Tech Tip: Drought Stress

 “I don’t have drought stress!  I water!”

Have you been hearing that (or something close to it) from customers lately?  How do you deal with a complaint like that?  Let’s start with the realization that their lawn may be many inches below normal in natural rainfall right now.  Second, an irrigation system is never a replacement for natural rainfall, but rather a tool to augment the rain that actually does fall.

As you can see in the above graphic, many parts of the country are affected by drought conditions.  Although it rained a little bit at the end of this past week, that will not dramatically change things. Continue reading

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USCIS to Conduct Lottery for Temporary Increase in FY 2018 H-2B Cap

As previously announced, USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 31, 2018, under the temporary final rule increasing the numerical limit, or cap, on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018.

In the first five business days of filing, USCIS received petitions for more beneficiaries than the number of H-2B visas available under the FY 2018 supplemental cap. Accordingly, USCIS is required by regulation to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the increased cap for FY 2018.  Continue reading

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Summer Safety for Landscape Workers

Do you have a summer safety plan in place? From increased driving to hot temperatures, summer can pose many risks for landscape professionals. June is National Safety Month, so we wanted to make sure we put a special emphasis on your safety and provided all the tools and resources you will need this season to keep your employees safe.

Heat Safety

Don’t let heat takes it toll on your team! Federal OSHA lists grounds maintenance and landscaping services as two of the six industries most affected by heat-related illness. In 2014, more than 2,600 workers across industries experienced heat illness and 18 died on the job from heat stroke and related causes, according to the agency. Continue reading

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House Negotiating Immigration and the DACA Program

NALP is closely monitoring House negotiations related to immigration and the status of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides legal status to so-called dreamers, kids who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

House Republican leaders have been meeting with competing factions within the party in an effort to find a path forward on immigration.  The entire Republican Caucus is expected to meet Thursday to discuss potential options.   There are two central issues in the debate – a moderate discharge petition and a conservative promise to hold the Farm Bill hostage until border security is addressed. Continue reading

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Questions Regarding Neonicotinioid Insecticides 

Recently, the twenty-eight member states of the European Union voted to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, expanding upon a ban initially put into place in 2013. While this ban is only in effect in some areas overseas, it is possible you may receive questions as a result. NALP is committed to educating landscape professionals, customers and the general public about the safe use of lawn and landscape products, and alleviating misconceptions surrounding insecticides. Here are some facts about neonicotinoids you can share with your staff and customers:  Continue reading

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New Videos to Attract Millennials to Landscape Industry Jobs

If a picture is worth a thousand words, moving pictures must be worth millions! Accordingly, NALP’s Industry Growth Initiative is creating a series of videos to showcase industry careers to millennials. Filming took place over the past two weeks, beginning with interviews with young professionals who are passionate about their careers and want to encourage others to join them. Their stories focused on their love of the outdoors, interest in math and science, pride in seeing projects from start to finish, the “day families” they have found in their colleagues, and many other common narratives. Filming continued with on the job scenes showing the importance of technology to the industry, construction sites, team interaction, equipment use, customer interaction, and more. Thank you to Ruppert Landscape for their incredible partnership in these videos, providing interview subjects, filming locations, and technical guidance. The videos will debut this summer.

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DHS Authorizes Additional 15,000 H-2B Visas

Last week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen finally announced plans to authorize additional H-2B visas. The announcement confirms what NALP and our members have been telling our nation’s lawmakers –  there are not sufficient, qualified, U.S. workers available to fill the workforce needs of America’s professional landscaping companies and other seasonal businesses.  Continue reading

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Tech Tip: Heat & Drought Stress

It seems like yesterday that we were dealing with snow cover that did not want to go away and waterlogged soils that significantly slowed the development of our lawns, mostly because it was yesterday, but those conditions have vanished and we have new challenges – it’s that time of year again – time for heat and drought stress. Continue reading

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Farm Bill Defeated in House

Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (the “Farm Bill”) by a vote of ( 198 – 213).  An odd coalition of all House Democrats and 30 members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus led to the defeat. Democrats opposed revisions to the federal food stamp program while the Republicans were hoping to force the Speaker to bring a immigration bill to the floor for a vote.

The legislation, sponsored by House Judiciary chairman Goodlatte, would address all four areas of immigration reform being sought by the President – address DACA, end chain migration, establish merit based immigration, and provide wall funding. The Goodlatte bill would also require e-verify for all new employees and replace the H-2A guest worker program with the new H-2C category which would also include dairy workers, seafood processors and other non-crop related agricultural work categories. Continue reading

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Tech Tip: Zoysia

What a weird sight! This lawn is beyond brown but has something green growing in the middle of it!

This is Zoysia; of if you’re into calling grasses by their Latin names, Zoysia japonica (impress your family and friends with that nugget of information). Where does it come from and how did it get there? Continue reading

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