Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

RISE Issues Statement Supporting EPA-Approved Neonicotinoids and Bee Health
Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment has made a statement supporting the review process of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when approving pesticide products, such as neonicotinoids. RISE stated, “Neonicotinoids remain an important tool in the toolbox for consumers and professionals to responsibly and effectively manage harmful pests. As with all EPA-registered pesticide products, they can be used safely when used according to label instructions, protecting our trees and plants from damaging insects and our pets from fleas and ticks.” RISE is involved with the White House’s National Pollinator strategy, the planting of bee forage and consumer education efforts.

TruGreen and Scotts LawnService Close Merger
TruGreen has completed its merger with Scotts LawnService, a former subsidiary of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. TruGreen is expanding services in lawn, tree and shrub care to approximately 2.3 million residential and commercial customers in the U.S. and Canada. TruGreen President and CEO David Alexander leads the newly combined company, which will operate as a privately held company under the TruGreen brand and remain headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. Jim Gimeson, former president of Scotts LawnService, joins as Chief Operating Officer, and John Compton, will continue to serve as TruGreen’s Chairman.

John Deere Releases App to Track Mowing Progress
MowerPlus is a new app from John Deere
that can track lawn mowing progress. The app, developed primarily at the Cary, North Carolina location, tracks the mow path, distance, speed and engine hours. It doesn’t collect any location-based data but will keep track of the mows throughout the season. To download the app, visit the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

Dow Offers Online Herbicide Training for Turf Managers
Product training is available online for turf managers who want to brush up on Dow AgroSciences Turf & Ornamental products and services. This three-part interactive course provides key insights on preemergence and postemergence herbicides, as well as insecticides and fungicides. Each course takes about 30 minutes to complete followed by a short quiz. Individuals can also review important postemergence application tips and learn about effective disease and insect control with proper resistance management.

Massachusetts Landscaping Company to Pay for Wage Violations
According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Green Paradise Landscaping’s employees had not been paid the appropriate overtime rate. The landscaping company will now pay over $31,000 in restitution and penalties to resolve violations of the state’s wage and hour laws. The state’s Overtime Law requires employers to pay qualifying employees time and one half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a work week. The AG’s Office determined that the company failed to pay the appropriate overtime rate to nine employees during multiple pay periods between April 2012 and December 2014, misclassified employees as independent contractors, failed to maintain true and accurate payroll records and failed to issue suitable pay stubs as required by law.

TPI Begins Search for New Executive Director
Will Nugent, president of Turfgrass Producers International, informed members via email on April 6 that Melanie Stanton stepped down as executive director of TPI. The organization’s board of trustees appointed Sandy Reynolds as interim executive director during the search and transition period. “Sandy has diligently served TPI as the director of meetings for the past eight years.  She will continue to manage our conferences while also taking on increased management responsibilities until a new executive director has been appointed,” wrote Nugent.

Project EverGreen Initiative Completes Renovations to Athletic Spaces in North Carolina
Project EverGreen
’s “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” and industry volunteers provided over $21,000 in materials and labor to restore more than 135,000 sq. ft. of playing surfaces at Greensboro’s Penn-Wright and Levette baseball fields and Durham’s Red Maple Park. The renovation initiative included weed control and fertilization; reseeding and application of soil top dressing; installing infield arc and outfield edge sod; and excavating, grading and replacing the infield surfaces with a new clay mixture.  Installation of new plant material and trees, brush removal and tree trimming, and general clean-up of the green spaces were also done at each of the facilities.

NALP Announces PAC Board of Directors, Education Event with Marty Grunder, New Foundation Ambassadors
NALP has named three new Foundation Ambassadors, which are donors, individuals or companies, that pledge $25,000 or more. Since it’s beginning, the Foundation has raised over $4.2 million to fund scholarships. The newest Foundation ambassadors include Ben Collinsworth, Native Land Design, LLC; Doug Delano, Level Green Landscape, LLC; and Brett and Rick Lemcke, R.M. Landscape, Inc. A two-day event, taking place in Chicago, August 23-24, 2016 will give an insider’s look at the inner workings of Mariani Landscape, based in Lake Bluff. Marty Grunder, author, speaker and industry consultant, has partnered with NALP for the educational event and field trip. The Board of Directors for the Political Action Committee (NALP-PAC) has been announced and will serve as to help educate industry professionals about advocacy. The Board will help with the fundraising strategy and identifying candidates, committees and issues for the PAC to support.

Armstrong Garden Centers to Give Out Millions of Ladybugs
One free packet of ladybugs will be given to customers with their purchase at all Armstrong Garden Centers locations during ladybug weekend, April 23-24. Armstrong anticipates giving away two million ladybugs with instructions on how to properly release them into their yards.

Summit Holdings Location Receives Dealer Recognition
The Tupelo, Mississippi location of Summit Holdings has been recognized as a 2015 Diamond Premier Dealer by IC Bus. Summit Bus of Tupelo is one of only three IC Bus dealerships that received the award for 2015.

EquipmentWatch Has Released Annual Tier 4 Benchmark Report
The Tier 4 Benchmark Report analyzes responses from more than 300 major equipment and rental companies to measure the true impact of the Tier 4 Final transition on the heavy equipment industry. EquipmentWatch and Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) partnered up to survey the heavy equipment community to gauge how heavy equipment operators are implementing new technology to meet Tier 4 emissions standards, and to understand the regulation’s impact on the industry. Download the free 2016 Tier 4 Benchmark Report.

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