Sunday, August 31, 2008

Brickman Group, others fix up Ohio VFW landscape

The following article appeared in the Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram on Aug. 31.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1079 received an overdue landscape upgrade from the Brickman Groups’ Cleveland West office in Avon, a project employees completed as the company’s annual Founders Day Project.

Post Commander Gene O’Quinn reached out to Brickman, and employees responded in a big way by cleaning up the area, which was sparsely landscaped with a few overgrown shrubs and empty beds full of weeds. With donations from Kurtz Brothers, Alpha Lawn Care, Worchesters Sales and Service, Best Truck Equipment, Willoway Nurseries, Davis Tree Farm and Pinehaven Greenhouses, Brickman installed a whole new landscape.

“We really felt strongly about, knowing we are helping those who have given so much in serving our country,” said Project Manager Ryan Marhefka of Brickman.

“Most of our guys had fathers and grandfathers who have served overseas, and this was something we could all stand behind and be proud showing how much we appreciated their sacrifice,” Branch Manager Matt Krems said.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mosquitoes unfazed by non-treatments

If you’re a business owner and you see an attractive, confident young lady dressed in business attire purposefully striding your way with tv cameraman in tow, that’s probably not good news.

That’s what the management of a New York lawn and tree company discovered when television reporter Tappy Phillips showed up.

It seems the owner of a nice home in Long Island had hired the company for three “Skeeter d’feater” treatments. But even after the treatments the owner complained the mosquitoes were still biting him.

It turns out with good reason.

Security cameras looking over the homeowner’s front and back yards revealed that the lawn care company’s spray technician on the final of the three treatments on Aug. 6 merely got out of his service truck and planted a couple of yard markers indicating that the property had been treated for mosquitoes. Then he got back into the truck and drove away without so much as touching the spray equipment.

The local ABC affiliate aired Tappy Phillip's report, which turned out to be three minutes of bad publicity for the local lawn care company. The company refunded the property owner's payment of $263 for the non-treatment.

Click on the headline to see Tappy Phillips' interview with the property owner and one of the managers of the lawn care company on 7online.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Neat blog in Spanish by a Puerto Rican pro

Raul Feliciano,CLM, is a landscape pro in Puerto Rico that knows his stuff. A college graduate, he has a certificate in Commercial Horticulture/Landscape Management from the NY Botanical Garden.

He's also the author of the only blog on his lovely island that's devoted to horticulture. (At least the only one we're aware of, that is.)

While it's been 40 years since I spent a year studying and teaching English in Bogota, Colombia, and my Castellano is admittedly weak, I could still understand enough of Feliciano's Spanish-language blog to recommend it to your Spanish-speaking workers. I think they would enjoy it and learn something too.

If the link above doesn't work (click on the headline), here's the url for the blog — I know that works because I've tried it a couple of times.

— Ron Hall

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cacti rustlers target Palm Desert, CA

Cactus rustling isn’t new to the arid Southwest. Folks have been lifting beautiful specimen plants from public lands for a long, long time, and it's very difficult to control. Recently it’s been making news in upscale Palm Desert, CA. Thieves are targeting cacti planted on city properties, in resorts, on golf courses and just about anywhere they’re planted. It seems the cactus of choice is the golden barrel cactus, according to a recent article by the Associated Press.
The problem has gotten so bad that people are installing surveillance cameras to deter thieves. Apparently some cacti are also being implanted with microchips with barcodes that can be scanned, says the AP.
Other popular desert plants being targeted by thieves include agaves and Mexican fan palms.
To get an idea of the scale of the thievery click on the headline and read the recent Associated Press article. You’ll be surprised by the boldness of the cacti rustlers.
After I posted this I noticed I've written several blogs recently about the theft of landscape plants. I think I'll look for more positive news to post here for a while.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Murray's blog tells how he built the Olympic baseball fields

Murray Cook has one of the most interesting jobs in the world. He travels the globe installing baseball fields and teaching other people how to install and maintain baseball fields. This year he's been spending a lot of his time in Beijing. When you watch the Olympic baseball competition you will be seeing Cook's handiwork — the baseball fields. He had a similar role at the Melbourne Australia and the Athens Greece games.

Murray runs the Sports Turf Division of The Brickman Company. He also works for MLB Commissioner's Office as a field and stadium consultant. He has been taking care of baseball fields since 1974.

In recent years he has been averaging 300,000 air miles annually, traveling to exotic locations to build baseball fields.

If you want to get a flavor for what Murray does and see some fascinating images of the Olympics, check out Murray's blog at —

Murray's favorite hobby? According to his blog it's "staying at home."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thievery is always a concern in this business

The Kitsap (WA) Sun newspaper reported on a strange theft the other day. A landscaper there reported that the 50 two-gallon barberry plants he installed on a property on Aug. 4 were dug up and stolen by the next day.

Shortly after replanting them he discovered that 40 of that second batch of shrubs had been stolen, as well. It seems the thief (or thieves) damaged some of the property's irrigation during the heist.

Plant thefts aren't that uncommon, but much more common is the theft of landscape equipment, especially trailers containing mowers, trimmers and other power equipment. Chains and locks aren't much of a deterrent to knowledgeable and determined thieves.

I've also heard of thefts of equipment from trade shows, generally as the equipment is parked waiting to be unloaded onto a trade show floor. Thieves know when trade shows are starting and they're ready to lift and drive away with any equipment that isn't being tended.  — Ron Hall