Thursday, November 16

Integrating 3D to Close Sales
Joe Salemi
We’re going to explore the 3D options available to professional landscape businesses and unpack just how easy it is to get started and get proficient in the quickest possible way. Looking at the best 3D software solutions on the market, identifying industry trends, and getting a sense of what the future looks like for landscape design. This session is for you if you’re already working with 3D in your sales presentations or if you’re considering offering 3D. You’ll level up any way you look at it.

Great New Annuals and Perennials
Allan Armitage
Allan often gets a firsthand look at what is new from most of the breeders. He will talk about some plants he’s seen over the last five years; some of these may not even be on grower’s benches yet. Join Allan for a discussion on new annuals and perennials coming to your greenhouses and shelves soon.

10 Proven Ways to Drive Traffic to your Store
Barbara Crowhurst
Foot traffic is one of the most important measures when it comes to running a brick-and-mortar store. More traffic means more opportunities for sales and customer engagement, which in turn leads to higher revenues.

This is why retailers should continuously strive to increase foot traffic in your physical location. Even if you think you’re getting enough store visitors, you can always do better. There are still a lot of potential customers out there that you can tap into, and there are plenty of things you can do to increase store visits from existing customers. Let Barbara take you thru a review of your own business practices for increasing foot traffic.

Landscape Pest Show and Tell
Dr. Ken Fry
We will explore the most common pests and beneficial arthropods inhabiting the landscape via images and under the microscope (projected on the big screen for all to see). Topics will include how to identify them, assess the damage, and how to address the risk. We will also examine how to encourage and exploit the beneficial arthropods in the landscape. An assortment of digital aids (apps, websites) will be demonstrated to assist you in your management of the landscape. Participants are encouraged to bring samples in for diagnosis.

12 Most Common Reasons Landscape Contractors are Not More Profitable
Monroe Porter
Is your business prepared for the changes facing the contracting industry? Topics covered include how to avoid plunder, determining your best business structure, dealing with enabled employees, cutting costs and marketing in a more competitive market. Learn how to avoid the traps many contractors fall into and what you need to do to increase your bottom line.

Options in Water Quality Treatment
Dr. Ann Huber
Greenhouse and nursery operators need cost-effective flexible options to manage a variety of process waters that may discharge to natural watercourses and contribute to environmental issues. With water security becoming an increasingly higher priority, farmers wish instead to recirculate and reuse water generated through their operation but need to minimize the risk of spreading pathogens to their production area.

The questions of how to decide on if and how to treat recirculated water are many. This session will guide you through the process of deciding what and how much water needs to be managed, what best management practices should be implemented, and water treatment systems make sense for your farm.

Strategies for Maintaining and Improving Quality in Home Lawns
Katie Dobson
Home lawns represent a dynamic community of plants that must thrive under varying microclimates around a home. Research focused on cultural practices to improve overall turfgrass quality while minimizing weed encroachment will be reviewed. Attendees will have a greater understanding of fertility, irrigation, cultivation, and overseeding practices that improve urban lawn health. At the end of the seminar attendees will be able to:

  • Identify and name the various cool season grasses adapted to Albertan climates
  • Understand the basics of lawn care cultural practices and the role they play for maintaining optimal turf health
  • Gain further knowledge on both conventional and alternative (low-impact) herbicides that are currently available in the Canadian market

Greenhouse Pest Show and Tell
Dr. Ken Fry
Greenhouse Session: We will examine the most common arthropod pests in greenhouse vegetable and ornamental crops via images and under the microscope (projected on the big screen for all to see live). We will also examine common biological control agents and discuss optimal release methods and strategies. Participants are encouraged to bring samples in for diagnosis.

What Happens when 14 Arborists Appraise the Same 10 Trees?
James Komen
In a study published in Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, 14 certified arborists independently appraised the same ten trees, and the results of their appraisals were analyzed. In the results, the attributes that had the highest variance among appraisers were the Trunk Area and the Condition Rating. The study also identified four key elements of error involved in the appraisal process: personal value error, personal observation error, measurement error, and systematic error.

Each of these elements of error will be discussed, accompanied by recommendations for reducing error. The intention of this session is to open a dialogue among the arborist community about the best practices for applying existing appraisal techniques.

People Not Plants are the Problem – Diagnosing Plant Problems is the Key to Profitability
Dr. Moyhuddin Mirza
Have we forgotten to manage greenhouse crops or is it information over load? What does it take to grow over 70 kg of tomatoes/sq. m or 200 cucumbers/sq. m or grow 500 different types of bedding plants without throwing away a single basket? Dr. Mirza will review what happened in 2017 season and provide information on how to match plant needs with your needs for high profitability. Making proper diagnosis and taking corrective measures at the right time is the key to profitability.

Increase Retail Sales in 10 Must Do Steps
Barbara Crowhurst
Retailers are  not only looking to keep the sales they currently experience, but looking for ways to continue to grow sales. Barbara will take you through a review of your own business practices for maintaining and increasing sales. You will pick up many tips on what you need to do better, much better! Key Topics covered include:

  • How to initiate add on sales
  • How  the idea of using a pick of the week works well to increase sales
  • Why retailers need an effective promotional calendar
  • Margins retailers need to review monthly and what to look for in this report
  • Make the customer experience culture a strong element
  • Why sales targets are  important

Understandable Number Crunching, Cash Flow and Financial Analysis
Monroe Porter
Many contractors do not like bookkeeping and number crunching, so many fail to understand how easy knowing the numbers can be if record keeping, budgeting and cost processes are simplified. Attendees will learn what answers they need to know and the easiest way to provide them. This program explores misunderstandings about cash flow, overhead and cost recovery. Participants will explore how diversification can cloud the true profit picture and how to unravel that mystery. Understand why many contractors consistently lose money on 20-30% of their work and how to identify and eliminate those loses. Contractors don’t have to be bookkeepers and number crunchers, but they do need to know where the company has been and where it is going each month.

Ornamental Grasses in the 21st Century
John Friel
No longer a niche product, ornamental grasses have become an expected and respected part of good garden design. Increased interest has spurred new breeding, and vice-versa. Well over 100 ornamental grasses are now protected by patents and/or trademarks in the US alone. John will discuss current trends, reliable sellers, and exciting introductions.

Delegate It!
Jackie Hart
Join us in this one hour interactive workshop targeting business owners and their staff. In this fast paced session, learn why successful delegating of projects and tasks is so difficult. Join in the discussion on the art of holding each other accountable at work, in a positive, effective way! Leave this session armed with your our exclusive toolbox to create a clear outline of who can make what decisions without you… or not, and when.

The Business of Biophilia
Gord Koch and Kim Wickwire
The term biophilia is one that is beginning to be used in different communities from sustainable design to horticulture. This word was brought to use by biologist and environmental theorist Edward O. Wilson in the 1980s and translates to mean “love of life”. Biophilia is another way of saying that nature knows best. With the growing movement in areas such as biophilic design and therapy, there is an opportunity to promote what has been known to the horticulture industry into this emerging sector. The presentation provides an overview of the economics of biophilia and the relationship to the horticulture industry.

Emerald Ash Borer: Biology, Impacts and Development of a Biological Control Program
Krista Ryall
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a devastating invasive beetle which has killed tens of millions of ash trees across North America. Learn about the latest research in using parasitoids to combat this invasive pest.


Friday, November 17

Good Housekeeping for Better Estimating and Job Tracking
Joe Salemi
Keeping your house in order means different things to different people, but what if it meant that your estimates were more accurate and tracking your costs on jobs became more streamlined? We will look at some effective ways to make sure your material lists, pricing, budgets, etc. are up-to-date on an ongoing basis to make the estimation process easier on everyone. We’ll explore case studies of how some of the most successful landscape companies track their crews progress day to day and how they     reconcile costs for big and small jobs.

Networking Savvy
Fern Richardson
Being able to present yourself with confidence in business and social situations is a necessary and valuable skill. In addition to your training and expertise, workplace success depends on the ability to get along with others and present yourself to your best advantage. Strong networking practices reflect favourably on you and your business.

Crystal Ball: Garden Trends for the Upcoming Year
Sean James
In this session, Sean will look at the many gardening trends for the upcoming season including:

  • a look at the main foci in landscaping, including edible landscaping, gardening for bees, drought-tolerant landscaping and using less “hardscaping”
  • dealing with urban development and large areas of impermeable surfaces is a challenge, so we’ll discuss techniques for holding and infiltrating rainwater

Beyond Organic Matter – Unlocking the Power in Soil Microbial Life
Bob Reeves
Bob has spent the last decade unraveling the mystery of how plants in undisturbed natural settings perform so much better than the same plants in an urban landscape. Bob will demonstrate why even a non-scientist needs to know about the current findings in soil science. This presentation will provide a practical guide to understanding the dynamics and importance of plant/microbe interactions in soil – information that anyone who makes their living in the landscape trades cannot afford to ignore. The session will conclude with a detailed look at how landscape professionals can implement a more holistic approach to growing, installing, and caring for landscape plants.

Protecting your Business from the Uncertainty of Weather
Shane Belvin
The volatility of the past several winters has complicated the already difficult task of budgeting during the winter months. For per service or per inch snow contracts, the impacts can directly affect your bottom line. For fixed price contracts, it can stress your margins in high snow years and damage client relationships in years with less snow. The uncertainty of weather ensures that the only thing definite about your seasonal finances is that it will be unpredictable. You can analyze forecasts, you can read a      Farmers’ Almanac, use last year’s expenditures as a placeholder, or just throw a dart at a board. Tools exist that can mitigate this seasonal risk. This allows both owners and removal service providers to better manage their costs, revenue, and capital structure. These financial tools utilize weather options, or derivatives.

Developing a Sales Driven Organization and Selling at a Premium
Don Crothers
Most markets are competitive and many prospects will push us for a lower price. Even within competitive markets, some sales professionals consistently achieve higher prices than others for their product or service. What differentiates those people that command a superior price? Winning at a premium is within our control – even in competitive markets where the competition is discounting. Join Don to learn about the skill set and the mindset to sell and win at a premium.

Invasive Plants and the Ornamental Horticulture Industry – Code of Conduct and Best Management Practices
Andrea Eastham
The ornamental horticulture industry has been identified as a key pathway for alien invasive plant introduction. Plant species have been introduced into Canada for centuries for use as crops, ornamentals, reclamation and shelterbelts. A small portion escape cultivation and are now having negative impacts on industries, the economy, and the environment. Approximately 80% of the invasive plants currently being managed across Canada came from the ornamental horticulture industry and our gardens. Best management practices such as standard plant labelling, compliance with legislation and regulations, invasive plant disposal, phasing out known invasive ornamentals from a business, etc. will be discussed. Working together, we can make the link between ecology and the ornamental industry.

Leading and Challenging Employees without Being a Jerk
Monroe Porter
This program is designed to help you be a better leader and communicate more assertively while avoiding workplace conflict. Attendees will learn how to increase productivity without being an overbearing boss. Understand how leadership can make a difference and how to get employees to rise to the occasion. Managing in today’s workplace demands clear goals and the ability to deal with all types of personalities. This program will explore basic methods for employee motivation, pay, training and development. Attendees will learn how personalities, work ethic and communication styles impact productivity.

Bringing Back the Nearly Dead: Renovating an Existing Landscape
Sean James
This presentation will look at dealing with landscapes afflicted with challenges. Bit by bit, we will erase those challenges and redesign the situation. Sean will discuss design principles and construction priorities, along with how to add winter interest to the landscape. Pruning techniques and the principles of hard landscaping (using stone, concrete and wood) will also be discussed. The session will conclude with a Q & A session on how to use existing material and assets when upgrading older landscapes.

Riding the Wave of Change
Fern Richardson
We live and work in a constantly changing world. How can we maintain a balanced perspective as we ride the wave of change? Understanding transition, the human side of change, can help us cope more successfully with change and result in better outcomes for you, those around you and the organization as a whole.

Trimble SketchUp Pro and Landscape Design Workflow
Gord Koch
SketchUp Make and SketchUp Pro are digital design programs that have been around since 2000 providing 3D modeling capabilities throughout many different design disciplines. The presentation provides an overview of the landscape design process, on a small scale site, to show the integration between SketchUp Pro and the companion program Layout. This session will provide information to entry level and intermediate landscape designers in leveraging this design tool from site inventory / analysis and client presentations to construction drawings and build simulations. Whether your comfort zone is pencil and paper, utilizing 2D design (CAD) programs, have experience with SketchUp or a bit of each there is a good chance that you will leave with new ideas for your design toolbox.

Tales from the Garden – Stories your Mother Never Told You
Allan Armitage
Who is Annabelle, of the Annabelle Hydrangea? Hear stories of the people behind famous plants and stories of common names – was there really a Joe Pye? Great fun, informative and people don’t have to be plant crazies to enjoy the stories. This is a talk everyone will enjoy.

What to do With a Downpour: Ornamental Ways to Handle Rainwater
Sean James
Urban Development has resulted in large areas of impermeable surfaces, leading to poor water quality and erosion, as well as drying of the creeks during droughts. Techniques will be discussed to aid in infiltrating rainwater into the soil while beautifying your landscapes and allowing a more unusual palette of plants to be used. Rain Gardens can be a beautiful addition to any yard and allow the planting of some truly interesting plants. They also help the environment by infiltrating water to clean it and restore the water table and base-flow (the water that seeps through the ground to our creeks). We’ll cover how to design and build a rain garden including placement, construction, and plant choices.

Energy Efficiency in Greenhouses (Panel)
Panel TBA
This panel session will focus on energy efficiency in greenhouses, including new technology and the government programs that may help with the investments. With the recent Greenhouse Carbon Rebate program, it is increasingly important to look at maximizing energy efficiency to help ensure the ongoing success of the program.

Alberta’s New Employment and Labour Relations Legislation
Are you ready for the changes to employment standards and labour relations introduced in Bill 17?  Starting January 1, 2018 there are significant changes coming to the employment standards in Alberta.  This session will focus on what you need to know as an employer. It will also highlight the changes to the Labour Relations code that make it easier for employees to unionize. Key strategies for maintaining a healthy and happy workplace will be covered.

Get Me Outta Here! An Introduction to Exit Strategies and What Builds Value in your Business
Jackie Hart
Resources and information about exiting from business. Participants learn what their business may (or may not) be worth without them in the picture. The session stresses the importance of self-directed, self-sustaining systems in business, having qualified key players, accumulating assets, minimizing debt, securing lending options and so on.

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