By John Crooks, NHCLP
I would like to start out this month by saying Great Job Education Committee! Your last Twilight Meeting (September Safety Fest) was awesome. There were tree planting competitions and a walker mower course set up to test your driving abilities on a mower; a first aid safety demonstration by an EMT; and a speaker from OSHA with tips for the Landscape Industry to explain why it is so important for us to make sure we are using our safety equipment while working in the field.
During the tree planting competitions a simple suggestion made by one of the judges (Jon Batson) has changed how we at John’s Landscaping of Madbury, NH will remove the wire basket and burlap from the trees we plant. We always remove the basket and burlap completely from the root ball before rolling the root ball into the hole and planting the tree.
Jon simply said that he usually removes the bottom of the wire basket and burlap before rolling the root ball into the hole and then once he has the tree in the correct position he removes the rest of the wire basket and burlap
This allows the root ball to stay intact while being moved into position. When complete, the basket and burlap is removed just as we have always done, while allowing us to be gentler to the root ball and the tree during planting. Once again my crew and I had the opportunity to enjoy one of the educational benefits of attending an NHLA event.
Bayberry Nurseries supplied all the food and drinks and grilled up plenty for everyone. They even had veggie burgers for anyone eating vegetarian. Northern Nurseries donated the trees for the planting competitions. UNHCE provided the location large enough for everyone to enjoy the competitions and EMT demonstrations. Picnic tables were set up for everyone to enjoy the food while visiting and networking with others and listening to the speaker from OSHA.
This was a well-attended event and those who missed it missed out on a great time. Now on to the vision I have of this becoming a full day event held every year, which every landscape company in the state will want their employees to attend, maybe even growing into something every landscape company in New England wants to attend.
Wouldn’t it be nice to expand the competitions from the tree planting and walker mower course to several different competitions?
We could have small excavators, loader/backhoes, and other equipment used in the landscape industry; hardscape competitions; and possibly even full design competitions. Maybe a best pruning competition in which individuals or teams are given trees or shrubs to prune.
I was discussing this with another landscaper the other day and he suggested a competition with teams that are given a variety of plants, shrubs, and trees along with hardscape products and it is their job to create a design and install everything. Best designs and best practices would be the competition winners.
Just let your imagination run for a minute and think of how great this event could become. So the challenge I have for the Education Committee is to grow this into the greatest landscape event in New Hampshire where all of the landscape companies in the state just have to come and join in on all the competitions and educational talks.C