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75-Foot White Spruce Christmas Tree Makes 2,700-Mile Journey to U.S. Capitol

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

After a 2,700 mile journey, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree was lit in a special ceremony attended by thousands of people this week on the Capitol’s West Front Lawn.

The ceremony, co-hosted by U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Stephen T. Ayers, Architect of the Capitol, culminated the journey for the 75-foot white spruce. The tree was transported by a specially-decaled Kenworth T880 from the Chippewa National Forest in Cass Lake, Minnesota, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to the nation’s capital.

The special T880 features a 52-inch mid-roof sleeper, 500-horsepower Paccar MX-13 engine and 13-speed manual transmission. The T880 was made available for the tour by PacLease, which offers customized full-service lease, rental and contract maintenance programs featuring Kenworth trucks.

“It was quite an experience for the T880, Kenworth’s flagship, heavy haul vocational truck, to play a major role in getting the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree safely from Cass Lake, Minn., to Capitol Hill,” says Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “The special T880 was built by our employees at the Kenworth assembly plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, and they were especially enthused to see the truck and tree during a tour stop at the plant. Being an integral part of this American tradition on its 50th anniversary was a special honor for Kenworth and all our employees.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the traditional Capitol Hill Christmas Tree ceremony, which was first begun by U.S. House Speaker John W. McCormack in 1964. The tour attracted over 35,000 visitors at more than 30 stops during its trip across eight states from Minnesota to Washington, D.C. 

The 75-foot white spruce is decorated with thousands of hand-made ornaments, crafted by children and others from Minnesota communities.

A Kenworth T680 Advantage with 76-inch sleeper accompanied the T880 on the tour, pulling a van trailer that carried the handmade ornaments along with 70 smaller Christmas tree donated by the Minnesota Tree Growers Association. Those trees are on display at various federal offices in Washington, D.C.   

The tree will remain lit with strands of LED (light-emitting diodes) lights from dusk until 11 p.m., each night through the holiday season.

Information provided by Hard Working Trucks

Study Shows Turf, Ornamental Professionals Rely On Neonicotinoids

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

After surveying approximately 750 turf and ornamental professionals to assess pest management practices in greenhouses, lawns, landscapers and trees, researches have found that neonicotinoids are the primary tools used by professionals to control destructive insect pests.

Construction industry sees rise in unemployment rate despite adding 20,000 workers in November

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

With an addition of 20,000 workers during November, the U.S. construction industry added employees to its workforce for an 11th consecutive month.

The industry now employs 6.109 million Americans, according to preliminary data from the Labor Department. That’s the highest employment mark for construction since April 2009 when it employed 6.154 million people.

The new data also revised October’s figure downward from the previously reported 6.095 million, to 6.089 million. The revision brings October’s monthly gain down from 12,000 to 7,000 workers added.

Construction’s employment is now 3.6-percent higher than it was one year ago. So far this year, the industry has added an average of 21,181 workers each month.

Despite the addition of workers, the industry’s unemployment rate rose from 6.4 percent to 7.5 percent during November.

The U.S. economy added a total of 321,000 jobs in November while the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent.

Editor’s Note: Wayne Grayson is the online editor for sister magazine Equipment World

5 Ways to Dig Trenches Properly

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Show Off Your Hard Work this Holiday Season

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

McKay Landscape Lighting

McKay Landscape Lighting

Spread a little holiday cheer this season by entering your photos into

How One Landscaping Firm Gets the Most Impact from their Marketing Dollars

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Marketing for a small landscaper can sometimes feel “like you’re shooting into a black hole,” says Dorene Schuster with Greenleaf Landscaping & Gardens, Greenleaf, Wisconsin, a 2015 Landscaper of the Year finalist. Because of this, Dorene, who owns Greenleaf along with her husband Ken Schuster, says the couple is not afraid of experimenting. 

The 45-year-old company, centered in a growing rural area surrounded by the communities of Green Bay, Appleton and De Pere, has tried it all, Dorene says. They’ve found that door hangers and “welcome neighbor” packages don’t work. Yellow Page ads, once an exercise in making sure your ad was as big as your competitors, are thankfully a thing of the past. “They were expensive,” Ken says.

What does work for the $1.3 million company are high-touch activities, some of them focused on the garden center the Schusters opened about nine years ago to compliment their landscaping installations:

  • Each summer, Greenleaf hosts a Sunset Garden Party, which draws about 300 people, with clients invited free of charge. Several vendors set up shop in their parking lot, the local parish sells brats, a band plays and guests are invited to roam – wine glass in hand — the garden center’s gift shop, lawn sculptures, water features and plant inventory. Throughout the year, the company holds events such a planting parties and holiday wreath making, designed to get people through the doors.
  • “Local home and garden shows are one of our better outreaches,” Ken says. And it’s more than just being present in a 20-by-10 booth. The couple has a mission: to introduce something new at each show, based on their research throughout the year. They also pass out “Kenbucks” – featuring Ken’s picture – that offer $5 off on a garden center purchase.
  • Two activities position Dorene as a local go-to landscaping expert. First, she leads seminars at the home and garden shows, discussing a how-to topic or the latest landscaping trends. Each attendee comes away with a packet of valuable information, and of course, how they can get in touch with Greenleaf Landscaping. Winter is full of activity, even though the crews aren’t out planting or placing hardscaping. Dorene uses the downtime to pen a series of landscaping columns for the local newspaper, which will run through the warmer months. “I’ll examine what’s the best time to plant, new plants people should look at and outdoor trends such as firetables,” Dorene says. 

But above all else, the Schusters place word-of-mouth from satisfied past clients as their most significant marketing strategy. “We always want to have high quality projects, and not cut any corners,” Ken says. “If we notice something isn’t quite right, we want to take care of it.” 

“And we want to do all projects as if they are on our own property,” adds Dorene. 

 Editor’s Note: Marcia Gruver Doyle is editorial director of the Construction Division of Randall-Reilly 

SnowCare for Troops Enters Fifth Season, Expands Program

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Project EverGreen’s SnowCare for Troops is entering its fifth season and is expanding its program to serve wounded and disabled U.S. veterans in addition to families of currently deployed military personnel.

The organization will be offering snow and ice removal services to wounded and disabled U.S. veterans.

The program currently serves more than 2,000 families and many snow and ice management landscaping professionals serve as volunteers.

Those interested are being asked to sign up and to let other know about the availability for the free service to veterans and military families.

In addition to volunteer participation, donations of money or gas cards, as well as loans of snow removal equipment to volunteers and community groups are also welcome. 

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2012 there were over 3.6 million veterans with a service-connected disability, an increase of 60 percent since 1990. An estimated 160,000 active-duty military currently serve outside the U.S., with about 1.4 million serving in all branches of the armed forces.

Once the online registration is complete, Project EverGreen seeks to make a local match within a specified geographic area.

Any honorably discharged veteran qualified for SCFT regardless of when their disability occurred, whether during their deployment or after their service period.

For eligible wounded or disabled veterans, snow removal services will be provided for a nine to 12 month period once the match is made. Active-duty military members are eligible during deployments.

 

Service Autopilot Academy designed to help landscaping professionals through one-on-one mentoring

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Lawn Care Millionaire, Service Autopilot and the Lawn Care Marketing Expert have partnered to launch the Service Autopilot Academy.

The academy is Lawn Care Millionaire and Lawn Care Marketing Expert’s coaching and training group where landscapers can get one-on-one help.

Members can receive: 

  • Monthly live training on business strategies and marketing tactics
  • Done-for-you marketing materials and templates
  • Step-by-step business systems, procedures and checklists
  • Monthly live Q&A session
  • Members-only website and training archive
  • Exclusive “Service Autopilot Academy” Facebook group
  • One-on-one confidential phone calls with Lawn Care Millionaire and Lawn Care Marketing Expert *
  • Summer weekend getaway industry professionals * 

Membership to the group is limited, and all members must apply to be considered. 

*Elite members only 

 

Husqvarna sells BlueBird International to TEC International

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Closed on Dec. 5, the terms of agreement state that TEC International will continue to produce Husqvarna branded specialty turf equipment.

“The decision to sell Bluebird International is part of the Husqvarna Group’s strategic plan, a strategy that seeks to reduce operational complexity, improve efficiency and give additional focus to our end customers (consumers and professionals) and our core brands,” says Jeff Dewosky, Vice President-General Manager, NA, Husqvarna.

BlueBird products will continue to be sold through distributors, dealers and rental organizations, and all impacted partners have been notified of the change.

 

Why fuel prices continue to drop

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

During the past couple months fuel prices across the country have been dropping at a significant rate, bringing smiles to business owners across the country. 

According to a report by 

 

 

Editor’s Note: Bruce Smith is a Senior Editor at Randall-Reilly

Florida Landscaper to give away year’s worth of mowing to person in need

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Florida’s GreenPal is giving back this holiday season in a big way.

The company is giving away an entire year’s lawn mowing for free to a person in need in the Tampa Bay region this Christmas.

“We recently launched in the Tampa Bay market this past fall, and we wanted to find a way to give back,” CEO Bryan Clayton says. “The idea for the giveaway was inspired by one our vendor partners offering to mow a customer’s lawn for free who was over-extended, fined by the city of Tampa for tall grass, and couldn’t pay for lawn mowing”

Individuals can submit their own details or nominate someone else in need.

 

Customers React to 2015 Ford F-150 Aluminum-Bodied Pickup (Video)

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

There was a whole lot of tire kicking (and panel tapping and tailgate popping) going on when Ford’s 2015 F-150 consumer test drive tour rolled into Little Rock recently.

Sister site Hard Working Trucks was on hand to hear what folks had to say. Most were already loyal F-150 customers, and most were excited by the new trucks – though a few had been skeptical: If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Here, Charles explains that the new truck feels even more solid than his steel 2009 – and “it really likes to go.”

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A lifelong Ford truck man (well, since he was 15, anyway) Randy likes a lot of the little touches Ford has added.

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Some fellows are more set in their ways than others. There’s barbed-wire in the bed of Bill’s F-350, so it’s a work truck  –  and he’s proud of it.

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Editor’s Note: Kevin Jones is a senior editor for sister site Hard Working Trucks.

5 Marketing Tips for Landscapers

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Marketing a business can be one of the toughest tasks a landscaper can face in the business world.

When you’re head first into a client’s project all day, it’s hard to take the time to put together a good marketing campaign.

GetUSales has put together five tips to help landscapers start their marketing process: 

Tip #1: Focus on current customers
Current and past customers are more likely than any other demographic to hire a company again. Landscaping is not a service people only need once, which is a big plus for landscapers. When businesses establish long-term customers, they can count on long-term profits and less anxiety about the health of their landscaping business.

Most companies already have their customers’ contact info. Regular mail and telemarketing are no longer the best ways to market to customers. But email marketing is a great hands-off way of keeping a company’s brand in front of its current customers.

Tip #2: Stay in front of customers
Increase brand recognition with any form of advertising. Billboards and print ads can be pricey and out of reach of many small landscaping businesses. But email marketing is inexpensive and provides tangible ROI. A business can send out thousands of emails for the same price as a single newspaper ad.

Tip #3: Convince undecided customers that they’ll love having a landscaper
To convince those ambivalent potential customers that landscaping is actually a service they will appreciate, education is the answer. Email marketing is a great way to send out informational emails to educate potential customers on the benefits of having a landscaper.

Tip #4: Not all marketing should be “marketing”
Advertisements are everywhere today, and many people are adept at tuning them out. That’s why educational, humorous or sentimental ads work very well to capture the public’s attention. Send out holiday emails or educational reports to contacts, and they’ll remember the company (out of many others) who was thoughtful enough to send them information they could use.

Tip #5: Always include a contact button
Any advertising material of any kind should always include contact information. Even better, any online marketing, such as automation emails, can include a “Contact” button that links them directly to a company website. The fewer and easier the steps it takes to contact a business, the more likely a customer will do just that. 

How To Keep Holiday Plants, Greenery Looking Festive All Season Long

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

The holidays are here, and that means it’s time to spruce up the landscape with live plants, wreaths, garlands and greenery.

The Grounds Guys give a few tips on how to keep holiday plants and greenery looking festive this season:

  • Make your selection of holiday greenery carefully. Pine, fir and cedar dry out more slowly than other types of greenery, so they are often the best choice for decorations. You might also enjoy varieties of poinsettias, holiday cacti, amaryllis, mistletoe and holly.
  • Practice patience. Greenery dries out naturally, so delaying decorating until one or two weeks before the holiday heightens the chances of having beautiful greenery longer.
  • Check greenery every couple of days. Look for sprigs that are turning brown or needles that are falling, and remove or trim them. Discard dried out greenery away from the home or office to prevent fire hazard.
  • Place greenery away from heat sources. Never hang greenery around an open fire. Place greenery away from heat vents, space heaters, candles and sunny windows since these heat sources can cause it to dry out more quickly.
  • Water plants as needed. Also, use a water bottle with a pump to mist the greenery lightly so it stays looking fresh and festive.
  • Add a festive touch to potted plants. Wrap the pots in colored foil wrapping paper or tie a bow around them. You might also add small ornaments or other decorations such as confetti, tinsel or ribbon around the plants.

Equipment to help clear snow, debris & weeds from jobsites

October 3, 2014 Category :Landscaping 0

Get going faster by adding these machines to your lineup to help clear jobsites quicker.

Sliding Doors
In-Ground Turning
Clear Fields
Shred Debris
Control Weeds
PBI-Gordon’s TZone SE broadleaf herbicide penetrates the cuticle to control wild violet, ground ivy, black medic, oxalis, clover, spurge, speedwell, lespedeza and more than 80 tough broadleaf weeds. It also suppresses young and actively growing yellow nutsedge. The reduced-solvent ester formulation helps improve cold-weather performance. Read more information here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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