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Joel’s Dirt: It’s still winter, but spring is fast approaching

We are wrapping up our winter tasks: servicing trucks, safety equipment updates, painting equipment, cleaning and sealing tools, and servicing and cleaning all our small equipment. We are taking advantage of the nice weather and have started winter pruning and cutting down ornamental grasses. Winter is a great time to prune because the plants are dormant, causing less stress. Also, it’s easier to see branch structure when there are no leaves. Know your plants before you start. Now is not the time to go Edward Scissorhands on your lilac or forsythia. Heavy pruning on spring flowering plants reduces the amounts of blooms for that year! We have started to clean up hydrangeas and roses as well, as the tail end of winter is a good time to cut them back. All winter pruning should be done prior to buds beginning to open to minimize stress and conserve energy. Not pruning in the fall allows the older growth (tips) to protect the interior of the plant through the winter. Plants die back from the tips and back towards the crown of the plant during extreme cold weather or harsh conditions.

We have also spent time participating in job fairs, always looking for career-minded individuals to join our staff. Our most important task is ongoing training. We do weekly in-house training as well as offsite training. Molly and I spent 3 days with our PEER group of 13 other landscape owners. Michael, Grady, and Gavin spent 3 days in Iowa at an industry conference. Ernesto and Victor have been taking leadership training courses for the last 3 months. We are always striving to learn and be better.

While we do continue to work in the winter, almost all of us do take some time off as well. Molly and I got to spend time with my parents in Isla Mujeres, an island just off Cancun Mexico. It was a very relaxing time just before our 32 anniversary on February 29.

I am looking forward to spring and seeing it green up again. Please call if we can be of help with your landscape.

Joel John


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