February Newsletter Print

Call for Articles

This is a call for articles or events happening with your company.  Any news or press releases pertaining to your organization or if you are holding an event at your location that you would like others to hear about, pass them along to us and we will add them into our newsletters!  Send any content to Jeanine.  [email protected]


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Peat Inc. Ad


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Upcoming Events





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Spring Start Up

Click here to register for the event!

Calling all sponsors and exhibitors.  Please click here for this great opportunity!

Please consider donating an item for the auction.  Please contact Jeanine with doantions: [email protected]



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Hemp License Applications, Registration Open for 2020 Season

MADISON – Hemp licensing applications and registrations are available for the 2020 Wisconsin growing season starting Nov. 1, 2019. The deadline for current licensees to renew their registration is March 1, 2020. New licensees can apply at any time during the year.

Wisconsin’s research pilot program requires that anyone who wants to grow or process hemp obtain a license from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and register their intent to grow or process in the coming season. Hemp can contain no more than 0.3 percent total THC, the psychoactive ingredient present in marijuana.

People who received licenses in 2018 or 2019 will not need a new license, but will need to register if they plan to grow or process in 2020. Anyone who does not already have a license will need to apply for a license and register if they intend to grow or process in 2020. They can do both online, or download printable forms, at http://datcp.wi.gov. DATCP will not issue licenses until the application is complete and payment is received. Current licensees must also have paid all sampling fees from the 2019 growing season and submitted their 2019 final production report before their 2020 license will be issued.

“This year we had 1,247 growers and 556 processors who were licensed and registered to be active in 2019,” said Brian Kuhn. Director of DATCP’s Plant Industry Bureau. “Ultimately, about 850 growers reported actually planting a crop, totaling approximately 5,000 acres.”

Kuhn said similar to 2018, the first year for the program, growers in 2019 were plagued by persistent cold and rainy weather during planting season, which likely kept some from getting their crops in. Nevertheless, said Kuhn, DATCP collected about 2,200 hemp samples and certified approximately 1,911 fit for commerce certificates, meaning they met the low-THC requirement.

State law requires that growers and processors pass a background check with no state or federal drug convictions. Growers pay a one-time licensing fee of $150 to $1,000, depending on how many acres they intend to plant. Processors also need a one-time license, at no cost. The annual registration fee is $350 for growers and $100 for processors. Fees cover a portion of the cost of administering the program.

Growers must also develop a research plan, sign a research agreement, meet other reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and pay to have their crops sampled for THC levels. Hemp varieties that test higher than 0.3% total THC are considered illegal by state and federal law enforcement and will be required to be destroyed by DATCP.

The USDA released its Interim Final Rule for the US Domestic hemp program on October 29. DATCP is reviewing that information to evaluate its potential impact on our hemp growers. During the 2020 growing season, DATCP will continue implementing the existing hemp pilot research program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.


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Sponsorship Opportunity at Madison Garden Bloggers Fling

Madison Garden Bloggers Fling

June 18-21, 2020

Madison will be hosting the annual Garden Bloggers Fling, June 18-21, 2020!

The Garden Bloggers Fling is an annual social and garden-touring event for garden bloggers. Held in a different city each year since its inception in 2008, the Fling has attracted garden bloggers from all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Because we’re centrally located here in Madison, we’re expecting folks from east and west, and also from the south (they can escape the heat and enjoy our lovely June weather in Madison!). Also, because we’re close to Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis, we’re expecting some attendees from those major metropolitan areas. We expect to fill up fast, with 80-95 attendees.
In Madison, we’ll tour the city’s best gardens and network with fellow garden communicators. The bloggers in attendance will include radio show hosts, podcasters, authors, columnists, TV producers, and home gardeners who are active on every level of social media. They enjoy posting about their gardens and travel experiences on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, in addition to their blogs—giving your business an additional opportunity for publicity. Many of their blogs have a readership exceeding 500 hits per post, and the group’s combined monthly page views are 75,000+.
More than 80 companies have sponsored the Fling since its inception in 2008. Bloggers will write about you and your company, as a sponsor, and include photos about our excellent experiences with your company.
Your company exposure and promotional opportunities will be great in Madison. As a sponsor, you’ll reach a highly targeted audience of customers—gardening communicators and shoppers who use, write, and talk about gardening-related plants and products. The Madison Garden Bloggers Fling is a 501(c)(3) classified non-profit organization, and your sponsorship to us is also tax-deductible.
We’d love to have you partner with us at any level for this special event. We’ll be honoring partners like the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association, through special recognition efforts on https://gardenbloggersfling.blogspot.com, and in printed materials. The extensive list of sponsorship benefits is attached.
Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have questions or need additional information. We appreciate your consideration, and we’ll check back with you soon. We’re hoping to have all sponsorship checks on hand by the end of January, so we can finalize our budget and itinerary!

 BLOOM Level - $1,000+
  • Sponsor Directory Listing - Facebook and website sponsor roll
  • Sponsor Directory Ad - full-page. Contributions of goods or promotional material for attendees’ swag bags and/or door prizes are accepted
  • Company on signage at 1 event
  • We profile your business on our website – an in-depth profile, including information about your business, services and products that you’d like to highlight for Fling attendees


BUD Level - $750 - $999
  • Sponsor Directory Listing - Facebook and website sponsor roll
  • Sponsor Directory Ad - half-page. Contributions of goods or promotional material for attendees’ swag bags and/or door prizes are accepted
  • Company name listed on shared signage at 1 event
  • We profile your business on our website – an in-depth profile, including information your business, services and products that you’d like to highlight for Fling attendees.


STEM Level - $500 - $749
  • Sponsor Directory Listing - Facebook and website sponsor roll
  • Sponsor Directory Ad - 1/4-page Contributions of goods or promotional material for attendees’ swag bags and/or door prizes are accepted


ROOT Level - $250 - $499
  • Sponsor Directory Business Listing and sponsor rolls on Facebook and website sponsor roll


SEED Level - Up to $249
  • Sponsor Directory Business Listing


Anneliese Valdes


Beth Stetenfeld



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How Employee Engagement Affects Your Business's Bottom Line

Think your employees are happy to have a job?

Think that means they’re helping your business grow?

There’s a difference between workers who maintain your business and those who are committed to making it thrive. The latter are more engaged.

By developing a highly engaged workforce, you can keep the talent you have, keep your customers coming back, and keep your company in the black.

Think about that.

Staying power

With job descriptions, interviews, onboarding and training, hiring new employees can be pretty pricey.

That’s why increasing retention is a top priority for most businesses.

It makes sense, then, for businesses to make boosting employee engagement a pivotal part of their retention efforts.


According to the 2013 Kelly Global Workforce Index, management can play a big part in increasing workforce engagement. In fact, 63 percent of those surveyed said their direct managers had “a significant impact” on job satisfaction and engagement.

When employees were asked what managers could do to improve engagement – beyond more money, better benefits or a promotion – the top three responses were:

More training and development opportunities (53%)

More clarification of responsibilities, goals and objectives (46%)

More transparency in communications (37%)


A solid performance management strategy helps managers address all three of these desired outcomes.

Well-written job descriptions spell out the responsibilities of the position before new hires show up for their first day. Additionally, job descriptions help managers and employees establish clear, relevant performance goals that line up with the company’s objectives.

Through periodic status meetings, employees and managers can track the progress of performance goals and modify when necessary. And when a formal performance review is completed, a development plan can be agreed upon and put in motion.

Paying it forward

When you build a culture of learning, development and high performance, your employees deliver better products and services. That improves the experience of your customers, prompting them to come back and recommend you to others.

In other words, increased employee engagement leads to increased customer engagement.

Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report states that companies with engaged employees and engaged customers enjoy a 240 percent jump in performance-related business outcomes compared to those with neither engaged workers nor engaged customers.

The report recommends several ways organizations can better the customer experience, including:

Recognizing that everyone – not just front-line employees – plays a part in customer engagement

Turning engaged employees into effective brand ambassadors

Rewarding those who carry out the brand promise

Asking employees to suggest innovative ways to deliver the brand promise

 The bottom line

The last domino to fall in the employee engagement conversation is also the biggest: how it increases profitability.

A Towers Perrin-ISR study found a staggering difference between high-engagement and low-engagement companies. Operating margin was 3.74 percent for high-engagement firms versus -2.01 percent for low-engagement firms. Additionally, net profit margin was 2.06 percent for high-engagement companies versus -1.38% for low-engagement companies.

It’s pretty easy to see how more engagement trickles down to the bottom line. Highly engaged employees are more productive, they stick around, they represent the company better, they deliver more to the customer and, ultimately, they provide a greater return on investment.

So stop thinking about employee engagement, and start engaging in it.

Learn more about how to develop highly engaged and productive employees. Download our free e-book, How to Develop a Top-notch Workforce That Will Accelerate Your Business.


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Garden Expo Thank You

A special thank you to all who volunteered and or donated materials!!

Rain Now
Blumel's Garden & Landscape Center 
Rochester Concrete Products, LLC
County Materials
Carrington Lawn
Paul Swartz Nursery & Garden Shop
Kittleson Landscape
Madison Stone & Block
Site One
Four of Six Landscape
Bob Cat of Madison
Midwest Decorative Stone & Landscape Supply

Avant Gardening & Landscaping, Inc.

Material Donated
Avant Gardening & Landscaping, Inc.
County Materials
Rochester Concrete Products, LLC
Madison Stone & Block
The Bruce Company
Winterland Nursery
Circle B Inc
Keleny Top Soil

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Safety First

Keeping crews safe and job sites accident-free are top priorities for every landscape company, but achieving a safety culture that’s front-of-mind with every employee doesn’t just happen on its own.

Building a safety culture takes intention and requires routine safety meetings, standard safety protocols and management and leadership teams that take safety seriously.

To glean tips for establishing a safety-first mentality, Lawn & Landscape spoke with three firms who have won national awards for their safety records – Clarence Davids & Company, with multiple locations serving the Chicago area; Mahoney Associates, in Southampton, New York; and Snow & Sons Tree & Landscaping in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

1. Standardize Crews’ Safety Equipment.

To ensure crews have the safety equipment they need, Mahoney Associates provides every team member with a standard safety starter kit, which includes a reflective vest,

ear and eye protection, as well as high-visibility jackets for the winter, says Michael Maskiell, Mahoney’s lawn care division manager. Crew members are also asked to sign a document acknowledging receipt of the safety wear – both for insurance purposes but also to signify that they agree to commit to wearing them.

Mahoney has also installed standardized safety equipment on every crew truck, including a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher and even a card with pertinent safety information. “Taped to the back window of every truck is a safety card with 911 as well as the phone number and address of the local hospital, walk-in clinic, and Chemtrec – if there is a chemical exposure,” says founder Don Mahoney.

2. Prioritize On-the-Job Safety Training.

At Snow & Sons, much of the safety training surrounding equipment use is done on-the-job, with foremen and other leadership personnel modeling best practices to new hires and those less familiar with the tools. It starts with basic training at the office – how to use the equipment safely and to get the desired result and what to watch out for when working on a job site.

Employees then practice using the equipment at the office before working with crews on a job site. “With equipment, we’re going to show employees how to run it, what you need to watch out for and how to do a good job,” says manager Kyle Snow. “When dealing with chainsaws and hedge trimmers in particular, we try to outline possible problem scenarios that could cause injuries.”

Mahoney Associates frequently supplements its internal staff safety trainings with workshops provided through other, outside sources – including industry associations and the company’s own insurance company.

“Our insurance company sent someone in for five-hours of training to get our team certified on forklifts, doing defensive driving, proper lifting, and cold-weather exposure training,” Mahoney says. “Once we reached out, we learned they had this massive catalog of safety programs – some we can implement ourselves, and others where they can send someone in.”

“With equipment, we’re going to show employees how to run it, what you need to watch out for and how to do a good job.” Kyle Snow, manager, Snow & Sons Tree & Landscaping

3. Hold Regular Safety Meetings.

At Clarence Davids & Company, all staff members attend a full-day safety training just before the spring busy season and again before the winter snow removal season.

“Everybody comes in, and we have numerous bullet points that we go over, whether it’s driving (safety) or information on new pieces of equipment, or any new regulations that have gone into effect,” says president Bill Davids. “We’ll do the same for snow, with driving and plowing safety during the winter.”

At Mahoney Associates, safety meetings are held weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the work level of the season. But safety lessons aren’t tabled only until meeting time; management and foremen use every workday as an opportunity for training.

“At these meetings, we’ll discuss issues and concerns focusing on safety, review safety procedures, and discuss equipment (protocols),” Maskiell says. “Also, while we’re out in the field, we’re doing safety inspections with the workers and mentoring them on why safety is important – why it’s important for them to wear their safety equipment and how it benefits them.”

4. Document Mistakes and Reward Success.

Along with its spring and winter safety trainings, Clarence Davids also has an annual, company-wide fall safety meeting, during which employees with positive safety records are publicly recognized and awarded with sweatshirts or other company gear. Employees are also eligible for twice-a-year paycheck bonuses based on maintaining a clean safety record.

When incidents do occur, the issue is carefully documented and a crew foreman goes over the mistake with the team member.

“Each accident is written up, and it’s gone over by the supervisor and the employee,” Davids says. “Then when we pay out bonuses, they get a sheet that shows their record, either clean, or the date of the incident and what it was.”

5. Keep Crews Visible.

In addition to providing visibility vests or jackets to team members, it’s also essential to make trucks visible – and to find ways to clearly mark work zones – in order to avoid potential traffic, crew or pedestrian accidents.

“I would say safety cones, work zone signage, and caution tape (are essential), anything to prohibit people from coming into a work area if we’re doing tree trimming or other work,” Davids says.

6. Be Mindful of Common Safety Hazards.

When planning your teams’ safety training, don’t focus solely on large-scale safety hazards – such as chainsaw accidents or equipment rollovers – while excluding smaller, more common ones.

“Truthfully, our biggest issues are bee stings and poison ivy,” Snow says. “Those are our most frequent incident reports.”

As a result, Snow & Sons safety training includes steps to avoid bees and how to identify and avoid poison ivy.

In a similar vein, Davids notes that some of the most common safety incidents his crews face involve rocks or other yard debris being thrown by a trimmer or mower.

To lessen the possibility that crews might slip or fall on the job, Mahoney Associates recently painted their mowing-trailer ramps with non-skid paint.

“If it’s raining or if there’s wet grass or leaves, your chance of having a slip and fall injury that could turn into a worker’s comp case is lowered a lot,” Mahoney says.

The company also installed collapsible ladders on its dump trucks to ease in-and-out access.

“The (truck) bodies are so high in the air, so now (with the ladders) the teams have a step to get in and out,” Mahoney says. “We welded handles [on the trucks] where the ladders were installed, so they have something to grab, minimizing someone jumping off and twisting an ankle or hurting their back trying to climb into the truck.”

While building a safety culture takes commitment, crews with successful safety programs say the effort is worth it.

“It’s a great morale-builder for the team as a whole,” Maskiell says. “It shows the team that we care for them. It’s important for the team, and it’s important for the firm.”

The author is a freelance writer in Kentucky.


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WNLA Committees

If you are interested in joining a WNLA Committee please email [email protected] , for details.


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Need a Point Of Sale System? Look at what this WNLA Member Discount provider is offering….

Cornerstone Processing Solutions Inc. is proud of it's long time relationship with the WNLA. Not only does Cornerstone offer WNLA member’s significant discounts on credit card processing fees, but they also offer Point of Sale (POS) System Solutions. You can add a POS system to your business for as little as $29 a month (for only 36 months, and then you own it). This includes all the hardware, software, lifetime equipment warranty, and even free receipt paper!

Also, remember that a portion of Cornerstone's profit goes back to the WNLA! It's a great way to save money on your processing fees, while also supporting the association that supports your business!

Call 1-888-878-2615 or email [email protected] for more information or to schedule a POS system demo. 



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WNLA Annual Sponsorship Opportunity


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Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association


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Christopher Ruditys, Executive Director

11801 W. Silver Spring Dr.
Suite 200
Milwaukee, WI  53225
[email protected]
[email protected]
Phone: 414.488.1691
FAX: 888.776.1877

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