Spring is finally here!

The spring Lawn and Landscape season is in full swing here at Showcase!  We have been out over the past number of weeks sprucing up many or our clients properties, and still have many to go!  We just wanted to take a quick moment and Thank all of our current clients for placing their trust in our company again this year, and we want to welcome the many new clients who just became part of the Showcase family!

 

Keep an eye on our blog this season for many useful tips and information to help you get the most out of your property!

 

Green Industry Conference 2012 (GIC)

While this post is about an Industry event, I thought it would be great for our clients/readers to get an inside look at what our industry is all about.  Sure, this event has miles and miles of  the newest products and equipment any Green Industry buff would salivate at!  And, yes, I love this stuff too!  However, I want to tell you about what makes this event VERY special to me.  I hope by reading this, you will get a glimpse as to why I participate in this great Industry!

First and foremost, the Event is called GIC  (Green Industry Conference), and is held in Louisville, Kentucky.  The conference is put on by PLANET ( Professional Landcare Network) www.landcarenetwork.org, which Showcase is a member of.   PLANET has members across the United States and Canada, and acts as a resource to the entire Green Industry…providing Education, Training, Certification, etc.. to thousands of professionals in our field.

I attend this event for a number of reasons.  I take in as much education as I can, preview new technology  to serve our clients better, give back to my industry, …but above all, I use this time to reconnect/connect with other industry professionals.  Here are 6 things observed/learned this year!

  1. Unselfish Giving of Volunteers-  I was honored to see this take place on a number of fronts, although I can’t write about all of them, here are two that really hit home.  First, I decided this year to volunteer to serve on two planning committees for PLANET.  And, as I sat in as a first time member, I was approached with warm welcomes by both staff and veteran volunteers.  There were no egos, no veteran entitlement, just fellow Industry professionals brought together by one common cause….to serve the industry that we believe in.  I didn’t know what to expect from the meetings, but I can tell you this, the meeting was run with as much precision/care you would see in a top notch enterprise.  I would recommend anyone reading this that has benefited from any of PLANET’s events or education to thank the committee members.  These people put a lot of time and energy into making sure you get the best experience possible.   The second example is PLANET gives back.  2012 marked the second year of this great program of giving back to the local community where GIC was held.  A group of over 50 volunteers mobilized a HUGE effort at a local school to perform FREE Landscape services to a local school.  While I was not a part of the effort this year, I was witness to the huge amount of work that went into the planning, logistics, and emotion needed to accomplish this service.  This type of giving is a cornerstone to our Industry, and I am a BIG proponent of giving back to the local community.
  2. Organization of PLANET-  As I mentioned above, I was able to join and attend two planning committees this year.  I was AMAZED at the level of organization of Planet staff members on these committees, as well as the committee members themselves.  It showed me that organization is crucial not only in this setting, but in our business as well.  I always pay a lot of attention to being/staying organized in both my professional and personal life, however this past week really drove home that I always have room to improve.
  3. Education-  I took in a number of educational events this past week, but more than the topics themselves, I observed that there were far fewer people than I expected attending these events.  This observation above all the others concerned me the most!  Now I’m not saying nobody showed up, but the attendance was lower than I expected in a couple of very important topics.  The reason it concerned me?  Well…I take education very seriously, and when I don’t see significant turnouts to these sessions it makes me wonder where our Industry will be in 5,10,20 years.  The key to advancement in anything is educating yourself to new and better ways of doing things.   By the way…I picked up a ton of great information on customer service via office systems and social media that we will be implementing over the next year at Showcase!
  4. The need to connect-  During the week, I was able to attend numerous receptions and networking events.  While the free refreshments are always great, I took away something from all of this interaction.  I need to connect with my family/friends/clients on another level!  No, I’m not saying I’m going to give everyone a cocktail party!  What I mean is I need to make it a priority to say thank you to all I come in contact with.  I need to keep lines of communication always open, and I need to be intentional about starting a conversation with the people in my life.
  5. Rejuvenation- This was a pretty big one for me!  I’ve been in business for 11 years now, and it really doesn’t matter what you do, if you have been involved with something for that long it sometimes can cause burnout!  Although I wouldn’t say I was at the point of burnout, I definitely needed a recharge in my business life.  And, I got it!  Seeing the excitement in other business leaders, and having the ability to talk “shop” all day long for 5 days was what I needed to get my head back in the game.  For anyone that feels bored, or complacent in their current occupation…I strongly encourage you to spend time with others doing what you do!  Sometimes we need reminded of why or what got us excited in the first place in our profession!
  6. Friendships Renewed and Others Created-  This was  the number one take away this week!  I was able to connect with friends from across the country that I haven’t seen in a long time, as well as meet some really GREAT people.  I love to meet new people and hear their stories.  Remember the old saying “Two things will change your life.  The books you read, and the people you meet”!

Thanks for reading, and if you would like to know more about PLANET or the GIC conference, please give me a call.

 

Best Regards,

 

 

 

Matt Kulp

President

Showcase Group, Inc.

It may look like grass, but it really is Yellow Nutsedge!

Yellow Nutsedge 1

Ever see this weed before?

Or, how about this one?

I’m guessing the answer to both questions is Yes!  Although it is somewhat a trick question, because they are both the same weed….Yellow Nutsedge.  This pesky weed is starting to show its ugly mug early this year.  This weed will be found in both your planting beds and lawn.  And, if you have it in your mulch bed, it is probably the easiest weed to pull.  It pulls out very easy and can be controlled by Round Up if you choose.  What I want to focus on today however is what to do if you have it in your lawn.  Here is a background on the pest!

Yellow nutsedge is a perennial weed that appears within turf, and Landscape beds.  This weed spreads during the spring and fall through underground stems called rhizomes. You can identify yellow nutsedge by rolling the stem in your hand. If the stem feels triangular in shape and waxy, you may have yellow nutsedge infesting your lawn. It is important to get rid of this weed, because it reduces sunlight, air circulation and soil nutrients that your grass needs.

IDENTIFICATION

Although nutsedges resemble grasses and often are referred to as “nutgrass,” they aren’t grasses but are true sedges. Their leaves are thicker and stiffer than most grasses and are arranged in sets of three at their base; grass leaves grow across from each other in sets of two. Nutsedge stems are solid, and in cross section they are triangular; grass stems are hollow and round, and in cross section they are almost flat or oval.

Nutsedge has three long, leaflike bracts at the base of each flower head. Yellow nutsedge has light brown flowers and seeds, while purple nutsedge flowers have a reddish tinge and the seeds are dark brown or black.

Yellow and purple nutsedges produce tubers, which are incorrectly called “nuts” or “nutlets,” thus the origin of their common name. The plants produce these tubers on rhizomes or underground stems, that grow as deep as 8 to 14 inches below the soil surface. Buds on the tubers sprout and grow to form new plants and eventually form patches that can range up to 10 feet or more in diameter.

Yellow nutsedge produces round, smooth, brown or black tubers that can be up to 1/2 inch at maturity. Only a single tuber forms at the end of a rhizome, and the tubers have a pleasant almond taste.

LIFE CYCLE

Yellow and purple nutsedges are perennial plants. Their leaves and flowering stalks generally die back in fall as temperatures decrease, but tubers and rhizomes survive in the soil and sprout the following spring once soil temperatures remain higher than 43°F for yellow nutsedge and higher than 59°F for purple nutsedge.

The majority of tubers occur in the top 6 inches of soil where they can survive for 1 to 3 years. In field crops, research indicates most nutsedges sprout from tubers, and seeds don’t contribute much to the spread of the plant; however, no work has been done to examine the role of seed in the spread of nutsedge in the landscape.

DAMAGE

Nutsedges are a problem in lawns because they grow faster, have a more upright growth habit, and are a lighter green color than most grass species, resulting in a nonuniform turf. In gardens and landscapes, nutsedges will emerge through bark or rock mulches in shrub plantings and vegetable and flower beds throughout the growing season.
If you are interested in learning how to eradicate this weed from your lawn, give Showcase a call and we can give you some recommendations.  Or, we would be happy to provide you with a free estimate to take care of the problem for you!

 

Grub Alert!!!

Its just about that time of year!  Due to abnormally warm conditions this past Winter everyone needs to be on the lookout for increased Grub activity in their Lawn.  If you can’t sleep some night :) or maybe you are just interested, take a couple minutes and read the  article below on Grubs!

 

whiteGrubsHomeLawns

A BIG Showcase Welcome to John Conrow!

John Conrow

We would like to welcome John Conrow to the Showcase Team!  John has joined Showcase as our newest sales consultant, and comes to Showcase with years of experience in the Industry.  He  specializes in  Lawn Care and Tree/Shrub Care, and when you get the chance to meet him, you will be able to see he is a wealth of information.  Not to mention a great person!

 

So if you are having any problems in your landscape or lawn, give John a call!

Showcase Client Rewards!!!

Showcase Referral Program

The best advertising we have at Showcase is YOU! We depend on our happy clients to “Spread the word”. Check out our new Gift Card Referral Program below!

 

Tick Alert 2012

We have been getting a number of inquiries about Ticks this year. Due to the unusually warm winter, the tick population is high and very active in our area. Here are some tips from Penn State University on the Prevention and Control:

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

The best advice for preventing Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is to:

1. Wear protective light-colored clothing while outdoors, including a broad-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants tucked into the socks;

2. Check the body daily for the presence of ticks;

3. Use tick repellents, DEET, or permethrins;

4. Use forceps or tweezers to carefully remove ticks attached to the skin. Apply gentle, constant retraction of the tick where it attaches to the skin (not the body of the tick);

5. Seek immediate medical attention if signs or symptoms or early Lyme disease appear.

The best way to avoid attachment of a blacklegged tick is to stay out of wooded or brushy areas in known Lyme disease counties. This option is not always realistic. Repellents such as DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) offer considerable protection if applied to clothing and exposed skin. Because of recent concern over adverse reactions in a few individuals, sprays with no more than 35 percent DEET are recommended. An effective acaricide, Permanone™, contains the synthetic pyrethroid permethrin and is applied as a spray to clothing. It is not approved for use on skin. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks also aid in preventing tick bites. Light-colored clothing helps to detect the dark-colored tick provided the wearer inspects for ticks intermittently.

Hunters and hikers increase their risk of encountering a blacklegged tick by following deer trails and by resting on the forest floor. Studies in New York have shown that a high density of nymphal blacklegged ticks is present in leaf litter. Adult ticks more often are collected from narrow forest trails than from general sites throughout the forest, and they are more prevalent in high, brushy vegetation .

Hunters should be cautious when harvesting deer. The urine, blood, and liver could carry the spirochetes, which can enter through cuts in the hands, although this is highly unlikely. Cooking destroys the bacteria and eliminates any danger of getting Lyme disease from eating venison. There are no documented cases of transmission through handling or consuming deer flesh.

Self-examination is recommended after spending time in infested areas. If an embedded tick is found, it should be removed with fine tweezers by grasping the head and pulling with steady firm pressure. The tick should not be grabbed in the middle of its body because the gut contents may be expelled into the skin. The use of heat (lit match, cigarette, etc.), or petroleum jelly is NOT recommended to force the tick out. These methods will irritate the tick, and may cause it to regurgitate its stomach contents into the individual, thereby increasing the possibility of infection.

Welcome

Welcome to Showcase Landscape Services new Blog. We hope that you will find this blog as a resource, as well as an entertaining feature to the Showcase website. Please check back soon for articles, specials, and general company updates. Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to serving you!

Sincerely,

Matt Kulp

President