landscape plants. The U.S. nursery and greenhouse industry is an important part of the national economy, producing $15.7 billion in wholesale receipts during 2004 (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2005). Ornamental plant sales are driven by consumer demand
James A. Gagliardi and Mark H. Brand
Melvin Garber, Kane Bondari, and Gary Wade
A survey of landscape installers was conducted to help determine how university personnel and industry groups could better meet the needs of the landscape industry. The top four opportunities by which university personnel could assist landscape installers were to: 1) provide a hot-line for immediate professional advice (21%); 2) provide more in-house training (21%); 3) facilitate testing and introduction of new products (16%); and 4) provide lists of available publications and research findings (14%). Landscape installers also identified the most valuable information sources regarding types of plants available and plant installation. The implications of the survey results for developing education and marketing plans to serve the landscape installation industry are discussed.
David L. Hensley
The Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii was formed in 1987 to bring the landscape professional and trade associations together. The organization's goals are communication between segments of the industry, education, promotion, and legislative action. Current members of the council include: Aloha Arborists Association; ASLA Hawaii Chapter; Hawaiian Association of Nurserymen; PGMS HI Chapter; Hawaii Landscape and Irrigation Contractors Association; HI Professional Gardeners Association; HI Turfgrass Association; and the HI Island Landscape Association. The Council publishes Hawaii Landscape magazine, presents statewide educational programs and trade shows, and works for the common good of the entire green industry. It has been successful in gleaning grant support for several efforts. The Council is on the verge of broadening membership to individuals as well as associations and making significant strides to meet its goals and needs of the Hawaiian landscape industry. The evolution and successes have not been without problems, setbacks, ruffled feathers, and a lot of hard work from a dedicated group of volunteers.
Gary L. Wade, Joan E. Marsh, and Mark Banta
In June, 1988, an Extension advisory committee of landscape professionals met in Atlanta to discuss educational needs of the industry. Representatives from commercial, municipal, Institutional, recreational and private landscape operations present unanimously Identified the need for employee training materials as a top priority. A sub-committee composed of Extension agents, Extension Specialists and landscapes then spent months examining training aids from other states and concluded most were not pertinent to the southeastern U.S. As a result, a series of locally produced employee training videos were proposed. With funding from various landscape firms and the landscape division of the Georgia Green Industry Association, an Atlanta based videographer was hired. Scripts are written and edited by a team of Extension Agents, Extension Specialists and landscape professionals. Extension agents then direct the filming and help edit and produce the final product. To date, two videos have been released and four more are in production. Each video is packaged with an instructor's manual, multiple choice exam and evaluation form. A great deal of support and enthusiasm from both the landscape industry and Extension administration has resulted from this team approach to Extension programming.
Pedro Perdomo* and Kenneth Karamichael
Industry statistics indicate that there are approximately 150,000 people working in the green industry in New Jersey. About 50% to 60% are Hispanic. Nationally, 43% of Hispanics are not proficient in English. The education of Hispanic workers in their own language increases job skills, improves efficiency, and on the job safety. Spanish language horticultural courses were offered to educate members of the landscape community in New Jersey. Spanish language courses included general turf management, pruning of trees and shrubs, plant identification, hazardous tree identification, and basic pesticide training. The landscape classes began with a slide presentation that covered basic concepts, materials, and techniques that the landscaper should be aware of. Whenever possible, the courses were taught in a bilingual (Spanish/English) format to help participants familiarize themselves with English terms. Along with the in-class training, outdoor demonstrations were incorporated into all courses and participants were given the opportunity to practice what they had learned in the classroom. Over one hundred fifty employees registered for the classes between Jan. and Dec. 2003. Certificates of attendance were issued to all participants and were considered as a positive component of the courses. About 24% of the participants attended more than one of the courses and 100% would recommend the courses to their friends and co-workers. Seventy five percent of landscape business owners stated that they would consider sending other employees to future courses. Fifty percent of the participants were interested in attending courses that covered technical information, such as those offered to the English speaking landscape community.
Susan Barton, Tom Ilvento, and Jo Mercer
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.
Madeline Flahive DiNardo and Joel Flagler
In a 1998-99 survey of the landscape service industry in northern New Jersey, professionals predicted an average growth rate of 41% for the years 1998–2003. How close did their prediction come to the growth rate experienced by the industry? In 1999, top issues facing the industry were labor, political recognition, access to capital and regulations. How did events during the early years of the new millennium effect the industry? Landscape professionals (159) participating in a 2005 study of the industry reported an average business growth rate of 38% from 1998–2003. The terrorist attacks of 11 Sept. 2001 had consequences for 45% of the businesses; 49 experienced an average decrease in sales of 17%. Drought conditions in 2002 with state mandated water use restrictions effected 100 of the participants' businesses; 51% of whom lost an average of 21% in sales. The drought was followed by a rainy spring season in 2003. The rains hindered 57 of the businesses, 22 reporting a 3% average decrease in sales. There were events that had positive impacts on 48% of the businesses. Low interest rates, building construction and renovation and expansion of services were cited as opportunities for growth. The participants ranked environmental regulations, pesticide regulations, the availability of labor, labor regulations and vehicles/equipment as the top issues/challenges facing the industry in 2005. The landscape professionals predict an average business growth rate of 26% for 2005–2010.
Jimmy L. Tipton
The Arizona Certified Landscape Professional conducts educational programs and certification exams to increase the knowledge and skills of landscapers. To ensure that the program accurately reflects industry needs, we conducted a job analysis survey. Over 100 individuals in 48 landscape organizations responded. Two-thirds of the organizations were `for profit' as opposed to municipal parks departments, school districts, and resorts. Half the `for profit' organizations were small with gross receipts of less than $100,000 annually. Forty percent of the `for profit' organizations were devoted exclusively to landscape maintenance, 28 percent were restricted to installation, and the remainder did both installation and maintenance. Size and nature (`for profit' or `in house') of the organization had a significant impact on tasks and responsibilities of employees. These data will be used to modify the educational programs and certification exams to more closely resemble day-to-day activities among landscapers in Arizona.
Jeffrey F. Derr
Chemical weed control is an important weed management option in nursery crop production and landscape maintenance. Improved methods of herbicide delivery can increase efficacy of chemical control and minimize off-site movement, applicator exposure, and incorrect herbicide application. Certain innovative technologies show potential for addressing these issues in the nursery industry. Slow-release herbicide tablets have shown promise in container production. Horticultural collars, treated paper, and treated mulch are potential ways of applying herbicides in container crop production and/or landscape maintenance. Horticultural collars contain herbicides between two layers of a carrier such as a landscape fabric. A rapidly degradable paper can be pretreated with an herbicide for a precise application rate. Mulch can be treated with a herbicide prior to use in the landscape for improved weed control. Herbicides applied through the clip-cut pruning system could control weeds selectively in nurseries and landscapes. Each of these methods may address one or more concerns about off-site movement, calibration, and applicator exposure to pesticides.
Kory M. Beidler, Jeffery K. Iles, Sarah M. Nusser, and Ann Marie VanDerZanden
Industry input can assist postsecondary institutions as they strive to provide relevant knowledge and skill-building exercises for the professional development of their students. Using a mail questionnaire, we invited landscape contracting decision-makers to comment on the efficacy of landscape contracting curricula at colleges and universities. The population of Associated Landscape Contractors of America 2003 online member list (2049 companies) was organized into four strata based on company size. A stratified random sample of 400 companies was selected. We received 137 completed questionnaires (35% response rate). Most of the population was either satisfied or extremely satisfied (52%) with college graduates recently hired; only 8.1% of the population was dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied. When respondents were asked to consider four knowledge categories, a majority (53%) said recent graduates were deficient in business knowledge, followed by construction (25.1%), horticultural (9.6%), and design (5.1%) knowledge. When respondents were asked to rate the importance of topics that could be taught in undergraduate landscape contracting programs, business topics (personnel management, estimating and bidding, and clientele management) were identified as their top three choices. The population also named three business-related skills (client relationships, time management, and managing employees) among the five most important skills for landscape contracting professionals. Despite the stated importance of business knowledge and training, 68.3% of the population said when hiring for an entry-level landscape contracting position, they prefer candidates with strong horticultural skills over those with strong business skills. These results suggest landscape contracting firms would welcome a postsecondary-trained work force with improved business skills; however, this business training should not come at the expense of horticultural course work and experience.