ALCC news center
Working in the heat? Tips to stay safe Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

If you are working outside in the heat, be cautious and attentive to signals of your body. You are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness. If you feel faint or weak, STOP all activity and get to a cool place [Español]

To help protect people’s lives, CDC (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control) provides the following guidelines. More details can be found here.

  • Prevent heat illness with acclimatization. Gradually increase exposure to working in the heat over several days and know that acclimatization loses effectiveness if exposure not exposed for about a week or more.
  • Drink plenty of water, and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar.
  • Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
  • Ask if tasks can be scheduled for earlier or later in the day to avoid midday heat.
  • Wear a brimmed hat and loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Spend time in air-conditioned buildings during breaks and after work.
  • Encourage co-workers to take breaks to cool off and drink water.
  • Follow additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.
Six underutilized trees and shrubs in Colorado landscapes Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 02:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Dr. Jim Klett, CSU professor, department of horticulture and landscape architecture, believes these six plants shown to be successful in Colorado CSU trials should be used more in landscapes. Horticulture and forestry students help maintain the test sites with support from Colorado Horticulture Research and Education Foundation (CHREF), J. Frank Schmidt Charitable Trust, Bailey Nurseries, Inc., Colorado Agriculture Experiment Station and numerous local and national nurseries. Visit these woody plants in person in Fort Collins or see more in the May/June issue of Colorado Green magazine.

Acer saccharum ‘Barret Cole’ – Apollo Sugar Maple - Obtained from J. Frank Schmidt and Son Co. in 2014

This clone of sugar maple has a narrower columnar growth habit maturing to about 25 feet tall and about 10 feet wide. Foliage is dark green in the summer with impressive yellow-orange to red color in fall. Flowers are not important.

Acer saccharum ‘JFS – Caddo 2’ PP 23361 – Flashfire Maple - Obtained from J. Frank Schmidt and Son Co. in 2010

This sugar maple clone has an impressive yellow to orange reddish fall color which matures even darker during the fall. It matures to about 40 to 50 feet in height and 30 to 35 feet in width. Overall, it develops into a broad oval growth habit.
It's getting hot out there! Help your lawn beat the heat. Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 01:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Looks like temps are heating up again. Your lawn might start to look brown or stressed but resist the urge to simply water more. There are good reasons NOT to turn up the water until you check what's going on with the lawn. There are fungus problems that can turn your lawn brown—almost overnight. And if you crank up the water, you'll only make it worse.

When lawns begin to stress, the color turns blueish gray before it looks like straw. If you walk across it and can see footprints 30 minutes later, it's stressed.

Try the screwdriver test
Use a screwdriver to make sure the soil really is dry. Push a screwdriver into the soil, and if it goes easily into the soil, don't water more. Let the soil dry out a little before you water next. Water-logged soil can damage the lawn more than letting it get too dry.

If you have brown patches and the screwdriver doesn’t go in easily in those patches, you may have a sprinkler problem that's keeping water from reaching that area. Don't make your whole sprinkler system run longer just for a few brown spots.

Test your sprinkler system
Run your sprinkler system during the daytime to see what is going on. The problem could be as simple as the sprinkler shooting in the wrong direction. Hot weather can reveal the weak areas of our sprinkler systems, and sometimes a little hand watering of stressed areas is all you need to do.

If you have to increase watering times in a heat wave, remember to adjust it back when temperatures cool again. Reduce watering times by running each cycle a couple of minutes less.

Reduce lawn stress with proper care

Water between 10 PM and 6 AM to lose less water to evaporation and to avoid fungus problems.

Mow the lawn a little higher. If you mow at 3 inches or a bit higher, the grass blades will shade the soil to retain moisture and reduce heat stress.

Make sure the sprinkler system is in top working order. Making simple adjustments and quick repairs ensures that your lawn is being watered properly.

Get ready for pollinator week Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, June 07, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Pollinator Week, an initiative of Pollinator Partnership, is celebrated June 20-26 this year. According to Pollinator Partnership, this annual dedication to pollinators is to recognize and promote the “valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, wasps, and flies.”

Pollinator health is a growing concern among consumers, and homeowners are often looking for ways to support pollinators in their landscapes. Landscape companies can use Pollinator Week—and the weeks leading up to it—to promote pollinator-friendly practices as well as other sustainable practices.

Several resources are available suggesting pollinator-friendly plants. It’s best to make plant selections that are either native to Colorado or have been shown to work well in this climate. Check and the Colorado Native Plant Society for recommendations. Also, Pollinator Partnership offers Ecoregional Planting Guides.

Pollinators love Silver Fountain butterfly bush Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, June 07, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

One of the largest pollinator shrubs for western landscapes is Plant Select’s Silver Fountain butterfly bush (Buddleja alternifolia ‘Argentea’). When in bloom, thousands of lavender flower clusters explode every couple inches down the tips of cascading branches. This large plant can resemble the finale of a fireworks display when planted in full sun. In shadier situations, the curvature of sun lusting branches offers a mystic or spooky appearance. Each planting can be unique depending on placement, maintenance and maturity, but in all situations, the massive number of flowers will attract bees and several species of butterflies. The quarter-inch tubular flowers with darker violet centers radiate out in clusters at every leaf node making the Silver Fountain butterfly bush a show-stopping garden plant from mid-May to mid-June. The nectar from these pleasantly fragrant flowers is enjoyed by monarchs and several species of swallowtails.

Landscape contractors: do you have your nursery license? Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, June 07, 2022 02:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Landscape companies, as entities that sell (including resale), distribute, or advertise with the intent to sell or distribute nursery stock, must be licensed, and registered annually with the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). CDA is reaching out to those who are not registered.

According to the CDA: Companies that sell or distribute nursery stock for commercial purposes must register as a “nursery” with the CDA. All growing nurseries (including sod farms), retailers that sell nursery stock, landscape contractors, brokers, and collectors must register if selling or distributing nursery stock for commercial purposes.

If you overseed or hydroseed, you will need a retail seed dealer license as well.

According to Rich Guggenheim, Plant Health Certification Manager of the Division of Plant Industry, “Any contractor who is selling any seed, would need to have a retail seed license. This is like the big box store or small garden center that sells bags of turf seed or packages of vegetable and flower seed to customers. We will not differentiate under the Seed Act if the contractor applies the seed to commercial or residential sites. Anyone retailing seed, regardless of amount, needs a retail seed license.”
GreenCO legislative update – 2022 session Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, June 07, 2022 01:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

The Second Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly concluded as of May 11th. There were 657 bills introduced this year, 418 by the House and 239 by the Senate. There were 143 bills Postponed Indefinitely or died on the calendar. Throughout the session GreenCO continued to weigh in on multiple pieces of legislation that effect both the industry and the business community as a whole.

GreenCO tracked over 50 bills that covered many different issues including, workforce development, employer mandates, water, and simplification of sales and use tax just to name a few. GreenCO took positions on multiple bills.

Now that the 2022 session is over, the interim looks to be a busy one. It will be filled with interim committees, rulemakings, as well as gearing up for the 2022 elections in November. It is anticipated to be an important election year as it is will be the first election since redistricting and the Republicans are looking to close the gap in the House and in the Senate. As usual, GreenCO will be conducting candidate interviews in August and deciding which candidates to support/endorse.

Below is a list of some of the high-level bills that GreenCO worked on during the session.

Zak George Landscaping hires HR manager Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

When is the right time, you may ask? Zak George, owner of Zak George Landscaping (ZGL), Fort Collins, says “In my opinion, once you cross the 50-employee mark it’s worth having an HR department, if the company has a growth mindset.”

In 2019 he thought it was time for his company to establish a formal HR department. But he took his time. He wanted the right fit. “We want to attract the best possible talent to the company,” George says. “That meant we needed someone who knows the people side of things. It’s a different skill set, one our leadership team thought would complement the rest of the team and help the company grow to the next level.”

At the time, ZGL had around 30 year-round employees with numbers growing to nearly 80 when including seasonal employees—both H-2B and nationals.

In late 2019, ZGL hired David Curtis as the company’s first HR Manager. “People were probably curious to see how it would work out,” Curtis reflects. “I have a degree in psychology, not HR, and this was a new position at the company. Among other factors, I think Zak hired me because of my experience managing a branch within a large corporation where I often handled the HR functions.

Mari Medrano – first place for perspective article on labor Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

The challenge of finding seasonal workers in the landscape industry and other seasonal industries has been an ongoing challenge for at least a couple of decades.

Mari Medrano, human resources director at CoCal Landscape, Denver, has more than 20 years’ experience working with foreign workers on H-2B visas. In spring 2021, Medrano wrote the article, H-2B: An Employer Perspective for Turf magazine and in spring 2022 her article received first place from the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association.

This editorial/opinion article highlighted her real-life experiences, and subsequent learning, from 20-plus years of working with foreign workers on H-2B visas. She said the process is time-consuming and there are no guarantees a company will be granted workers from the program. “If you think you know what you’re doing, this program—with constantly changing government regulations and attacks from H-2B opponents—will knock you to your knees. It’s anguishing, hair-pulling, frustrating and dumbfounding, but also very fulfilling and rewarding,” she wrote.

Water ‘22 – “It all starts here” Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 02:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

In the face of drought and climate change and to ensure Colorado has enough water to meet all the needs of today and the future, Water Education Colorado has spearheaded Water ’22, a year-long water education campaign lead by @watereducationCO that asks Coloradans to make a pledge to reduce their water consumption by 22 gallons (or more) each day.

Simple actions can save at least 22 gallons per person per day. According to the numbers, if every Coloradan saved 22 gallons a day for a year, the savings translate to 150,000 acre-feet or the volume of Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins! Small changes help stretch our scarce water supplies and help preserve our agriculture, parks and open space, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, drinking water and industrial and commercial sectors.

Water ’22 calls upon all Coloradans to work together to ensure clean water is available to support the state’s water uses.

Beyond each individual, we have a duty within the green industry to be good stewards of water. One of the ways ALCC is helping support this campaign is with its Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) program, which educates landscape professionals in the public and private sectors about sustainable, water-conserving landscape management principles.

H-2B Coalition update Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 01:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

As most in the industry know, the H-2B visa nonimmigrant program permits employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily to the United States and perform services or labor for a one-time season. The job timeframe must be for less than one year.

As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did for last summer, the Department of Labor (DOL) will make available an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary visas for the second half of summer of 2022.

Last week the H-2B rule published by the H-2B Coalition, includes the following conditions:

  • Supplemental visas only apply to the second half cap for work April 1 through Sept. 30. DHS will only accept petitions through Sept. 15. Anything pending after Oct. 1 will be denied.
  • Any unused Northern Triangle visas—from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—will not be rolled over to returning worker visas for other countries. 
  • Enhanced recruitment for most petitions.
Lifescape Colorado receives Gold ELITE Award for Maintenance Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, May 09, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

There was a time at the beginning of the millennium, after more than 20 years in business, when Lifescape Colorado focused its passion and creativity on landscape design and construction, its core competencies, and did not continue with ongoing maintenance. For the past three years Lifescape has maintained the “Charm Grows Here” property, a residence for which they completed the design/build work in 2004. Lifescape established a maintenance division in 2011 and the property owners reached out. Lifescape’s efforts were rewarded with ALCC’s Gold ELITE Award for Residential Maintenance.

Colorado Green spoke with Ben Pritchett, garden manager, and Matt Cloud, now director of onboarding and quality assurance, about caring for the property. Cloud likes to say, “Our design/build clients are those we date, but we marry our maintenance clients.”

Pickens Tech ramps up hort program Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, May 09, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

For 25+ years, Urban Horticulture & Landscape Management at Pickens Technical College, Aurora, has trained young people and older career changers for landscape industry jobs. Rachel Durkan, new instructor in 2021, envisions it as “one of the gems of the Front Range for green industry career training.” Already, many students work in horticulture/landscape jobs outside the classroom.

Durkan is pleased with a new classroom, greenhouse upgrades and help from colleague Donna Nading, who manages greenhouse operations and more. Both bring past training and work experience to their jobs.

Durkan’s career has been varied from growing tropicals in Hawaii to driving a snowplow in Colorado. She went to Virginia Tech, then received a graduate degree from CSU in agriculture extension education, and recently, was maintenance account manager for a local landscape firm.

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