Irrigating the urban landscape bears unique challenges, but with the right tools and ingenuity, a creative, watersustainable landscape can be the result.

Get In Touch With...

Damon Abdi, Phd.

Assistant Professor of Landscape Horticulture at LSU AgCenter


www. synkd .io 21 January|February 2023 synkd | our community
Damon Abdi Explains How To Get Creative With Urban Irrigation Systems ROOFTOP DRAINAGE INTO PLANTER BOX IN NEW ORLEANS, LA ROOFTOP WATER COLLECTION TANK AT THE STATE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF GEORGIA TREE WATERING BAG IN COLUMBIA, MARYLAND Photo courtesy ©Dan Johnson, Photo courtesy ©Damon Abdi Photo courtesy ©Cameron Cook


Carlos Garcia Jeremiah Jennings

Director of Operations, Crabapple Landscape Experts Alpharetta, Georgia

Owner, Growing Green Landscapes Trussville, Alabama

What inspired you to get into the industry?

The majority of my male family members have been in the industry since the ‘90s.

What’s the best part of your job? Training and teaching the new generation, especially being bilingual in the southeast part of the country. I like to show the Spanishspeaking teams that they indeed have a voice and it’s OK to share their opinion.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

I haven’t had an opportunity to travel the world yet, but the castle in Mexico City was amazing!

What would you blow your money on?

My dream has been to start an organization where we can help elderly or sick homeowners landscape their homes. Lots of people can’t maintenance their home, and I would like to provide cleanups at no charge.

MiniWhat advice would you give to someone entering the green industry?

It can be tough in the beginning, but don’t give up. After some time, it will be second nature. The industry needs leaders, and anyone can have the opportunity by working hard.

What inspired you to get into the industry?

I had a good work ethic and didn’t know exactly what I wanted to pursue with my life. I worked in my business for three years before purchasing it from my boss. Now, I’m thankful I have the opportunity to create my own future with both income and lifestyle.

What’s the best part of your job?

Creating my own schedule and helping clients’ dreams come to reality in their landscape.

What advice would you give to someone entering the green industry? Raise your prices.

What’s the one thing that would make the industry better?

More unity, not so many people trying to underbid and look at each other as competition.

Who do you most admire in the industry? Mike Andes

What’s the key to great design? Constant communication about what the client wants!

What are you most proud of?

Growing my business and providing for family, while also helping other business owners. January|February 2023 22 synkd | our community

Paul Jamison Angelique Robb

Host, Green Industry Podcast Atlanta, Georgia

What inspired you to get into the industry?

I got into the lawn and landscape industry in 2011 out of a desperate need to make some money. I started mowing lawns and eventually added landscape enhancements to my toolbelt. Over time, I fell in love with providing these services.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job as host of the Green Industry Podcast is seeing small business owners take their businesses to the next level.

What’s the one thing that would make the industry better?

If business owners charged higher prices, it would make the industry better. A lot of new landscape companies don’t truly understand the overhead it costs to run a profitable business and their prices are too low, creating a negative ripple effect industry-wide.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my podcast, the Green Industry Podcast. We have over 870 episodes, and the information we have shared throughout the years on the show has helped a lot of business owners grow their profits and better their relationships and lives.

Managing Director, SYNKD Lafayette, Louisiana

What inspired you to get into the industry?

Loving construction and design, I realized that I had great ideas to improve or modify outdoor spaces to solve problems. I love that this industry is the bridge between the built environment and nature and want to encourage more people to spend time outside in beautifully designed spaces.

What’s the best part of your job? Always learning about better ways of construction and staying on top of the newest products and services.

What’s the one thing that would make the industry better?

More connection between the landscape architects, designers, specifiers, landscape construction, horticulture and landscape management. I do see lots of progress toward this and I get really excited to see how we can all contribute to build the future of our industry.

What is your favorite karaoke song? “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited?

Vietnam. It has a great mix of chaotic cities with beautiful countryside and amazing people.

www. synkd .io 23 January|February 2023 synkd | our community
Want To Be Featured In Our March | April 2023 Issue? Scan the QR Code Below! To Be Involved In Other Ways, Contact Us Through Our Website: contact-us
based quarries and fabrication facilities,
more about
advanced North America
contact a Coldspring representative at 800.328.5040 or visit

SWA Group Goes Over & Above to Integrate Maintenance Teams into the Development of An Urban Park

Aproject by SWA Group demonstrates how infrastructure can be designed to enhance the ecological value of a city and the lives of its inhabitants. The international landscape architect firm led the transformation of a former brownfield site on flood-prone land into an urban park for a community in Conway, Arkansas.

Using local and federal grants awarded to the city, SWA designed and coordinated with Crow Group to build the two-acre urban park named for Martin Luther King Jr. with a central flexible green space, pollinator gardens, a permeable plaza, an amphitheater and a children’s playground, which is connected by a quarter-mile walking path.

In addition to its recreational uses, the park shows how low-impact development and green infrastructure ideas work with nature to manage rainwater using techniques to slow, filter, infiltrate and evaporate runoff in the area. The project made it possible to store 1.5 million gallons of stormwater runoff after rains.

SWA and engineering partner Gavin Smith used a soft approach with permeable hardscapes, vegetated living walls, bioswales and rain gardens to slow stormwater. The technique also improves water quality by utilizing a water treatment train to reduce the pollutants from urban stormwater. The treatment train sends water through the permeable paving into a series of rain gardens ending at the central bioswale, which acts as a daylit creek.

SWA team member and landscape designer Sarah Fitzgerald explains how they worked with the city of Conway and local native plant society, the Arkansas Master Naturalists, in choosing suitable plant materials for the location. An estimated 80 percent of the plants used are native.

www. synkd .io 27 January|February 2023
Cost: $1.5 million Build Time 18 months Size: 2 acres PROJECT DETAILS

“The city of Conway was pretty up front with us when we involved them in the design process early on,” she says. “The thing that hopefully will make this project successful in the long run is that the local native plant society weighed in on the planting palette and is invested in the park’s maintenance success.”

Native plants were selected to enhance the park and provide benefits to pollinators and wildlife, optimize carbon sequestration and work with their aesthetic goals. Keeping in mind that maintenance crews need to understand how to take care of them to make the investment worthwhile, Sarah says her designs are flexible.

“We tried to create beds that mix two or three different plants, so they could fill their ecological niches as they want to,” she says. “I often feel that part of my job as a designer is to create legible frames that communicate intention, but the design is flexible enough that things can change and move.”

The city’s Public Works Department asked SWA to design a training manual for their public works team so they would know how to care for the native plants. The team created detailed manuals with maps of the park, where to find the plants, photos of how each one should look and how to prune them. January|February 2023 28
| inspirational works
Sarah Fitzgerald, Landscape Designer, & Hank Thomas, Project Manager

The team also developed signage for guests that highlights the native plants and explains the benefits of watershed stewardship and the low-impact designs used throughout the park. What was once unused space in Conway is now a vibrant urban park with a big ecological impact.

www. synkd .io 29 January|February 2023 synkd | inspirational works
Awards (nominations, shortlists and wins): Texas ASLA Merit Award (2021, awarded) American Planning Association Arkansas Chapter Achievement in Design Award University of Arkansas Alumni Design Awards City of Conway “Achievement in Design” Award
We really have to invest in training to change our attitude toward the people who maintain our designs & recognize them as stewards of the places we create.


Project Objective

Demonstrate low impact development/ green infrastructure techniques in a floodprone, one-block area in downtown Conway. To educate the public about the methods and how they can enhance water quality.

Design Outcomes

1.5 million gallons of water temporarily stored during rain events. Green infrastructure techniques on display include a reconstructed daylit stream, rain gardens, permeable paving and vegetated walls.

Some Standout Plants Include:

Schizachyrium scoparium–Little Blue Stem

Panicum virgatum–Shenandoah Switchgrass

Echinacea purpurea–Purple Coneflower

Amsonia hubrichtii–Arkansas Blue Star

Liatris spicata–Blazing Star Coreopsis lanceolate–Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Asclepias incarnata–Swamp Milkweed

Chamaecrista fasciculata–Partridge Pea

Lobelia cardinalis–Cardinal Flower

Achillea millefolium–Yarrow

Myrica pusilla–Dwarf Wax Myrtle

Callicarpa americana–American Beautyberry Aesculus pavia–Red Buckeye

The Team

SWA Design team:

• Leah Hales–Principal, Lead Designer

• Hank Thomas–Project Manager

• Sarah Fitzgerald–Designer

• Alejandra Hinojosa–Design Research

• General Contractor–Crow Construction Austin Foshee–Project Manager

Get In Touch With...

Sarah Fitzgerald, ASLA

Associate at SWA Group Phone: ( 972)677–2416 January|February 2023 30 synkd | inspirational works
Contact us today for more information
1-800-719-1996 |



Landscape Studio Created A Modern Outdoor Entertaining Space for Homeowners in Atlanta

Landscape Studio created a modern outdoor entertaining space for homeowners in Atlanta

A family in Atlanta, Georgia, wanted to transform their back yard into a place for entertaining, so they contacted Landscape Studio to turn their dreams into a reality.

Owner Adam Ardoin has a unique approach to the first call with a client. He asks how they want to use the space rather than what elements they want. He says understanding how they want the space to look and feel ensures the clients will end up with a place they will use.

www. synkd .io 31 Janaury|February 2023
Project Value: $300,000 Build Time 12 months (design) + 6 months (build) Size: 5,000 sq. ft. PROJECT DETAILS

Beginning of the renovations

These clients knew they wanted a pool but left the rest up to Adam and his crew. The client had added a primary bedroom suite to the house with large accordion doors that opened to the back yard. So, Adam and his team developed a plan around that space. The design included a tiered deck leading from the primary suite to the pool, flanked by a 28-foot firewall in the sightline of the bedroom.

“The reason for the big fireplace is that it acts as another wall to their bedroom when they open the door. So, in theory, you have the bedroom, the pool and then the fireplace wall, and that becomes one big room so they can lay in bed and have that fireplace on and kind of just live inside and outside,” he says.

Adam’s crew had not installed such a large fireplace at the time, so there was

some trial and error with installation, but the experience taught him skills he could use for future projects.

They installed a covered structure with frosted panels to provide shaded seating by the pool. The yard is enclosed with the same style of glass panels to keep the area feeling open, which was another new approach for them.

“There are some power lines behind the pool and homes on the other side, so we didn’t want the project to feel closed in with a bunch of big plant materials,” he says. “So that’s why we did those frosted glass panels. It still lets the light in and still gives you privacy, [but] doesn’t take up a lot of room and adds to the contemporary Hollywood style.”

Most project reveals are not like they are January|February 2023 32 synkd | inspirational works
Photo courtesy of ©Greintime Productions

on television. Clients see the work coming together each day and are along for the ride with the team. But Adam got to see the reactions of their friends and family when the client held a party to show off the finished project.

“Those are the folks that are really like, ‘oh, my gosh, this is amazing,’” he says. “I get the satisfaction of watching as the party happens and seeing how the space is used from inside to outside.”

Adam started Landscape Studio in 2010 with a focus on design and installation but recently expanded to maintenance after seeing a need for it. Many of his clients would come to him with questions on how to care for their new spaces because they could not find knowledgeable crews on their own.

Adam knew the best way to ensure projects lasted was with the proper maintenance, so he asked a current employee to head up the new company, The Greensmith.

Adam says their approach to design has not changed since adding maintenance to

www. synkd .io 33 Janaury|February 2023
synkd | inspirational works
Photo courtesy of ©Greintime Productions FORMAL LAWN ARBOR & FROSTED GLASS

their roster of services, but they have seen the benefits of being involved in each of the design, build and maintain sectors.

“Now that we’re doing maintenance, we realize what works and doesn’t work long-term,” he says.

Get In Touch With...

Adam Ardoin

Owner of Landscape Studio Group

Phone: (817) 306–7111

Email: Phone: (404) 556–8691 January|February 2023 34
inspirational works
Who Should Attend? What’s at the Expo? Landscape Architects Innovative products & services to be more efficient SYNKD Awards Continuing Education (included in ticket) Panel discussions & talks with industry leaders Specifiers Design & Build Decision Makers Landscape Business Owners Commercial & Residential Land Management Landscape Professionals Who Want Solutions for the Future! THE FUTURE OF OUR INDUSTRY IS AT Register at The ONLY National Landscape Expo That Connects The Design + Build + Maintain Sectors. EXPO + Education = $500 Value for ONLY *If Booked Online $150 at the Door $99 F ebruary 6–7, 2023 COBB Galleria Atlanta, Georgia

Look Who’s Speaking at

11 September|October 2022 Register at
Jeff McManus Brandy Hall Jay Worth Joel Northrup Malcolm Miller Jim McCutcheon Angelica Norton Mike Haynes Deborah Cole Dr. Anna Paltseva Paul Jamison Kelly Dowell Joe Langton Mario Camberdella
Chief Cultivate Officer at Jeff McManus Group
of Shades of Green Permaculture
Manager for Single Ops CEO of Deep Lawn CEO of HighGrove Partners Founder of Land Form Design Group, Inc. Principal at Open Envelope Studio Founder of The Loving Companies Owner of
Deborah Cole Connections Assistant Professor at UL Lafayette
Founder & CEO of ServeScape President of LangtonGroup Podcast Host for Green Industry Podcast Visit our website to see the schedule of events
Owner of Keldo Digital


The versatility of natural stone as well as its longevity provides a sustainable solution to creative client requests. Coldspring USA gives us some project examples of what they have created.

Alexander Lofts Art Park

Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, Alexander Lofts Park is an open space for informal neighborhood gatherings and passive activities. This plaza creates a featured amenity for visitors and local residents alike. A sculptural seating piece made of laminated natural stone slabs acts as a rain garden, managing stormwater. The project uses all native stone materials and drapes these materials across the site to create a wavelike form, referencing the local geology of the Florida peninsula.

The bench is sculpted mostly from limestone, with a color palette containing shades of cream, gold and grey. Slivers of anodized aluminum were strategically

placed to prevent skateboarders and bikers from scratching the sculpture. Along with its smooth flowing form, the sculptural bench evokes images of the sand and waves of Florida.

The Epic II 7th Floor Terrace

Straddling downtown Dallas’s eastern border with Deep Ellum, the new Epic development represents a large-scale offering of modern office leasing space in Texas. The Epic II Tower is the second tower

Natural Stone as a Sculptural Element in Your Design

to complete, and its seventh floor’s footprint is an ideal location for outdoor terrace space.

Landscape architecture firm Hocker selected Rockville White® granite for use as the primary material for the terrace flatwork. Capable of withstanding weather and human interaction elements, granite excels in all types of situations due to its hardness and resistance to wear. The design utilized rectangular 5x2-inch, 6x2-foot-thick pavers on pedestals for the east terrace. On the west terrace, the dimensions were stretched to 6X2 feet and 6 inches, with pieces having splayed cuts to form their parallelogram format. With flatwork defined, the architect then focused attention on further developing the east and west feature elements.

On the east terrace, the feature element utilized cubic granite blocks to retain soil and create areas of planted landscaping. These blocks follow a serpentine footprint January|February 2023 38
Photo courtesy ©Millicent Harvey Photography

and have varying heights and tier levels to yield a flowing and random appearance.

For the smaller west terrace, there was a desire to share material types but to utilize them differently. Here, the terrace is partially covered by a trellis and includes one large stone feature. The feature changes configuration around its perimeter where it serves as a seating surface, houses a gas-burning firepit and functions as a retaining wall for planted landscape.

Turn to the River

The community in Terre Haute, Indiana, had a vision—to reconnect their downtown with the river that runs through it. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of local leaders, a nonprofit arts organization, one artist and one of the leading natural stone suppliers in North America, that vision became a reality.

The project, Turn to the River, is an ambitious mission to connect the downtown with the Wabash Riverfront area through public art, new pathways and rethinking the use of spaces. The project includes a

remodeled plaza and a spectacular black granite sculpture. The sculpture, created by artist Brad Goldberg, is positioned between the Vigo County Courthouse and Terre Haute City Hall. It incorporates the beautiful and versatile Mesabi Black® granite provided by Coldspring and includes a carved abstraction of the Wabash River Valley and pools in which the water falls at both ends of the artwork.

www. synkd .io 39 January|February 2023

shipped in to create two large portal entrances with leaf-inspired openings and seating areas, ensuring that the entrances would be eye-catching and in scale with the environment. Over 8,250 cubic feet of Kenoran Sage granite in natural and thermal finishes was used to create the two entry portals, standing at 16 feet tall and 20 feet tall, respectively. The project was successfully completed and dedicated in November 2019.

Get In Touch With...

Bryce Kock

Phone: (830) 730–6765 Email:

Spring Creek Nature Area

Directly across from the fast-growing, lively atmosphere of CityLine development in Richardson, Texas, Spring Creek Nature Area consists of 180 acres of virgin old-growth hardwood forest, looping trails and scenic creek views. With an interest in preserving a rare, natural open space within the heart of a dynamic development corridor, the city of Richardson sent out a request for qualifications to design two visually enticing entrances to mark the separate pedestrian entrances.

Together with DCBA Landscape Architects, Brad Goldberg, artist of Brad J. Goldberg, Inc., submitted his credentials and was selected to work with the City on the entry portals. Goldberg envisioned a visually engaging natural stone design, viewable from surrounding roadways and development that would complement the beauty of the surrounding nature. Each entry point would consist of about 20,000 square feet of working area, placing importance on preserving the majority of the existing trees and landscaping.

Goldberg recommended granite to the city for the nature park because of its durability and maintenance-free elements.

The project was no small feat. Massive quarry blocks with drill marks intact were January|February 2023 40

SPOTTED LANTERNFLY A Guide For Landscapers

Jay Worth On What to Know About Spotted Lanternflies

Contrary to the name, the lanternfly isn’t along with cicadas, hoppers, aphids and “true bugs.” SLF is classified as

Tabout this pest, how you can help your customers and how to make a profit.

History in the U.S.

The spotted lanternfly ( Lycorma delicatula discovered in the U.S. in 2014 in eastern Pennsylvania. It’s believed that egg masses were transported into the U.S. via a shipment of stone in Philadelphia (more likely slate for landscaping than gravel).

Since being identified in 2014, aggressive efforts from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to slow the spread of the spotted lanternfly (SLF) were enacted. Quarantine measures have been in place for impacted (and neighboring) counties for years, and a public relations campaign was launched to raise awareness among Pennsylvania residents.

Native Range, Life Cycle and Behaviors

The spotted lanternfly is native to China, India and Vietnam . It also spread to Korea and Japan years before it arrived in the US, so reports that it arrived from China directly are unverifiable.

It feeds on plants using needlelike mouth parts, piercing the bark of a plant and sucking out the sap. It processes that sap inefficiently and secretes a watery substance filled with the sugars from the tree. This secretion is called “honeydew.” (This is not unique to the spotted lanternfly; aphids and other pests with piercing/sucking mouthparts also

underwings. They have black and yellow bodies (similar to a bee but without the fuzz) and large red eyes.

The first instar can emerge as early as 240 Growing Degree Days (GDD) or as late as 1,174. Adults emerge between 1,696 and 3,232 GDD. Shortly after emergence, they’ll begin to mate and lay eggs. Eggs are laid with a waxy covering that makes treating them with an insecticide difficult. This means first emergence is usually in spring and adult emergence in the summer for most markets.

When feeding in high enough numbers, the sugars in the honeydew will begin to ferment. You’ll walk onto a property with a high SLF population, and it smells like rotting fruit.

The life cycle is comprised of four instars before adulthood. The first three are nearly identical in appearance; they’re black bodies with white, polka-dot-like spots. The only noticeable difference is the size.

The fourth instar is much larger and has a black body with prominent red markings and maintains those white spots. Adults have gray-spotted wings and red

SLF will continue to lay eggs all the way up until you get consistently freezing overnight temperatures, which kill off the adult population. Egg masses are laid on almost anything; trees, natural stones found in the landscape and firewood are obvious. But SLF will also lay eggs on manmade objects; tires, the wheel wells of vehicles, the sides of RVs and railcars have all seen SLF egg masses.

Its preferred host plant is the Ailanthus altissima , commonly known as the “Tree of Heaven” or sometimes “Chinese sumac.” It was assumed for a long time that SLF needed the Tree of Heaven to complete its reproductive cycle. However, it’s proven to be incredibly adaptable.

In the U.S., it’s begun to feed on and reproduce using other trees. Anything with relatively high sugar content in the

www. synkd .io 41 January|February 2023 synkd | raise the bar

sap is at risk; fruit trees (ornamental and agricultural), grapes and hops are targets. In the landscape, maples (especially sugar and red maples) are vulnerable. I’ve observed feeding on birch, and I’ve had coworkers observe feeding on tulip poplars.

First, you should scrape egg masses. When you see an egg mass, take a firm object (like a credit card or paint scraper) and manually remove the egg masses. Place them in a Ziplock-style baggie with a small amount of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Do a thorough walkthrough of the property in question, manually remove the egg masses and dispose of the baggie in the trash. Do this in the winter.

Another practice is to employ “sticky bands.” Similar to glue traps as you’d use for rodents, but for trees. You place these bands around the trees you’re trying to protect, the sticky side facing away from the tree. As SLF nymphs try to climb up the tree to reach thinner bark, they’ll get caught, and you can simply put the band in a bag and throw it away.

Another option is something called “circle traps.” They involve netting wrapped around the trunk of a tree that hangs over itself to prevent SLF from climbing over it. The netting directs the bugs into a bag, which can be disposed of later. For visuals and step-by-step instructions on creating one (with pictures), see this article from Penn State University. (1)

Controlling Spotted Lanternfly

Responsible control for SLF involves cultural practices and, when necessary, chemical control.

Cultural Practices

Several cultural practices help slow the spread of spotted lanternflies.

Professional-grade bands can be purchased online but are NOT recommended at this time. They tend to catch birds and small mammals. You’ll be fine with a decent Duct tape wrapped around the tree with the sticky side facing away from the tree. It need only be two to three strips wide. It is recommended to coil some chicken wire and cover the sticky band with it; this will give vertebrates a way to step over the band without getting stuck, but will catch a large number of the bugs you’re trying to eliminate from the property.

Lastly, you have the option of removing host trees. I don’t advise tree removal for the sake of removal, but removing Ailanthus does help reduce the population. Removing the tree and treating the stump to ensure it doesn’t grow back is the currently recommended practice.

Chemical Control

When you’ve exhausted cultural practices, it’s time for chemical control.

This guide to chemical control from Rainbow Ecoscience (2) is comprehensive. It includes the lifecycle of the pest, host plants, when to treat and which chemicals to use.

The short version is this: You must combine systemic pesticides in the trees you’re treating and foliar/trunk sprays. The foliar/trunk sprays control adult stages (and nymphs, depending on the timing of sprays). The systemic treatments (trunk spray or injection, depending on the tree’s location and the possibility of drift, contaminating drinking water, etc.) should be done in the summer to ensure enough time for proper uptake. Systemic products should be fully present throughout the tree by the time adults begin to emerge and certainly in time to reduce the mating population. January|February 2023 42

There is a danger with foliar/trunk sprays: impacting non-target organisms. Suppose the tree(s) you’re treating is close to an apiary. In that case, you should consider injection rather than trunk sprays for systemic products and skip the contact sprays to control adults altogether.

The same can be said for populations of other beneficial insects. Avoid sprays where the potential for drift impacts butterfly bushes and milkweed or where ladybeetle and praying mantis populations are high. These beneficials should be protected.

Biological Control Options?

Some biological control methods show promise in the fight against SLF.

Scientists are currently working with a natural predator, a parasitic wasp imported from Asia, to see if it will work to control the lanternfly population. Careful testing is needed to ensure it won’t begin to feed on native species before it is released into the wild.

Another control method with more publicly available research behind it is fungi. Two strains of fungus feed on the lanternflies well: Beauveria bassiana and Batkoa major . While little is known about B. major, B. bassiana has been used to control pest outbreaks in nurseries and greenhouses for years and is widely available online. However, most products containing B. bassiana are labeled exclusively for greenhouse or nursery use, not in a landscape.

Besides the labeling issues, there are unanswered questions regarding fungus as a control method. We have no idea how long a spotted lanternfly needs to be in contact with the fungus, whether they need to ingest it or only touch it, or how long either fungus takes to kill a lanternfly. If you need to know how long it will take to be effective (like on a college campus or commercial park, where you need results immediately for liability reasons), you’re better off with traditional, manufactured chemical control methods, responsibly applied.

Note: It is illegal to use a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its label. Please read all labels for any products you intend to use and follow the label instructions for appropriate application methods, rates and target organisms.

Talking to Customers About Spotted Lanternfly

The communication with customers should be direct and fact-based. SLF will probably not kill the trees on their residential or commercial property. Will it weaken the tree and cause decline? That’s a possibility, but as yet unproven.

Can the black sooty mold that grows from the honeydew cause problems in understory plants? Yes. I’ve witnessed this firsthand when hostas were dying directly underneath some Tree of Heaven that were infested; the black sooty mold was completely hindering their ability to photosynthesize.

However, the real threat is more healthand safety-related; black sooty mold is a slipping hazard. I’ve seen it coat benches, sidewalks and stairs directly below where SLF is feeding in large numbers. It’s a potential liability for homeowners and commercial properties alike.

Secondary, but still a very real concern, is aesthetics. These bugs have no fear. They’ll land on anything and anyone. I was on a property with a television news crew, wrapping up a segment for a local station about SLF when one landed on the reporter . I’ve also brushed them off of people at neighboring tables when dining outdoors in areas where the pest is present.

Knowing this, the messaging becomes pretty straightforward. Are they a threat to the plant’s health in your average residential or commercial landscape? No. Are they nuisance pests that create the potential for actual harm to people and property? Absolutely.

Making Money From Spotted Lanternfly

This is pretty straightforward. You sell

this as a recurring chemical service, like a traditional plant health care, lawn care or mosquito program.

If you live in a market where there are strict guidelines on pesticide usage or your consumers are particularly environmentally conscious, you can even sell the cultural practices (like banding and scraping) as a service. One thorough scraping in the winter and a few banding visits in the spring, added to the regular chemical treatments, will make you a lot of money.


Hopefully, this gives you the insight you need to slow the spread of SLF. In just eight years, they’ve got from outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to confirmed sightings west of Des Moines, Iowa.

While impressive for a bug that doesn’t truly fly, it’s a potential disaster for agriculture across the U.S. After reading this article, I hope you’re better informed and better resourced.



2 spotted-lanternfly-mgmt-guide

For additional resources on the Spotted Lanternfly, see our digital issue for direct links.

Get In Touch With...

Jay Worth

Marketing Manager

www. synkd .io 43 January|February 2023
synkd | raise the bar
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And Beyond!

Do you often wonder why some salespeople always seem to outsell the competition? They are not doing it with some magical formula as you might assume. The main reason is that they have become adept at dealing with budget issues in a professional manner. Salespeople who are uncomfortable (and even timid) when it comes to dealing with budget matters struggle with gaining the respect of their clients. If they don’t gain their client’s respect when dealing with money, they will ultimately struggle closing sales.

It’s not your money!

The biggest hurdle for new salespeople (and some seasoned salespeople) to get over is the realization that they are not the ones investing in the project. Many salespeople cannot imagine spending $500,000 or $1 million on a project. Many can’t imagine even spending $10,000. With that mindset, the salesperson begins to believe that the project they are proposing is too expensive and begins to reduce the scope, or worse yet, apologizing for the high budget. Astute clients will pick up on this immediately.

They will either lose confidence in the salesperson and company and decide to go elsewhere, or they will ask the salesperson to cut their price. The sad thing is many will go ahead and cut their price just to get the job.

What is the “real budget?”

The other key thing to keep in mind when trying to determine the amount of a client’s budget is that their budget may be much higher than what the salesperson thinks it is. For example, if a client says that they don’t want to spend a lot on the project, the salesperson should avoid attaching an arbitrary figure to that comment. They need to find a way to get to the client’s “real budget.”

The other thing that makes determining a client’s budget so difficult is that they are unwilling to divulge their “real budget.”

The client fears that if they expose their real budget, the salesperson will not only create a project for that amount—but far exceed it as well.

Furthermore, most people do not realize what

top quality landscape work, or horticultural care, really costs. A client’s budget may be too low for today’s escalating costs.

The best thing to do is to be up front in your budget discussions. You must take the lead in this discussion. You cannot be afraid to talk money. The sooner you can be sure that you have prequalified the prospect and their budget, the less time you waste dealing with a prospect that will most likely say NO after you have gone through the entire design and budgeting process.

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Three Ways to Determine Your Client’s Budget

I have found three surefire ways to get to the “real budget.” There are probably more, but these three seem to work best.


You may think that this seems too simple. It actually is simple, but many salespeople are unwilling to ask the question. Asking for the budget the right way is critical. You don’t want to ask, “What can you afford to spend on your project?” You never want to put a client in a position to have to say, “I can’t afford this.”

2Give ranges

On the initial consultation, the prospect may tell you the scope of the project they are considering. For example, they may say they want a bluestone patio to entertain up to 8–10 people, a firepit, a pergola and an outdoor kitchen. As the prospect talks, you should be tabulating in your head the total potential cost of the project using past actual budgets. You would then say, “Based on similar projects we have designed and constructed, the project you described could cost between $50,000 and $80,000. Is this a comfortable budget range for you?” If they turn white and pass out, you know you have overshot their budget. Typically, they may say, “That looks like a good budget range, but I would prefer to be at the low end or middle of the range.” You now have a good budget number to design to, provided you have given the prospect a realistic range.

investing in your project?” They may respond, “Those are certainly beautiful projects, but I would never spend that on my property.” Or they might say, “These projects are definitely in line with what we are looking for.” You now know the client’s budget range.

First, it underscores the fact that this is an investment. Secondly, it gives the client a comfortable way of telling you what they would like to spend on their project.

Show pictures


More than likely, you have a portfolio of completed projects to show the client, or pictures on your laptop or iPad. As you go through the pictures, you would show them projects similar in scope to what the prospect is interested in. You would say, “These projects that we are looking at are all in the $50,000-$80,000 budget range. Is that what you were thinking of

Finally, always keep in mind that you are the expert. That is why clients are calling you. By assuming the expert role, you become a consultant rather than a salesperson. Approach your presentation with that in mind, and the hesitancy to talk budget should disappear and your ability to close on larger projects will go up exponentially.

A bout Judson Griggs

Judson Griggs has had the good fortune of working with some of the best design/build companies in the country over his long career in the green industry. Each of these companies were in the Lawn and Landscape Top 100 list when Jud worked there.

Through those experiences, Jud has been able to work in very diverse markets across the country. He understands what it takes to be successful in the design/build/maintain arena. More importantly, he knows what mistakes and pitfalls to avoid. His experience over the years makes him a great resource for helping you build your organization, improving your sales, marketing and customer service, as well as helping you be a better leader.

Email: January|February 2023 46 synkd | raise the bar
The better way to ask is, ‘ How much are you comfortable investing in your project?’


Emotional intelligence, often referred to as EI, fascinates me.

EI gives us the ability to understand how our emotions influence the words we use in communicating with others. Whether we’re sharing ideas, expressing beliefs, rallying our teams around important initiatives or having difficult conversations, words matter! Our most unique ability as humans is how we verbally communicate, and developing skills to increase our emotional awareness and effectively manage emotions is paramount in our leadership of others. The most effective, rewarding one-on-ones that I have with my team are exhausting. Engaging for greater understanding, remaining curious to allow space for figuring things out, all while managing the underlying emotions that are trying to surface, takes a lot of brain and heart power. I know that when I’m able to navigate conversations well, true impact is being made. Leaders with high EI understand how to leverage emotions in developing relationships of trust. When people trust each other, our missions take flight.

So what is Emotional Intelligence? EI is simply our ability to understand and manage our emotions and feelings, as well as those of others, in guiding our

thinking and then our actions. It is different from the Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, in that it is specific to recognizing emotions and the impact these emotions have in our relationships. IQ gauges our logical ability to solve problems as well as our ability to understand and communicate complex information. As technology continues to become smarter, with advances in AI and robotics, we will begin to see IQ diminish in importance and EI become even more important. Critical thinking and creativity powered by our emotions make us uniquely human, while IQ is more easily replaced by AI. Both EI and IQ are important—we can’t be emotionally smart and logically dumb— but the tolerance for low EI in the future of leadership becomes less and less.

There are many brilliant people leading the way on the subject of Emotional Intelligence, but I’d have to highlight Dr. Daniel Goleman, and his book Emotional Intelligence as the most influential. Goleman’s emotional intelligence theory highlights five primary components:

• Self-awareness

• Self-regulation

• Motivation

• Empathy

• Social skills

In my next blog, I’ll touch on each of these components, including what they are, how they show up within our companies and some resources for growing emotional intelligence.

A bout Pam Dooley

Pam Dooley began working in the green industry at the age of 13, spending Indiana summers in cornfields before joining her grandfather at the local nursery/garden center. In 2005, Plants Creative Landscapes was born. In 2021, Pam expanded Plants Creative into the North Georgia mountains, opening a second location in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

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Lonarch is an eco-friendly brush, weed and grass killer that is safer than other products on the market, according to Patrick Henry, chief operating officer of MonarchChem, the manufacturer of Lonarch. He recently spoke with Synkd about why he’s excited about this innovative product.

Lonarch was named for Lon Stacy, a retired chemist who came to Patrick’s college roommate with the product idea several years ago. Patrick was asked to join them and kicked off the business development

side, organizing field testing and reviewing EPA regulations so they could bring it to market.

The product is a contact herbicide and works on broadleaf weeds quickly, but hardier vegetation with more robust root systems may need a couple of applications

Lonarch is the New Alternative to Glyphosate

before seeing results. Lonarch does not contain glyphosate, so tough weeds are harder to kill. The tradeoff, according to Patrick, is knowing that the product is not harmful.

Landscapers can incorporate Lonarch as a sustainable solution for clients who want January|February 2023 48 synkd | raise the bar
We Love
It’s safe for people, pets & wildlife when used as directed. There’s a need for a safe & effective alternative to what’s already out there.

eco-friendly projects. With the increase in municipalities and corporate campuses seeking alternatives to traditional herbicides because of pollutants, Patrick says landscaping companies can benefit from a product like Lonarch. It’s also safe for use around water features and will not harm wildlife in or around ponds. Lonarch works quickly then simply biodegrades.

Lonarch is a popular herbicide among nurseries and growers who want to kill weeds while protecting their crops.

Lonarch is available as a concentrate for large jobs and a ready-to-use spray for residential projects. The mix ratio for the concentrate is four ounces per gallon. Lonarch is EPA excempt and registered in all U.S. states except for Indiana and Maine.

How to Use Lonarch

On walkways, driveways, fencelines and road right of ways, agricultural fields, wildlife food plots and forestry sites

Spot treat unwanted weeds in landscape beds and weeds around vegetable gardens

Kills 200-plus varieties of brush, weeds and grasses

The site can be replanted 48 hours after spraying

Get In Touch With...

Patrick Henry

Phone: (615) 491–3941 Email:

Great for farm use wherever you need to get rid of weeds

Acts lightning fast; see results in as little as 4 hours

Visit www for more information about this ecofriendly herbicide.

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synkd | raise the bar
It’s not going to translocate into plants unintended for elimination ; it’s just going to kill the vegetation & stop the growth (of the weeds).


2023 Garden Trends Report

Following trends is vital for brands to discover customer wants and needs and to drive sales to new heights. That is why landscapers look to trendspotting firm Garden Media Group for their annual Garden Trends Report.

For 22 years, Garden Media Group has been predicting trends that shape the green industry. The report for 2023 moves past 2021’s “Great Reset,” 2022’s “Crisis to Innovation” and focuses on selfintention and personal empowerment with the theme “I Believe In Me.”

“We learned over the past two years that we can’t control external factors, but we can control what we do and what we buy,” explains Katie Dubow, president of Garden Media Group. “We believe homeowners will continue to improve their outdoor spaces more than ever and choose partners and products that align with their values.”

The 2023 Garden Trends Report shows how we want a life of self-fulfillment and practicality.

Here are the seven trends that will begin to shape the future, according to Garden Media Group:

Tesla Effect

While it’s true that the green industry has gone electric or battery-powered three times faster than the electric car industry,


smart tools will become necessary for easier and more successful gardening. Katie suggests keeping an eye on governmental regulations and customer preference for electric landscaping equipment.

Backdoor Revolution

The cost of renting or buying over the past few years has made desirable city living out of reach for many. The new home trend is accessory dwelling units. Rezoning laws are changing countrywide and will help owners and renters alike cut costs. This “Backdoor Revolution” will change what customers want. Katie suggests positioning your brand as the firm that can help define spaces and create privacy for the new small-space needs of these homeowners and renters.

Accessible Gardening

This anti-millennial trend focuses on “Super Agers”—people whose brains function as if they were 30 years younger. We haven’t lost our core customer, January|February 2023 50

Boomers, rather we must understand how they want to live differently.

“Catering to this group of ‘Super Agers’ will allow us to extend the joy of gardening for much longer and to more people—growing the green world exponentially,” says Katie.

PlantTok TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app, and 90 percent visit it more than once per day, so it is no surprise TikTok is on trend. But PlantTok, the green industry’s place on the app, has hit the mainstream. The report outlines the trends on PlantTok now, but Katie advises “the only way to know what’s trending on TikTok is to be on TikTok.”

All Greek to Me

The landscape design trend that Pinterest spotted? Statuary, boxwood hedges, stone walls and hardy plants are all an homage to classic Greek gardens that are seeing a revival. Plus, gravel gardens and native plants fit perfectly into this lowmaintenance, high-style trend.

Redrawing the Map

As the climate changes, trees are at risk due to heat and drought, making them more susceptible to diseases and insects. Dr. Daniel Herms, Ph.D., at Davey Tree, says choosing climate-resilient trees is more crucial now than ever. Landscapers can be at the forefront of educating homeowners about the right tree to plant to be effective over the next 100 years. Color of the Year

Hot” and Veranda® Mango rose from Bloomables® or Coppertop® Sweet Viburnum from Sunset Plant Collection.

Garden Media Group has published its Garden Trends Report annually since 2001. The 2023 Garden Trends Report is available now for free download at

1 Petite KnockOut © Star Roses and Plants

2 Bunting Gravel © Andrew Bunting–Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

3 Colocasia Royal Hawaiian Waikiki © Southern Living Plant Collection

4 Lomandra Platinum Beauty © Sunset Plant Collection

5 Sombrero Adobe Orange Coneflower © Bloomables

A bout Garden Media Group

Terra cotta is the color of the year for 2023. Dubow urges landscapers to think outside the box when choosing this trendy color. Choose Sombrero® Adobe Orange Coneflower, Tecoma “Red

Garden Media Group ignites buzz for clients, offers innovative public relations campaigns and secures top media placements and partnerships. The boutique public relations and marketing firm is known as the best in the home, garden, horticulture, outdoor living and lawn and landscape industries. The annual Garden Trends Report is one of the most published garden studies in trade and consumer news.

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