ALCC news center
ALCC contributions to professionalism Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, March 22, 2022 01:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

How does a fledgling landscape industry become professional and respectable? It happens one small step at a time and sometimes by leaps and bounds by those who believe in their industry. Following are some of ALCC’s contributions to several big steps forward over 60 years.

Water

  • At the table when “Xeriscape” was born in 1981
  • Was a leader in GreenCO’s defense of landscape water use during the drought of 2002
  • Promoted research in 2016 by CSU on The Hidden Value of Landscapes in our communities. Using only 3% of the water that’s left after most runs downstream to other states, research helped defend the need for landscape water in future droughts.
  • Launched Sustainable Landscape Partners in early 2010s and the Sustainable Landscape Management program in 2016

 Workforce training and recruiting

  • Launched Certified Landscape Technician (CLT) designation in 1989 and making it one of the top three most successful programs in the U.S.
  • Launched Irrigation Boot Camp training in partnership with Emily Griffith Technical College in mid-2010s and continues that training by ALCC to the present
  • Taught and continues to teach high school teachers with horticulture programs how to train students in basic landscape skills over the years
  • Launched the Landscape Career Pathways program in Colorado high schools in 2016
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Non-users of H-2B benefit from program Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, March 07, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Because workforce is the Number 1 issue facing landscape firms, ALCC is urging both users and non-users of the H-2B program to reach out to their U.S. congressional representatives to call for immediate release of all supplemental visas that are available. “Any effort to bring more people into the industry helps ease the pressure on everyone,” says ALCC CEO John McMahon.

“Now that the cap of 33,000 H-2B workers nationwide has been met, it’s critical to put pressure on Congress to release all supplemental visas that are available,” says McMahon. He also notes that ALCC is currently working on the returning worker exemption to have key Colorado representatives champion legislation before Congress on the industry’s behalf. This exemption would allow workers who have been counted sometime during the previous three years NOT to be counted against the cap in a successive year. Doing so allows more guest workers into the workforce.

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Know what's in your compost Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, March 07, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

“Not all composts are the same,” says Clinton Sander, marketing manager at A1 Organics, Eaton. "Knowing what’s in it is very important to both a residential home owner with a small garden or a commercial contractor installing a new highway median. The US Composting Council’s (USCC’s) STA Certified Compost Program assures that compost manufacturers are held to high standards by using approved labs, testing frequently, following state regulations and disclosing specific information about their compost." A1 Organics, which provides multiple certified composts and provides organic recycling solutions, participates in the program. 

Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) Certified Compost
The US Composting Council recognizes that Quality is in the eye of the consumer. Compost use and selection decisions consider many factors, and therefore are not one-size-fits-all. The Seal of Testing Assurance (STA) Program helps you make the best decision for your application by providing the 3 C’s: clarity, consistency and confidence (as described below).

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Plant Select helps redefine the western landscape Email
Written by Ann Kendall/Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, March 07, 2022 02:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Excerpted from the full article in Colorado Green March/April 2022 by Ann Kendall
In the early 2000s, nearly all of Colorado faced severe or extreme drought conditions. In 2002, for example, much of the Front Range received less than 8 inches of annual moisture—a significant drop from average precipitation of about 14-16 inches. With gardening essentially banned, jobs in the green industry dried up too, leaving hundreds without work.

At the time, Plant Select, a plant introduction program that shares smart, new plant choices inspired by the Rocky Mountain region, was still in its infancy. Plant Select is a nonprofit collaboration between Colorado State University (CSU), Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) and the western horticulture industry. Even in those early days of the 2000s, the program had already proven that it’s possible to have a beautiful, low-water garden with plants that don’t need to be on life support.

25 years on
Now, as Plant Select reaches its 25th anniversary, the program has become a form of drought insurance for the Colorado green industry and the broader West. It has introduced more than 170 water-wise trees, shrubs, turf alternatives, herbaceous perennials and annuals.

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Industry unites to defeat SB22-131 Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, March 07, 2022 01:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Ninety people, including many representatives from lawn care, landscaping and pesticide companies, with additional support from farming and golf course sectors, mobilized March 3, 2022 at the State Capitol for the hearing on SB22-131. Landscape industry professionals came to oppose the bill which they believed lacked scientific evidence with respect to pesticides and what Jason Schmidt of Weed Man Lawn Care called “a blatant disregard to the harmful effects of rolling back preemption.” Following a 10-hour hearing, the bill was defeated at 11 pm by a vote of 6-1.

The industry opposition effort was under the auspices of Green Industries of Colorado (GreenCO) whose legislative committee directs lobbying efforts on behalf of the interests of the seven organizations which comprise its membership. Colorado Arborists and Lawn Care Professionals (CALCP) took the lead in this effort.

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What's your superpower? Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 05:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

That’s exactly what several panelists shared from their own personal experience at the Women in Green luncheon during ProGreen EXPO. Each woman has been in Colorado’s green industry +/-20 years--and they all spoke candidly about the challenges and individual “superpowers” that helped build successful careers in industries that remain predominantly a “man’s world.”

While each woman’s superpower was unique, a common thread voiced by all was that diligence, doing the hard work to move up, and determination have been critical to their advancements within a workforce still underpopulated by women at a ratio of about 10 to 1.

Read more about the superpowers these women credit for their success.

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2022 plant bids could read "market price" Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now“How can contractors even bid a job now?” was one nurseryman’s reply when we asked what landscape companies should expect for plant availability and costs this year. His perspective was similar to others in our small poll of wholesale and re-wholesale nursery folks. Overall, they said supply is down for container trees and shrubs, especially conifers. Costs are up due to a few factors, but primarily the “staggering” cost of getting plants to Colorado. One shared his freight costs are up 30-40%.

Here's what landscape companies need to know. All nursery pros had the same message for their customers: “Be flexible and substitute to get the job done.” The example one gave was for contractors to tell the client, “Yellow would look good there,” without specifying which plant in yellow should be used. They said customers need to be educated and understand that to get the specific plant they desire may take 2-3 years. With adequate substitutions, however, customers can have a complete and growing landscape this season.

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Plant Select by the numbers Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

 As Plant Select® celebrates 25 years, here are some notable numbers.

Year founded                                                  1997
Total number of plants                                     172
Natives to North America                                  81
Total plants sold in last 5 years            11,516,099
Typical new plant introductions per year         5-8
Plant Select demonstration gardens                68
Licensed propagators                                     104
Licensed garden retailers                                 67
Books published                                                 2
Members and volunteers who’ve
   
contributed to Plant Select’s success       1000+

Learn more in the March/April 2022 issue of Colorado Green magazine.
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Autonomous mowers get smarter and safer Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 02:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Scythe Robotics, Longmont, founded in 2018 by Jack Morrison, Isaac Roberts and Davis Foster, is dedicated to providing a sustainable solution to a huge challenge facing the landscape industry. The company’s mowers—aka robots—address workforce issues such as the chronic labor shortage while avoiding contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Scythe’s founders see autonomous mowers reducing the need for humans to operate a mower on landscape maintenance projects—a relatively low-skill task—and free them up for more skilled maintenance tasks that can be performed while the robots are mowing. Landscape maintenance projects can be done in less time with less noise, lower emissions and fewer crew members—less labor.

Autonomous mowing gets more attention
Three years after Scythe caught the attention of ALCC and other members with their ELITE Award submission for Innovation, the company has grown to over 30 employees and wanted to add 10 more by the end of 2021. Scythe announced in June 2021 that the company raised over $18.5 million in venture capital funding allowing it grow and continue to improve the product. Colorado Green spoke with Billy Otteman, marketing director at Scythe.

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Westminster High needs industry volunteers Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 08, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Westminster High School’s (Westy’s) Landscape Career Pathways program is a full-steam-ahead pipeline to landscape industry jobs thanks to high-energy team teachers Heather Crabtree and Lucas Naeger. For a few years now, they have been attracting students to classes and careers that most Westy students never new existed.

Often lured by the school’s greenhouse, students soon discover horticulture and an array of green industry jobs in horticulture, irrigation, installation, equipment maintenance and more. Their program is growing strong with new work stations to learn industry skills—but what Crabtree and Naeger need most now are industry pros. They need volunteers who can step into classes to demonstrate nuances of specific skills and “share their passion about their careers.” Internship opportunities would be another plus.

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Designer Dan Lee likes DIYers Email
Written by Becky Garber-Godi   
Tuesday, February 08, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

“HGTV drove people to want curb appeal and it gave them permission to do projects themselves,” says Black Forest Landscape Design’s owner Dan Lee. For 20 years, what he calls the “cultural phenomenon of HGTV” has powered his business. Up to 75% of the homeowners for whom Lee provides consults and landscape designs do all or part of the work themselves.

Among fellow licensed landscape architects, Lee thrives on a market niche most designers might not consider. But a strong connection exists between him and his clients during and following their projects. They send him photos weekly while work is in progress and even years later. And they are loyal and repeat clients. In 2021, Lee found that about 60% of his clients were returns from people he served during 2002 to 2012 as original clients or their children or parents.

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Look for these new CSU Top Performer perennials Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 08, 2022 02:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

As 2021 was wrapping up, Colorado State University (CSU) revealed “Top Performer” perennials from its trials. During the herbaceous perennial trials—part of CSU’s continuous and tireless research programs that test if plants are suited to Colorado—plants are observed over a three-year period. For the 2021 trials, 126 varieties were planted in 2019. To be rated as a CSU Top Performer, plants have to have had great survival percentages after two winters and three growing seasons, and received excellent ratings throughout the three growing seasons.

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Johnny Moore helped shape perennial garden vision Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 08, 2022 01:00 AM

Colorado Green Now“I love bringing the feeling of nature into the spaces people live in,” says Johnny Moore, designer at Tree of Life Landscapes, Mead. Moore created a design with four seasons of immersion and mystery for a client who wanted to remove most of the sod and create perennial gardens more suitable to the Colorado climate.

“Our vision was to create four seasons of interest. Color in the spring, summer and fall and in the winter a lot of texture and different hues of brown. There is a lot of richness and depth to the winter textures that can’t be seen in other seasons. Leaving the seed heads allows the birds some winter food. We are creating more than a garden. It’s an environment for not only us but the other inhabitants.” To Moore’s point, this property has earned National Wildlife Federation habitat certification.

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