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Southwest Palms Have Sudden Crown Drop

When the crown of a very large palm tree unexpectedly drops into traffic in Beverly Hills, then people start to take notice. There is a new disease that is attacking Canary island date palms in the southwest and it's particularly dangerous. The fungus responsible for the disease, Thielaviopsis paradoxa, enters through wounds in the trunk causing rot and decay in the interior of the trunk. Usually there are no signs on the exterior of the trunk, however there is still enough sound healthy tissue to keep the crown of leaves looking normal even though there isn't enough structural strength to keep the crown attached for long. When the disease has advanced enough, the weight of the crown is too much, and it simply snaps off. This is particularly dangerous because the crown and attached portion of the trunk can easily weigh a ton or more. When they crash unexpectedly, people have been killed. In Beverly Hills alone, there are over a thousand Canary island date palms. Fortunately, sudden crown drop rarely affects true date palms, the California fan palm or the queen palm. The disease can be controlled through prevention by limiting the use of chainsaws when trimming the "ball" just below the leaves. It is easy to knick the trunk or cut too deeply when using a chainsaw, therefore avoid using chainsaws altogether when trimming and pruning, and check the trunk frequently for any damage.

For more information, contact Donald R. Hodel of the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles, California at:

Florida Nursery & Allied Trades Show

The Florida Nursery & Allied Trades Show (FNATS) is recognized as one of the premier nursery and landscape trade shows in the country.

The FNATS exhibit area uses 200,000 square feet of space to showcase more than 550 industry companies. Horticulture produce lines vary from trees, plants, shrubs, liners, annuals, perennials, foliage and more. Supplies include soils, mulches, equipment, fertilizers, chemicals, nursery and greenhouse supplies, computer programs, rocks and stones and more.

Educational classes will cover everything from production to landscape management and design to retail to FNGLA’s certification programs.

Log on to www.fnga.orgr to register.

PREV-AM(R) Approved

A new fungicide, pesticide and miticide with 12-hour REI and PHI was approved by the California Department of Pesticide Registration for commercialization. PREV-AM(R) is unique in the fact that it can be used as an integrated pest management (IPM) tool for immediate knockdown. Although the initial effort will be aimed at use on fruits, nuts, tomatoes and other vegetables, it has been given diverse crop approvals. The California DPR id also approved for use against many pests including mites, aphids and thrips, and given the extensive efficacy data submitted, ORO-AGRI plans to apply for label inclusion of other federal EPA-approved uses on pest such as whitefly, mealy-bug, lygus-bugs, beet army worm, leafhopper and other bugs. On the disease side, PREV-AM(R) is also approved for powdery mildew, downy mildew, botrytis and late blight. Again, ORO AGRI is submitting for label inclusion of bunch rot, brown rust, anthracnose, dollar spot and fairy ring. Initial tests on other molds/fungi are promising, Now used internationally, PREV-AM(R) is known as an effective and affordable. Founded in l998, ORO AGRI is an agricultural solutions company based in Texas with distribution in the U.S., Europe and South Africa.

For more information go to:

Office on the Go Logs over
60,000 Miles during Landscaping Season

A driver and his office on wheels allow David Van Zelst to cover his firm's 1,500 sq. mile operating territory.

A typical day for David Van Zelst, founder and president of Van Zelst, Inc., a landscape design/build firm serving clients from downtown Chicago throughout northeastern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, is to spend six hours a day on the road in the firm's mobile office inspecting job sites and meeting clients.

"In the past, I would make phone calls and try to take notes as I drove," he explains. Aside from the safety issues, it was hectic and inefficient. He'd work 11 to 12-hour days six days a week.

Then he learned of a Florida company that converts vans into offices on wheels. Now his hours on the road are productive office time.

He has a driver, a GPS and a basic office set-up in the van: a desk, cell phone, TV, wireless internet, a laptop computer, printer, fax and filing cabinets.

Van Zelst believes the mobile office will pay for itself in the first year. "We've already sold some new projects as the result of face-to-face service and quick turnaround," he noted.

Hurricane Damage to Historic Florida Properties

The Florida Trust for historic preservation, Florida's only statewide non-profit preservation organization, is collecting data on damage to historic sites, parks and museums caused by Hurricane Charley. Collecting this data on these properties is the first step in determining the extent of the damage, but the trust also needs to make sure that people who are taking care of these sites know how to get on damage assessment lists from the state and federal government so they can be included in possible funding from FEMA. Those who know of any non-profit organization, city, county or state owned historic site or museum that has been affected should contact their local county emergency management office, as well as notify the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation so they can send the results of their survey to the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources.

For more information, call 850-224-8159 or go to:

National Trust and Old House Journal Awards

Old House Journal has plans available for restoration projects.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has teamed up with Old House Journal to present The Great American Home Awards(R). It is a national competition recognizing residential rehabilitation projects in houses over 50 years old. The program is open to homeowners, professionals (architects, contractors, craftspeople, designers) substantially involved with the project, or third parties such as preservation organizations, municipal governments or individuals who know about projects in their communities. The categories include kitchen renovation or addition, bathroom renovation or addition, exterior rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, infill residence and landscape design. All projects should respect the historic character of the house and must have been completed in the last five years. The winners will be announced in the May/June 2005 issue of Old-House Journal as well as Preservation magazine. The nomination deadline is November 15, 2004.

To find out more or get an application form go to and

Landscape Industry Groups Approve Merger

The newly-unified ALCA and PLCAA will have its primary headquarters in Herndon, Va. The ALCA moved its headquarters to the new building from a location just blocks away on Sept. 1.

Members of the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) and the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) have voted to unify the two organizations. The merger becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2005.

Members had until Sept. 3 to vote. Of those that did, more than 90 percent agreed to the change.

The merger has been in the works for several years, and will avoid duplication and make the new group more efficient, ALCA spokeswoman Vicki Bendure told

"This is an exciting strategic direction for the lawn and landscape industry," PLCAA president Jim Campanella said in a statement. "By pooling resources, we advance our opportunities to ensure the future of our industry and to have a greater lobbying impact on Capital Hill."

The leadership of both organizations has been talking about the merger for several years. Creating one big lawn care organization will maximize the group's voice for lobbying efforts in Washington.

The name of the new group hasn't yet been determined. The unified organization will be based at 950 Herndon Parkway, Suite 450, Herndon, Va., 20170, with satellite offices at PLCAA headquarters in Marietta, Ga.

The new group will continue to push for guest worker reform to ease the lawn care industry's continuing labor shortage. The unified organization's name is scheduled to be announced in November.

The ALCA is the older organization, founded in 1961. The PLCAA was founded in 1979.

More information is at and

Stephen Johnson Appointed EPA Administrator

On July 30, Stephen Johnson was formally appointed Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Johnson has served in the position of Acting Deputy Administrator for the past year.

Johnson's experience includes working as the assistant administrator of the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances.

He has over 20 years of service at the EPA, principally in the area of pesticide programs. Before joining the EPA, Johnson held positions as the director of operations.

California Water Bill Could Spawn Urban Irrigation Rules

California Assemblyman John Laird (D--Santa Cruz) introduced the urban water conservation bill that passed on Aug. 17. The legislation was sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority.

California legislators have approved a measure that could pave the way for more restrictive irrigation rules. Called Assembly Bill 2717, the legislation directs the state's water advisory council to draw up a list of water-saving steps, which could be implemented at a later date.

"We're looking for more efficient use of irrigation water," said Clyde Macdonald, a staff member for Assemblyman Laird. The bill directs the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) to explore water-saving steps that could force irrigation in urban landscape settings to meet more efficient standards.

Literature supplied by Laird's office suggests the council look at standards for irrigation equipment, water budgets for irrigated landscapes, training standards and price incentives.

Macdonald said the council would focus on automated sprinkler control and grading standards to minimize runoff.
Significant savings to the state's limited water supply would be the payoff if basic rules to limit runoff were enforced, he said.
In his own Sacramento neighborhood, Macdonald said, "every evening you can float a kayak down the gutter--people don't take into consideration how much water runs off the lawn and straight down the drain."

Landscape architects, contractors and maintenance supervisors are invited to join the council and offer input.

More information is available at the CUWCC web site, or by calling Assemblyman Laird's office at (916) 319-2027.

Louisiana gets irrigation contractor license law

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed legislation in July mandating the licensing of irrigation contractors by the state's Horticulture Commission. The Louisiana Irrigation Association had pushed for the change in the interest of increased industry standards. The legislation was sponsored by House Speaker Joe Salter (D-Florien) and encountered no real opposition on its way to approval. The governor signed the bill on July 12.

A similar bill has been stalled in New York's assembly since June. Called A6098, the legislation would require certification of all irrigation contractors in the state. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, is the product of long years of work by the Irrigation Association of New York.

Beware the Invasive Species

Among the most noteworthy invasive plants are:
1) English Ivy; 2) buckthorn; 3) purple loosestrife; 4) Russian olive; and 5) water hyacinth.

Invading extraterrestrial aliens are bad enough, but invasive species of the plant variety are not to be taken lightly either, at least according to the Invasive Weeds Awareness Coalition (IWAC). While most exotic plants are not a problem, the IWAC warns to be careful about selecting or planting nonnative plants, as some become invasive and can eventually destroy habitat that sustains native birds, butterflies, insects and small animals.

Mary Meyer, PhD, a horticulturalist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, notes that most garden centers are careful not to carry invasive species, but every year new species turn up. She advises asking the local extension service before choosing a nonnative plant.

The most serious invaders include: purple loosestrife; Russian olive; saltcedar; buckthorn; English ivy; and water hyacinth.

For more information on invasive plants, visit

Super Texas Turf is Created by Scientists

LUBBOCK, Texas– Researchers at Texas Tech University have announced the creation of a genetically-modified turf that is remarkably green and soft yet extremely durable. Dubbed "Turffalo," the grass "has characteristics unmatched by any other lawn grass in the world," claimed Dick Auld, who chairs the university's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

The grass is now available through a partnership with Frontier Hybrids.

In 2003, the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program ranked the hybrid the No. 1 buffalo grass strain in overall quality for the southwest region.

Turffalo has a deep, green color and is extremely drought-tolerant, its maker claims, with a root system that extends from six to ten feet deep. It also requires less mowing than other types of lawn.

More information: Dick Auld, (806) 742-0775 or

Subsurface Drip Most Efficient, Study Concludes

A U.S. Department of Agriculture study examining four means of irrigating juvenile peach trees (furrow, microject, surface drip, and subsurface drip) has concluded that trees irrigated by subsurface drip systems were the best at getting water to tree roots. Microsprayers were the poorest performers, judging by the smaller fruit produced by the trees so irrigated. The microsprayer results may be due in part to the lack of shade in young orchards and the subsequent increase in evaporation of water from the jets.

Trees irrigated by the surface and subsurface drip also outperformed the furrow method.

The study was in conjunction with the Center for Irrigation Technology and the Agricultural Research Initiative.

The complete report, "Irrigation Management Practices for Improving Water and Nutrient Use Efficiency and Crop Productivity in Peach," is available at the website of the Agricultural Research Initiative (

Landscape Industry Growth Report Now Available

The Associated Landscape Contractors of America has put together a 190-page comprehensive report and analysis of the trends and buying practices of consumers purchasing landscape contracting services in 2003 and 2004. Harris Interactive Market Research, the online survey division of the Harris Poll, compiled the data for this study.

This resource, ALCA’s Report on Landscape Industry Growth: Trends and Buying Practices in the Consumer Market, 2004, defines the use of landscape services in the U.S. in 2003. It reports what landscaping tasks people did for themselves in 2003, and ascertains the services Americans plan to procure in 2004. The report also examines the resources and criteria that Americans use to hire landscape professionals.

The printing of the report was made possible by a contribution from Caterpillar, Inc. This resource is available to everyone, but members gets a special discount price.

For more information, visit

Irrigation Association Show is Slated for Tampa

Registration is open for November's IA International Irrigation Show at Tampa, Fla. Presentations will cover alternative water sources including graywater, rooftop cisterns and condensation from air conditioning systems, which can produce more than 500 gallons an hour. Additional topics include how and why to water synthetic turfs--and a case study showing how meters and auditing allowed one school district to reduce water usage by 44 percent. Other issues will include the impact of water conservation and landscape water use, tips for using climate-based controller technology and information to help evaluate sprinkler technology. More information:

Calif. Water Board Now Requires "General Permit" for Ground Disturbance

The California State Water Resources Control Board now requires a general permit (99-08-DWQ) for "clearing, grading, disturbances to the ground (such as stockpiling, or excavation) that results in soil disturbances of at least five acres of total land area. Construction activity that results in soil disturbances of less than five acres is subject to the general permit if the construction activity is part of a larger common plan of development that encompasses five or more acres of soil disturbance or if there is significant water quality impairment resulting from the activity. Construction activity does not include routine maintenance to maintain original line and grade, hydraulic capacity, or original purpose of the facility, nor does it include emergency construction activities required to protect public health and safety." Dischargers should confirm with the regional water quality control board whether or not a particular routine maintenance activity is subject to the general permit.

For more information, visit


51,200 – Amount, measured in million gallons per day, of water withdrawn in California. California consumes the most water of any state in the nation.

305 – Amount of water, measured in million gallons per day, withdrawn daily in Alaska, the lowest consuming state in the nation.

Source: American Water Works Association

Landscape Architect Files Suit Over Reno Project

Landscape architect April Phillips has filed a suit against the company designing a public plaza in Reno, Nevada. Ms. Phillips wants the U.S. District Court to prevent the city and its architecture firm--Sheehan-Van Woert-Bigotti, Architects--from using the landscape designs she says she owns and has copyrighted. The architecture firm says that Phillips was not the only contributor to the designs she copyrighted, since they were renderings of designs that were produced in collaboration with three or four firms. The Reno architectural firm hired Phillips to do the landscape design, but allegedly continued negotiating their financial agreement. Even though her normal fees and expenses for the design should have been $430,000, Phillips said she agreed to $280,000 plus expenses. She pulled out of the project in February over money issues, telling SVWB they could not use her copyrighted designs. The $4-million project, a public plaza at the site of the former Mapes Hotel on the Truckee River, is scheduled to begin in November, however this lawsuit may cause delays. Ms. Phillips is also suing the city of Reno, claiming they are actively using her designs or designs based on her work. The city is protected against financial penalties by its contract with SVWB.

Study Finds Antioxidant Helps Some Plants Thrive in Metal-Enriched Soils

David Salt (right), a Purdue University professor of horticulture, and doctoral student John Freeman are investigating why certain plants thrive while others wither when exposed to large amounts of nickel in the soil. Their findings provide insight for the development of plants that can remove toxic metals from polluted sites or extract useful metals from soil, a process known as phytomining. PHOTO COURTESY OF Tom Campbell, Purdue Agricultural Communications.

A Purdue study published in The Plant Cell found that plants that accumulate high levels of gluththione, an antioxidant, are much more tolerant to nickel. Plants require metals like nickel in minute quantities, but higher levels of such metals damages plant membranes. The research points to possibilities for developing plants that could be useful for cleaning polluted sites.

Antioxidants are, broadly speaking, compounds that protect cells from damage by exposure to certain reactive compounds.

Previous research has shown that most plants try to keep the levels of metals in their cells at a minimum, but plants called metal hyperaccumulators have the ability to build up unusually high levels of metals in their tissues without any ill effect. More than 400 plant species are now known that hyperaccumulate various trace metals. This research is some of the first data showing how plants protect themselves from metal contamination.

For more information, visit the Center for Phytoremediation Research and Development at

Study Continues on the Growth of Salt-tolerant Plants

The west side of California's San Joaquin Valley, Calif. is an agriculturally rich area. However, soil salinity and drainage problems are common. West-side soils tend to be saline rich--a problem that's exacerbated by slowly permeable soils and a high water table, which can prevent the successful leaching of salts. In an effort to find ways of disposing of the excess salt, Fresno State researcher Sharon Benes, assistant professor, Department of Plant Science, California State University, Fresno, is studying the saline water use of salt grass and other halophytes, which are plants that are native to more saline conditions. Some plants are being tested with irrigation water up to two-thirds the salt content of seawater.

For updates log on to

Bad Wildfire Season Predicted

According to federal fire officials, predictions of an intense upcoming fire season have sparked much preparation among state officials who are in the fire zones. The greatest threat lies in the Pacific Northwest, the northern Rockies of Idaho and Montana and the Southwest including southern California. Washington State fire officials have fought more than 70 small fires this year as opposed to the usual 20. The snowpack in the Cascades in Oregon have fallen to well below average, and fire officials are telling people to get ready by creating fire breaks. The raging fires in southern California earlier this year killed 20 people. The entire state of Arizona and the western half of New Mexico are also facing an above normal fire danger. Double the number of acres than last years have already burned in central Arizona due to triple-digit temperatures, double-digit wind speeds and single-digit humidity. In addition these states are facing the possible loss of 33 large air tankers which can drop as much as 3000 gallon of fire retardant on a fire in a single fly over. The tankers were grounded in May when two of the planes broke up in mid-air killing five people. Those tankers are critical because they are the first response in a fire and buy time for the fire crews. New Mexico has repositioned its crews at key vulnerable points and has requested that the U.S. National Guard keep two helicopters on standby. Arizona has asked the governor for an additional $1.5 million to add more firefighters as well as bulldozers. Although there are environmental concerns with bulldozers, there is no choice without the heavy air tankers.

Florida County is limiting lawn

In an effort to meet Florida's water conservation goals, Volusia County has become the first in the state to pass an ordinance requiring new homes to have less lawn. The ordinance mandates that at least 25 percent of new yard areas require little or no irrigation.

The ordinance also limits the area allowed to use high volume irrigation at new homes and businesses. Under the ordinance, 50 percent of a new landscape can be irrigated up to one inch of water per week. Alternately, homeowners can have more grass--up to 75 percent of the yard--if the rest of the landscape retains natural vegetation without irrigation. The ordinance went into effect on July 1.

Sources: The Irrigation Association, Volusia County, Fla.

Congratulations, Fellows!

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will induct 32 more landscape architects into its esteemed Council of Fellows at this year's ASLA Annual Meeting and Expo in Salt Lake City. Turn to page 64, where we honor these new fellows. If you'd like to congratulate a Fellow, or several, please go to and click on the "ASLA Fellows" link at the bottom of the page. The profile of each of the 2004 ASLA Fellows is presented here. Simply click on the person's name and then click the "add a comment" box.

New Overtime Regulations May Impact Landscape Firms

Workers at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill. complete a hardscape project in 2003. The federal government's new overtime regulations guarantee blue-collar workers' right to overtime pay.

The federal government's new rules on overtime pay that went into effect on Aug. 23 include some important changes for landscape architecture firms.

Landscape architects and other creative professionals (writers, composers, etc...) don't enjoy overtime protection (they didn't under the old rules either). The new rules do guarantee overtime for workers earning less than $23,660 annually, versus a cutoff of $8,060 before the new rules went into effect. That change extends overtime protection to some lower-paid office workers. The change means less for temporary, hourly and construction workers, who received overtime under the old rules too.

But the new rules say more about overtime for administrators and supervisors. The new rules more tightly define which executive, administrative and computer employees can be denied overtime. For example, most supervisors don't get overtime, according to information on the Department of Labor's web site.

Some computer systems designers and outside sales personnel can also be denied overtime under the new rules.

A handy summary of the changes can be found at

The rule change has been controversial, with two sides disagreeing over the question of whether more workers will lose or gain overtime benefits. In August, three high-ranking former Department of Labor officials under Presidents Reagan, (George H.W.) Bush and Clinton issued a statement saying the changes will boost the number of workers lacking overtime rights. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has even said he will repeal the changes if elected.

Others disagree. John Satagaj of the Small Business Legislative Council said that objections will probably fade as the new rules are put into practice. "Despite their howling to the contrary, I believe organized labor is going to find that a good number of employees that are currently (not eligible) will be reclassified as (eligible for overtime)" under the new rules, he said.

A lot of the gray area will be worked out in the coming months, said Tom Delaney, a government affairs analyst for the Professional Lawn Care Association of America. Workers' fears that employers might try to exploit the rules probably aren't justified, he said.

"I think most employers want to have good relations with their employees," he said. "If (these changes) lead employees to work more or earn less money than they do now, I think it's going to be a no-go (decision) for the company."

Below is a legal analysis by Richard I. Lehr, legal counsel for the Professional Lawn Care Association of America.


New Overtime Regulations Summary

The United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division issued new regulations covering the "white collar" exemptions which took effect on Aug. 23. The job classifications covered by these exemptions include executive employees (also includes managers and supervisors), administrative, professional, outside sales and computer programmers and analysts. Remember that it is the employer's burden to prove that the use of the exemption is a proper one if the employer is challenged. The following is a summary of key changes to the exemptions:


Key changes to the exemptions:

  1. The minimum salary level for an exempt employee will increase to $455 per week; any exempt employee who is paid a regular hourly amount will be non-exempt (there is an hourly rate provision for computer analysts and programmers) as well as administrative, professional or executive employees receiving less than $455 per week.
  2. The new regulations permit disciplinary deductions from an exempt employee's salary. Currently, the only disciplinary deduction that may occur is to suspend an exempt individual for an entire workweek without pay. Under the new regulations, an individual may be suspended for increments of no less than one day without pay, provided the suspension is pursuant to a written disciplinary policy that covers all employees. An employee must be paid a full day if a suspension is for a partial day.
  3. An exempt executive employee must have the authority to affect an employee's status, such as discipline, discharge or promotion, or recommend the same. Under the current regulations, such authority is not required.
  4. The current regulations limit the amount of time an exempt employee spends on non-exempt work to 20 percent overall, 40 percent in the retail or service industry. This percentage limitation will be removed from the new regulations. Rather, the test is whether the individual's "primary duties" are exempt in nature, even if they involve less than 50 percent of the employee's time. In the lawn care industry, review the exempt status of assistant managers and supervisors. There may be a possibility that some could be exempt from overtime.
  5. The professional employee exemption currently involves an individual who has a degree in the field of science or learning or whose work is creative or original in nature. Under the new regulations, there are circumstances where an individual may be exempt as a professional even if the individual does not have the advanced degree. A high school or technical degree will not suffice, however. Rather, the individual must have studied at an institution of higher learning and performed the types of duties that an exempt professional with a degree performs. An employer is not required to convert a non-exempt employee to exempt status. However, an employer may be required to either convert a current exempt employee to non-exempt status or change the individual's compensation and/or duties to comply with the new regulations.

Landscape industry feeling effects of prolonged drought

Marco Montague with Cutler Landscaping buries an irrigation line in the yard of a customer. Landscapers are educating their customers on the need to save water.

Persistent drought conditions in the western United States are impacting landscape-related businesses, a Colorado State University study reports.

Close to 2,000 landscaping jobs in Colorado were lost between 2002 and 2003. The jobs include landscape architects, landscape contractors, nurseries, garden centers and commercial florists. Total revenue dropped by almost $60 million last year, study author Dawn Thilmany said.

On the other hand, the industry has grown substantially since 1994, adding 11,000 jobs for a total of close to 34,000. Drought-related declines have been limited by landscape-related businesses expanding winter work such as snow removal and Christmas tree sales, the report concludes.

The "green sectors" showing the most growth from 1993 through 2001 "were landscape design and maintenance, public and private golf courses and nursery/garden centers." Florists and tree and nursery production reported "flatter" sales. Landscape architecture firms "lost sales" in 2003, the report noted.

Rules implemented by the Southern Nevada Water Authority are now limiting landscape options in the Las Vegas area. The agency has banned sod in new residential front yards and limited lawns in back yards to 50 percent of the total area. It is also offering a $1 per square foot incentive for homeowners to remove their front lawns.

Int'l Pool & Spa Expo 2004 in Vegas

The 2004 International Pool & Spa Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center, November 30 through December 3, will feature 2,500 product/supplier booths and about 14,000 pool, spa and "backyard living" professionals.

The keynote speaker is Rudy Ruettiger, the inspiration for the film, "Rudy," about a young man's quest and the odds against him to play football for Notre Dame.

There will be workshops of the latest field techniques, scores of business and technical seminars, and NSPI certification credit hours available.

For more information, visit

Pavestone Hosts ICPI Courses

The Pavestone Company is hosting several ICPI Certification courses from September to January 2005. Some will also be held in Spanish. These practical two-day courses are aimed at company owners, job superintendents, forepersons, supervisors and crew leaders. The following topics are included in the curriculum: basic material estimating, paver installation, job layout, soil classification, documenting job costs, soil compaction, base material compaction, edge restraints and bedding sand.

For more information about these courses and to get your registration forms, go up on

Irrigation website can increase efficiency

Irrigation experts know that "potential evapo-transpiration," or PET, is a measure of evaporation affecting irrigation requirements. Now a recently-introduced web site can help supervisors use PET estimates to adjust watering rates--and save money and water.

The web site is produced by the Texas A&M University System's Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton, Texas. The site includes specific weather data for the area of east Texas around Overton, but offers PET information that will be of interest to large and small-scale irrigators. The address is

Everyone knows that landscaped areas need less water when it's cool and cloudy. Rain, wind and humidity also affect the equation. An accurate PET estimate lets supervisors limit water without impacting plants' health.

Researchers estimate that close to half of irrigation water is wasted through runoff and evaporation. During summer months, irrigation accounts for as much as 80 percent of home water use, according to the university's Irrigation Technology Center.

Artificial Turf Increasing Alternative to Natural Grass

A $1.9 million renovation project at Shorty Garcia Park in Union City, Calif. aims to make the six-acre site among the best sports fields in the area. Construction began during midsummer to resurface the existing grass field with synthetic turf, construct initial settings for an outdoor lighting system and upgrade the concession stand. The renovation of the 4-year-old park includes the construction of two full-size soccer fields using FieldTurf, an artificial turf that's made with ground-up tennis shoes and recycled tires.

Not only is the artificial grass cushioned by a “soil” base of sand and rubber, which reduces maintenance costs and improves field conditions, it also allows 24-hour usage of the park. Proponents of the new turf say it's more realistic than AstroTurf, safer to play on and easier to take care of than grass.

Air conditioners can keep gardens green

Large air conditioning units can generate enough water to keep adjacent landscaping green, according to research reviewed by Virginia-based The Irrigation Association.

"The quantity of water coming out of some of these systems is astounding," said Karen Guz of the San Antonio Water System. "There are a lot of humid regions of the country with water problems. It's free, unrestricted water for irrigation purposes."

One San Antonio shopping mall produces 500 gallons of clean, free water an hour. A city library is already diverting its air conditioner condensation for irrigation.

Systems for putting condensation to use will be discussed at this November's International Irrigation Show in Tampa, Fla. More information:

APLD Presents Awards of Distinction

From left: APLD President Patricia Ouderkirk presented the Award of Distinction to John Brookes.

The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) presented its 2004 Award of Distinction to John Brookes, of John Brookes' Garden Design, Tokyo, Japan. The award was given at Kew Gardens, London, England during the 2004 APLD conference.

Brookes, who has been in private practice since 1964, continues to design and construct gardens throughout Great Britain and consults worldwide, as well as presenting workshops and lectures on garden design. He has published over 20 books on garden design and landscaping, and has received numerous gold medals for garden design. He was made a Member of the Order
of the British Empire in 2004.

BigToys(R) web site is big help to customers

OLYMPIA, Wash. – BigToys(R) has just launched their new, comprehensive website that is a valuable resource to customers and anyone interested in playgrounds or children's play. "The website is loaded with features that provide a range of resources and information," said Scott Ramsey, BigToys, sales and marketing director. "The rep locator directs customers to their local BigToys representative for personalized assistance with their playground projects. All available BigToys, products are showcased with detailed product information and visitors can request free literature on BigToys products and services."

Founded in 1970, BigToys(R) ( creates opportunities for kids to interact through play where they develop the skills that will equip them for life. BigToys play equipment is built with conditioned wood that is arsenate-free and contains no heavy metals.

Landscape Industry Show 2005

The Landscape Industry Show (LIS) is known as the largest Green Industry show on the west and is sponsored by the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA). Highlights of the 2005 show will include:

-Over 400 exhibitors;
-Hands-on seminars
-Networking with over 8,000 industry professionals
-Cash prizes
-Optional Green Industry conferences featuring more than 30 educational sessions
-CLCA's annual convention, including the Trophy Awards

Show Schedule:

Green Industry Conferences- Tues., Feb. 15th – Fri., Feb. 18th
CLCA Convention- Tues., Feb 15th – Wed., Feb. 16th
Trade Show Hours- Wed., Feb. 16th: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thurs., Feb. 17th: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information please visit

Learn New Fence Techniques at AFA School

Participants in the 2004 AFA Training School study fence installation techniques and technology

The 2005 AFA Field Training School will be held February 19 to 26, 2005 at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

The American Fence Association's (AFA) Field Training School puts it all together for foremen, superintendents, sales staff and future leaders. Education topics include innovative installation techniques and new technologies. A combination of classroom and hands-on field instruction are provided in eight critical areas of fencing: PVC fence products; bias cutting; chain-Link; farm and ranch; gate operators; welding; wood fence; and ornamental metals.

To register, contact the American Fence Association, at 800-822-4342 or log on to

New Zealand Landscape Architect Neil Aitken Wins Honor

Neil Aitken, one of New Zealand's most distinguished landscape architects, has been made life member of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA). Life membership is rarely awarded by the institute. Aitken was the landscape architect for the habitat of Wellington Zoo's new Nocturnal House.

Aitken was a foundation member of the NZILA. During this time he represented the NZILA at a world congress and in 1986 he attended a conference in the USA, where, in his unassuming way, he fostered the profession's international profile and status and spoke of New Zealand's nuclear free status, receiving a standing ovation.

Aitken said it was wonderful to receive the life membership award after being a member of the Institute since its inception in 1972.

"The main issue facing landscape architecture and landscape architects today is the continuing and cumulative impact of largely unrestrained development resulting in misuse and abuse pressures on the New Zealand landscape in spite of the best intentions of those who conceived of, and drafted the Resource Management Act."

Source: Word of Mouth Media, New Zealand.

Eric Lloyd Wright's Tour and Lecture

This fall, UCLA Extension offers a unique opportunity to learn about organic architecture from Eric Lloyd Wright, architect and grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright will lead a tour of works designed by himself, his father and his grandfather and, time permitting, other architects. In addition, he gives an Organic Architecture lecture enhanced by discussion, slides, writing and poetry. Topics covered include humans' relationship to nature and ecological design principals. "Organic Architecture with Eric Lloyd Wright" meets two Saturdays, November 6th and 13th. The lecture is presented on the first Saturday, 10am to 4pm, at the Organic Resource Center in Malibu. The tour takes place the second Saturday, 9am to 5pm and begins in Westwood. The cost is $275 and that includes lunches and bus transportation for the field trip. For more information, call (310) 825-9061.

Billboard Advertiser to Pay City but Keep Many of Its Illegal Billboards Up

Someone has defaced this Clear Channel billboard. The company will take down about half of its billboards in Miami.

While Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont have banned billboards outright, billboards remain a contentious legal issue in many states. Take Florida, for instance, and Miami, in particular. The city bars outdoor ads from main streets, but Miami failed to enforce or ignored billboard laws in the 1990s, which resulted in hundreds of billboards going up. Recent efforts to rid the city of these strongly visual violations have been held up in the courts. However, there is a proposed settlement between the city and one of the main culprits Clear Channel, which the city is expected to accept. Clear Channel Communications will pay the city $1.3 million (for legal and miscellaneous fees) and $250,000 for 25 years. The advertiser will also remove hundreds of billboards. Back on track, right? Hardly. Clear Channel will only get rid of about half of its billboards, starting with the smaller ones (the less profitable).

A similar deal was made last year with Carter Outdoor Advertising.

Some people think Miami wins with such deals, like Clear Channel Outdoor and Miami's city manager. Others, though, think the city is selling out and only getting rid of the "baby billboards," while allowing large, free-standing ones to remain and be upgraded.

Synthetic Turf--the Median of the Future?

Before, with concrete; after with green synthetic. Los Angeles is testing the synthetic's viability for the city's medians.

Los Angeles is testing artificial grass on a one block median along Sherman Way, replacing what was concrete."We are constantly exploring new ways of making the upkeep of our median islands, streets and sidewalks more efficient," explained Bill Robertson, director of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Street Services. Robertson said the use of synthetic grass (SYNLawn, here) for medians could be expanded, depending on the test results. Clearly the synthetic grass has low maintenance going for it and water savings. According to Joseph Morris, CEO of SYNLawn, this synthetic has the advantage of not needing an in-fill layer. This is important, he notes, because road medians on a grade for some artificial grass require sand or rubber in-fill that has a tendency to migrate from the turf, thus requiring some maintenance to maintain the original condition.

For more information, visit

Landscape Communications Chairs Forecasting Seminar

Landscape Communications' Research, Statistics and Information Services department manager, Jim Lipot, MBA (standing), discusses the importance of forecasting and the study of economic indicators with conference attendees at the Land Development Conference and Expo, held recently in Baltimore.

Forecasting and studying economic indicators and their impact on the landscape and development industries was at the heart of a session chaired by Landscape Communications at the recently held Land Development Conference and Expo in Baltimore. Jim Lipot, MBA, manager of Landscape Communications' Research, Statistics and Information Services department, spoke to development industry officials including: Stephen Carter, a landscape architect with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Brigadier General Patrick Burns; Michael Waldman, chief financial officer of Iott Architecture and Engineering; and a plethora of presidents and vice presidents of development firms and municipalities from around the country.

The December year-end issues of Landscape Architect and Specifier News and Landscape Contractor National both feature a variety of economic forecasts for the following year. These forecasts include housing starts, labor trends, real estate tendencies, interest rates and infrastructure development. According to Lipot, this type of data is crucial in the development industry.
"Historical projections serve as the baseline that companies use to demonstrate to their financial backers that the company continues to remain profitable," Lipot said. "The use of historical projections will demonstrate a pattern that will be an indicator of future performance, provided no major changes to one's business plan or unforeseen events occur."

During the seminar, Lipot noted that the U.S. government offers a wealth of information that can be used as tools in forecasting business trends. Agencies on the federal level that have this information include: the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Census Bureau, the Office of Federal Enterprise Oversight and the White House. The states also offer a wealth on information. "For simplified projections, the information supplied by these agencies can be used as is," Lipot said. "When being used for more complicated projections, additional tools and interpretation are required."

Indicators used in forecasting within the development industry include: The Gross Domestic Product, domestic migration and immigration figures, interest rates, inflation rates and housing data. Lipot also listed common errors that are made when attempting to complete economic forecasts, including accepting that all information using statistics is true, a correct formula used once will automatically be correct in the future, and using old habits to evaluate new and changing data.

The most recent LASN and LCN Forecasts, published in the December 2003 editions of the magazines, can be viewed at In addition, the full text of Lipot's seminar at the Land Development Conference and Expo can be viewed on the website.

Gauging the Needs for Security Design

It is perhaps inevitable, given the growing security bureaucracy in Washington, that security concerns and issues are trickling down to professional groups working with public spaces. Landscape architects designing with public venues have long added safety and security elements, whether it be gating and fencing or bollards to block traffic from pedestrian areas. Designing for terrorism, however, has not been in the curriculum, until now. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), which hosted the "Safe Spaces: Designing for Security and Civic Values" symposium in July in Chicago, has just released the abstracts from that symposium (visit of the abstracts were written by a mix of government officials involved in security, such as Michael Chipley, PhD, identified a bit cryptically as the "senior program manager for Homeland Security and Geospatial Solutions PBS&J." Chipley, the program notes state in part, has "over 27 years of federal experience in threat, vulnerability, and risk assessments," and "has extensive experience in war planning."

Not all the speakers, of course, were war strategists. The landscape architects presenting at the symposium were:

Kathleen John-Alder, ASLA, associate partner, Olin Partnership; Susannah Drake, ASLA, associate AIA, associate ("Security and Urban Design: a Comprehensive Plan and Two Case Studies"); Troy Brown, ASLA, principal, Sitebrown, LLC ("Force Protection Design-Andrews Air Force Base: A Case Study"); Martha Droge, associate ASLA, Landscape Architecture/Master Planning Studios, Ayers, Saint, Gross; Leonard Hopper, FASLA, chief landscape architect, New York City Housing Authority ("Security Design Two Years After 9/11"); Astrid Sri Haryati, ASLA, CLARB, principal, Teng & Associates ("Two Case Studies: Secured Landscape for the Mies van der Rohe Designed Federal Complex"); Mary Ann Lasch, FASLA, strategic planner, Change Management Facilitator Gensler; Sean Michael, PhD, associate professor of landscape architecture, Washington State University ("Preserving Pleasure Grounds: Security in Public Parks"); Laurie Olin, FASLA, founding partner of Olin Partnership; and Ted Wolff, ASLA, principal, Wolff Clements and Associates, Ltd.

Lawn Flooding and West Nile Virus

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Many homes in this arid city use lawn flooding, an inefficient watering method that may be boosting the number of West Nile virus mosquitoes. Lawn flooding is an antiquated method but remains common in Phoenix's older neighborhoods, the Associated Press reports. Any standing water can produce adult mosquitoes in a matter of days. West Nile virus has taken a disproportionate toll on Arizona--of more than 500 human cases reported nationwide this year, at least 290 originate in the state. Experts attribute the high rate to unattended swimming pools and a high number of Culex tarsalis-species insects--a mosquito with a high infection rate. Officials are also urging residents to abandon lawn flooding and eliminate any standing water in which mosquitoes can breed.

Midwest Builders Show Keynote Speakers Announced

Paula Sonkin from J.D. Power and Associates, a business writer and speaker, and Robert Spector, author of The Nordstrom Way: The Inside Story of America's #1 Customer Service Company, will speak at the Midwest Builders Show, which runs March 16-17, 2005 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The Midwest Builders Show is open to anyone affiliated with the housing industry, but focuses on drawing attendees from an eight-state region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Education topics include subjects such as architecture and design, business planning, customer service, sales and marketing, financial management and profitability, and land development.

To register, please visit the Midwest Builders Show website at

Robert Trent Jones II Chosen to Design Prestigious Pacific Coast Golf Course

In Pierce County, Wash., a proposed golf course has drawn huge interest from our nation's top golf architects and contractors. The world-renowned Robert Trent Jones II golf course design firm was recently awarded the contract to design the 27-hole golf course capable of drawing, LPGA, USGA and PGA national tournaments.

The master site plan covers development on the 930-acre Chambers Creek properties over a 50-year time frame. With a view of dunes, cliffs and an elevation change from sea level all the way up to 250 feet, the planned course is expected to open in 2006 or 2007.

Report out on Waterfront Redevelopment, River Restoration

Washington, D.C. – Cities and developers investing millions to revitalize downtown riverfronts should help ensure success by incorporating ecological principles into their projects, according to the authors of the new report, "Ecological Riverfront Design." Published by the American Planning Association (APA) as one of its signature Planning Advisory Service reports, "Ecological Riverfront Design" presents a comprehensive set of recommendations for integrating pollution prevention and habitat improvements into riverfront redevelopment efforts. "It makes good business sense for communities and developers to restore the river while rehabilitating properties along the bank," said Betsy Otto with American Rivers, lead author of the report. "People spend time and money in attractive environments that emphasize natural beauty and wildlife. They avoid places where they smell sewage and see only concrete and pavement."

"Ecological Riverfront Design" is written for planners, mayors, developers, investors, government officials, river advocates and others who are planning or evaluating redevelopment efforts. The report draws lessons from more than 30 riverfront revitalization and restoration efforts across the country. Copies of Ecological Riverfront Design may be ordered by calling the APA's Planners Book Service (312 786-6344); by subscribing to APA's Planning Advisory Service; or through the APA web site at

Stone Curtain Wins PRISM Award

The Sto

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