UAC Magazine - Summer 2019


UAC Magazine is the official publication of the Georgia Urban Ag Council



Keeping Georgia’s green industry informed

18 22

32 34

38 62



Advocate. Educate. Promote.




UAC Magazine

Official publication of the

Georgia Urban Agriculture Council

Board of Directors

Todd Jarrett, President

Arbor Hill Nurseries

Matt Lowe

Swift Straw

Josh Morrow

Athletic Fields, Inc.

Ken Morrow

The Turfgrass Group

Chris Nelson

Chattahoochee Nature Center

Bob Scott

Irrigation Consultant Services

Ray Wiedman

Outdoor Expressions

Ron White


Ex Officio

Ellen Bauske

UGA Extension Public Service Assistant

Bodie Pennisi

UGA Extension Horticulturist

Clint Waltz

UGA Extension Turf Agronomist


Mary Kay Woodworth

Executive Director

Kathy Johnson

Marketing Director & Editor

Angie Jinright

Executive Assistant

A member of:

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Georgia Agribusiness Council

Georgia Arborist Association

Georgia Association of Water Professionals

Georgia Green Industry Association

Georgia Urban Forest Council

Georgia Water Alliance

National Association of Landscape Professionals

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture

Southern Nursery Association

Georgia Urban Ag Council

PO Box 3400

Duluth GA 30096 New phone

Phone: 706.750.0350 number!



All contents copyright 2019





4 Executive Director message

5 Employee benefits study Results and how you can participate

6 Bob Scott joins exclusive group Board member named ASIC Fellow

7 Top 100 companies UAC members make the list

7 GWCCA recognized for irrigation project

8 What did you miss? 2019 World of Landscape & Landscape Construction

9 What did you miss? UAC 2019 Friendraiser

10 A peek inside... WT Digital Agency

35 Looking to grow your team? UAC website job posting feature


14 Me & my mentor Laura Guilmette, Unique Environmental Landscapes

16 Have you met Rick Smith, The Pruning Guru

18 Pest 411 Southern chinch bug

21 Save the date

22 Pro Project FlowerWorx

24 Safety works UAC Safety School

26 What the tech? Getting up to speed with Instagram

74 Directory of advertisers


28 Benchmarking your business How much do you charge?

30 Out with the old, in with the new 7 strategies that will pay off later

32 Avoiding a mental meltdown How to prioritize what really matters

34 Going up against giants 6 tips for competing for talent with the big guys

38 Explore your options Get the most bang for your equipment buck


44 Sine Die UAC members invest in Capitol relationships

47 Pennisi named UAC faculty fellow Fellowship will develop online training

48 Capitol Connection UAC member survey results

50 New faces at NICH Gordon and Woodworth join NICH leadership

52 Glenn Burton A leader of the "Green Revolution"

56 73rd Annual SE Turfgrass Conference Pike Creek Turf hosts dinner


58 Nitrogen in the soil How it gets lost and how to keep it

60 Spring & summer lawncare tips & tricks

62 Native yuccas Creating landscape excitement

64 The shrub of your dreams This will make you a daydream believer

66 Managing community forests, part 2 Risk hazard and assessment

73 Celebrating history Breathing new life into Tifton's campus




Dear UAC Members and Supporters,



Happy summer - 2019 is

breezing by!

I hope that you are managing the

challenges in front of you daily –

labor, traffic, weather – and having

a profitable season. At least there’s

one thing we don’t have to worry

about this summer: drought!

While abundant rainfall is a

blessing, we hope that it continues

throughout 2019 in a more even


Mary Kay Woodworth Labor is a continuing

Executive Director challenge. I have been

appointed to the (Georgia) Senate

Agriculture, Forestry, and Landscape Workforce

Access Study Committee. This committee,

chaired by Senator John Wilkinson, will host

hearings across the state to gather input from

business and industry leaders as well as state

agency heads and state lawmakers to potentially

uncover workforce solutions.

UAC continues to promote the benefits

of careers in our industry, and have made

an investment in NALP’s Industry Growth

Initiative (IGI) so that, collaboratively, we

can pool resources to effectively message

to the public and policy makers.

A member benefit we are very pleased to

offer through our partnership with Snellings

Walters Insurance Agency is a broad range

of insurance products. With over 65 years

in business, their professionals are thoroughly

acquainted with the green industry and

understand your needs.

I urge you to contact Snellings Walters

regarding the UAC Workers Compensation

program and their P&C programs; their

advisers can help you analyze your existing

policies/products and make sure you:

1) have adequate and appropriate coverage


2) are not over-paying!

Snellings Walters can also help you with health

care benefits for companies with 50+ employees

and provide complete information about the

UAC 50+ Benefits Program (they are working

on a program for companies smaller than 49

employees, but regulatory and legislative hurdles

slow down this process).

How do your organization’s benefits

compare? Snellings Walters has partnered with

Milliman to offer you a Benefits Benchmarking

Survey, where you will receive practical advice

to improve your business as you compare your

organization’s benefits to those offered by other

companies. Please consider participating in this

survey as described on the opposite page for this


Make sure to “save the date” for these

upcoming UAC events:

> UAC Education and Networking dinners in

August and September;

> Sporting Clays Tournament in October;

> UAC Georgia Sod Producers Field Day in

November; and

> Landscape Pro University in January 2020!

See page 21 in this issue for more information

and contact me today to learn about sponsoring

and exhibiting opportunities at these UAC


In closing, I’d like to thank Angie Jinright for

her time spent at UAC the last 18 months.

Angie is off to a new career, and we wish her the


UAC has a new phone

number. Please make a

note of it:






Bob Scott joins exclusive group

UAC board member named ASIC Fellow



Bob Scott is the owner of Irrigation

Consultant Services, Inc., a full-service

irrigation consulting firm founded in 1983.

Bob Scott has

joined the

exclusive group

of Irrigation


recognized by

the Society for

their leadership,


and commitment

to independent


development, design,

and management

principles. The

induction ceremony

was held in

conjunction with the

2019 ASIC National

Conference Awards

Banquet, May 7,

2019, in Santa Fe,

New Mexico.

Bob Scott is the owner of Irrigation Consultant

Services, Inc, (ICS), a full-service irrigation

consulting firm founded in 1983. ICS is a leader

in providing irrigation design and consultation

on projects in golf, park, recreation, and

commercial developments in the United States

and internationally.

Bob and his team have been the recipients of

three ASIC Excellence in Irrigation Awards for

projects demonstrating expertise in waste water

use, reverse osmosis (RO), and water harvesting;

plus, two awards for golf and large commercial

irrigation projects.

Bob has been immersed in ASIC leadership

roles since joining in 1995. He was elected to

the Board of Directors from 1998-2013, with

the last ten years on the Executive Committee,

serving as President 2008-2010. Most recently,

Bob is serving as Chair of the 2019 National

Conference Planning Committee.

In addition to his work with ASIC, Bob was

recently appointed to Irrigation Association

(IA) Certification Board of Governors as well

as the ASIC/IA golf industry educational

session coordinator for the Golf Industry Show

(GIS). Bob also serves on numerous boards

and advisory committees in his home state

of Georgia, including the Georgia Urban Ag

Council Board of Directors.

"I would like to encourage the UAC

membership to get involved in any way

you can to help the Georgia landscape

industry grow and prosper. Not only

will the industry benefit from your

contribution, but it will help you see the

big picture and achieve your own career


~ Bob Scott

Owner, Irrigation Consultant Services

UAC Board of Directors

ASIC Fellowship is a high honor that is

bestowed on only a few of the most deserving

candidates. Fellowship considerations include

long-standing service to ASIC; professional

and personal conduct that brings credit to the

Society; and significant contributions to the

industry through organization membership,

education, and mentoring.

For the complete list ASIC Fellows, visit

About ASIC

American Society of Irrigation Consultants is

a society of professional irrigation consultants

dedicated to representing the best interest of the

client while advocating the responsible use and

preservation of water resources.


Top 100 Lawn & Landscape companies

UAC members make the list

The 2019 Lawn & Landscape Top 100 is

based on 2018 revenue from landscape profit

centers. Most information is reported by each

company listed, and supplemental data are

sourced from public records and reporting by

L&L staff.

Companies on the list earned a combined

revenue of $10,221,735,143 in 2018, which is

an increase of $603,045,036, or 6.27 percent,

compared to 2017. The average expected

growth for 2019 is 10 percent. Companies

on the list also reported total employment of

97,269. This year’s list include companies from

27 states and three firms in Canada.

UAC member companies and

their Top 100 rankings:

3.......The Davey Tree Expert Company

4.......Bartlett Tree Experts

8.......Ruppert Landscape

39.....Baytree Landscape Contractors

60.....Russell Landscape Group

78.....Gibbs Landscape Co.

Reprinted with

permission from the

May 2019 post by

Lawn & Landscape.

Visit www.


com for more


View the entire list here:

GWCCA recognized for irrigation project

The mission: design and develop a highlyefficient

and reliable irrigation system for The

Home Depot Backyard (HDBY) using a nondrinkable

water supply.

Oh yeah, and make sure it’s complete before

the Atlanta Falcons 2018 regular-season home

opener at state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz

Stadium (MBS).

That was the task at hand as the 13-plusacre

greenspace/tailgating spot was under

construction abutting MBS on a portion of

the former Georgia Dome footprint, basically

fashioning a massive park lawn on top of the

imploded stadium’s rubble.

Rising to the challenge was the GWCCA’s

Campus Horticulturalist, Steve Ware, and

irrigation consultant Bob Scott, of Irrigation

Consultant Services, working on behalf of

Kimley-Horn, which provided structural, traffic

and civil engineering and landscape architecture

design for HDBY, which opened to the public

in September 2018, less than a year after the

Georgia Dome was imploded.

Steve Ware, left, Georgia World Congress

Center Authority’s campus horticulturalist,

with Bob Scott, irrigation consultant, of

Irrigation Consultant Services.

Ware and Scott were recently recognized for

their collaboration on this project, receiving

an American Society of Irrigation Consultants

Excellence In Irrigation Merit Award.

The irrigation system is fed from a cistern next

to the stadium that is designed to use recycled

rainwater runoff from MBS’s roof as its primary

source for keeping HDBY’s natural turf green,

backed up by wells underneath the park.





2019 World

of Landscape

& Landscape


March 21-22





Atlanta GA

For the 4th year, the green industry was

represented at the CEFGA Student Career

Expo, with the theme “How Do You Want

To Change the World?”. Sponsored by UAC,

NALP, Downey Trees, Ed Castro Landscape,

Greenwood Group, HighGrove Partners,

Landmark Landscapes, Outdoor Expressions,

Plants Creative Landscapes, Vermeer Southeast,

with support of Chattahoochee Tech,

Crabapple Landscape Experts, MNI Direct

and UGA, students, teachers and guidance

counselors learned about the wide variety of

careers available in our industry. The 2019

expo, held March 21-22 at College Park’s

Georgia International Convention Center

(GICC), drew a record 8,615 total attendees,

an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous

year and almost 18 percent since 2015. It was

the Career Expo’s final year at the GICC,

where it has been held since 2009; next year it

moves to the Georgia World Congress Center in

downtown Atlanta.





Red Hare Brewing Company was the

place to be on April 25! Over 200 industry

members registered for the 2019 “Friendraiser”

– a vendor-sponsored event to kick-off the

spring season. Sponsored by Downey Trees,

Howard Brothers, Lumien Lighting, Practical

Employee Solutions, SingleOps, Snellings

Walters Insurance Agency, Super-Sod and Swift

Straw, this networking event included terrific

live music, great local beer and delicious Low

Country BBQ.

Laura Guilmette, Unique Environmental

Landscapes gave us this feedback:

“I have been meaning to let you all

know how WONDERFUL the Red Hare

event turned out. We all loved it and

we’ve heard other positive feedback

as well. Thank you all so much for

organizing this event, we are hoping for

more like it in the near future! “

UAC 2019


April 25

Red Hare

Brewing Company

Marietta GA

Longtime UAC member Steve Ware, Grounds

Operations Manager for the GWCC (Centennial

Olympic Park), won the raffle for a YETI cooler.




A peek inside...

WT Digital Agency

What we do

Digital marketing

Join us as we take a peek inside the operation and the people

of UAC member company WT Digital Agency.

How we got started

Mark Itzkovitz, Owner:

"Rewind about 16 years to 2004 when I

partnered with a local SSD attorney to design,

develop, and build an online lead generation

website for SSD attorneys nationally. After

about a year of business, the lead gen website

was producing ongoing recurring revenue,

which prompted my attorney partner to

approach me with a buyout offer. Having

completely built and sold a successful online

lead generating platform, I was well versed and

experienced with SEO and online marketing




Meet our team

Mark Itzkovitz


Responsibilities: Business development and

sales. Favorite part of job: Learning about

other businesses and helping them solve key

challenges. Building new relationships. Last job

before this: I can't remember. What I do when

I’m not at work: Binge watch new shows on

Hulu and Netflix, DIY Home renovation projects,

Travel and recreational league basketball.

Kevin Bossons

Technology Director

Responsibilities: A little bit of everything - from

marketing strategy & operations management,

to PPC campaign implementation and website

mockups. Favorite part of job: Learning about

new businesses - audiences, services and what

makes them special always fascinates me. Last

job before this: Document controller for an

industrial mining company. What I do when I’m

not at work: Spending time with my wife and

kids, watching Netflix and trying to hide from my

wife’s honey-do lists.

WT started in 2006, when I severed ties with a

business partner and franchise owner of a local

WSI Franchise, who hired me to run the local

operations for his Digital Marketing agency

here in Atlanta. We initially went to market

and sold a handful of Website projects and

had great success coming out of the gate. We

soon realized that WSI's production model of

outsourcing web development and marketing to

small offshore agencies was inefficient and did

not meet our needs and my partner released all

of the projects we were actively working on to

me and we parted ways. Those initial projects

became WT's first clients back in 2006."

How we work


When we get a new client, we first have

them fill out a questionnaire so we can

assess their marketing goals. We also want to

learn about their business, client demographics,

needs, and preferences to create the most

effective website, digital ads, emails, or other

online presence.



Then we move on to the documentation

phase where we produce key documents

for the client's review, feedback, and approval.

These documents will create a blueprint for us

in the next phase.


After that, we enter the design and

development phases where we create

the website and/or marketing plan.


Then in the deployment phase, we

launch the website or begin our

marketing plan.

One thing that sets us apart

One of the key differences of working with

WT vs. most other agencies is that we are

small enough to act quickly to solve problems

and implement solutions, but big enough to

have a full suite of creative, marketing and

technology skills all in house. Our solutions

are fully integrated so our client's brand is

consistent across all channels and platforms. We

can provide the resources to execute strategy in

whatever capacity best fits our clients needs.

Our focus as an agency is to help our

clients realize a measurable ROI on their

marketing investment. If we can't add

value for our customers in terms of new

business opportunities, then we don't

deserve the privilege of partnering with


Why UAC is important to us...

and why we're important to

UAC members

Mark Itzkovitz, Owner:

"WT first got involved with UAC back when

it was called MALTA. Having worked closely

with a couple of experienced business owners

(landscapers) as mentors, I naturally felt a

connection to the industry and started attending

MALTA meetings. In fact, WT's initial bidding

process was created from landscape bid sheets.

Gary Hopkins

Creative Director, Senior Strategist

Responsibilities: I oversee the creative product

of the agency, advocate for our clients’ branding

and marketing efforts, create and execute overall

marketing strategies and plans, design website user

experiences and digital advertising, and push our

team to exceed our clients’ goals and expectations.

Favorite part of job: The aspect of this job that

excites me the most is when a campaign takes hold,

gains momentum, and really starts moving the

needle for a client’s business. One of my favorite

books is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point.

So, I love it when we’re able to create campaigns

that are “sticky.” Last job before this: Prior to

joining WT Digital, I was the marketing director

for a construction firm that specialized in largescale

capital work and renovation for multifamily

REITs. What I do when I’m not at work:

Beyond being a husband and father, I’ve gone

back to school to get a business marketing degree

at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw

State. All of my thirty-plus years in marketing and

advertising were started through apprenticeship

and on-the-job training. It’s been fun to go back to

school to solidify my knowledge and interact with

people just starting out on their career paths. After

home and school, I play bass guitar in an original

alternative rock band called Random Access that

plays out around Atlanta.

Patrik “CK” Cioc-Kele

Lead Developer

Responsibilities: Website development, server

maintenance, directing technology. Favorite part

of job: Solving technological problems. Last

job before this: A sales support manager at a

warehouse. What I do when I’m not at work:

Make YouTube videos (educational tutorials and

tech reviews) for CKTechCheck.

Beverly Knoechel


Responsibilities: Office Manager, Bookkeeper,

Human Resources. Favorite part of job:

Working with nice people and having books that

balance. Last job before this: I co-owned a

junior hockey team and ice arena in Spooner,

Wisconsin. What I do when I’m not at work:

I enjoy being active. I play lots of tennis, enjoy

time with my family, hike, knit, read, and listen to

country music.




Jackie Banjoko

Project Coordinator

Responsibilities: Coordinating workflows

and project task responsibilities. Favorite part

of job: Making an exciting project plan that

utilizes the teams’ talents. Last job before this:

Marketing Materials Coordinator working with

tons of exciting startups in the Atlanta area,

assisting with branding and social media. What I

do when I’m not at work: Read, travel, try to

spend as much time as I can with the people I care


Sara Crawford

Content Strategist

Responsibilities: I create web content --

everything from blog posts to website copy -- and I

manage the social media. Favorite part of job: I

love being creative so I love being able to write so

much every day. Last job before this: I worked

at The Arlen Agency as a content specialist. What

I do when I’m not at work: I’m a young adult

author, a playwright, and a singer/songwriter. I

also love to read, binge watch TV shows, and hang

out with my friends and family.

Working with green industry consultants as

our own consultants gave us great insight

into the seasonal nature of the landscaping

industry and how to best position landscape

businesses for marketing. Understanding the

difference between marketing to a residential

target audience vs. commercial or how to best

position a company in the market for different

services offered like design/build/installation

vs. maintenance is key to partnering with

green industry professionals to build successful

marketing strategies and campaigns.

Additionally, understanding unique key

industry challenges like workforce-related issues

provides WT with the ability to help green

industry businesses solve problems through

creative marketing and technology solutions

that they may not have been in a position to

solve otherwise. In today's highly technical,

digital marketplace, it's critical to work with a

partner who is extremely well versed on digital

marketing strategy and understands your

industry/business to provide the competitive

edge you are looking for."



WT Digital Agency

proudly supports the

Georgia Urban Ag Council

and the green industry.




Diamond Sponsor

support | energize | enable | develop


WT has worked with Georgia UAC to

help them build and manage their online

presence as an organization for many years

and is currently in the process of updating

and refreshing their website to make it

more user friendly and easily managed by

the organization.

To set up a no-obligation consultation

with WT, contact us:

Contact: Mark Itzkovitz

Phone: 404.348.4921 ext. 101



WT FullP4C Urban Ag Ad vFinal.pdf 1 5/16/2019 7:58:13 AM




Grow Your Business with a

Strategic Digital Marketing Plan









+ + +










All working together seamlessly to build your brand,

generate more leads, and grow your business.

digital agency


404-348-4921 |



©2019 Website Technology Services, Inc. All rights reserved.



Lessons in H2B

Surviving and thriving

by Laura Guilmette, Unique Environmental Landscapes


Our final two H2B workers arrived the

last weekend of April, which marked the end

of another chapter in the process.

Long, strange trip

As previously mentioned, we initially had all

applicants scheduled at the U.S. Consulate in

their home country near the end of March/

beginning of April. It turned out there were 11

scheduled in Monterrey the day before six were

scheduled in Guatamala City.

Just to provide further insight to the process,

it goes something like this: the day before the

8:00 A.M. interview with the local agent from

the agency in Texas, I started checking with our

manager in regards to the applicant’s travels to

the Consulate. For some of these guys it was up

to a ten-hour ride. I needed to be assured they

had reliable transportation and they would be in

place at 8:00 a.m. for the appointment.

Across the board, this went fairly smoothly

except for one 9:30 p.m. phone call I received

stating an applicant cancelled out as they

were about to board the bus in their Mexican

hometown bound for their 8:00 a.m. interview

the next morning. Meanwhile, we had six

applicants heading to Guatamala City who were

eventually ALL denied at the U.S. Consulate.

This completely caught us off guard. Not only

was this a very costly day for Unique, it was

back to the recruiting process AGAIN!

No room at the inn

Then another situation surfaced: housing! The

second wave of recruiting seemed to come

to a halt and I found myself almost begging

for potential workers from within our pool of

employees as well as other landscape company


What was the problem? Through the

process I realized there were many people

who wanted to come to the U.S. and work,

so why had it become so difficult? Well,

I started getting feedback: there were

“NO VACANCY” signs popping up at our

employee’s houses. They were bursting at

the seams.

This sent me on a frenzy to figure out the

housing situation so we could set up more

interviews FAST. The time clock was ticking

and not getting all of our visas filled in a timely

manner could potentially create negative

consequences for next season.

The H2B workers are not in a position to rent

an apartment of any type as they have no credit

history in the U.S. Plus, they can’t commit to a

one-year lease as they are here less than a year.

We considered the possibility of purchasing

a house, which could be used as rental for

the workers. However, after learning of the

Laura Guilmette graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in

communications. She worked in advertising until she was recruited to work

with the family-owned landscape business, Unique Environmental about

17 years ago. Like most business owners, she wears many hats including

HR, marketing, sales, administrative and field work. Even though the H2B

program has presented numerous challenges, she has enjoyed learning about

it as well as overcoming these challenges.



extensive rules and regulations regarding H2B

rentals we realized it wasn’t an option to be

considered. Not this year anyway!

In the end, the workers worked it out amongst

themselves, which is the way our agency

suggested was the best way to handle the

housing situation anyway.

Beware potential scams

The applicants spent about four days, or more

if their appointment fell close to the weekend,

in Monterrey or whatever their designated city.

They had to find lodging, food, and navigate

their way around. If the U.S. agency is hired

to assist them, they have a representative for

help. However, we were forewarned there is

continued potential for scams, which called for


I was only aware of one encounter within our

group. It was a driver who offered to bring

our 11 workers to Atlanta at a cost of a few

hundred dollars over that of the major bus line.

He stated it would be less hassle and a more

direct trip. Sounds appealing – but NO! Was

this one of those scams we heard about? We

considered all the potential problems of this and

said absolutely NOT. We stuck with our original

transportation plan.

American soil at last

Our 20 workers arrived at five different times

over the month of April. It seemed like every

couple of days we were checking on one group

at one "leg" of the trip or another, but they

eventually all made it here with a total of seven

denials altogether. Not so bad I guess, but costly.

Worth the effort

Looking back at various stages of the process

over the last month, there have been several

gratifying moments.

One of those gratifying moments was the

day after our first group arrived. One of

our long-time employees came into the

office and thanked me for bringing family

members to Georgia. It had been over 15

years since the family had been together.

This seems to hold true for many of our H2B

workers and we found this to be an unexpected

fringe benefit. After that employee walked out

of the office that day, the staff and I looked at

each other and said, “That makes it worth all

the headaches!”

Taking care of details

The next round of fun was a field trip to the

social security office. Our workers needed to

get social security numbers since they were now

going to be tax payers.

Three drivers including myself drove the first

13 H2B workers to the social security office.

I’m pretty certain we looked like the circus as

we herded our group from one end of the large

waiting room to the other as instructed by the

government agents. Maybe they were just not

sure what to do with us: 13 Spanish-speaking

H2Bs, one bilingual manager, the tall American

lady (me) who "appeared" to know what she

was doing and her sister! Perhaps we served as

a distraction for others during their three-hour


Words of advice

In summary, if you are considering applying

for the H2B program in the future, be sure to

do your research ahead of time and have one

person dedicated to the process. This person

should have a thorough understanding of the

rules and regulations.

We originally thought we would apply for

just 10 visas our first year and see how it

went, but we were advised to request the

actual number needed in future years as

making changes next year could delay our


Applying for 20 was an undertaking for

us, logistically and cost-wise, but now we

are banging our head against the wall and

wondering why we didn’t go for 30!

Oh, and did I ever mention I work best under

pressure and yes, even chaotic situations?!




Rick Smith

The Pruning Guru

The people who have influenced my

career include…

• From Post Properties: Fred Hooks, John

Hooks, Ray Boyer, Todd Tibbitts

• From GCLP (Georgia Certified Landscape

Professional): John Strickland

• From Caldwell Tree Care: Kevin Caldwell

• From MALTA (Metro Atlanta Landscape &

Turf Association): Mary Kay Woodworth,

Kathy Johnson and all the board members

who sat on the Board during my tenure as

association president from 2009 - 2010.

• From ENVISOR Consulting: Ken Thomas

• From UGA: Bodie Pennisi



Rick Smith, Owner, The Pruning Guru

Phone: 678-445-1495 • Email:

Address: 1300 Williams Drive • Marietta GA 30066


From left: Rick,

Cheryl, and

Forrest Smith,

all 2nd Degree

Black Belts in

Choi Kwang Do


Martial Arts.

My first job in the

green industry

was...from 1980 –

1982 when I worked

with Green Brother’s

Landscape, now

Gibbs Landscaping.

The biggest

challenge in my

career…was starting

The Pruning Guru in

2002. The first seven

years were the most

challenging because I was learning how to run a

business and trying to establish my reputation.

The thing I like most about my career

is…..knowing that I’m making a difference.

My least favorite part of my job is…..


My biggest career success so far has

been…owning and operating The Pruning

Guru, Inc. for 17 years.

One piece of advice I would give to

someone entering the green industry

today is…work for a professional landscape

company that loves to train their employees.

The one thing most responsible for my

success is…my training from Post Properties

for 15 years.

If I had it to do over again, I would…have

hired a CPA from the beginning instead of an


If I could change careers, just for a

month, I would…work in the aviation


One thing that really annoys me is…

landscapers who give customers bad advice.

When I’m not working, I like to…hang out

with my son, Forrest.

What most people don’t know about me

is…I’m a Assistant Scout Master for the Boy

Scouts and working towards my 3rd degree

Black Belt.





Pruning is what we do, so you know the

job will be done right.


We hire and train the best, so you don’t

have to.


Your customers remain your customers.



We handle the pruning so your crews can

spend their time working on other jobs.

Contact us today: 678-445- 1495 |



PEST 411

Southern chinch bug

What you should know about biology and control

by Fawad Zafar Ahmad Khan, Shimat V. Joseph, and Will Hudson, UGA Dept. of Entomology



David Shetlar, The Ohio State University,

Fig. 1 Adult southern chinch bug.

The development of southern chinch

bug can easily go unnoticed because

of their small size and darkish-grey

color that blends with the thatch.

Southern chinch

bug (Blissus

insularis) (Fig. 1)

is an insect pest

of turfgrass,

especially St.

Augustinegrass, in



centipedegrass, and

zoysiagrass are also

attacked by southern

chinch bug. They feed

on grass using their

piercing and sucking

mouthparts. Affected

turfgrass can develop


patches, which can be

mistaken for disease

or drought stress.

Populations of

southern chinch bug can build up at the edges

of these patches to over 100 individuals per

square foot, which can kill the affected grass

(Fig. 2). The development of southern chinch

bug can easily go unnoticed because of their

small size and darkish-grey color that blends

with the thatch.


Southern chinch bug is a true bug with three

distinct life stages: egg, five nymphal stages and

then adult (Fig. 3). The southern chinch bug

deposits eggs between the leaf blade of turfgrass

and the stem from late March to September. A

female can lay about five eggs per day, with up

to 100-289 eggs produced during its lifetime.

When air temperatures are 83ºF, eggs can hatch

in nine days. But when air temperatures are

cooler, it may take 25 days at 70 ºF.

Eggs are oval and elongated, ranging from 0.75-

0.8 mm long and 0.23-0.25 mm wide. The color

of the egg changes from white when freshly

deposited to orange just before hatching.

Nymphal stages can be differentiated by

variations in color and markings on their

body. The first nymphal stage has an orangebrown

head, brown thorax, and bright orange

abdomen with a distinct cream-colored band.

From the second nymphal stage onward, the

color on all body segments gradually changes

to darker shades. The head and thorax become

dark brown. The abdomen color gradually turns

from an orange shade to dark grey. The size

of the fourth nymphal stage is more than the

double the size of first nymphal stage (about 2.0

mm long). The fifth nymphal stage has distinct

wing pads and is darker compared to the fourth

nymphal stage. The fifth nymphal stage is about

3.0 mm long. An occasional sixth nymphal

stage may develop during the cool weather. The

abdomen develops darker spots with blue-black

color. The size is almost the same as that of the

fifth nymphal stage. The nymphal stages can

live up to 40-50 days depending on the ambient


The adult stage can easily be identified

through well-developed wings. The female

chinch bug is larger in size compared to the

male. Females can live for 70 days, whereas

males live for around 40 days. It takes 35

and 93 days at 83ºF and 70ºF, respectively,

to develop from egg to adult.

Population growth can be rapid in the hot,

dry summer months. Because of considerable

overlap in generations, all stages are usually

found during the summer months in Georgia.

PEST 411

David Shetlar, The Ohio State University,

Fig. 2. Damaged turfgrass from southern

chinch bug feeding.

Populations of southern chinch bug can

build up at the edges of these patches

to over 100 individuals per square foot,

which can kill the affected grass.

Populations of chinch bugs are increased with

the amount of thatch. The southern chinch

bug is reported to form dense aggregations,

preferably under the St. Augustinegrass canopy.

The chemistry within the plant and that

produced by the insect play an essential role in

aggregation behavior of the southern chinch


Host plant resistance

The southern chinch bug has been successful

in overcoming different management tactics

including insecticide applications and host

plant resistance. Different cultivars of St.

Augustinegrass, previously considered resistant,

have later shown to become susceptible to

varying levels of infestation in certain regions of

the southeastern U.S.

The cultivars ‘FX-10’ and ‘Captiva’ are

resistant to southern chinch bug based on

recent research. A few susceptible cultivars

are ‘Floratam,’ ‘Seville,’ and ‘Raleigh’;

‘Raleigh’ is the only commercially available

cultivar in Georgia.

Fig. 3. Life cycle of southern chinch bug

Population growth can be rapid in the

hot, dry summer months. Because of

considerable overlap in generations,

all stages are usually found during the

summer months in Georgia.

Biological control

Bigeyed bugs (Geocoris spp.) (Fig. 4) is an

important predator of the southern chinch

bug. It has larger eyes and is wider than the

southern chinch. Other reported predatory

bugs, including (Lasiochilus pallidulus), warehouse

pirate bug (Xylocoris vicarious), and some

generalist assassin bugs also play a role in

keeping check on the chinch bug population.

Predatory earwigs and red imported fire ant also

help prevent outbreaks of southern chinch bug


Certain fungi, such as Beauveria bassiana, a fungi

that attacks insects, can be used to control

southern chinch bugs as long as the thatch and

soil remain moist.



PEST 411

Bradley Higbee, Paramount Farming,

Fig. 4. The bigeyed bug has larger eyes and is

wider than the southern chinch bug.

Bigeyed bugs (Geocoris spp.) is an

important predator of the southern

chinch bug.

Fig. 5. Floatation method to determine

presence of southern chinch bug.

Sampling chinch bugs through the

floatation method is an easy way to

determine presence of the chinch bug.


The parasitic wasp (Eumicrosoma benefica) is an

important natural enemy of the southern chinch

bug in other parts of the southern U.S. but yet

to be confirmed in Georgia. The year-round

activity of this wasp has been reported to

check the populations of southern chinch bug

in Florida. It is critical to conserve the natural

enemies by avoiding broad spectrum insecticides

and using proper cultural practices and resistant


Chemical management

Most of the chinch bug population is found in

the thatch area, with few bugs venturing up into

the canopy.

Sampling chinch bugs through the floatation

method is an easy way to determine presence of

the chinch bug (Fig. 5). For this method, a can

with both top and bottom cut out or a 4” PVC

pipe is inserted up to 3" deep into the soil at the

edge of the dead grass where chinch bugs are

suspected. Tap water is added to the can so that

chinch bugs, if present, will float to the water


An insecticide application is warranted if

more than three chinch bugs are found

in the flotation sample. A simple surface

view of the grass is not enough to predict

population size of this small pest.

The southern chinch bug remains active in all

warm months of the year. The pyrethroids,

carbamates and organophosphates are generally

employed for the management of this pest.

Insecticidal resistance has been problematic

with chinch bugs, so rotation of chemistry

and avoiding multiple applications of the

same insecticide is recommended to slow

down development of resistance. According to

some reports, a combination of a pyrethroid

with neonicotinoid insecticides has resulted

in successful management (for example, using

bifenthrin, clothianidin and imidacloprid).

Some populations of southern chinch bugs have

developed resistance to most commonly used

insecticides including imidacloprid, bifenthrin,

lambda-cyhalothrin, and deltamethrin.

However, it is less likely that all the southern

chinch bug populations have developed

resistance to these insecticide classes.


Visit for updates and to register.



+ Education


UAC Dinner Meeting

Building a Market-Leading Organization

Speakers: Ken Thomas and Ben Gandy, Envisor Consulting

DATE: Tuesday, August 27

TIME: 5:30 pm cash bar | 6:30 pm dinner


Heritage Sandy Springs

6110 Blue Stone Rd. | Sandy Springs GA 30328



Why is it that some companies grow to market leadership while others

get stuck along the way? Only a small portion of landscape companies

grow beyond a million dollars and of the ones that do, most get stuck

never realizing their business dreams. In this presentation Ken Thomas

and Ben Gandy of Envisor Consulting will share their insights around

organizational development learned through the lens of business

ownership and Landscape business consulting throughout the country.


+ Education


UAC Dinner Meeting

Topic to be advised

DATE: Tuesday, September 24

TIME: 6:00 pm dinner

PLACE: Vermeer Southeast

1320 Gresham Rd. | Marietta GA 30062




7th Annual UAC Sporting Clays Tournament

Blast your troubles away | Win prizes | Eat BBQ

DATE: Wednesday, October 23

TIME: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

PLACE: Blalock Lakes

4075 New Corinth Road | Newnan GA 30263





November 6, 2019

Super-Sod Turf Farm | Ft. Valley GA

UAC's Georgia Sod Producers Field Day

DATE: Wednesday, November 6

TIME: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

PLACE: Ft. Valley Conference Center & Super-Sod Turf Farm

Fort Valley GA

Landscape Pro University & Expo

The green industry's newest conference and trade show

DATE: Wednesday, January 29, 2020

PLACE: Cobb Galleria | Two Galleria Parkway | Atlanta GA 30339






Learn more on page 8.



Big, bold color for Sandy Springs estate

Project by FlowerWorx

Bold colors are on display in the pathway to the back yard with border plantings of Serena Blue

Angelonia, Lucky Flame Lantana and Profusion Mix Zinnias.



This estate property in the heart of

Sandy Springs has close to 1500 square feet

of annual beds throughout its four acres of

land. The property was installed with a lush

landscape design theme with many varieties of

trees, evergreens, conifers and blooming plant

material and the homeowner wanted this same

kind of unique variety with their seasonal color

designs as well. The finished product had to

have flower power by designing with spectacular

hot colors and big, bold accents that would

compliment the existing landscape throughout.

The homeowner wanted me to use a variety

of bold, hot, colorful plant material that would

thrive all summer in full sun and require

minimal maintenance since they did not want

this additional service. Also, the property was

irrigated with drip irrigation only, so I designed

with annuals that required comparable sun and

water needs. The combination of Whopper

Begonias, Lucky Pot of Gold Lantana and

Burgundy Sun Coleus along with Sky Rocket

Grass, Persian Palm and Diamond Head

Elephant Ears were used in the beds to make a

bold statement as you enter the property.

The main challenge was to pair plant material

that would thrive all season long and require

minimal maintenance and water. Adding water

retention product to the container installation

was necessary for success as well as applying

organic deer deterrent in bed areas due to the

small population of deer surrounding the home.

The end result was a bold and flowerful design

which thrived all season, meeting and exceeding

the customer’s expectations. Although the

customer did not pay for flower maintenance,

I did check in occasionally to make sure all was

well during the summer season.


As you go up the

driveway, I paired

Cora Mix Vinca,

Lucky Flame Lantana

and Serena Purple

Angelonia in the

border beds. This

combination thrived

all season, even

dealing with the

reflective heat coming

off the concrete.











Driveway entry flower bed.

Bamboo Palm containers in pool area.

The backyard is the customers’ sanctuary

complete with a “man cave” building and

they really wanted me to use colorful mixes

throughout this area. So I incorporated

Profusion Mix Zinnias, and Whopper Begonias

accented with Serena Blue Angelonia. Elephant

Ears are the customers’ favorite plant, so I

accented the flower beds with big, bold foliage

of Burgundy Sun Coleus and Elephant Ears

such as Persian Palm, Illustrus and Diamond

Head which were instrumental in completing

the customer’s vision of this area.




UAC Safety School

What do your employees need to know right now?

Keep your employees safe this summer.

Every work day comes with safety concerns.

As a business-level UAC member, did you

know that you have ready-to-go safety training

available to you through UAC's Safety School?

Sponsored by Snellings-Walters Insurance

Agency, Safety School makes it easier to keep

your employees - and your company - safe.

Each Safety School topic includes a trainer

document, which guides the instructor through

the training session, and a slide presentation to

show your employees. All of this is available in

both English and Spanish. Also included is an

attendance sheet so you have a record of who

received the training and when. Here are just

some of the topics available to you:

Outsmarting mosquitos

OBJECTIVE: To make all employees aware of

how and where mosquitos breed, what diseases

they carry and how to prevent bites.

Job hazard analysis

OBJECTIVE: To explain a job hazard analysis

and encourage employees to recognize and

evaluate workplace hazards.



Biting, stinging hazards

OBJECTIVE: To be able to identify and

avoid the hazards associated with poisonous

plants, animals, reptiles, and insects in Georgia

and know how to administer first aid when


Hazard communication

OBJECTIVE: To inform employees about the

chemical hazards they face in the workplace,

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and

labeling requirements.


Heat stress

OBJECTIVE: To identify symptoms of heat

stroke and exhaustion, and know the emergency

procedures for both.

Sun and heat exposure

OBJECTIVE: To learn the possible dangers

of the sun and high temperatures and how to

prevent overexposure.

Lawnmower safety

OBJECTIVE: To instruct employees on how

to safely maintain and operate a lawnmower to

prevent incidents.

Get the training

Visit UAC's Safety School to get training

materials (training notes, slide presentation,

attendance sheets) on a variety of safety


UAC Safety School is available online to all

business-level UAC members. Here's how to


> Go to

> Use the "MEMBERSHIP" menu tab

Log in and

start your




Hardscape installation safety

OBJECTIVE: To identify potential hazards

during hardscape installation and provide

prevention and protection strategies.

> Click on "Members-only content" under


> Log in as a member

> Use the email address and password

that is associated with your UAC


> Need help? Contact us:

Call 800.687.6949 or


> Scroll to the "Safety" category on that list

and click on "Visit UAC Safety School"




Getting up to speed with Instagram

5 tips for making it work for your business

by Sara Crawford, Digital Content Specialist, WebTech Marketing Services



On UAC member Gibson Landscaping's

Instagram page, visitors know at a glance

what their business is all about.

Facebook has shifted to focus more

on connecting users with content

from family and friends while

Instagram has become the “new

home for brands,” according to

Forbes magazine.


One of the

most popular

social media

platforms today

is Instagram. Now

more than ever, small

businesses can benefit

from having an

Instagram account as

more and more tools

are rolled out that will

help these business

owners succeed.

Over 25 million


currently use

Instagram, and

there are over 200

million users who

visit at least one

business profile

each day.

Facebook has shifted

to focus more on

connecting users with

content from family

and friends while

Instagram has become

the “new home for

brands,” according to

Forbes magazine.

So how can you use

Instagram to promote

your business? Here

are five tips to help

you get started.

Create an appealing profile.

Filling out your profile is the first step.

There’s not one “right” way to finish your

profile, but here are some tips:







Your profile photo. Using your

company’s logo for your profile picture will

help people identify your brand easily.

Your account name. This should be your

company name, and it should be identical

to your company name on other social

media profiles.

Your username. This should also be the

company name except you won’t be able to

include spaces.

Your website. You only get one clickable

link in your bio so make it count. Some

people link to a “link tree” with all of their

links listed on one page.

Your bio. This is a good place for your

company slogan or to describe exactly what

your business does.

Post content regularly.

The best way to approach this is to

figure out your goals for the content you post on





Are you trying to showcase your products or


Are you looking to attract quality employees

to join your team?

Are you simply trying to create more brand


Before you come up with a content strategy,

focus your attention on your company’s specific

goals with Instagram.

Once you’ve discovered your goals, you want to

be consistent about the content you are posting.

You will see the best results if you post once

or twice a day. It’s helpful to learn when your

followers are the most active so you can post

during that time.



Use Instagram stories.

Instagram has a relatively new feature

called stories. This allows you to post content

that only exists for 24 hours and is then taken

down. There are several tools in Instagram

stories that regular posts don’t necessarily have.

For example, you can take polls on stories or

post stickers. Your story can be a photo or a

video. You can also use hashtags and tag other


There are several ways you can use stories to

promote your brand. For instance:



Behind-the-scenes content. Consider

creating a post about one of your landscape

projects in progress.

Live and timely content. If your

company is having a special event, why not

post about it on Instagram stories?

According to Instagram, stories are used

by 500 million users every day, and one

third of the most-viewed stories are from

businesses. It’s predicted that Instagram

stories will surpass the regular feed later

this year.


Tell the story of your brand.

Author, speaker, and viral marketing

pioneer Jonah Sachs says, "Your brand is a story

unfolding across all customer touchpoints."

The best way to capture your followers’

attention is to tell a story, and the thing that the

biggest brands on Instagram have in common is

that they are excellent storytellers. The best way

to do this is to let the pictures and captions that

you post do all the talking for you. For example,

a brand like Modcloth posts empowering photos

that show a bit of attitude because that’s the

story of their brand.

People need to be able to glance at your

main feed and get an idea of what your

business is all about.

You’ll want to decide

what your brand’s

narrative is going to

be before you post on

Instagram. Once you

have that in place,

it will be easier to

choose which photos

to post by asking

yourself whether they

fit the narrative of

your brand.



UAC member Swift Straw uses their

with your Instagram page to announce job openings.


It’s important that

you respond to comments, likes and comment

on related posts, and respond to any messages

you get from your stories. People are more likely

to follow you if you are a brand that regularly

engages with its followers. You also might

want to run contests and giveaways to increase

your engagement. Contests can build up the

excitement centered around your brand. You

can ask for followers, likes, or comments to enter

the contest or a giveaway.

Get creative

These are some suggestions for ways to use

Instagram for your business, but the only

limitations are your own creativity. Tap into the

many ways you can use Instagram to promote

your company’s brand, gain more followers, and

increase your customer base.


P: (404) 348-4921 ext. 112

About the author

Sara Crawford is an

author and Digital

Content Specialist for

WT Digital Agency. In

love with the written

word, she strives to

provide quality content

for all of her clients.




Benchmarking your business

How much do you charge for your services?

by Kristen Hampshire, Lawn & Landscape

that he could lower the hourly rate,” Huston

says. Well, that contractor did, in fact, end up

adding many more clients because his market

was particularly competitive. “If you know

your costs, then you can make those decisions,”

Houston says.

So, what’s the best way to figure out pricing so

you know when to draw the line and know what

flexibility you might have to give a customer a

break? Huston suggests a bottom-up approach

that will give you a minimum price to charge for

services. “You’ll have low-ballers in your market

that will come up with some ridiculous price

and you need to know when to walk away from

a job,” he says.

A bottom-up pricing strategy tells you:

> How low you can go with pricing

> How much room you have to valueengineer

a contract to retain a client or

compete against another bidder



Graphic courtesy of

Lawn & Landscape

Pricing is a constant pressure for

landscape businesses, whether you’re

operating a lawn care company, design/build

firm or commercial maintenance business.

Pricing is the one common frustration because

no matter the market or economic landscape,

you’ll always face low-ballers and feel cornered

by clients who try to squeeze the profit out of a


“It’s important to know your numbers, know

where you need to be and know when to say

‘when’ on lowering a price,” says Jim Huston,

president of J.R. Huston Consulting.

Huston describes a contractor who wanted to

lower his hourly labor pay rate by $2 an hour

because it would decrease the cost of services by

10 percent and allow him to pick up more work.

“We really dug into the numbers and discovered

> The bottom-line price you can build up

from, and perhaps generously, depending

on the market and economy

Get your break-even

Before you can figure your minimum price,

you’ve got to have a solid budget that aligns with

industry benchmarks. With an accurate budget,

you’ll know the costs for labor, labor burden,

payroll (taxes), equipment costs, subcontractors,

equipment rentals, vehicles and materials. You’ll

also know your indirect costs, including general

administrative overhead.



Find your break-even point: Add your

direct costs and overhead. This is your

break-even point – the money you’ve got to

bring in to stay in business.

Add net profit margin: Now that you

have the break-even point, apply the net

profit margin. For example, in today’s




healthy market, a residential design/build

contractor can apply a 20 percent net profit

margin to the break-even point.

Do the math: You’re pricing a job where

materials cost $3,000, labor is $2,000 and

labor burden is $500. Equipment is $1,500.

That’s $6,000 of direct costs. Your general

and administrative overhead expense is

$2,000 for a break-even point of $8,000.

Apply a 20 percent net profit margin to

$8,000 for a price of $10,000.

Set your pricing minimum: Start the

price for this project at $10,000. If your

market allows, charge more. But if a

competitor offers do to the same job for

$8,000, let it go! You’ll make absolutely no

profit if you match that low-ball price since

your break-even point is $8,000.

“In a depressed market or recession, the

customer’s primary concern is, ‘How low can

you go?’ ‘How you value-engineer this price

and come back with a lower number?’” Huston

says. “So, you need to know when to say no in a

recessionary or tough market.

“Now, we are not in that market – it’s the other

end of the spectrum, and in a robust market,

the client’s primary concern is, ‘When can you


Huston says labor is such a problem now that

virtually all of his clients could do 20 to 30

percent more work if they had the labor to do

it. “Labor prices are going up, so now is the

time to raise your prices because as you have

huge demand and a limited supply of qualified

contractors, prices go up,” he says.

Huston suggests pushing the limit on

pricing in a healthy market. “If you are

getting every job, your numbers are too

low,” he says.

How low are your numbers?

A residential design/build firm should get 70

to 90 percent of bids submitted. However, in

the bid-build market, you should win one-third

of the jobs you price. “And in the commercial

market, you should win 10 to 15 percent of

what you price,” Huston says. “If you win more

than that, then you really need to look at pricing

because you could be too low.”

Maintaining margins

Knowing your lowest price can help no matter

your market, and applying those industry

benchmarks is a way to stay on track toward


At For-Shore Weed Control in New Jersey, a

specialty focus on gravel landscape services

allows the business to earn a nice margin

without too much competition from area

businesses. The company has more than 18,000

clients and has been in business for 30 years,

growing steadily during three decades.

“We have competition, but that has never been

the driving force in any decision we make,” says

owner Mike Matthews. When he first started

the business, his theory was to make the service

affordable for everyone and to focus on doing


“I was using a simple 10 percent rule – if

materials cost $10, I’d charge $100,” he says.

That model wasn’t sustainable, though, because

For-Shore took on more expenses as it grew,

including health insurance, more equipment

and vehicles. “Things got more complicated

as we grew, and that’s when we brought a

consultant into the picture to help with a budget

and our pricing,” Matthews says.

The pricing now accurately covers the

company’s overhead and direct costs, allowing

for an appropriate net profit margin while giving

the business an edge in the market. For-Shore

is still a volume-focused business. “We keep the

efficiency high, volume high and density high

and that has been our secret to profitability,”

Matthews says.

Reprinted with permission from the October

2017 post by Lawn & Landscape. Visit www. for more information.




Out with the old, in with the new

7 strategies to implement now that will pay off later

by Erin Saunders, ON Services



Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

But less client demand doesn’t mean

less work. There are things you can

be doing during client lulls to ensure

you’re set up to be successful when

demand is high.

Many businesses

are cyclical in

nature, with periods

of great activity and

workload, followed

by periods with less

client demand. But

less client demand

doesn’t mean less

work. There are

things you can be

doing during client

lulls to ensure you’re

set up to be successful

when demand is high.




Slower periods are a

great time to evaluate employee files, I9 forms,

and employment applications. If you don’t do

this regularly, look through your employee files

and clean out those that no longer belong with

the active files. Use this time to pull contact

information of any seasonal workers you want

to reach out to for the upcoming season.

Next, evaluate your I9 files. I9s should be kept

separately from employee files. You’ll want to

pull out any terminated employee I9s and mark

them with a shred-by date. I9s must be retained

either three years after the date of hire, or one

year after employment is terminated, whichever

is later.

Mid-year performance review


Do you have full-time staff, or regularly

scheduled part-time staff? Slower periods are a

great time to give employee feedback. Schedule

some time to sit down with them and see how

you are tracking to goals for the year. Give and

get some feedback from them on things they

think are going really well, as well as areas of

concern. The feedback provided at the actual

year-end performance review shouldn’t be a

surprise to your employee. Providing feedback

throughout the year helps ensure you’re on the

same page.


Database cleanup

Ideally, customer relationship databases

are kept updated throughout the year. If your

customer database could use some cleanup,

now is a great time to focus on that. Consider

scrubbing your customer database. Update any

contact information, customer history, or notes

that are needed. This will ensure when the

busy season comes around, you have the best

information on your clients.



The busy season is right around the

corner and now is a great time to be top of

mind for new or existing clients. Check out

your existing marketing tools. Do any need to

be updated? Now could also be a good time

to brainstorm any new or different ways you

want to bring your services to market. Consider

updating your social media platforms with

any of the recent work or highlights from your

business. This will help keep you top of mind

with clients and former staff.



Now is also a good time to review your

onboarding documents and process. Is your

paperwork up to date? Are there any updates

that need to be made to the handbook, policies,

or other onboarding processes? Now is your

chance to look at your onboarding process

before you are entrenched in hiring. Check out

your job descriptions and postings and make

sure they are still up to date. Consider the

worker pool you’ll be looking to hire from and

make sure your job posting language targets

that pool. If you use third-party vendors to help

with temporary staffing, connect with them to

let them know what you think your needs will be

during the next busy season.



Networking events

Attending and/or presenting at

industry conferences is a great way to stay up to

date on changes in the industry as well as a great

way to build your professional relationships.

Networking isn’t about being pushy or making

connections with people because you think they

can help you in the future. Truly, networking

is just about making genuine connections with

people. Once you’ve connected with people,

a side effect is that it opens up possibilities

for you both to be helpful and seek help, but

that typically won’t happen without a genuine

connection. Making time for networking events

can also be a great way to get ideas you can use

in your own business.



Do you have seasonal workers you want

to have return? Reaching out to candidates now

can give you a feel for how many are interested

and able to return this year. Look at the business

that is in the pipeline to understand what

staffing levels may be needed to help support

the organization. Knowing the business that is

already booked, as well as understanding what

staff are able to return, can help you understand

and plan for additional recruiting efforts or

resources that may be needed.

Thoughtfully using slower periods in the

business is a key part of ensuring you are

strategically set up to handle the busiest times.

A little preparation and planning now will help

you have everything you need to support and

grow your business in the future.

P: 770-457-0966


About the author

Erin Saunders is

Director of Human

Resources with ON

Services in Norcross,



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Avoiding a mental meltdown

How to prioritize what's really important to you

by Tom Borg



Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Consider a space shuttle on its

way to the moon. If it’s off course

during a majority of its flight, many,

many midcourse corrections will be

necessary if it’s ever going to reach its


This past

December, I

became frustrated

with the number

of scheduled events

I’d put on my

calendar for the

month. It seems that

I had inadvertently

overscheduled myself,

not only with workrelated

activities but

also with social ones

to be spent with

friends and family.

I felt like my head

was in a vise, and I

was having trouble

breathing. Sound


In my case, knowing

what my primary

driving forces are

- that is the top

four motivators for

me doing the things I do - I was able to begin

making some choices.

Let me explain my process

One of the testing instruments I’m certified to

administer and use with many of my clients

is called the Talent Insights Assessment. I’ve

also taken it myself. When I did, it revealed 12

motivators that stimulate me to take action.

These 12 motivators are further divided into

three groups of four.

The first set of four are my primary driving

4 1.


forces; they’re the reasons I do the things

that are most important to me.

The second set of four motivators are the

situational driving forces; these are the

things that motivate me to take a particular

action, depending on the situation at hand.


The last set of four motivators consists of

the indifferent driving forces, things that in

most situations don’t influence me as much.

The assessment revealed that one of my

primary driving forces is “intentional.” This

means I am driven to assist others to achieve

specific purposes and not simply for the sake of

being helpful or supportive.

In other words, I like helping others but not just

for the sake of feeling like a nice guy. I want

to see some return on my energy and effort. It

may be that the person follows through on my

suggestions and takes some action that improves

their situation. This boosts my self-esteem and

reinforces my value to myself and to the person

I’m assisting.

Putting the process to work

Going back to the scenario I laid out in the

beginning — overscheduling myself for the

holiday season — I asked myself, “How did this

happen?” The answer I heard from the voice

within somewhat shocked me. It was so simple,

yet so hard to implement. It boiled down to two

basic principles:

1. I needed to evaluate which activities were

truly a top priority for me.

2. I needed to say no to the activities that were

not a high priority for me.

Let’s take a deeper look at this. When it comes

to evaluating how much of a priority a business

or personal activity should be, I had to ask

myself three more questions to make it crystal

clear which action I should take:

Did the activity support my personal/

professional mission statement?

2. Was the activity I was considering truly a

part of my long-term plan for professional

and personal self-actualization?




If it was not, could I postpone it to

another day when I had the appropriate

amount of time available or simply not do it at


Once I asked myself those three questions,

it became clear to me what my next actions

should be. I was finally able to justify my

decisions and make intelligent choices.

In this case, I was able to cancel one of the

activities, reschedule two of them and go ahead

with the rest, confident that they were supported

by my four primary drivers and were truly in

line with my personal/professional mission


It's your turn

How about you? What is your personal/

professional mission statement? Got it? Now,

answer the three questions above.

When you’re able to implement this simple

system for making wiser choices about how to

spend your time, you’ll be well on your way to

becoming more productive and satisfied with the

activities you do pursue. Like the old saying, “An

ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,”

here are a few suggestions to help you manage

your calendar in a more preventative way, avoid

a mental meltdown and get more satisfaction

from your life.

Find a good time-management system

that fits with your work style. Many good

time-management systems are on the market.

I’ve found that the system that works best for the

company leaders and presidents I’ve coached

over the years is the one that most closely fits

their personal preferences.

You may have looked at a few of these systems.

Maybe you’ve even liked certain parts of one of

them, but you’ve failed to find the “perfect” one

that does it all. Give up this expectation. Find

the one that comes the closest; you can meld

other features into it as you go.

For instance, I use a customer relationship

management system called Hubspot and a hard

copy day planner. These tools, along with my



Google calendar (which interfaces nicely with

Hubspot), form a suite that works fairly well for

me. Could it be better? Certainly. I keep striving

to improve it.

Follow Pareto’s Principle. When deciding

where you should invest your time, try using

Pareto’s Principle, or the “80/20 Rule.” When

you stop to look at just where your time is going,

you’ll begin to see patterns. The question you

must ask yourself then is, “Are these patterns

supporting or detracting from my ability to

achieve the important goals in my life?”

Revisit your personal and professional

goals. A good time to reassess is during the last

week of December as you look ahead to the

next year. But this shouldn’t be the only time

you do it. Experts agree that reviewing goals as

the year unfolds is extremely helpful in keeping

yourself on track. Here’s the analogy I use for

this: Consider a space shuttle on its way to the

moon. If it’s off course during a majority of

its flight, many, many midcourse corrections

will be necessary if it’s ever going to reach its


So, the next time you find yourself having a

minor meltdown, just take a break and ask

yourself if the way you’ve prioritized your

activities is consistent with your personal/

professional mission statement. If not, make

some changes. I bet you’ll be glad you did.

Reprinted with permission from Irrigation & Green

Industry magazine. Read more:


About the author

P: 734.404.5909



Tom Borg is a team

performance and

customer experience

expert who works

with small businesses

and organizations in

the green industry

to improve customer

acquisition and

retention. He helps

these organizations

through his consulting,

speaking, training and





Going up against giants

6 tips for competing for talent with the big guys

by Kate Kjeell

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Just as David killed the giant with

a strategic blow to the head, small

companies can beat their larger

competition by knowing their

strengths — and the competition’s


Is bigger always

better? Not

necessarily when it

comes to recruiting

talent. Today’s job

seeker is looking

for more in a new

position than just how

big a company is. Just

as David killed the

giant with a strategic

blow to the head,

small companies

can beat their

larger competition

by knowing their

strengths — and

the competition’s


A quick scan of job

postings will confirm

that the competition for talented professionals is


As the saying goes, “The war for talent is

over … and the talent won.”

need to be proactive and carefully plan their

approach. Here are six tips that can help you

bag that highly coveted talent.


Maximize your network. Small

businesses are often well connected

locally. Don’t underestimate your network —

and if you don’t have one start developing one.

You can get the word out about openings

through your membership in green industry and

other business associations. (See how UAC members

can add job postings to UAC's website on the next page.)

Teaming up with other small businesses can be

a great way to leverage your efforts, particularly

with companies that are hiring in different areas

than you traditionally hire in. This allows you to

expand your reach.

Always be on the lookout for great talent even if

you don’t have a need for it right then and there.

Establish relationships and build a pipeline

of talented individuals before you need them.

This requires a longer view and some care

and feeding, but it pays off in big dividends.

Encourage your executive team to do the same.

Recruiting is a team sport and everyone needs to

play a position to win in this game.



With next to full employment, most candidates,

including entry-level workers, have more

career options than ever before. That means

companies have to up their game to fill their

open positions.

This represents a unique challenge for the

green industry as over half of it is comprised of

small businesses. Competing for talent against

companies with bigger name recognition and

fatter recruiting budgets can feel like a David

versus Goliath scenario. But it doesn’t need to

be that way.

Savvy small business leaders can create

compelling offerings to candidates, but they

A recent green industry client took this advice

to heart. While we were searching for a national

sales manager, we found several candidates who

were not quite a fit for that position but would

be ideal as regional sales managers. By treating

them respectfully and providing a great hiring

experience they were left with a good impression

of the company. The hiring leader kept in touch

with these two candidates, connecting with them

on social media and occasionally checking in.

Three months later, when they were ready to

hire a regional sales manager, there were already

two great candidates in the pipeline ready and

waiting. This is a great example of hiring for the

future in a competitive market.


Another network to cultivate is early-career

talent. Consider local schools and universities

as a feeder source. A well-planned internship

program can provide you with a great pool of

candidates who are already familiar with your

company. It will give you a leg up when these

candidates graduate and enter the job market.

Turn employees into talent


ambassadors. Statistics show that

employee referrals are your best recruiting

resource, shortening the time-to-hire interval

and providing the highest quality potential hires.

Turn your employees into talent ambassadors by

equipping them with the right tools for sharing

your available openings. Here are a few specific

steps to get your employees thinking like talent



Start small and pick a handful of people

who are passionate about your company

and its mission.




Quantifying your employee value


Empower your talent ambassadors to post

about your company on social media. A mix

of job posting information and authentic

content about your company will provide a

nice balance.

Once you get some traction with your core

team, build on that success. Have your

talent ambassadors enlist the support of

others in the company in getting the word


If you don’t already offer incentives

for employee referrals, consider this an

opportunity. Studies show that even small

forms of recognition, including those that are

nonmonetary, get employees excited about

referring candidates. After all, who doesn’t want

to work with their friends?

Looking to grow your team?

Did you know that UAC's website has a job posting section?

If you're a business-level member you can post there for free.

Just follow the instructions below, enter your job and contact information, then your posting will be

listed on UAC's website for 30 days. It will automatically expire, but you can always post it again if

the position hasn't been filled.

Here's how to access:

> Go to

> Use the "MEMBERSHIP" menu tab

> Click on "Members-only content" under


> Log in as a member

> Use the email address and password that

is associated with your UAC membership

> Need help? Contact us: or


> Under the "Business" category, click on

"Submit a job posting."




Create a unique social media


footprint. A study by recruiting

technology firm iCIMS stated that over 50

percent of job seekers are using social media

to learn about potential employers. For a

small company, social media is a great tool to

highlight your unique culture and stand out

from the crowd. Sharing your company’s values

and mission can attract candidates that might be

drawn to those things.

For example, the green industry is well

positioned to compete with other industries

that may not be as environmentally friendly.

Sustainability and environmental awareness are

values that resonate with candidates and attract

a larger talent pool.

On the other hand, small businesses can

overlook negative social media reviews and posts

due to a lack of resources or an understanding

of their impact. Make sure you are proactively

managing your social media message. If left

unattended, the most negative voices will drive

the narrative.

Highlight career and


professional growth

opportunities. Nobody enjoys a boring

job. This has never been truer than with

the millennial workforce. A key competitive

advantage of a small business over a larger

one is the opportunity to wear multiple hats.

Small companies inherently embrace employees

playing different roles and stretching themselves

in different areas; this is compelling to many job


on a business by having the flexibility to

make decisions and have visibility across an


Retain the employees you


already have. Sometimes the best

defense is a good offense. Companies that do

a great job of developing and retaining their

employees don’t have to spend a lot of time and

effort on recruiting. Retaining and developing

employees that are already contributing to

your business is one of the best strategies for

competing with the big companies.


Move quickly in the hiring

process. This is another competitive

advantage that small companies have over

larger ones. Big organizations often make a

candidate face six or even more interviewers

before a decision is made. An organization that

is willing to act fast on a good candidate has a

big advantage.

If these tips feel daunting, start small and pick

one area to concentrate on. But don’t let the

week go by without committing to be proactive

in your recruiting strategy. With some focus and

creative thinking, your company can become a

“giant killer” when it comes to competing for

great talent against bigger — but not necessarily

better — companies.

Reprinted with permission from Irrigation & Green

Industry magazine. Read more:




Make sure you are specific about what this

looks like in various roles and provide examples.

This will capture a candidate’s imagination and

attention more than the typical vague statement

most companies put out there such as, “We

encourage employee growth.” Show them what

that means.

In addition to having broader roles for

their employees, small companies have less

bureaucracy and typically make decisions

quicker. It’s exciting to a candidate to

understand the impact he or she can make

About the author


Kate Kjeell is president

of TalentWell, a

recruiting firm that

specializes in helping

small and mid-sized

businesses find and

hire the right people to

enable them to thrive.

The firm’s approach

can be described in

three words: find, fit,





Explore your options

Get the most bang for your equipment buck

by Mary Elizabeth Williams-Villano



““The key is understanding your

options. List all the pros and cons to

help you see which type of financing

would be a better fit for you.”

– Mac Braun

Wells Fargo Equipment Finance

The term “heavy

metal” is used to

describe a genre of

ear-splitting, headbanging

music. But

it’s also a good term

for describing the

large equipment

you must use as a


Do you remember

that first piece of

big iron you bought

for your business —

that first zero-turn

mower, dump truck

or skid steer? There

may have been

some head-banging

involved there, too,

depending on how

the transaction went.

We hope to give you

some tips on buying,

leasing or renting

equipment so you can

do it without banging your head ... unless you

want to, of course.

Why buy?

Many contractors prefer to own their

equipment. Jorge Castaneda, owner and

president of Arboristas, a tree care company

based in Santa Clarita, California, buys the

machinery he uses to trim and cut trees. “The

heavy equipment, like a wood chipper or a

chipper truck, a dump truck, a boom truck,

those are hard assets that don’t devalue as fast

as regular vehicles,” says Castaneda. “It’s better

to buy them new and use them over the long


Frank Niccoli used to own a large landscape

company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He

sold his business in 2013 after 35 years in

business. Now he teaches contractors what he’s

learned. One of his classes covers how to buy


“One of the first things my students hear is ‘The

50 Percent Rule’ — if a piece of equipment is

going to sit idle 50 percent of the time, then it

should not be purchased.”

But there are exceptions to that. “It depends on

what your goals are,” adds Niccoli. “If you’re

planning a growth spurt, you may be able to

justify that purchase if your productivity is going

to increase because of it.” A good example of

this is being able to cut more grass with that new

72-inch zero-turn rider than with your old 21-

inch walk-behind.

Niccoli advises doing a “true lifetime cost

analysis” of the machine or vehicle you’re

considering. “That includes the cost of

the maintenance and replacement parts

it’ll need, the per-gallon cost of the fuel

and the sales tax and interest you’ll pay

on the financing. That’s how you’ll see

that a $30,000 piece of equipment ends up

costing you $52,000 over its lifetime.”

A lot of contractors wait until the end of the

year to buy equipment. If he finds himself flush

with cash at year’s end, his tax advisor may say

it’s time to buy something to get the write-off.

But Niccoli says this is not the best approach.

“You really should be able to project what your

company’s going to be making in the next three

months. When owners are surprised they have

all this cash on hand, it just tells me they’re

not managing that company, the company is

managing them.” He continues, “Ideally, you

should be able to say, ‘I’m going to have a


surplus, so I should talk to my division leaders

and crews and see what kind of stuff I should

be investing in’ — instead of saying ‘Hey, now

I can go get a crane!’” He saw a company do

just that. “The thing just sat there, rusting away.

They were trying to get other contractors to rent

it from them because they couldn’t utilize it.”

Finally, before you buy any piece of equipment,

Niccoli says you should have your crew

members work with it. Many companies will

let you demo something for a week. This helps

your people get beyond the “shiny new penny”

effect so you can get their honest opinions of

the machine. And don’t forget to account for the

time it will take to train your crew on the new


Castaneda stressed the importance

of finding a reputable local dealer and

establishing a relationship with him. “You

need to be able to trust that brand and that

dealer and make sure that you like that

piece of equipment you’re buying because

you’re going to be using it for a good 10


With a good relationship established, Castaneda

says, “If you have an issue, he will go out of his

way to resolve it for you. That is critical because

for a contractor, time is everything.”

“Having a machine go down on a job site is a

big deal — you’re not going to get that job done

today. But if you’ve established a relationship

with the dealer you bought that piece of

machinery from, you could end up getting a

loaner. He will even come to your job site and

drop it off so you can keep working while he

looks into the issue you’re having.”

What about leasing?

Joe Areyano is CEO and owner of Olympic

Landscape, Puyallup, Washington, a company

that does design/build, irrigation, landscape

installation and maintenance. It employs around

60 people at any given time and generates

around $5.5 million a year in revenue.

Types of leases

When it comes to leasing, there are many different options.

Mac Braun, senior vice president for agriculture, golf and turf

markets at Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, explains the most

common types available to contractors.

Dollar-out: Similar to a loan, you make payments, and at the

end of the lease ownership is transferred to you. After leasing a

$50,000 dump truck for 60 months, having already paid $49,999,

you would hand over the $1 buyout fee and the truck is yours.

Purchase-on-termination: The finance company sets a

residual, and you agree that when the lease ends you’ll buy it for

that amount. A $10,000 piece of equipment with a 10 percent

residual is $1,000. At the end you pay the $1,000 and you own

it. The benefit of this type of lease is lower payments during the


Fair market value/operating: The finance company sets

a residual, but at the end of the lease you have the option to

buy or return the piece of equipment. This type of lease gives

a contractor great flexibility with cash flow and is generally

less expensive than other leases or conventional financing. The

higher the residual the lower the payments.

Terminal rental adjustment clause: These are generally

limited to over-the-road equipment. At the end of the leasing

term you can buy the item for the residual, trade it in for a new

model, keep the lease going by financing the residual or give it

back to the bank. The bank will then sell the vehicle. Should the

bank realize more than the residual amount in the sale, you’ll get

a check for the difference. But should the bank not get the full

residual you’ll have to make up the difference.

Various financing options have been employed

over the company’s long history, but the current

favorite is leasing. “We’ve been primarily leasing

our equipment and assets, everything from our

larger mowers, stand-on mowers, skid steers,

excavators and even our trucks,” says Areyano.

Considering that a commercial mower

typically lasts around 3,000 hours in daily

use, mowing eight to 10 hours a day, or the

equivalent of about three years, a threeyear

leasing arrangement makes a lot of





cases, the lease is more advantageous. But that’s

something you need to discuss with your tax


Would Areyano advise leasing to a contractor

just starting out? “Absolutely,” he says. I

would say that for any new company leasing is

definitely the way to go, especially when you

don’t know what projects you’ll have in the


“‘Cash is king’ is an old saying for a

reason,” he continues. “You want to

preserve as much cash as you can as a

newer company and as an older one.

Especially in your starting years, you have

less access to cash and less experience in

using that cash.



Graphic courtesy of Irrigation & Green Industry magazine.

“We’ve definitely changed our approach,” he

continues. “It’s only been this leasing effort over

the last three or four years. Before, we’d take

out loans or pay cash for the assets we bought.

Our larger vehicles, like our dump trucks, are

primarily on TRAC (terminal rental adjustment

clause) leases.”

Since taking over the business from his father

who founded it 41 years ago, Areyano has

expanded it by acquiring several different

companies and is looking for others. Leasing

helps preserve his cash while he’s in expansion

mode. “A good, healthy balance sheet without

a lot of debt on it definitely helps when

purchasing new businesses, whether it’s with

a loan or with cash,” he says. He also finds it

easier to write off a leased asset’s purpose on his

taxes at the end of the year.

The IRS code allows a lessee to maintain the

full deductibility of a leased asset even though

there’s a predetermined residual value. Only the

bank gets to write off the depreciation, however.

Mac Braun, senior vice president for agriculture,

golf and turf markets at Wells Fargo Equipment

Finance, says, “There are tax advantages to a

lease that may be applicable. What you have to

do is compare that to your bonus depreciation

to see which is more advantageous. In some

These days, interest rates are so good, so I

would take advantage of those special financing


Another benefit to leasing is that you can

prevent buyer’s remorse. You have the ability to

change equipment instead of being stuck with

something you may not use as much as you

thought. You might be one to two years into

a lease and determine you need a newer or a

different machine. It’s much easier to upgrade

that piece of equipment if you’ve leased it

versus being tied into a purchase.

There are special programs, too, such as John

Deere’s Ultimate Forgiveness Program. “We

want to encourage our customers to lease, so

we offer a discount on any damage a returned

machine has,” says Angie Harms, tactical

marketing planner at John Deere Financial. “If

you’re over or under hours, we’ll forgive some

of those. It’s a benefit you also get for being a

return customer.”

Castaneda prefers to lease his pickups and

business-developer vehicles, because “it’s

better to put a bunch of miles on them,

give them back to the dealer and exchange

them, so you always have a newer fleet.”


I asked Ed Roberts, senior vice president,

specialty markets, transportation for Wells

Fargo, if a contractor would pay hundreds or

thousands of dollars more for something under

a lease agreement versus a purchase plan. “He

would,” he admitted, but that’s not the whole

story. “He also needs to look at the opportunity

cost of that money.”

For example, he explains, “I can drop $100,000

to buy a truck, or I can lease it and put $3,000

to $4,000 down. If I lease it, I still have $80,000

or $95,000 with which I can fund other

business options.” It may cost more to lease, he

concludes, but ask yourself, “Would it be better

for me to invest in a depreciating asset or go

after some new business opportunity that comes

up, like the chance to buy out my competitor?”

To Roberts, “It’s better to use that cash to grow

my business instead.”

But there’s also renting

Renting can be a good option when you

need a machine for a certain job but won’t

need it all the time.

Then, you’d go see someone like Rex Alligood.

He works at Ag-Pro Rentals in Quitman,

Georgia, where he rents machinery to

contractors in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

“If it’s something like a mini excavator that they

don’t use every day or a tractor with a trencher

on it for a big job, they’ll rent it,” Alligood

says. “That keeps their overhead down because

they’re not making a payment on something

they only need a couple times a year that sits

idle most of the time in their shop.”

Stan Hoglund, owner of Hoglund Landscape,

Fargo, North Dakota, rents equipment from

time to time. “If it’s something I don’t have

Your source for

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Reprinted with

permission from

Irrigation & Green

Industry magazine.

Read more: https://



because I hardly ever use it, like a backhoe, I’ll

go rent one just for the day,” he says.

And some landscape maintenance companies

apparently rent everything they use. “We deal

with quite a few landscapers that own very little

equipment,” says Alligood. “Because they have

the flexibility to rent things on a week-to-week

basis, some of them feel that nowadays they

may not need to own anything.”

Don’t forget the “used” option

This option can work well, but it’s not like it was

during the recession of 2008 when lots of used

trucks and equipment were available because

landscape companies were liquidating their

assets. Some of these were great values.

Now, the pickings are slimmer and come with

higher mileage. You have to consider what a

used machine might cost you in downtime,

upkeep or repairs versus something brand new.

Your financing decision will depend on your

company’s individual circumstances. “The key is

understanding your options,” Braun says. “List

all the pros and cons to help you see which type

of financing would be a better fit for you.”

He adds, “If you like fresh equipment,

keeping things under warranty and lower

payments, then leasing is a very good

option, but if you typically keep your

equipment for a long time, and especially

if a manufacturer is running any kind

of low-interest special or rebate with a

conventional loan, buying may be a better


Whatever options you choose, we hope all of

your equipment steers you toward a profitable,

headache-free 2019.

About the author

The author is senior editor of Irrigation &

Green Industry magazine and can be reached


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Sine Die

UAC members invest in Capitol relationships

by Bryan Tolar, Tolar Capitol Partners




After years of working closely with

UAC staff and members, I was given the

opportunity to serve as the eyes, ears and voice

of UAC members at the Georgia State Capitol

during the 2019 session of the Georgia General

Assembly. I’m grateful.

A key element to your business success

is having insight and engagement with

elected leaders from across the state.

All 180 Members in the House and 56 in the

Senate need to know about UAC issues and

opportunities so we can continue to advance

and protect policies that are important to

UAC members. It’s an honor to put my

experience to work to work for you, Georgia’s

leading landscape, turfgrass, and horticulture


2019 legislative session

With the 2019 legislative session behind us,

it could best be summarized in one word:

Progress. With a new Governor in Brian

Kemp, a new Lieutenant Governor in Geoff

Duncan, and a long list of over 40 new state

legislators, it was important for UAC to

cement relationships that will build in the years

ahead. Most importantly, we took cues from

your member survey responses and kept our

eye on the ball. Your feedback focused on

labor shortages, water use, advancing

agriculture, and state budget priorities.

This input served us well as the session

concluded in early April, but our work is just

getting started. Here’s a quick look at key issues

and what’s ahead for UAC members.

Ag Workforce Senate

Study Committee

To help address our industry workforce

challenges, the Georgia Senate approved SR

460, the Senate Agriculture, Forestry, and


Landscape Workforce Access Study Committee.

This effort by Senate Agriculture Committee

Chairman John Wilkinson could help

uncover workforce solutions for UAC member

companies, among others. Planning is already

underway and, starting this summer, this study

committee is planning to host three hearings

across the state to gather input from business

and industry leaders, as well as state agency

heads and state lawmakers.

The Committee consists of nine members

and includes the Executive Director of

the Georgia Urban Agriculture Council,

Mary Kay Woodworth. Three Senators,

the Commissioner of Agriculture, the State

School Superintendent, the Commissioner of

Labor, and two appointed citizen members (to

be named in the weeks ahead) round out the


Employers in landscape, agriculture,

and forestry will have the opportunity to

share their struggles to find the necessary

workforce to meet production demands.

It’s crucial that this committee recognize the

important role of agriculture, forestry, and

landscape jobs and the economic benefits

provided state wide. Following meetings across

the state, the committee will report their findings

by the end of the year. We hope you will make

time to attend a meeting along the way as UAC

continues to engage on this critical challenge of

workforce access.

Hemp production

The "Georgia Hemp Farming Act," HB

213 by Representative John Corbett was

signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on

May 10. This sets the stage for Commissioner

of Agriculture Gary Black, in consultation

with Governor Kemp and Attorney General

Chris Carr, to submit a plan to the U.S.

Secretary of Agriculture for state regulation

of industrial hemp production by the Georgia



Department of Agriculture. Senator Tyler

Harper carried it in the Senate and made

several helpful adjustments along the way.

Numerous UAC members took an interest in

the hemp production process, whether growing

seedlings in greenhouses, handling certification,

farming of the hemp crop, or plant processing.

Hemp grown for this program has a very low

maximum of .3% THC level. This is much

different from the medical cannabis oil used

for seizures and other approved treatments

that contains up to 5% THC. The Georgia

Department of Agriculture is working to

provide hemp production details soon, but we

understand Mike Evans, Program Director of

Plant Protection, will be a primary contact.

He can be reached at 404-586-1140 or

Pesticide reporting exemption

HB 223 by Representative Robert Dickey,

a Georgia peach grower near Macon,

clarifies that pesticide application practices

are not considered a “release of a hazardous

UAC membership benefited from many legislative leaders this year

including Senator John Wilkinson (left) and Representative Tom McCall


substance.” This is common-sense to most

folks, but it was a good move to lock it down in

Georgia law moving forward. Senator John

Wilkinson carried it the Senate and Governor

Kemp signed the bill into law on May 6. Like

most new laws, it becomes effective on July 1,









State budget

Governor Kemp signed the $27.5 billion state

budget, the largest budget in Georgia's history,

on May 10. It includes several enhancements

to projects of interest to UAC, most notably

is the $2.5 million in state bonds for the UGA

greenhouse complex project in Athens. We’ll

need to keep pushing for additional funding for

this project, but this is a good start.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture

received $204,000 to add a staff position

and funds for managing the Georgia Ag

Tax Exemption (GATE) program and UGA

Extension received $656,000 to add a dozen

new county educators, plus $641,000 to add a

couple of precision ag positions and a vegetable


On the environmental management side, the

Georgia Environmental Protection Division

got $215,000 to assist with the farm irrigation

metering program, $134,000 to add two new

compliance specialist positions, and $109,000

for statewide water planning.

Our UAC member poll showed there was great

interest in school teachers receiving a $3,000

raise, which was also included in this historic

budget along with a boost in wages for all state

employees. This budget will run July 1, 2019

through June 30, 2020. With state tax revenue

growth of 5% above the previous year and

population on the rise, we could see an even

larger budget proposed by Governor Kemp in

January 2020.

Right to Farm

Very important policy discussions started this

year regarding enhancements to Georgia’s

existing Right to Farm protections. With key

legislative champions in House Agriculture

Committee Chairman Tom McCall and

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman

John Wilkinson, consideration is being given

to changes to would strengthen this important

nuisance protection policy. Legal challenges

regarding nuisance issues have long been a big

potential problem for Georgia farm facilities.

We are seeing legal challenges made to farms

in other states – we know the threat is real. As

farm operations change and property swaps

hands, we must carefully strike the balance of

farm rights and neighboring property rights to

be successful. With UAC member input, the

leadership of elected leaders, and a strong

partnership of all of our agriculture and

forestry allies, we will continue our work

in the 2020 legislative session. Building the

right balance and establishing the best legal

protections for these farm operations is the right

move for our future.

Support and gratitude

UAC membership benefited from many

legislative leaders this year and I wanted

to highlight just a few: Senator John

Wilkinson, Senator Tyler Harper,

Senator Jack Hill, Senator Freddie

Powell Sims, Representative Tom

McCall, Representative John Corbett,

Representative Patty Bentley,

Representative Robert Dickey, and

Representative Terry England. Time and

time again, they support UAC issues and I know

we are grateful for each of them.

Most of all, thank you for your support of

UAC. Your dues, engagement, participation,

and encouragement help build our brand. With

your continued help, we will further advance

our reputation in the public policy arena.

Our issues will lead to a better Georgia and a

thriving economic environment for all aspects of

our diverse industry. We can’t do it without you

– thank you!

About the author


Bryan Tolar is principal

of Tolar Capitol

Partners, Inc. which

brings over 25 years

of governmental

and political affairs

experience to best serve

clients. They have a

long list of legislative

and regulatory successes

while leading in the

government affairs



Pennisi named UGA faculty fellow

Fellowship will develop online training

by Sharon Dowdy for CAES News

UGA Department of Horticulture

Professor Bodie Pennisi has been named

a UGA Public Service and Outreach (PSO)

Faculty Fellow for 2019-2020.

The PSO Fellowship Program provides UGA

professors with an opportunity to apply their

research and course curriculum to the needs

of a specific PSO unit. The program creates

sustained relationships between the designated

unit and the Faculty Fellows’ department.

Through the fellowship, Pennisi will work

with UGA’s Small Business Development

Center to implement online business

training designed for landscape business

owners and managers.

The training will include essential topics

like financials, marketing, cost estimating,

employee retention and customer service.

In the future, the online training module will

be used across UGA Cooperative Extension

and as an online class for UGA undergraduate

students. An experienced online educator,

Pennisi will be using her horticulture and

landscape expertise to help small businesses

across Georgia.

She currently teaches three online courses at

UGA: Plant Physiology, Herbs, Spices, and

Medicinal Plants, and Plants, Pollinators, and


Based on the UGA Griffin campus, Pennisi

coordinates a statewide program that supports

the professional landscape industry. As UGA

Extension’s horticulturist and landscape

specialist, she also assists UGA Extension

agents with landscape troubleshooting,

landscape planning and local programming.

She also conducts applied research focused on

evaluating wildflowers and ornamental plants

for attractiveness to pollinators and natural

enemies, as well as

other sustainable

practices for

outdoor and indoor


She serves as

educational adviser

to the Georgia Green

Industry Association,

the Georgia

Based on the UGA Griffin campus, Bodie

Urban Agriculture Pennisi coordinates a statewide program

Council and the

that supports the professional landscape

national nonprofit

industry. She also assists UGA Extension

organization Green

agents with landscape troubleshooting,

landscape planning and local programming,

Plants for Green

and she conducts applied research on

Buildings. She

wildflowers and ornamental plants.

also serves on the


committee of the National Initiative for

Consumer Horticulture, the board of directors

of the Griffin Region College and Career

Academy, and is a co-editor-in-chief of the

journal Scientia Horticulturae.

"Online learning and online content delivery

have become an important part of both outreach

programming and the academic process. Not only

does this format appeal to younger clientele but

also has the potential to reach a wider audience.

Additionally, learning as part of a cohort has been

the hallmark of quality education. Supportive peer

group is essential in effective training, as peers work

together to learn concepts, work as a team, and solve

problems. Interaction with successful and established

business owners also is important as it gives the new

entrepreneurs ample opportunity to ask questions and

interact in a small group setting."

~ Bodie Pennisi

About the author

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College

of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.




UAC works closely with Tolar Capitol Partners, monitoring and reporting weekly during each legislative session

through Capitol Connection updates. These e-newsletters also include short surveys to "take the pulse" of

our UAC members on important issues. If you work for a UAC member company and would like to

be added to this email list, please contact us at

Here are some

recent survey

results from

UAC members:



As this legislative session enters the final weeks, which of the following

issues would you rank as your highest priority?

Identify programs to gain workers for landscape & farm jobs..................................48%

Enhance the Right to Farm Act to better protect agriculture & forestry...................25%

Make opportunities for hemp production in greenhouse & farm facilities...............19%

Add state budget funds for research facilities and staff positions...............................8%

UAC's workforce development outreach includes a focus on engaging


with students, teachers and guidance counselors and promote the career

opportunities available in the landscape, turf and horticulture industry. It's a

marathon, not a sprint, as we work together to create the future workforce. Which

of the following workforce shortage is impacting your business?






Farm Labor...................................................................................................................16%

Design and Construction...............................................................................................7%



Lawmakers will soon finish their work in Atlanta and head home. What

would you like to see UAC do to connect you with the legislative process?

I like to watch from afar, so the legislative updates are just fine...............................36%

Provide opportunities for legislative leaders to engage at UAC events......................29%

Plan tours for lawmakers so they can better understand our industry.....................21%

Host an event so we can meet with them at the State Capitol....................................14%









tree_logotypeUpdateGENERIC.pdf 3/3/08 9:40:37 PM

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New faces at NICH

Gordon and Woodworth join NICH leadership

by Ellen M. Bauske, PhD

In November 2018, we added two new

members to the National Initiative for

Consumer Horticulture (NICH) leadership.

Sylvia Gordon joined the team as Co-Vice

Chair. She holds an ornamental horticulture

degree from the University of Florida. Sylvia

is a landscape designer/garden consultant and

has 35 years as a wholesale specialty grower of

tropical ornamental plants in her Zone 10b-11

South Florida Nursery.

She has served her industry in many capacities

over the years. Sylvia has served on local and

state boards and committees for Florida’s

Nursery and Landscape Association, the

Florida Farm Bureau, the Tropical Research

and Education Center, the Miami-Dade

County Cooperative Extension Service, and the

University of Florida’s Wedgworth Leadership

Institute – this list is not comprehensive! This

work has helped shaped the grower, designer

and consultant she is today.

We asked these

women three

questions so

you could get

to know them.

This is what they


Sylvia Gordon


Wholesale Grower

Mary Kay Woodworth

Executive Director

Georgia Urban Ag Council

What is the thing

you like the most

about your job?

“As a grower, I love teaching people about

plants; I’m passionate about sharing info about

the right plant for the right place, the science

about the plant’s care as well as trivia and

alternatives to the plants ornamental use.”

“I get to do something different every day;

meeting and recruiting new members,

advocating and promoting the industry and

hanging out in beautiful landscapes and




If you could

change careers,

just for a month,

what would you


When you are

not working,

what do you like

to do?

“I would love to work in a botanic garden

somewhere in the extreme Southwest or

Northwest part of the US. that is a complete

contrast to the tropics and the plant material I


“Go someplace I have never been; immerse

myself in the locale, people, cuisine and of

course the plants & gardens of another


“Something that I did in a previous career –

bartending! It’s got a lot of similarity to my

current career: meeting interesting people

and some real characters.”

“Relax in my beautiful backyard in Atlanta

or at our family house in the New Hampshire

White Mountains with my husband, our

children and friends. After raising four

wonderful children, my husband and I are

really enjoying spending time with them as

adults (and now with spouses, significant

others and grandkids).”


Sylvia attended the NICH National Meeting in

Atlanta in 2018 and was hooked.

“I have always been an advocate for and

promoter of using more plant material. For

non- industry members, NICH will help create

the passion and love for plants that is felt by

members of the industry. From a business

standpoint, NICH is the vehicle that ultimately

puts horticultural product and services into the

lives of the end consumer.”

Mary Kay Woodworth also joined NICH

leadership in November. She has taken over

leadership of the Marketing Committee.

“What’s an easier task than promoting the

environmental, social, health and economic

benefits of horticulture? We’ve got a great

industry that does good for the planet and all of

us who live on it. We need to make sure more

folks experience these benefits! The NICH

marketing committee looks forward to spreading

the word.”

Mary Kay is the Executive Director of the

Georgia Urban Ag Council, Georgia's premier

professional organization for all sectors of

the urban agriculture industry: landscape

installation, design and maintenance, turfgrass

and sod growers, the nursery and horticulture

industry, landscape architects, irrigation

contractors, green wholesalers, retail garden

centers, floriculturists, athletic field and golf

course management and others. She works

closely with the University of Georgia’s

Cooperative Extension Service and other

horticultural and turfgrass educators in the state.

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Glenn Burton

A leader of the "Green Revolution"

by James Hataway



Glenn Burton examines grass cultivars being

grown on the UGA-Tifton campus.

You may never

have heard the

name Glenn

Burton before,

but you’ve almost

certainly seen his


In a career spanning

more than six

decades, most of

which was spent

as a professor at

the University of

Georgia’s Tifton

campus, Burton

established himself

as one of the

world’s most prolific

agricultural scientists,

and you don’t have

to search long to find

one of his creations.

From championship golf courses and

international venues like the Olympics and the

World Cup to the turf that adorns the playing

surface in the University of Georgia’s Sanford

Stadium, Burton created new grass varieties

that have become the international standard for

excellence in the sporting world.

But the scientific genius that allowed

Burton to create lush green fairways

on golf courses and turf capable of

withstanding punishment on the gridiron

also enabled him to develop new crop

varieties that fed millions of hungry

people during a time when the world was

struggling to produce enough food for a

rapidly growing population.

He saved countless lives during the “Green

Revolution” of the 1960s, and Burton’s many

contributions continue to inspire scientists

working to create a more dependable food

supply today.

“Helping feed the hungry of the world is my

greatest accomplishment,” Burton is quoted as

saying. “It was important to me because I saw

those hungry people, and I was able to help


In 1982, Burton was awarded a National Medal

of Science by President Ronald Reagan “for

outstanding contributions to the biological

sciences that have helped to feed the hungry,

protect and beautify the environment and

provide recreation for millions.”

Feeding the hungry

Burton’s story began, appropriately enough,

on his family’s farm in Clatonia, Nebraska. He

was born Glenn Willard Burton in 1910, the

only child of Joseph and Nellie Burton, and

he worked the land alongside his parents using

horse-drawn equipment.

He attended a one-room country school through

the eighth grade before graduating from high

school in 1927. Burton received his bachelor’s

degree from the University of Nebraska in

1932 and moved to Rutgers University, where

he received his master’s and doctoral degrees in

1933 and 1936, respectively.

Burton and his wife, Helen, moved to Georgia

following his graduation, where he would

spend the remainder of his career on the UGA

College of Agricultural and Environmental

Sciences Tifton campus developing new and

innovative plant varieties for agriculture and


“I don’t think I’ve ever met a person or known

a person that was more dedicated to research

than he was,” said Wayne Hanna, a professor of


crop and soil sciences who worked closely with

Burton for a number of years. “He didn’t watch

television, he only read scientific literature and

his only real hobby was gardening.”

Burton spent almost every waking hour thinking

about ways to improve plants, and he would

happily share his love of science with anyone

willing to listen.

“He was sitting at a table next to me at a

wedding, and I overheard him telling guests

the details of reciprocal recurrent phenotypic

selection,” Hanna said. “I don’t think they had

a clue what he was talking about, but that’s

just how passionate he was about his work. He

would talk about it nonstop if you let him.”

And his was a passion that changed the world.

By 1960, Burton became one of the most

sought-after experts on plant genetics,

breeding and development. He traveled to

more than 50 countries, where he would

consult with researchers and students

about crop improvement.

It was also a time of great concern. The world’s

population was growing at an unprecedented

rate, and scientists issued dire warnings about

the possibility of mass starvation unless farmers

could find a way to produce more food.

Burton had been working on different varieties

of pearl millet, a grain crop grown in many

parts of Asia and Africa, and he developed a

partnership with scientists from the Rockefeller

Foundation who were working to increase crop

yields in developing countries.

Burton gave Rockefeller scientists a packet of

pearl millet seeds that he had developed in

Tifton, a cross between U.S. versions of the

crop and Indian cultivars, which could grow

in climates once considered too arid for grain


Indian farmers began experimenting with his

seeds, and the results were nothing short of


Pearl millet production

increased from 3.5

million metric tons

in 1965 to 8 million

metric tons by 1970.

From the seeds Burton

provided, Indian

scientists were able to

produce new hybrid

plants that yielded 88

percent more grain

than other varieties.

Burton’s work on pearl

millet and Nobelist

Norman Borlaug’s

work on wheat are

credited with helping

to prevent famine

in India, according

to Arnel Hallauer,

Burton’s biographer

and Distinguished

Professor Emeritus at

Iowa State University.

From farmland

to fairways

While helping to

feed the hungry of

the world may be Burton’s greatest legacy, it

is not his only one. He led an extraordinarily

productive laboratory at UGA’s Tifton campus,

which celebrates its centennial this year, and his

discoveries proved invaluable for the region’s

agricultural industry.

When he arrived in Tifton, he quickly realized

that the cattle industry in the Southeast suffered

from a lack of quality forage grass, and he

began experimenting with bermudagrass

around 1936 to help solve the problem.

Bermudagrass was a controversial choice,

because at the time it was considered an invasive

weed that plagued crop farmers. Seeds from

bermudagrass would blow into fields and, if not

dealt with quickly, could overtake farmland and

destroy crops.

Glenn Burton displays his Tifton 10 grass at

a turf conference. From the USGA: “In 1974,

Dr. Burton left his office at the Coastal Plains

Experiment Station for a trip to China to

collect interesting bermudagrass plants. He

found a clone in a home lawn in Shanghai

that looked interesting to him. This plant

remained one of many in his collection until

he and colleague Dr. Wayne Hanna learned

that some of its unique characteristics

would make it ideal for use on athletic

fields and other low-input locations where

bermudagrass is desirable. The variety that

emerged from Dr. Burton’s China sample

was named Tifton 10 upon commercial

release in 1988.”




Glenn Burton with his Tifton 85

bermudagrass, which remains one of the top

forage grasses in the world.

But in just a few

years, Burton

managed to create

a hybrid grass that

was a mixture of

local grasses and

grasses taken from

South Africa. It had

to be propagated

by planting sprigs,

not seed, so it was

unlikely to invade

neighboring fields.

The grass more

than doubled forage

production in the

American South,

and farmers planted

millions of acres with

Burton’s creation.

“He completely

revolutionized the

cattle industry in

the Southeast,” said Hanna. In effect, Burton

had taken one of the region’s worst weeds and

turned it into one of the world’s best forage


Burton would continue his research on grasses,

releasing newer and better varieties, including

Tifton 85, which remains one of the top forage

grasses in the world.

News spread quickly about Burton’s expertise,

and he was approached by the United States

Golf Association, which offered him $500 a

year to research new grasses for golf greens, tees

and fairways. Never one to shy away from an

opportunity to conduct more research, Burton


Things weren’t so great for southern golfers at

the time. Many putting greens were nothing

more than compacted sand that were painted

green to give the illusion of a traditional putting


But Burton’s ingenuity quickly remedied that

situation. He produced a number of hybrid

Glenn Burton: Honors and Awards



1949: American Society of Agronomy Stevenson Award Fellow, American Society of Agronomy

1955: Honorary D.Sc. degree from Rutgers University

1962: Honorary D.Sc. degree from University of Nebraska

1968: Agricultural Institute of Canada Recognition Award

1973: DuPont Foundation Medal for Distinguished Service to Man

1975: Elected to the National Academy of Sciences

1979: DeKalb Crop Science Distinguished Career Award

1980: USDA Distinguished Service Award

1980: Southern Turfgrass Association Honorary Member Award

1981: President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service

1983: National Medal of Science from President Reagan

1984: Elected into University of Georgia Agricultural Alumni Hall of Fame

1985: Fellow, Crop Science Society of America

1988: The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award

1994: Inducted in Georgia Turfgrass Hall of Fame

1995: Inducted into Georgia Golf Hall of Fame

1997: Inducted into Georgia Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame

1997: Crop Science Society of America Presidential Award


bermudagrasses that still adorn courses

throughout the South.

“He was looking for specific characteristics

[in grass] that would enable the golfer to play

a better game of golf,” said Earl Elsner, an

agronomist who worked for more than 30 years

at UGA. “I don’t think Dr. Burton ever played

a game of golf, but he studied it, he talked to

people, he discussed it with superintendents to

the point that he understood what the golf game


A life of service

His tireless work ethic combined with his

insatiable scientific curiosity made Burton a

giant in his field, but you’d never know it.

“I remember him talking with local farmers on

the phone at night … trying to help them figure

out a problem or giving them advice,” said

Glenn Burton’s son Robert Burton. “Dad always

had time for anyone.”

It was the work that ultimately gave Burton the

greatest satisfaction – the never-ending quest for

something better, something stronger, something

that would help more people.

Before his death in 2005, he and his wife

established the Glenn and Helen Burton

Feeding the Hungry Scholarship, which

is awarded to doctoral students at UGA

whose research involves the development

of food crops.

“He loved what he was doing and he wanted to

share that with students,” Robert Burton said.

“He was happy doing research and he wanted

to live a hands-on way of life.”

Content and photos

courtesy of the

University of Georgia.

Georgia Groundbreakers

This story is part of a series, called Georgia Groundbreakers, that

celebrates innovative and visionary faculty, students, alumni and

leaders throughout the history of the University of Georgia—and their

profound, enduring impact on our state, our nation and the world.

Learn more about the outstanding UGA men and women in the Georgia

Groundbreakers series.




73rd Annual Southeast Turfgrass Conference

Pike Creek Turf hosts tour and dinner



Participants visited a variety of turfgrass fields on Pike

Creek Turf's 1800-acre farm, which is described as

the largest producer of fumigated, Georgia Certified

Turfgrasses in the southeastern United States.

Conference attendees for the 73rd annual

Southeast Turfgrass Conference were

invited to arrive a day early for a tour of Pike

Creek Turf in Adel, Georgia on Wednesday,

April 24. The tour was led by Jaimie Allen,

owner of Pike Creek Turf. Participants visited

a variety of turfgrass fields on the 1800-acre

farm, which is described as the largest producer

of fumigated, Georgia Certified Turfgrasses in

the southeastern United States. Allen showed

off Pike Creek’s state of the art International

Sprig Washing facility, which enables them to

rapidly grow their international sales. The tour

closed with a barbeque dinner at their beautiful

“barn,” hosted by the Allen family and Pike

Creek Turf.

The conference was held on Thursday, April

25, at the University of Georgia Tifton campus

Information presented during the conference

highlighted the latest trends in turfgrass

breeding, according to Brian Schwartz, turfgrass

breeder at UGA-Tifton. A key issue right now is

cost efficiency, he added.

“In the past, the prettiest turf with the most

input was fine, but now people are really leaning

towards an acceptable turf with little to no

input,” he said. “A grass doesn’t need to be the

most beautiful thing if people don’t have to do

much to it.”

Schwartz spoke about UGA’s efforts to develop

the right hybrids for homeowners, golf course

superintendents and sports field managers. He

will also discuss the progress on creating a more

resilient zoysia grass.

“Often zoysia grass doesn’t recover after wear

from sports or dogs, or infection from diseases,”

he said. “My focus is making it more disease

tolerant, and hopefully, more injury resilient.”

David Jespersen, a turfgrass physiologist based

on the UGA Griffin campus, discussed the

importance of understanding plant physiology

in order to improve turfgrass performance,

and Jing Zhang, a turfgrass research scientist at

UGA-Tifton, discussed the use of drones and

cameras in turfgrass research and how they

could help turfgrass breeders produce droughtresistant

varieties in the Southeast.

Paul Raymer, a turfgrass breeder based at UGA-

Griffin, spoke about a non-GMO herbicideresistance

system for seashore paspalum. The

method improves the management of Bermuda

grass and other grassy weeds. Raymer’s team

is currently evaluating their advanced lines

to determine which will be released as new


UGA scientists were joined by researchers from

North Carolina State University and University

of Florida. New to the 2019 conference

were presentations at the morning session

by technical reps from industry providing

science-based talks about products from their

companies. Schwartz’s goal for the conference

is that attendees will leave having learned

something new. “It’s a continuation of work

that’s been going on here for more than 73

years,” he said.



6.0% Humic Acid (Derived from Leonardite)

3.0% Sea Kelp Extract (Derived from

Ascophyllum Nodosum)

Information regarding the contents and levels of

metals in this product is available on the internet


Manufactured and Guaranteed by

Greene County Fertilizer Company, Inc.

P.O. BOX 1346, Greensboro, GA 30642

1-855-606-3378 ▪


1.0 gal = 8.7 lbs

wood and other pervious and impervious surfaces.

for safety and use not in accordance with label instructions. The product names are registered trademarks of Greene County Fertilizer Company, Inc.

Derived from: Potassium Hydroxide



8.0% Humic Acid (Derived from Leonardite)

Information regarding the contents and levels of

metals in this product is available on the internet


Manufactured and Guaranteed by

Greene County Fertilizer Company, Inc.

P.O. BOX 1346, Greensboro, GA 30642

1-855-606-3378 ▪


1.0 gal = 8.1 lbs

and other pervious and impervious surfaces.

for safety and use not in accordance with label instructions. The product names are registered trademarks of Greene County Fertilizer Company, Inc.


Take your Lawns to the



Directions For Use


The mixed product should be agitated prior to and during application.

Do not exceed 3 ounces when daytime temps are above 85 degrees.

Tank Mixing: Apply at a minimum rate of 3 ounces per 1,000 sq. ft. and a maximum rate

of 6 ounces per 1,000 sq. ft. Dilute with enough water to cover 1 acre. Do not apply with

less than a 7:1 dilution with water. Product is safe for use on all turf types and ornamental plants.

Product is intended to be used as an additive to current fertilizer program.

The mixed product should be agitated prior to and during application.

MIXING WITH FERTILIZERS: N-Ext RGS can be mixed with liquid fertilizers.

Apply in this order: 1) Water, 2) N-Ext RGS, 3) Water Soluble or Liquid Fertilizer.

Mixing with Pesticide, Herbicide or Fungicide: N-Ext RGS can be mixed with pesticides,

herbicides and fungicides and applied. We recommend the following: Use the product within

24 hours of mixing products (especially with fungicides). Do not over-apply pesticides,

herbicides or fungicides as they can have an adverse effect on the populations of soil organisms.

Store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Product will store for 2 years

under warehouse conditions.

Compatibility: These concentrated materials are compatible with most fertilizers

and chemicals but should not be mixed directly with other chemicals. Conduct a

jar test as needed to ensure compatibility before tank mixing. Mix in spray tanks

with water and proper agitation. Apply in accordance with best management

practices (BMP’s) established by your Cooperative Extension Service.

Observe any State or Local fertilizer application regulations.

Caution: Apply only to turf, plants, and soil. If plants are flowering, apply to

base of the plant to avoid staining of blooms.This product may stain concrete,

Keep out of reach of children. If product comes in contact

with skin or eyes flush with water immediately.

□ net volume 2.5 gal (9.5 l) □ net volume 5 gal (18.9 l)


Soil & Plant Formula

□ net volume 275 gal (1041.0 l)

CONDITIONS OF SALE Seller warrants that this product consists of the ingredients specified and is reasonably fit for the purpose stated on this label

when used in accordance with directions under normal conditions of use. No one, other than the officer or Seller, is authorized to make any warranty,

guarantee, or directions concerning this product. Because the time, place, rate of application and other conditions of use are beyond Seller’s control Seller’s

liability from handling, storage and use of this product is limited to replacement of product or refund of purchase price. Buyer assumes all responsibility



SOLUBLE POTASH (K2O)..............5.0%


High Performance Plant Nutrients • Fertilizers • Specialty Products • Soil Amendments

1.855.606.3378 Field/Tech Support Buy Direct/Ship Direct/Pick-up

Corporate HQ/MFR: Greene County Fertilizer Company • 1490 Airport Road • Greensboro, Georgia 30642

□ net volume 2.5 gal (9.5 l)

Directions For Use


Tank Mixing: Apply at a minimum rate of 6 ounces per 1,000 sq. ft. and a maximum rate

of 9 ounces per 1,000 sq. ft. Dilute with enough liquid to cover 1 acre. Do not apply with

less than 7:1 dilution with water. Apply in spring or fall; however, liquid aeration can be done

anytime during the growing season. Product is safe for use on all turf types and ornamental plants.

Product is intended to be used as an additive to current fertilizer program.

The mixed product should be agitated prior to and during application.

MIXING WITH FERTILIZERS: N-Ext AIR-8 can be mixed with liquid fertilizers.

Apply in this order: 1) Water, 2) N-Ext AIR-8, 3) Water Soluble or Liquid Fertilizer.

Mixing with Pesticide, Herbicide or Fungicide: N-Ext AIR-8 can be mixed with pesticides,

herbicides and fungicides and applied. We recommend the following: Use the product within

24 hours of mixing products (especially with fungicides). Do not over-apply pesticides,

herbicides or fungicides as they can have an adverse effect on the populations of soil organisms.

Store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Product will store for 2 years

under warehouse conditions.

Compatibility: These concentrated materials are compatible with most fertilizers

and chemicals but should not be mixed directly with other chemicals. Conduct a

jar test as needed to ensure compatibility before tank mixing. Mix in spray tanks

with water and proper agitation. Apply in accordance with best management

practices (BMP’s) established by your Cooperative Extension Service.

Observe any State or Local fertilizer application regulations.

Caution: Apply only to turf, plants, and soil. If plants are flowering, apply to base

of the plant to avoid staining of blooms. This product may stain concrete, wood

Keep out of reach of children. If product comes in contact with skin or eyes

flush with water immediately.

□ net volume 5 gal (18.9 l)

Liquid Aeration

□ net volume 275 gal (1041.0 l)

CONDITIONS OF SALE Seller warrants that this product consists of the ingredients specified and is reasonably fit for the purpose stated on this label

when used in accordance with directions under normal conditions of use. No one, other than the officer or Seller, is authorized to make any warranty,

guarantee, or directions concerning this product. Because the time, place, rate of application and other conditions of use are beyond Seller’s control Seller’s

liability from handling, storage and use of this product is limited to replacement of product or refund of purchase price. Buyer assumes all responsibility




Nitrogen in the soil

How it gets lost and how to keep it

by Rivka Fidel, University of Arizona

If you garden, do lawn maintenance, or

farm, you’ve probably added nitrogen fertilizer

to your soil.

the Southwest. In wetter areas, about 30% of

nitrogen fertilizer is lost due to leaching. This

leached nitrogen contributes to pollution in

groundwater, lakes, rivers, and even the ocean.



Nitrogen is the most common nutrient to

limit plant growth – because plants need

quite a lot of it (10-60 g per kg of plant

mass, to be exact). It also doesn’t stick

around very long in the soil. Instead, it

ends up in places where we don’t want it: in

groundwater, water bodies, and even the


But, why? And how can we get nitrogen to stay

in the soil, where plants need it?

To answer that question, we need to take a

closer look at the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen

cycle, in which nitrogen moves through soil,

water, air, and organisms, is one of the most

complex element cycles. Luckily, keeping

nitrogen in the soil simply involves reducing the

losses of nitrogen from the soil. Losses are ways

that nitrogen exits the soil.

To keep nitrogen in soil, we need to reduce four

key losses:

1 Leaching

2 Ammonia volatilization

3 Denitrification

4 Harvesting

What are leaching losses?

Leaching happens when water travelling

through the soil dissolves nutrients from the

soil, and carries them downwards into the

groundwater table. Leaching losses are largest

in wet climates, especially regions with enough

rainfall to support plant growth year-round.

In the United States, for example, wetter

regions east of the Mississippi River have much

higher leaching losses than drier regions in

How can I reduce leaching?

Leaching losses are greatest following rainfall or

irrigation. So, reducing them is mostly a matter

of timing. If rain is in the forecast, wait until

after it rains to apply nitrogen fertilizer (a little

drizzle won’t matter, but watch out for steady

rain or thunderstorms). If rain is a long way off,

say a week or more, it is ok to apply fertilizer

ahead of time. The type of fertilizer also

matters. Nitrate doesn’t “stick” well to soil, and

so it is lost very easily. To reduce leaching losses,

avoid nitrate (NO 3

–) fertilizers, and instead

choose ammonium (NH 4

+) or organic fertilizers

(including urea, composts and manures).

What are ammonia

volatization losses?

Ammonia volatilization happens when

ammonium (NH 4

+) loses a hydrogen (H+) and

becomes ammonia (NH 3

). Ammonia is a gas,

and so it can rapidly leave the soil to pollute the

atmosphere. Ammonia volatilization is most

likely to happen in alkaline soils (pH > 7) and

when the soil is warm.

How can I reduce ammonia


Avoid applying ammonium fertilizers, composts,

and manures on warm to hot days – especially

if your soil is alkaline.

What are denitrification losses?

Denitrification is a multi-step process where

microbes convert nitrogen (in nitrate form,

NO 3

–) into various nitrogen gases. One of

these gases is nitrous oxide, N 2

O, a potent

greenhouse gas. The other is nitrogen gas, N 2


which is harmless and comprises 79% of the

atmosphere. Denitrification happens when the


soil gets very wet and

stays wet for several

hours to days. In very

wet soil, microbes

can’t get enough

oxygen (O 2

). So,

microbes “breathe

in” nitrate instead of

oxygen, and “breathe

out” nitrogen gases

(N 2

O and N 2

) instead

of carbon dioxide

(CO 2


This article was

originally published at




Reprinted with


How can I reduce


Similar to preventing

leaching losses, avoid

applying nitrate

fertilizers before

rainfall, and when

the soil is very wet.

Instead, use nonnitrate


especially if the soil

is saturated. When using any kind of nitrogen

fertilizer, apply when the soil is dry to somewhat

moist, and when the forecast is rain-free for the

next few days. This will give the nitrogen time

to be taken up by plants and “stick” to the soil

before it rains. That way, denitrifying microbes

growing in wet soil won’t have as much nitrate

to “breathe in.”

What are harvest losses?

Harvest losses are exactly what they sound like

– nitrogen that is lost when crops are harvested.

Plants take up nitrogen from the soil, and when

the plant is harvested and removed from the

soil, the nitrogen is removed with it.

How can I reduce harvest losses?

You can reduce harvest losses by only harvesting

the part of the plant you need to eat, and

turning the rest into mulch or compost. You

can also collect the non-edible plant parts after

harvesting, and return those to the soil. For

example, instead of throwing green been stalks

and trimmings in the trash, compost them first,

and then add them to the soil.

Are there other ways to keep

nitrogen in soil?

Generally, increasing soil organic matter is a

great way to improve nitrogen retention in the

long term. Nitrogen “sticks” to organic matter,

reducing both leaching and denitrification.

Read the Soils Matter blog to learn how to keep

more carbon – organic matter – in your yard:

About the Soil Science Society of America

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is

a progressive, international scientific society that

fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to

sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, SSSA

is the professional home for 6,000+ members

dedicated to advancing the field of soil science.

It provides information about soils in relation to

crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem

sustainability, bioremediation, waste management,

recycling, and wise land use.










Native yuccas

Creating landscape excitement

by Norman Winter, Horticulturist, Author and Speaker

You want to plant with begonias? Do it. Red

spider lilies? That works, too. Whatever the

season, or the possible partnerships, all will look

dazzling beyond your dreams when grown with

these showy variegated yuccas.

In the winter, in Columbus, GA, professional

landscapers are using them as pansy pals which

looked stunning even before the pansies kicked

in to gear, so to speak. But its not just pansies.

Another landscaper planted them with Citrona

and Black Pearl heuchera as well as juncus and




These Color Guard yuccas seem to be the perfect foliage partner for

this newly planted bed of pansies.

Look out America, Color Guard and Golden

Sword are changing landscapes in dramatic

fashion. Believe it or not these two selections

of our native Yucca filamentosa are crushing the

cookie cutter, look-alike landscapes, no matter

the season.

Now when I say our native, I’m not talking the

desert southwest but the east from Texas to New

York. That’s correct: these evergreen yuccas

are cold hardy from zones 4 through 10. Color

Guard and Golden Sword create excitement

by virtue of being an unexpected plant in

the flower border, enticing all visitors to be

mesmerized and thus bringing out the camera.

Both varieties will reach 24-inches tall and

perhaps a little wider showing of their green

and gold variegation. While you might possibly

be thinking, "I don’t want to grow a garden of

yucca, cactus and agave," just know the palette

of colors and partnerships is only limited by

your imagination.

Typically, everyone thinks of cabbage,

kale, mustard and chard as foliage plants

to be pansy partners, which is certainly

appropriate. They are treated as annuals

to be replanted ever year. With the Color

Guard or Golden Sword, however ,you

will be growing one that is essentially an

evergreen perennial.

In addition to creating excitement by being an

unexpected plant, they also stand out by virtue

of rising above the horizontal plane. If you are

unfamiliar with this term, think of a bed of

pansies, marigolds or even petunias. You could

conceivably draw an imaginary line across the

top of the bed. When you rise above this with

spikey flowers or in the case of the yucca, sword

-ike foliage, then there is a tremendous amount

of added interest.

As you might expect from a native, it is an

extremely drought-tolerant plant that requires

good drainage. If your soil is clay or muck that

holds water, then by all means improve your

soil and plant on raised beds. They will produce

offsets which can be separated to confine to

allotted area or design and of course they can

be planted elsewhere in the garden.


I may be raving about the foliage and

architectural aspects in the garden, but each

spring to early summer, another amazing site

takes place as creamy white, lightly fragrant

blooms are borne on 6-foot-tall stalks.

Follow Norman

on Facebook:

Norman Winter

The Garden Guy

These blooms are found to be a

most delectable source of nectar for


It is a rare week that someone doesn’t ask me

about deer-resistant plants. If you find yourself

the proud owner of a roving herd, then rejoice.

The Color Guard and Golden Sword yuccas

will not become Bambi’s salad.

Hairy Soapwort and Adam’s Needle are

common names associated with these yuccas

and certainly not ones that even Madison

Avenue could market. One look at the bright

gold and green variegation of these tough-asnails

plants however, will steal your heart in

a "New York Minute,"and that is pretty darn


Photo by Susan Evans

This poolside bed is filled with architectural

plants and the two Color Guard yuccas stand

out in dramatic fashion.

These Golden Sword yuccas create a dazzling

cool season border with Citona and Black Pearl

heuchera, juncus and pansies.

Variegated yuccas like Color Guard and Golden

Sword can make a dazzling partnership with any

other flower including angel's trumpets.




The shrub of your dreams

This loropetalum will make you a daydream believer

by Norman Winter, Horticulturist, Author and Speaker



The Purple Daydream loropetalum has dark

year round foliage and reaches 3-feet tall and

up to 4-feet wide.

Purple Daydream

will capture your

heart and probably

make you forget

all other varieties

of loropetalum.

I’m growing it with

October Magic

orchid camellias,

Autumn Jewel azaleas

and Gold Mound

chamaecyapris and its

graceful and elegant

habit just screams,

"look at me."

Purple Daydream reaches about 3-feet tall

with a slightly pendulous spread to 3 to 4-feet

wide. The deep purple foliage is ever present

and of course loads up with a bounty of

iridescent purple flowers in the spring, repeating

throughout the year.

I remember 18-years ago as a horticulturist with

Mississippi State University where we selected

Burgundy as a Mississippi Medallion Award

Winner. While this variety was superior at the

time it longed to reach 12-feet in height. If we

could have dreamed then it would have been for

Purple Daydream.

While I was at the Coastal Georgia Botanical

Garden in Savannah, I also fell head over heels

for Purple Diamond loropetalum that is semidwarf

pushing to 5-feet. Whether it was flanking

a bridge or reflecting at the Water Garden it

was a show stopper. Dark purple foliage and

hot pink flowers demanded visitors get out their


Consequently, when Red Diamond hit the

market I had to have it for my own landscape. It

will reach a little taller, pushing to 6-feet, but has

darker leaves and what I might call hot lipstickred

flowers. It will electrify the garden.

Botanically speaking, they are all known as

Loropetalum chinense with a lot of gardeners

knowing them as Chinese fringe flower. These

selections are all part of the Southern Living

Plant Collection and are really what gardeners

and landscaper want versus those that reach

skyscraper status. It was always hilarious to

see visitors faces when they saw a burgundy

loropetalum the size of a tall redbud at the


If you need a selection even shorter or for an

ornate container then Purple Pixie is the choice

for you. To be honest, if it never bloomed, I

would still love it for its habit and texture. It is

remarkable, however, in a large European style

container where its dark purple foliage tumbles

over the edge. It reaches about 2-feet in height

with a spread of 4-feet. So, while in a container

you may want to do a little tip pruning,

rest assured in the landscape it is a superb


All of these are cold-hardy from zones 7-10,

meaning they can take zero. Those of you

plagued by deer will be delighted to know

these are not on the menu. No matter what

loropetalum you choose, they perform best in

full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. Plant

them in well-drained, organic-rich beds that are

slightly acidic. I like to emphasize the part about

planting in beds. When planting loropetalums,

or any other shrub, put them in a well-prepared

bed instead of sticking them in a patch of turf.

Like we suggest with azaleas, plant then high, 1

to 2 inches above the soil surface.

In the spring landscape consider planting

them with white blooming trees like Yoshino

cherries, or dogwoods and with informal drifts

of daffodils. Obviously, they would be great

in informal clusters with white, purple or pink

azaleas. I love them with yellow to gold shrubs

like Sunshine Ligustrum and Gold Mound

chamaecyparis. You, are the artist, let your

imagination run wild.


Follow Norman

on Facebook:

Norman Winter

The Garden Guy

The Red Diamond loropetalum has darker

foliage and flowers that are a hot red lipstick.

Though beautiful, some of the older varieties

of loropetaum can get quite large.

The Purple Diamond loropetalum reaches 5

feet in height and produces iridescent pink


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Managing community forests, part 2

Tree risk and hazard assessment concepts

by Dr. Kim D. Coder, Professor of Tree Biology & Health Care, Warnell School, UGA

Did you miss part 1 of this article?

Check out the Spring 2019 UAC Magazine. Past issues

can be accessed by UAC members at any time. Just

log in as a member at

Professional observations

The amount of tree damage visible while still

allowing a tree to remain is a professional

judgement. Several systems and rules have

been developed to assist professionals. Some

standards have suggested when 1/2 the stem

circumference is damaged, a tree should be

considered for removal. From a mechanical

structure standpoint, this is not risk-conservative

enough. Once circumferential damage reaches

1/3 or more, removal should be considered.

Err on the side of safety.

Examining trees must concentrate on

determining structural integrity, not surface

appearance. Small faults lay-people might

consider significant should be examined for

structural consequences, but discarded if

found to be only a blemish. Find what is the

most limiting structural component in the

tree and then estimate risks associated with its

failure. Experience of the assessor is critical

to risk management evaluations. Do not send

inventory counters to make risk assessments

without training, practice, and spot-checking

their performance.

Structural failures in trees can generally

be summarized as 40% in branches, 30% in

stems, and 30% in root crowns and roots.

This near-even distribution suggests several

things to a tree professional. The first is trees

are structurally designed not to fail at any

given point more than any other. Trees are

well equipped to handle stress and strain in

their environments. The second suggestion is

common failure patterns need to be learned

and expectations developed for prudent

management. Careful observation is needed

over all parts of a tree to effectively summarize

risk levels.




Target risks

Once structural concerns have been reviewed,

determine the second piece of a potential

hazard tree assessment, which is presence of a

target(s). Risk assessment targets are people and

property. Anywhere people would walk, drive,

stand, lay, run, recreate, etc. could be a target

area. Sidewalks, streets, parking lots, ball fields,

golf courses and parks are all prime target areas.

Property targets most often damaged by trees

are cars, fences, buildings, roofs, pavement,

yards, and gardens. Personal injury targets and

property targets are usually interrelated. At the

very least, minimize risk to all personal injury


There are many types or classes of targets.

Some risk management systems try to prioritize

management activities by target risk class. This

type of target classification is dangerous in

community forest risk assessment. Because of

legal views of prudent and reasonable behavior

by a manger, the only reasonable means of

prioritizing by target are people vs. property.

The more people, or the more valuable the

property, the more target exposure. Figure 5

shows how non-static (usually people/animals

and their conveyances) risk components change

over time. Figure 6 combines structural and

target risks. Note there is usually an inverse

relationship between these two risk sources. At

specific times when trees are most likely to fail

(heavy wind loads), targets have departed or

have been minimized.

Legal responsibilities

The legal framework for working with tree

risks and structural failure varies by location. A

community forest manager should always seek

professional legal advice when needed. The

framework of negligence, injury, and legal tests

for prudence and reasonableness are important

for understanding implications of risk. Here will

be a brief review of general legal components

of risks management and hazards assessment in

a community forest.

For community forest managers, actions (and

non-actions) will be judged for prudence,

(which is the wisdom to look ahead and

develop expectations about what can happen),

and reasonableness, (which is the lack of

negligence). A manager’s decisions must meet

both of these tests under risk management

programs, with the major point of contention

being negligence.


In a general sense, negligence is composed

of four features which must all be true for

negligence to be proved. These four features of

negligence are:

1 You have a duty to exercise reasonable care;

2 You failed in that duty;

3 Failure in duty caused injury; and,

4 Injury caused real harm to people and /or


The critical first step is determining your duty

under the law.

Duty concepts

Case law and common law has delineated a

difference between duty principles in rural

versus urban settings. Traditionally in rural

settings, an owner/manager had a duty to

correct or remove known hazards. Duty

principles continue to evolve, but generally

suggest a greater level of duty in urban/

suburban areas. In urban areas, duty has

included removal of known hazards and, in

addition, inspection for hazards.

Inspection for hazards is a burden which

must be met to prevent a failure in duty

and charge of negligence.

The heightened duty in urban/suburban areas

carry over into areas where tree failures could

impact roads and trails.

Failure in duty can be substantiated by expert

testimony and/or by not following customary

practice without clear and substantial reasons.

This suggests failing to follow ANSI-type

national consensus standards and associated

BMPs would play a part in determining

negligence. Ignorance by the manager or




inspector is always challengeable. The action or

lack of action can be questioned and supported

by expert testimony for examining negligence.

One defense which falsely seems to comfort

managers and owners is “act of God.” This

defense used with hazard trees is challengeable

and dependent upon two tests.

To use the act-of-God concept in denying

liability, a tree must be a native tree

planted by nature, and a tree must never

have been significantly influenced by

humans. Few trees in community and yard

settings meet these two tests. Act-of-God

has not proven to be an effective defense

for negligence determinations.

Court recommendations

As a manager, the court asks two basic questions

after a catastrophic tree structural failure:

1 “Were the managers negligent or was the

tree a nuisance?” and,

2 “Would the hazard have been recognized

upon inspection?”

As a resource manager, you should be prepared

to answer and support your answers, for any

actions or inactions, you may have taken.

inspection process should ideally include a root

collar excavation, an aerial examination, and

soil probing. Usually, some form of groundbased

observation is used for cost-effectiveness.

Only tree professionals experienced in

risk assessment should perform these

evaluations. General tree inventory crews

may not be technically or experientially

qualified to examine trees and sites for risk


To fulfill legal aspects of a systematic inspection

for risk factors, a precise and accurate

methodology must be used. A training system

is presented here which has been proven to

assist risk assessors and new students unfamiliar

with tree risk assessments in five steps. Figure

7 provides the five steps used. Appendix 1

following this article provides an assessment


The basic tenet of this training system is

concentrated around structural integrity

observations which begin where stress and strain

on a tree are greatest. Figure 8 and Figure 9

provides tree risk examination zones identified



What do the courts recommend managers do to

minimize liability risks? Three action items arise


1 perform a timely systematic inspection and

keep it current;

2 develop written documentation of risk

management concerns; and,

3 use risk assessment inspection results in

current and future management.

In many circumstances, a lack of a systematic

inspection could be considered negligence.

Systematic inspection

Systematic inspection demands observational

discipline. The inspector must carefully examine

a tree and make cumulative decisions about

tree defects and associated target attributes. An


by number. Inspections begin at the tree base in

zone 1 and expand outward and upward in zone


No drive-by assessments!

An inspection should begin with a general

overview of tree structural integrity to provide

for the personal safety of the inspector, and the

people and property in the immediate area at

the time of inspection. From a distance, and as

the inspector approaches a tree and site, any

immediately hazardous conditions should be

noted. The assessment should not continue until

these conditions have been corrected.

The next step in a risk assessment process is

to survey a tree from at least three sides, close

enough to a tree to notice subtle structural

reactions by a tree over years. At each of these

observation sites, examine a tree looking for

major simple or compound structural faults. On

each side of a tree begin the assessment where

stress and strain is the greatest and structural

faults could have the greatest impact on tree

integrity and target safety.

One way of thinking about this assessment

process is to start at the ground and build a good

tree. Go up and out from a tree base until you

have accumulated enough structural faults to

put the tree at risk of failure. Identifying major

structural faults which could lead to catastrophic

failure is the point of this assessment. Finding

simple major faults, or compound faults where

simple structural faults have coalesced into a

combination of problems, is the goal of this

assessment system. Of course, the extent and

seriousness of a structural fault remains the

professional decision of the assessor.

Fault recognition

For training people to use this assessment

system, a tree removal decision point must be

set after which the risk of catastrophic failure

becomes too great. This point of recommended

removal is dependent upon management

regime, site history and species, in addition to

structural integrity. For general purposes in this

training system, the value of three major simple

faults or one compound major fault potentially

leading to catastrophic loss are used. Assessors

count faults in zone order until a tree removal

point is reached, and then cease further risk

assessment and move onto the next tree.

The zones for observation correspond to critical

junctures or structural components in a tree.

Zone 1 is the stem and root base four feet up the






stem and four feet

out from the stem.

Zone 2 is the main

stem from four feet

above the ground

up to where the

main living branches

begin. Zone 3 is the

primary root support

region extending out

to 1/2 the drip line.

Zone 4 is the primary

branches out to l/3

their length. Zone 5 is

the remainder of the

structural roots. Zone

6 is the remainder of

the crown.


Zone 1 comprises the bottom four feet of the

stem and the roots holding a tree erect under

compression out to the edge of the root plate

or a minimum of four feet. In this zone there

should never be a compromise. If in doubt, take

it out!

If the base has multiple structural faults,

it does not matter if the rest of a tree is


Zones 2 - 4 are areas of a tree where structural

faults can be correctable with large inputs of

time, money, labor, materials and technical

maintenance. Any corrections inserted to aid in

the structural maintenance of a tree may call

attention to a preexisting structural condition.

Correction activities may decrease failure risks,

but increase chances of successfully determining


Zone 5 and 6 in a tree are areas where structural

faults are not significant problems because they

do not involve catastrophic tree loss and massive

weights. Faults identified in this area are usually

easily corrected. This does not mean these zones

should be ignored. A small branch falling from a

long way can still provide life-threatening risks.

Level of risk acceptance

Once you have identified three major simple

faults which could lead to catastrophic loss,

accumulated in zone order for a tree, this tree is

considered a tree at risk and a candidate for risk

mitigation activities or removal. This is the last

of three hazard criteria determinations. There

could be historic, social significance, biological

and/or aesthetic reasons for accepting more


Risk acceptance is a management decision

which must be woven into assessment processes.

Under some management regimes (and under

some resource managers) more risk can be

accepted than others. This is called the risk

acceptance threshold level or RAT. When

RAT is exceeded, with target and structural

faults already accounted for, a tree is a hazard

and should be immediately removed.

Figure 10 provides three example risk

acceptance levels to consider with tree risk

assessment systems.




The first line is a constant RAT over time.

The second is an increasing RAT suggested

by growing trees becoming more valuable

over time and more risk accepted to reap

these increasing large/old tree benefits.

The third line represents a radical change

in RAT at one point in time. This can

occur due to manager change or political


Overnight RAT can change in an organization

and on a site for a variety of reasons. The

assessor must communicate closely and often

with resource managers/owners to continually

ascertain the RAT level with which they feel


For legal advice or clarification of any of

these general guidelines, always seek the

assistance of an attorney.

Stay tuned!

This article is the second of a three-part

series. Watch for part 3 In the Fall 2019









Celebrating history

Breathing new life into Tifton's campus

by Bryce Ethridge for CAES News

The addition of the Centennial Garden

will celebrate the history of the University of

Georgia Tifton campus while breathing new life

into the heart of the campus, according to Joe

West, assistant dean of the campus.

The two-acre garden, which is under

construction behind the Tift Building at the

center of campus, is a recreation of a garden

that existed in an earlier era, when the campus

was known as the Coastal Plain Experiment

Station. The new garden will be dedicated

as the community celebrates UGA–Tifton’s


“It just seemed very appropriate to

recreate the garden at this time. It’s part

of our history and will continue to be as

we move forward with the campus’ next

100 years,” West said. “I think our faculty,

staff and students are very excited to see

what the garden will look like when it is


The original garden was very symmetrical

with beautiful plant materials, however, as the

automotive age kicked into gear, the garden took

a backseat.

“There’s an old song (‘Big Yellow Taxi’) that

says, ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking

lot,’ which is exactly what happened,” West said.

West stumbled onto records of the original

garden and thought, “It would be really cool

if we recreated that.” The project was quickly

approved and construction ensued.

The completed formal garden will contain

100 percent UGA-generated genetic plant


The Centennial Garden is currently under construction and is located

behind the Tift Building in the middle of the UGA Tifton campus.

'October Glory' maple, 'Pink Damsel'

serviceberry, 'Sweet Frost' tangerine and 'Green

Shadow' magnolia trees will be planted within

the garden, with oaks and magnolias framing

the garden’s outer areas and flowers and fruits

comprising the garden’s interior.

“We are dedicated to research here, so for

the Centennial Garden to be filled with plant

materials developed by UGA scientists is

exciting,” West said.

UGA College of Agricultural and

Environmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue,

West and members of the Tift family attended

the dedication ceremony on May 3. Captain

H.H. Tift helped Tifton win the bid for the

then-Coastal Plain Experiment Station when it

opened in 1919.

For more information about the UGA-Tifton

centennial events, see





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