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  • Author or Editor: Jo Mercer x
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Keeping up with cultural issues, recruiting new employees, motivating employees, and weed control were the issues most frequently cited as “very serious” or “somewhat serious” by surveyed members of the nursery and landscape industry. The focus of important issues changed somewhat based on the type of business. Retailers were more concerned with marketing and less concerned with plant maintenance. Pesticide regulation was more important to firms that provide some form of plant maintenance for consumers. Small firms were less concerned with employee issues, and large firms were more concerned with regulation. The most desirable method of receiving information was still printed materials, but firms with equipment (i.e., facsimile machines, computers) were more likely (30%) to use these forms of communication. E-mail was a very popular form of communication with firms that had e-mail access. Technology-oriented communication will probably increase in popularity as more firms gain access to technology.

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Two focus-group sessions were conducted to determine the market potential of a new horticultural product—wildflower sod. One session included homeowners with suburban lots and an interest in wildflowers. Another session included landscape professionals, property managers, and garden center operators. Participants viewed a slide presentation about the uses of wildflowers and wildflower sod, a videotape illustrating wildflower sod installation, and a demonstration plot planted with wildflower sod. The discussion was conducted by an unbiased facilitator. Participants cited the instant effect of wildflower sod as a major advantage. The price was viewed as acceptable for small areas, especially if sod was broken apart and spaced as plugs. Comments from the participants were used to develop an ideal product description and yielded merchandising recommendations.

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