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Moment of Silence . . .
Robert Morgan
(1913 – 2004)

Robert Morgan, former president of the Irrigation Association

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Robert “Bob” Morgan, 91, the author of the landmark book Water and the Land: A History of Irrigation, and president of the Irrigation Association in 1957, died March 18, 2004 in Oregon.

“He was passionate about this industry, probably as passionate as anyone I have ever known,” remembered Tom Kimmell, IA executive director. “He loved it and was involved in it long after he retired. He was working to make the whole thing better and to remember where we came from.”

Morgan majored in agricultural engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. He farmed family land for several years and was chairman of the northwest section of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, where he developed close ties with irrigation suppliers.

Morgan’s interest in irrigation evolved from layout and design into a long and successful career in sales. He served as national irrigation sales manager for R.M. Wade & Co. in Portland, Ore.; national agricultural sales manager for Rain Bird Sprinkler Co. in Glendora, Calif., and agricultural sales manager for the Toro Co. in Riverside, Calif.

Mr. Morgan’s grandly illustrated 200-page book, published by the IA in 1993, honored the innovators of irrigation development, including the products, management practices and applications. Mr. Morgan was also the association’s historian and received the Industry Achievement award in 1989.

Morgan, who lived in Corvallis, is survived by his wife Wendy and son John of Emmett, Idaho.

ALCA Names Holder CEO

Debra Holder

HERNDON, Va. – The Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) has named ALCA Executive Vice President Debra Holder its chief executive officer.

Holder recently marked 24 years with ALCA. The association had only 567 member firms and three staff members when she joined ALCA in 1980 as the administrative assistant to the executive director. Within 10 years, she was promoted to executive director of the rapidly growing association. Today, ALCA represents approximately 2,800 member firms, has a staff of 15, and offers a wide range of sophisticated member services designed to meet the increasingly complex business needs of landscape contracting companies. Over her more than two decades with the association, Holder has been staff liaison to almost all of ALCA’s committees.

In addition to her demanding day-to-day responsibilities with ALCA as chief executive officer, she is a member of the Lion’s Club and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and also serves on several boards, including the Green Industry Expo Board, the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers Board, and the ALCA Educational Foundation Board. As ALCA spokesperson on the industry’s behalf, she has traveled extensively in recent years to meetings and events across the country. Holder is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the Institutes for Association Management of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Program for Associations.

“It has been my privilege to work with the many entrepreneurs of the green industry for more than 20 years. The amount of time, energy, and true passion that is given by so many in the green industry has always been inspiring,” Holder said. “The future looks very bright for ALCA, and I am excited to have a part in leading the association toward the increased membership and service goals planned for the future.”

The World Bird Sanctuary Bestows Coveted Award to Rain Bird

Ken Mills (center), vice president of Rain Bird’s contractor division, accepts the 2003 R. Marlin Perkins Conservation Organization of the Year award from Jack Hanna (left), director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Walter C. Crawford Jr. (right), executive director of the World Bird Sanctuary.

The bald eagle, “Patriot,” with World Bird Sanctuary founder and executive director Walter Crawford Jr., teaches schoolchildren about environmental education.

The World Bird Sanctuary’s 2003 R. Marlin Perkins Conservation Organization of the Year award went to the Rain Bird Corp. in recognition of the company’s strong commitment to environmental preservation and water conservation.

Rain Bird, a leading manufacturer of irrigation products and services, is known for its devotion to environmental and water conservation. “For years, they have shared their knowledge, values and behaviors that embrace ecological conservation, making the company a natural fit for this award,” said World Bird Sanctuary Executive Director Walter C. Crawford Jr.

Rain Bird’s commitment can be seen through its sponsorship of three hands-on environmental learning centers at Cal Poly Pomona, the grade school teaching curriculums, and through the company’s award-winning participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade. “Rain Bird’s commitment to environmental conservation resonates,” said Stacy Sharkey, corporate marketing brand manager for Rain Bird.

The award is named after the late R. Marlin Perkins, known as the congenial host of the “Wild Kingdom” television series, and also as a former member of the World Bird Sanctuary advisory board of directors. The coveted award has been presented only seven times in the last 14 years.

News in Brief

Road Closure Threatens Nurseryman’s Business

HOWELL, NJ – The Tri-Town News reports the plight of Michael Crawford, owner and operator of Landex Nurseries on Howell Road. His business is in jeopardy because Howell Road will be closed to all but local traffic for at least three months beginning March 22, according to the DOT. The entire job won’t be completed until December 2004. Crawford estimates 60 percent of his annual business is done in April, May and June. There will be a detour to access his business, but it is almost four miles of back roads. Crawford believes he will lose perhaps 70 percent of his nursery customers, most of whom are landscape contractors.

Crawford has had the business for 18 years. He learned of the impending road closing only 10 days before the closing, and after stocking half a million dollars of inventory on credit.

Xeriscapes de rigueur in Denver Area

AURORA, Co. – Landscape contractors in this Denver suburb are busier since the ban on new lawns was lifted last fall. Snowfalls were substantial this winter, and reservoir totals are up significantly from last year’s drought, but still mostly below average. And while Aurora has a new water lease that increases its capacity by about 10 percent, the city still anticipates water restrictions this year.

Fewer lawns and more xeriscaping is the trend in landscaping here. Designers are also towing that line, particularly when it comes to city projects.

Busy Spring Anticipated

GAINSVILLE, Ga. – The Times of Gainsville expects a busy spring season for landscape contractors in Hall County, home to more than 50 professional landscape consultants, designers and contractors. The paper quoted statistics gathered by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America: More than 24.7 million American households spent more than $28.9 billion on professional landscape, lawn care and tree services in 2002, representing an increase of nearly a million in the number of households using these services and a $3 billion rise in spending over the previous year.

The same survey found the South led the nation in total spending on professional landscape, lawn care and tree services, accounting for 30 percent of all expenditures.

Colorado Subcontractors Seek Indemnity Protection

The Denver Business Journal reports that the Colorado Construction Reform Coalition (CCRC), a group of construction organizations led by the American Subcontractors Association of Colorado (ASAC) and including the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, announced March 23, 2004 the introduction of legislation to reform risk transfer procedures in contracts.

HB 04-1407, sponsored by Reps. Bob Briggs and Bill Crane, R–Jefferson County, and Sen. Abel Tapia, D–Pueblo, would prohibit construction contracts from requiring subcontractors to indemnify contractors for the negligence of others.

According to the CCRC, subcontractors perform about 80 percent of the work in Colorado’s $14 billion construction industry. Most construction contracts require subcontractors, those with the least control over construction projects, some say, to assume all the risk on projects with which they are associated. Because insurance is unavailable to cover subcontractors for the negligence of others, their assets are at risk.

A Colorado statute already protects risk transfer rights for the primary contractor in public works projects. Colorado subcontractors are asking for the same right for all parties in construction agreements and in all venues.

“This is a fairness issue,” said Reps. Bob Briggs in a statement. “Subcontractors are asking for fair and equitable treatment and the right to assume only the risk they incur, not the risk of others. Our proposed bill keeps accountability with the parties responsible for causing a loss.”

“This bill enables subcontractors to be adequately insured at more reasonable costs, preventing the threat of bankruptcy and the threat of jobs being lost,” Sen. Tapia added. “It also contributes to improved worksite and public safety while reducing overall construction costs.”

Columbia, MD, will serve a second one-year term on the board as immediate past president.

For more information, go to

Oak Disease Pathogen Found in Southern Calif. Nursery

The fungus (Phytophthora ramorum) responsible for sudden oak death thrives in cooler, wetter climates.

The California Oak Mortality Task Force, during a March 17, 2004 meeting at Sonoma State University, announced that Phytophthora ramorum, a fungus that causes sudden oak death (SOD) was found on camellias at Monrovia Nursery, in Azusa, just east of Los Angeles. It’s reportedly the first time the disease has been identified in a Southern California nursery.

Said to be the largest horticultural nursery in California, Montrovia Nursery has been in business for 76 years and produces more than 2,200 varieties of perennials, conifers, woody ornamentals, shrubs, trees, citrus, camellias, rhododendrons, vines, ferns, grasses and topiaries. Other than the home nursery in Azusa, it also operates nurseries in Dayton, Oregon, Visalia, California, Springfield, Ohio, La Grange, N.C. and Cairo, Georgia. These wholesale nurseries, covering some 4,724 acres, ship plants to more than 5,000 garden centers nationwide.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has the job of trying to identify any potentially infected material that might have shipped in the last year. The disease has reportedly been found in more than 40 plant species worldwide.

All host plants at the Monrovia Nursery are to be inspected and plantings within 10 meters of infected plants will be on hold for 90 days. The pathogen was reportedly traced from shipments from Washington state to Southern California.

The California Oak Mortality Task Force reports that coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus), and California black oak (Quercus kelloggii) are dying in large numbers in central coastal California due to SOD. The fungus affects many other tree and shrub species, including rhododendron species, California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica), huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), and California buckeye (Aesculus californica). There are 38 species susceptible to the fungus, 22 of which are identified as hosts by the USDA. (The list is available at The plants most likely to be spread the fungal infection are the California bay laurel, Oregon myrtle and Rhododendron spp.

The task force had confirmed back in October 2002 the presence of the pathogen in at least 12 California counties. The infection may occur on the trunk and branches (cankers) or on leaves (leaf spot). Infection does not necessarily result in death of the plant, the task force points out; mortality occurs when the cankers expand in the truck.

The fungus thrives in cooler, wetter climates. In California, it is found only in the coastal counties.

Largest TREE Conference in FLORIDA Coming IN JUNE

Trees Florida 2004, June 12-15 in Key West, is expected to be the largest tree conference ever held in the state. About 500 attendees are anticipated, including professional arborists; urban foresters; landscape architects; planners; engineers; nursery operators; horticulturists; educators and, of course, vendors.

The Florida Urban Forestry Council will join with the Florida Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, and the University of Florida Extension to present top-rate educational programs, an industry trade show, field trips, and outdoor workshops.

Thirty speakers will be on hand, and attendees will choose from breakout sessions designed to address the concerns of professionals involved in the Florida tree industry. This will be the place to learn the latest in arboriculture research and education, and to see the latest equipment and tools.

Highlighting this year’s conference, will be several outdoor workshops and tours on Saturday and Sunday in the subtropical environs of Key West.

For more information, visit

ANLA Honors Garden Center University Class of 2004

The American Nursery & Landscape Association’s Garden Center University class of 2004.

Washington, D.C. – The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) recognized the 21 graduates of the Garden Center University (GCU) class of 2004 at the annual Management Clinic in Louisville, KY. GCU, taught and directed by Ian Baldwin, is a training program designed for managers to learn to create a more profitable, efficient and customer friendly garden center. The graduates are business professionals ranging from veteran garden center owners/managers to those relatively new to the industry.

“GCU is sort of a mini-MBA for garden centers,” explained Mr. Baldwin. GCU is a five-step program, completed over two years that targets retail owners and managers in the sales volume range of $500,000 to $5 million per year, who want to double or triple their size. In addition to class instruction, participants visit and network with owners of super league stores, attend trade shows, and go on buying trips. The key learning areas in the program are strategy, fiscal management, operational management, interpersonal skills, and service and sales expertise.

“GCU is a combination of many invaluable tools that help me make better and smarter business decisions,” said graduate Mike Diacont, of Wildwood Nursery and Garden Center(NC). Graduates identified financial analysis skills development and networking as the greatest benefits of the program.

“It was invaluable learning how to make sense of all the financial numbers generated in our business and what to do with them to grow,” offered Bryan Foushee of Spring Meadow Greenhouses, North Carolina.

“GCU inspired a group of friends, with common professional interests and goals, to grow into an unbelievably generous, helpful, source of ideas, advice and sound business practices,” said Tom Tinguely of The Great Outdoors, Texas.

The classes of 2005 and 2006 are already underway, each enrolling over 35 students. Garden center owners and management professionals interested in GCU classes of 2006 or 2007 may contact Melissa Strickland at 202-789-2900.

Landscape Contractor Resumes Work on the $1 Million Japanese Garden After Cost Resolution

Construction has resumed at Miami’s new Japanese Garden on Watson Island, weeks after the contractor walked off the job because he wasn’t paid.

Last December, Landscape contractor, Sunhouse Construction, quit work on Miami’s new Japanese Garden on Watson Island after cost disputes between Parrot Jungle Island and the city of Miami held up a $312,000 payment.

Last month, Sunhouse resumed work after the city remitted full payment. City administrators have indicated that the work is now moving along quickly and should be completed in time to make the original April 29 dedication.

The $1 million garden is months behind schedule. The November 2003 death of the design landscape architect, Lester Pancoast, posed problems, and when disagreements between the city and Parrot Jungle broke out over the scope of the work Parrot Jungle was responsible for, construction began to stall.

Parrot Jungle’s owners sought to revitalize Miami’s old Japanese Garden under a 1997 agreement allowing Parrot Jungle to build on city-owned land on Watson Island.

Construction on the project began before signing a contract specifying each party’s share of the project cost.

According to statements from Laura Billberry, the city’s assistant director of economic development, both the city and Parrot Jungle recently signed an agreement setting Parrot Jungle’s financial responsibility at $350,000, which includes the cost of plantings and installing an irrigation system, the last items of remaining construction.

The city’s share of the project cost, comes in at around $650,000, that was compiles from grants and safe-parks bond money. Some of this grant money was at risk because of the work walkout. But with work now resumed, Billberry has indicated that she is ‘’optimistic’’ that the city can salvage $154,000 in grant money designated for the project.

Source: The Miami Herald

ASIC Conference to Showcase “Smart Water Solutions”

CHICAGO – The 21st annual conference of the American Society of Irrigation Consultants will be held May 1-4 in Newport Beach, Calif.

The conference will include several keynote presentations that ASIC officials say will offer great value to anyone in the business of water management.

“The keynote speakers at this conference all have a great wealth of experience and knowledge about the many facets of the irrigation industry,” said ASIC president Jim Barett.

Presenters include Dr. David Minner, a faculty member of Iowa State University’s horticulture department. He is currently evaluating the product efficacy of turfgrass materials that have reached the market. In addition, attorney Michael Murtaugh will be addressing conference attendees. Murtaugh counsels and represents design professionals and construction contractors in California.

For more information on the conference, visit the ASIC website at

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June 15, 2019, 10:33 pm PDT

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