Estimating Workshop for Irrigation Contractors February 20, 2017 by JR Huston

MGIX 2017, Ohio’s Premier Green Industry Trade Show, January 16-18



Midwest Green Industry Xperience (MGIX) 2017 (formerly known as CENTS) is scheduled for three full days, January 16 through 18, 2017, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The event will combine industry-leading education with an expanded trade show, offering a truly innovative green industry experience.

Trade Show

This year’s trade show will feature more than 400 exhibitors, offering a wide range of products and services, including nursery stock, hardscaping products, pest and disease control, landscaping equipment, business services and more. The show is expected to attract more than 6,000 attendees.

MGIXThe expanded trade show will also offer:

  • Garden Promenade and Garden Lounge
  • The latest innovations in the New Product Showcase
  • “Are You Smarter Than a Green Industry Pro?” trivia game in the Garden Lounge.

Back by Popular Demand

Available again this year will be the ever-popular ONLA Garage, offering hands-on training to teach your team how to correctly operate, utilize and maintain your precious equipment for optimal performance and longevity. dscf5109-e1478540194841(The ONLA Garage is included with the purchase of a trade show pass.)

Also back this year will be Climbers Corners. This live-stage event features expert educators demonstrating a variety of arboricultural techniques important to tree work professionals, landscape crews, managers and designers.


Educational sessions of particular interest to landscape and irrigation professionals will include:

  • MGIX“Integrated Pest Management in Lawns and Landscapes,” presented by Dave Shetlar, Professor of Urban Landscape Entomology, Ohio State University
  • “Sustainability Parts I, II and III,” presented by John DeVore, designer, landscape contractor and educator
  • “Landscaping for Climate Change,” presented by Kim Eierman, certified environmental horticulturist and master gardener
  • “The Landscape Sustainability Checklist,” presented by Stephen Foltz, Director of Horticulture, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
  • “Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Control,” presented by writer, consultant and educator Debra Knapke
  • “Planting from the Ground Up,” presented by Joe Boggs, Professor of Entomology, Ohio State University


In addition, the following pre-conference workshops will be offered on Sunday, January 15:

  • oipcworkshopjuly16c-400_2_origAnnual P.L.A.N.T. Seminar (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.),  presented each winter by the Perennial Plant Association in partnership with Ohio State University Master Gardener Volunteers.
  • Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement Specialist (PICPS) Course (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), designed to educate experienced contractors about the differences between installing PICP versus regular interlocking concrete pavement systems.
  • Landscape Business Bootcamp (9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.), tailored to business owners, managers, employees and all those seeking to improve their expertise in the industry. The curriculum is based on GreenMark’s 4 Cores of Landscape Business Success:  Guiding the business, running the business, getting the business , and doing the business.

To Learn More…

For more information, including the education schedule and special events, Click Here.

email_sig_mgix17To register for MGIX 2017, Click Here.

To reserve a booth, Click Here.



MGIX 2017 Planning Guide

JR Houston Estimating Workshop for Irrigation Contractors February 18th

Estimating System Overview

In this workshop Landscape and Irrigation contractors will be Introduced to the key components of an effective estimating system.  The pros and cons of each of the six most common methods of estimating used in the market today are discussed in depth.

Training PuzzleWHERE

Ohio Turfgrass Research and Education Facility
2710 North Star Road
Columbus, Ohio 43221

Click Here for Directions


Wednesday, February 18, 2015 from 7:45 AM to 5:00 PM (EST)


$50 – Ohio Irrigation Association Members
$150 – Non-members

Eventbrite - JR Houston Estimating Workshop for Irrigation Contractors

Those who attend will be provided with a detailed explanation of the key principles involved in:
• The estimating budget process
• Calculating and controlling equipment costs
• Calculating labor burden and average wages
• Measuring, allocating, and controlling general and administrative overhead costs
• Reviewing a bid
• Determining general conditions costs in a bid
• Understanding market predisposition
• Understanding the six most common methods of estimating used n the market

Estimating Excel Workbook

Landscape and Irrigation contractors and/or key staff will learn how to use J.R. Huston Enterprises’ MS Excel worksheets (attendees will have to have their own computer) to:

  • Prepare a general and administrative (G&A) overhead and field-labor hour budget
  • Calculate labor burden, average wage, and equipment costs
  • Price/bid projects by the lump sum method
  • Measure, allocate, and control G&A overhead costs
  • Understand the total quality management (TQM) process as it relates to estimating
  • Understand the six most common methods of estimating used in the market today
  • And more…

Attendees will need:

  • A laptop computer with MS Excel and a CD drive
  • A calculator (with extension cord if necessary)
  • Note pad, pens and pencils
  • State unemployment rate *
  • Workers’ compensation insurance (WCI) rates/policy *
  • General liability insurance rates/policy *
  • Medical insurance costs
  • Most recent year-end Profit & Loss (P&L) statement *
  • Current year P&L (if available) *
            * Approximate numbers provided by Jim Huston for start-up companies


Eventbrite - JR Houston Estimating Workshop for Irrigation Contractors

Brave New World – Landscape Industry Trends

Capture the Growth – Landscape Industry Trends

Your Business!!!

Motivational Speaker – Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett PortraitIf you haven’t heard Tom speak here is your chance…

If you have heard Tom speak you will not want to miss out…

…and it’s FREE

January 7, 2015 – at the Ohio Irrigation Association’s Annual Meeting

(courtesy of our sponsors Hunter, Rain Bird & Toro)

Well known throughout the landscape industry, Tom Barrett,  has a reputation of being an innovator and accomplished corporate growth and change agent. He will be delivering a lively and exciting presentation at the Annual Ohio Irrigation Association’s Irrigation Contractor Reception on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, 6:30 P.M. at Barley’s Brew House (across the street from the Columbus Convention Center).

Tom’s presentations empower people to become masters of change, rather than victims of circumstance by developing tools for transformative thinking.

The Triangle of Success

  • Marketing – you cannot achieve anything if your potential clients don’t know about you. In the age of digital communication, Tom knows how to best reach your customers.
  • A Plant in a pile of gold coinsMotivation – passion is what drives every business – “Like what you do and do what you love.”
  • Landscape Industry Trends – The opportunity has never been greater for those of us in the green industry to build upon the growing environmental awareness. It will takeleadership to succeed.

“Tom’s been a leader with smart water technologies, green roofs, rainwater harvesting and other emerging technologies well before they became buzzwords at water conferences. It’s impressive to work with Tom because he knows his stuff from the ground up.”

– Jeff Carowitz, Strategic Force Marketing

How can Tom help you? If you want to understand the growing trends in the landscape industry, clarify your strategic vision, and leverage your resources to grow sales and market presence, you’ll benefit from Tom’s experience as a successful business owner and talented communicator.


Surviving Drought in the Landscape

By Tom Barrett

Drought! It’s do or die time for your landscape. Landscapes are one of the most valuable components of a property. Not only do landscapes make our physical environment more attractive, they can be as transforming as a fresh coat of paint on a house. More importantly, landscapes are critical to remediating our environment. Trees, shrubs, perennial, annuals and turfgrass all help to clean our air and create the oxygen we need to breathe. Preserving a landscape during a severe drought can be one of the most challenging crisis in the landscape industry. Recovering from a severe drought is frustrating to say the least. Implementing a comprehensive strategy to restore the balance of the landscape is vital to the soil and the industry.

SoilPreparation – It all starts with the soil

The soil is the lifeblood of the landscape. Soil, when properly maintained, encourages deep roots. During a drought, plant roots, the storehouse of plant carbohydrates, are the survival mechanism of the plant. Too often good soil management practices are completely overlooked in landscape management. We pay too much attention to the leaves of a plant and not enough attention to what is going on below. The foundation of any living system is in the roots.

Preparation for a drought starts with good cultural practices in the soil. Good soil aeration combined with proper fertilization encourages deep rooting. Plants will have greater success in withstanding the devastating effects of a drought if their root system has been cultivated to grow a deeper, more extensive root system.

Good soil preparation is not reserved for new landscape installations. Soil cultural practices, like aeration can be performed at anytime. Spring time is best because for most plant material spring is when a plant’s root development is most active.

Soil fertility and salinity or the amount of salt found in the soil, are important. In the spring, it is important to get a soil sample and have it tested at a soil lab. Once results have been analyzed, correcting any nutrient deficiency is the first step.

For turfgrass a spring aeration is essential to encourage deep rooted turf. Ideally, turfgrass should have rooting depths of 6 to 12 inches. For trees and shrubs, drilling several holes 2 to 4 inches in diameter, 24 to 36 inches deep around the base of the plant will encourage deeper water penetration and deeper rooting.

Filling the holes with compost will encourage healthy soil mirco-biological activity.

Mow turfgrass higher and be careful about applying too much nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen encourages top-growth of grasses at the expense of developing a strong root system.

Deep infrequent irrigation cycles also encourage deeper rooting. Mulch, properly placed around trees and shrubs also helps to preserve soil moisture.

Wilted Gerbera FlowerWilt – It is all about Water Management

When a drought happens it is important to have a plan and priority. Trees come first. Trees are expensive to replace. The loss of a the shade from a tree will increase the evaporative water losses in the surrounding area.

After establishing a healthy root system, pay close attention to the leaves of all plants. The leaves are the best indicator of a plant’s water need. When turfgrass starts to turn bluish-green it is time to add water. The wilt symptoms of many trees and shrubs will exhibit leaf folding. Sometimes the leaf folding will also display a slight change in color.

Do not fertilize during a drought. All fertilizers contain salts that will rob the plants of any moisture in the soil. Avoid fertilizing the plants until they have recovered. Fertilizing after a severe drought will usually increase leaf and stem growth at the expense of root development.

Do not prune during or immediately following a drought.

Apply water slowly and deeply to the soil. Reduce evaporative water losses by watering after the sun goes down.

Most importantly, physically check the moisture level of the soil. The soil may look dry on the surface, however with a soil probe or a six inch screwdriver stuck into the ground you can accurately determine how deep and how dry the soil may be.

Water Fall

Recovery – Water, Water, Water
Recovering trees, shrubs, and turfgrass after an extended drought is different for each type of plant. Water, water, water is the key to successful recovery, however the proper watering cycle for each type of plant is different. Monitoring the soil water level during the process will help insure a more successful recovery.

Trees require deep infrequent watering. Gently soaking the soil to a depth of 36 to 48 inches is important. Allow the soil to dry out before watering again. It is critical to avoid light frequent waterings that will only penetrate the soil to a depth of a few inches. This will result in shallow roots.

For shrubs watering to a depth of 18 to 24 inches is important. Allow the soil to dry out before watering again.

Recovering turfgrass is the most demanding watering regimen.  Initially, light frequent waterings are important.  Continuously monitor the soil moisture level with a probe or a screwdriver. Once the turf has started to recover a deeper less frequent watering schedule can be resumed.

After severe water stress all plants types slow in growth because their metabolism has been significantly reduced for survival. The water initially applied will be slowly absorbed by the plant. Water absorption by the plant will be dramatically reduced until the plant starts to become healthy again. Once the plant material starts to regain its health, it will rapidly use water.

Understanding how a plant recovers from severe water stress is vital to recovery. Nutritional and watering needs vary widely from plant to plant and from location to location. Careful soil monitoring is key to returning plants to a healthy balance following a severe drought.

In nature drought is natural part of the environment. Most native and well established plants can withstand a considerable period of time without rain. Maintaining and protecting landscapes during a drought is worth the effort when compared to the cost and time required to reestablish a landscape. The best defense against drought is a strong offense. That offense starts with a solid plan, good preparation, and the desire to work with nature to restore the balance she intended.

Note: This article originally appeared in Landscape Management






Landscape Irrigation Basics (Hands-on) at the CENTS Show, January 22

with Scott Knowles, Wolf Creek CompanyRetail Person

Register Here!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

At the CENTS Show 8 am – 4 pm

This workshop is uniquely created for those new to landscape irrigation design and installation. It includes classroom instruction as well as hands-on assembly practice for building a functioning irrigation systemThe workshop will cover irrigation layout and components, and will then move to operation system assembly and programming the controller. This course is valuable to many in the industry, especially those pursuing certifications.

Irrigation Installation Image

Please wear appropriate work clothes. Space is limited,so register today!

Workshops are not included in Nursery Short Course/CENTS admission.

OSU Campus, Howlett Headhouse $75 fee (includes, book, parking and lunch).

 Register Here!