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.

NALP Survey: Why Americans Hire Landscape Pros
Forty percent of Americans with a lawn or landscape hired a professional in the last year, according to an online survey commissioned by the National Association of Landscape Professional’s Industry Growth Initiative and conducted by Harris Poll in fall 2017. NALP’s Industry Growth Initiative commissioned the survey as a benchmark to track consumers’ purchasing habits when it comes to lawn and landscape services. The top services used among Americans who have hired a lawn/landscaping professional in the past 12 months include tree care (51 percent), mowing (50 percent), lawn pest control (46 percent), and weed prevention and control (42 percent).

For those who have hired professional help, 52 percent did so to help their lawn/landscape look better, while 41 percent wanted to save time and 30 percent wanted to enjoy their yard more. Sixty-two percent of those who didn’t hire a lawn/landscape professional in the past 12 months say the costs is too high, while nearly half (49 percent) say they enjoy caring for their lawn themselves and 43 percent believe their yard is fine as is, according to the survey.

ILCA Seeks To Root Out Uninsured Landscapers
The Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) is seeking to root out uninsured landscapers in the state to reduce potential legal liability for customers and make the industry more competitive, reports the Daily North Shore. A license is not required of a landscape contractor, said Scott Grams, the association’s executive director. However, workers compensation insurance ensuring injured employees are justly compensated is mandated by the State of Illinois. Grams said an unscientific survey conducted by the association found 40 percent of landscapers in Illinois do not carry workers compensation insurance. Grams said other states similar in size to Illinois, such as Florida, have between 25 and 40 enforcement officers; Illinois has six. Residents can find out if their landscaper has the proper coverage by doing a search on the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission website.

NJ Contractors Sue City Over Leaf Blower Ban
The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association and nine landscape companies filed a civil suit in October against Maplewood, its mayor and township committee to block a ban on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by landscapers. They claim the ban discriminates against the businesses, costing them excess money, reports nj.com. The town passed the leaf blower ban in April 2017 after residents complained a less-restrictive leaf blower rule was not being enforced. The ban prohibits commercial landscapers from using gas-powered blowers during summer months. Private residents, non-commercial associations and even the town’s own leaf cleaning crew can use gas-powered leaf blowers, according to the civil suit. The lawsuit calls the town’s policy “irrational” and “discriminatory.”

Landscape Ontario’s Congress Trade Show and Conference
Congress, Canada’ largest horticultural trade show and conference will have over 13,000 green professionals in attendance. The three-day conference kicks off next week on January 9. All conference sessions are within the Toronto Congress Centre facility, and require purchase of a Full Conference pass or One-Day Conference pass to be permitted entry. Last-minute registrants can sign up online and pick up their badge on-site.

People In The News
The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) welcomed Alexis Strieker to its Government Relations team. She previously worked for representatives in both the Illinois and Missouri legislatures. In addition, she worked on the campaign for Senator Roy Blunt, and served as Congressional Fellow for Congressman Raul Labrador of Idaho in Washington, D.C. Strieker will be focusing her time on representing dealers in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa, as well as on state issues such as “Right to Repair”

Takeuchi-US recently appointed Rick MacLeish as national parts manager. MacLeish brings nearly 30 years of experience in wholesale, distribution and customer service to the position. In his previous role at Lotus Cars USA he served as the director of service and parts operations, a position he held since 2006.

OPEI Announces Speakers For 2018 Annual Meeting
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute Annual Meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, in Bonita Springs, Fla. June 18-20, 2018. The meeting will feature two keynotes: Adam Steltzner and Vivek Wadhwa. NASA rocket scientist Adam Steltzner will help you harness the power of curiosity to spark digital innovation and collaborative technology leadership across your entire organization. Steltzner’s skills helped to lead the landing team for the Curiosity rover. Called “Silicon Valley’s most provocative voice” for his ideas on technology trends, globalization, U.S. competitiveness, and the future, Vivek Wadhwa is at the forefront of innovation. From tech entrepreneur and business owner to accomplished academic and widely published author, he offers a look into how exponentially advancing technologies — including robotics, AI, computing, 3D printing, and nanomaterials — will change our world, disrupt entire industries and create new ones.

Toro Reports Record Fiscal 2017 Results
The Toro Company reported net earnings of $267.7 million, or $2.41 per share, on a net sales increase of 4.7 percent to $2.505 billion for its fiscal year ended October 31, 2017. In fiscal 2016, the company delivered net earnings of $231.0 million, or $2.06 per share for the year, on net sales of $2.392 billion. For fiscal 2018, the company expects revenue growth to exceed 4 percent, and net earnings to be about $2.57 to $2.63 per share. For the first quarter, the company expects net earnings to be about $0.42 to $0.44 per share.

Briggs and Stratton Acquires Ground Logic, Inc.
Briggs & Stratton Corporation recently acquired the assets of Ground Logic, Inc., a Lincoln, Nebraska-based designer and manufacturer of premium stand-on commercial spreaders and spreader/sprayers for fertilizer and pesticide-herbicide lawn applications on mid- to large-sized residential and commercial properties. Briggs & Stratton financed the transaction from cash on hand. It expects that the acquisition will not have a material effect on fiscal 2018 earnings or cash flows.

Jeffrey Scott Announces CEO/COO Partnerships Workshop
Industry consultant Jeffrey Scott’s special Chicago workshop on January 10, “Effective CEO/COO Parternerships: The Power of Collaboratie Leadership, will feature five guest speakers who run $5 to $50-plus million companies, including: Frank Mariani and his COO, Paul Fraynd and his GM, Chris Imlach. Bring your ‘number twos’ to this event, and together you will learn what each needs from the other in order to foster massive business growth.

Vectorworks Cloud Services Earns Prestigious Award
Vectorworks Cloud Services was recently named winner of the Cloud Based Technology of the Year 2017 award for the Construction Computing Awards. Vectorworks Architect software, which helps connect the entire design process from concept to construction in one platform, was also named runner up for the Architectural Design Software of 2017 award. Improved Cloud Services were released in Vectorworks 2018 software this past September. It allows designers to easily share designs, drawings, and 3D models with clients and partners by using Google Drive, in addition to Dropbox. Designers can now render a 360-degree view of a 3D model with the panorama feature, and then export the file to cloud storage, receiving a link to view the rendered panorama on a laptop, desktop, or any mobile device.

NALP Announces Partnership for Online Classes
The National Association of Landscape Professionals is partnering with Cengage Learning and ed2go to deliver online courses for landscape and lawn care companies. The courses typically consist of 12 lessons and take about six weeks to complete. Of the more than 100 courses to choose from, landscape pros can brush up on everything from leadership and supervision to QuickBooks and accounting to Microsoft Office products to basic Spanish. Courses start as low as $115. To review course listings, visit http://www.ed2go.com/nalp.