Of Trade Shows, Travel and Information Directories . . .
By George Schmok
Trade show season is always a busy time of year and this year was no exception. From mid-January to mid-February LSMP attended or exhibited in nine trade shows. It is amazing how many facets of the industry there are . . .
Everything from the Golf Industry Show (which was moved from New Orleans to Houston to Orlando because of Hurricane Katrina), to the retail nursery Pro-Green show, the Erosion Control Expo, the Sports Turf Managers show, the Landscape Contractors (CLCA) Show, the World of Concrete, the American Fence Association show, a local lighting show and finally the Precast Concrete show . . .
That pretty well put LSMP all across the country and all across the industry in a little more than five weeks . . .
I think we are all home now, but only physically. Mentally it will take several more weeks for things to settle. I can tell you this . . .
The hot topics in the landscape industry are the H2B/migrant worker versus illegal immigrant issue (coupled with a lack of qualified help), the continually growing need to conserve and use water more wisely, the damage being done by exotic plants and pests, and the rising cost of loans and the effect it is having on real estate sales and pricing.
Issues that either evaporated or have taken a back seat included the concrete and lumber shortages, fuel costs, urban sprawl and overseas competition . . .
It will be interesting to see if a busy spring brings any of these back to the top of the list . . .
Besides being a hot bed of news, trade shows are also the place where new products get their wings . . .or get them clipped. In irrigation, the trend seems to be towards irrigation controllers that talk to satellites to get the weather and evapo-transpiration data and then make minute-by-minute (or at least day-to-day) programming decisions. The one catch is that the data is transmitted by channels that end up being a paid for service (think OnStar) where the first few months are free but after that it’ll cost you. The water savings though, they tell you, far out weigh the minimal connection fees . . .
I was surprised to hear that drip irrigation is still having a hard time being accepted into the landscape industry. With Landscape Architects adding drip to their specs for new projects, it appears that only occasionally do contractors or superintendents take the effort to convert to drip. Obviously you can’t water the Rose Bowl with drip emitters, but you can water all the surrounding flowers beds. Not only does it cut the water usage, but it also cuts the weeds . . .
Another trend is curving concrete or cutting intricate patterns into pavers. Sure there has been stamping and coloring for many years, but now we are seeing more and more practitioners in the art of concrete sculpting, by either using flexible form liners or by mapping out a pattern and cutting the individual stones to make colorful and entertaining patterns. Some are over the top, but some are pretty cool . . .
So anyways . . . To those of you we saw at the shows . . . It was great to see you and thanks for taking the time to say hello and show us what’s up! And to those who have left messages or sent emails but are feeling a little ignored . . . Rest assured it was only that so many of us were out of town and you know how things pile up when you’re out of town . . . But don’t worry, if you haven’t already, you’ll hear from us soon.
Also . . . Keep your eyes and ear open for announcements about the up coming Super Guide. This once-a-year product and services directory will be mailing out in May but is being put together now. If you supply a good or service to the industry and want to be listed please contact us at 714-979-5276 right away. Whether your product is an historic lighting pole, a new pesticide, a power driven boring tool, a turf or tree farm or anything else that sells in the market, we will list your company for free in the appropriate categories. Also . . . If you offer a service like labor finders, or erosion control specification, or lighting and irrigation design, or arboriculture consulting . . . or anything that is a specialty and helps others in the business, we want to list your company for free as well . . . so give a call or send us an e-mail, or if you are in the neighborhood stop by and say hello. We love seeing you, love hearing from you and love working with you across this great nation . . .
George Schmok, Publisher