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Arbor Intern Grows Through Experiencing Daily Challenges and Obstacles!

This is a guest post, written by Matt, about his intern experience with us this summer.

Interning with Yellowstone Landscape’s Arbor Division in Southwest Houston has been a rewarding experience, showing me what to expect from my future career, and realizing I made a great choice in studying Urban Forestry at Stephen F. Austin State University.  Arboriculture has always been an interest of mine and this internship has only piqued and focused this interest into what may be a lifelong endeavor.

As an Intern at Yellowstone Landscape, I have worked in the heat hauling brush and using a chipper, climbed trees and trimmed them with a chainsaw, excavated trenches and installed root barriers, pruned with an extended chainsaw, and stacked giant logs moved by a crane.  I’ve also gathered valuable experience in the sales sector; from shadowing my Mentors, to bidding my own jobs and managing and supervising crews.  Bidding jobs has boosted my confidence by meeting with clients in a professional environment.  My Mentors have provided supportive guidance and instruction while also giving me the freedom to use my intellect and make important decisions.

One of my favorite experiences was the removal of a large ash tree in a client’s front yard.  It was a huge tree with two main branches, each the size of large tree. One of the branches was leaning over the house and had the potential to cause tremendous damage if it fell.  A few years prior the tree was bolted at the base and cabled throughout the crown to keep it standing.  A recent storm caused some splitting of the base and the bolt was visible where it wasn’t before, so the homeowner decided it was time to have the tree removed.  We started around 7:30 AM and it took until 4 PM to finish.  I helped with hauling limbs to the chipper and stacking logs to be picked up later that day.  It was hot and humid, and our climber was pushing to finish in one day.  Late in the morning a section of limb became wedged between him and the tree while he was roping it down. This was a little scary, but he managed to get around it and drop it the way he intended. We could tell he had become fatigued and it was time for a break.  After lunch he went right back to the removal and worked with even more gumption than he had earlier in the day.  Once he had the tree down to a snag, the foreman decided to saw it and let it fall in the yard. When the snag dropped, it split in two showing that it was completely hollow in the middle.  Had this tree not been bolted and cabled, it would have failed long ago.  

It was interesting to see that the past work of an arborist kept a tree standing that wouldn’t be otherwise, and that over time, even with these mitigation techniques, the tree became dangerous as it decayed.  Best takeaway; a questionable tree and the installed hardware should be inspected regularly.

This was the most challenging job I’ve seen a single climber do, and he did it very well. He was tied in climbing around and using a chainsaw from 7:30 to 3:00 with only one brief break.  I have a lot of respect for these climbers, and having done a little climbing myself, I know that they are in much better shape than I am.  It is a difficult and dangerous job that takes a tremendous amount of effort and skill to perform. 

Being an Intern with Yellowstone Landscape’s Arbor Division has provided me the opportunity to learn many aspects of arboriculture.  My interest in this field has increased significantly and I have confidence that I will be successful in the future.  Yellowstone Landscape is a wonderful company to Intern with, and I highly recommend it to students for future work experience!

 

 

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3 Outdoor Hazards on Your Property (And How to Prevent Them with Landscape Maintenance)

Avoiding injuries - it’s a concern property managers and owners always have in the back of their minds. Owning a commercial property ultimately means that you are liable in the event anyone gets hurt. Routine maintenance is constantly performed inside the building to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing, functional and up to code. Likewise, you want to make sure your landscape is always safe. Several hazards can appear on almost any commercial lawn, but a quick response will easily eliminate them as threats.

1. Diseased or Damaged Trees
Trees bring a lot of beauty to a landscape. However, they can also bring quite a few dangers especially after a stormy or windy day. Pay attention to how well all your trees are holding up so that you know when it is an ideal time to remove a dying one. A tree that is leaning more than 15 degrees to the side needs to be handled right away because a high gust of wind could easily knock it over. In particular, you want to pay attention to trees that are near power lines or buildings because those can result in significant property damage as well.

In addition to removing the tree, you also want to make sure you deal with the stump that is left behind. The stump should be eliminated the same time the tree is being taken down. A stump can trip someone, and it makes the perfect habitat for termites, cockroaches and other troublesome pests.

2. Debris-Ridden Walkways
Everything from parks to apartment complexes should have a walkway so that people do not have to walk across the grass to get to the building. Leaves, branches and other pieces of debris will fall onto the walkway over time, resulting in a significant hazard. Slip and fall cases are one of the most common lawsuits in the country, and you do not want anyone slipping and hurting themselves while on your commercial property.

3. Flooding and Standing Water
You want to be certain there is an efficient system in place that prevents water from pooling on your landscape. Water can make its way onto walkways, and increase the risk of someone falling. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can pester guests. Keeping water away will also protect your building from any water damage.

Find exceptional landscapers who can assist you with Yellowstone Landscape. Learn more by calling 877-785-6685.

Avoiding injuries- it’s a concern property managers and owners always have in the back of their minds. Owning a commercial property ultimately means that you are liable in the event anyone gets hurt. Routine maintenance is constantly performed inside the building to ensure it is aesthetically pleasing, functional and up to code. Likewise, you want to make sure your landscape is always safe. Several hazards can appear on almost any commercial lawn, but a quick response will easily eliminate them as threats.

 

1. Diseased or Damaged Trees

 

Trees bring a lot of beauty to a landscape. However, they can also bring quite a few dangers especially after a stormy or windy day. Pay attention to how well all your trees are holding up so that you know when it is an ideal time to remove a dying one. A tree that is leaning more than 15 degrees to the side needs to be handled right away because a high gust of wind could easily knock it over. In particular, you want to pay attention to trees that are near power lines or buildings because those can result in significant property damage as well.

 

In addition to removing the tree, you also want to make sure you deal with the stump that is left behind. The stump should be eliminated the same time the tree is being taken down. A stump can trip someone, and it makes the perfect habitat for termites, cockroaches and other troublesome pests.

 

2. Debris-Ridden Walkways

 

Everything from parks to apartment complexes should have a walkway so that people do not have to walk across the grass to get to the building. Leaves, branches and other pieces of debris will fall onto the walkway over time, resulting in a significant hazard. Slip and fall cases are one of the most common lawsuits in the country, and you do not want anyone slipping and hurting themselves while on your commercial property.

 

3. Flooding and Standing Water

 

You want to be certain there is an efficient system in place that prevents water from pooling on your landscape. Water can make its way onto walkways, and increase the risk of someone falling. Standing water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can pester guests. Keeping water away will also protect your building from any water damage.

 

Find exceptional landscapers who can assist you with Yellowstone Landscape. Learn more by calling 877-

785-6685.
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Notes from our 2017 Leadership Forum

“You must Consistently Communicate that you are Competent and you Care.”

That’s what leadership expert John Spence calls “The 4 C’s of Trust”. And that awesomely simple sentence was just one of the many remarkable takeaways from our company’s 2017 Leadership Forum.

Last week, leaders from across our Yellowstone Landscape branches came together for three days of focus, fellowship, and fun. There were open, honest discussions about what we did well in 2016 and where we will improve in 2017. There were important lessons shared among friends and colleagues over lunches and dinners. There were moments of congratulations as we recognized the special successes of our 3 award-winning branches.

Here are a few of the highlights and lessons our leaders are taking back to their teams this week:

The week began with a State of the Company keynote from our CEO, Tim Portland, where we heard that our strategy remains the same as it’s always been:

Our goal is to be the best commercial landscaping company in the southern United States. And we define ‘best’ by measuring our performance in our five pillars of operational excellence: Safety, Customer Service Excellence, Financial Responsibility, Growth, and Team Building.”

We listened to the voice of our customers, as our EVP, Bill Dellecker, reviewed the results of our recently completed annual customer survey. While in many areas our customers told us we were doing a great job, when we analyze the results more deeply, we’ve found areas we can improve. Thank you to all of our customers who took the time to help us serve you better.

The highlight for most of our team was the workshop presented by international business leadership expert John Spence, where he shared his thoughts on the keys to excellence in customer service. His concept of “extreme client focus” has been a part of our company’s culture for a number of years, but through his workshop many of our branch leaders now have long lists of actionable items they will implement to make sure they’re serving our customers well.

Finally, there are three of our branches that are proudly displaying some new trophies in their offices this week.

Our first award given out was our Client Engagement Award, presented to the Charleston, SC Landscape Maintenance team. This award recognizes the branch location that had the highest scores on our annual client survey and has consistently served their clients well throughout the previous year.

The next award was presented to our North Houston Landscape Maintenance team; our Emerging Branch of the Year. The award recognizes their rapid year over year growth and the quality of service they are providing to all their clients.

Lastly, some special congratulations to our Branch of the Year for 2016, Houston Tree Care Services. Our Tree Care team in Houston had an amazing 2016, serving more than two thousand clients in the greater Houston area. Tree services are potentially a dangerous business, but our Houston Tree Care Team has proven that you can work safely and efficiently; in fact, those things go hand in hand.

After a special few days together, our branch leaders return home with a laser focus on providing customer service excellence in 2017 and with a clear definition of what Leadership means at Yellowstone Landscape:

“Leadership is driving ideas and changes to make improvements in important results.”

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Why Commercial Landscaping Clients Should Care About Pokemon Go

Seriously. You should pay attention to this thing. Give me three minutes and I’ll tell you why.

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Safety Spotlight #2

In our next installment of our Safety Spotlight, we recognize Eldrin from our Charleston landscape installation branch for his safety efforts.

Eldrin is working along a roadway in Goose Creek, prepping for a sod installation. He's using several cones and his Transition Area Warning Device to create a safe work zone for himself, and was also wearing all of his required PPE. 

Nicely done, Eldrin!  Thank you for putting your safety training into practice.

We look forward to seeing who ends up in our next Safety Spotlight post.

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Safety Works! Program Launches

Safety is the most important measure of success for our company.  Commercial landscaping is a dangerous business, so keeping our crews, our clients, and their property safe requires constant focus.

We recently launched our internal ‘Safety Works!’ program, designed to encourage our Landscape Professionals to work safely in the field. In return for putting their safety knowledge into safety practice, they have the chance to earn an extra incentive when they’re caught in the act - of safety.

It’s been a very successful program so far, and it’s easy to participate.  We ask our staff to send in photos from the field, telling us who’s in the photo, where they are, and what they’re doing safely.  We collect and share the photos and details with our whole company, recognizing our Landscape Professionals who are working safely across the company and reminding us all to work safely.

We hope you’ll enjoy seeing our Landscape Professionals in our upcoming Safety Spotlight features.

 

We start with a photo of Anthony from our Charleston Install branch.  Working beside a small residential roadway, in a construction area, with no vehicle to protect him, he’s using his traffic control devices to create a safe work zone for himself. Thank you, Anthony, for setting a great example in our first Safety Spotlight!

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Severe Weather and Your Property's Landscape

As we approach November 30th, the official end of hurricane season, we are grateful

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How Safety Conscious is Your Landscape Service?

I recently came across an infographic that detailed exactly how dangerous the landscape service business really is.  Here at Yellowstone Landscape, we’re fortunate to have a leadership team that takes our Culture of Safety very seriously, but the statistics cited in the research indicate that not every company in our business is so focused on protecting their employees.  While we’re certainly not perfect, we believe that how well a landscape service contractor cares for their people is a direct reflection of how well they will care for their clients.

 

Here are a few things pulled from our Safety Program that you can use to start a discussion about safety with your landscape service provider:

 

Company Vehicles and Equipment

  • Do not use a cell phone when operating vehicles or equipment unless it is an emergency. Also, do not engage in other unsafe activities (such as taking notes, reading maps, etc.) when operating vehicles or equipment.
  • Use cones, barricades, and other warning devices provided when working in traffic areas. Do not park vehicles or equipment where they are likely to get hit.
  • Turn off vehicles and equipment when they are not in use. Take the keys with you. Do not leave equipment unattended.
  • Only operate vehicles and equipment after you have been trained.
  • Do not allow passengers on any equipment and do not allow unauthorized persons to operate company vehicles or equipment.
  • Promptly report any missing or damaged safety devices to your supervisor. Do not operate equipment with missing or defective safety devices until they have been replaced.
  • Do not remove or disable guards, shields, or other safety devices unless you have been authorized to do so. Never bypass a safety device.

 

Employees Attire and Protection

  • When appropriate, dress according to your job standards. If you are working in the field, this includes: long pants and long-sleeved shirts, socks, boots or shoes with sturdy, nonslip soles, chemical-protection clothing and footwear when handling chemicals, and a hat for sun protection during the hot summer months.
  • Do not wear jewelry, drawstrings, or loose or frayed clothing when operating or working near powered machinery or equipment.
  • Wear a safety vest at all times where work zones include traffic.
  • Always use the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — safety glasses, goggles, earplugs, gloves, hard hats, etc. — that has been assigned for the particular task. If your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) does not fit properly, immediately tell your supervisor so that it can be replaced.

 

General Safety Best Practices

  • Inspect work areas, equipment, and job sites for hazards before starting your work each day. Immediately report any unsafe conditions to your supervisor so that corrections can be made before you start work.
  • Think safety at all times. Do not distract coworkers or engage in roughhousing, horseplay, fights, or similar activities that increase the chances of an accident.
  • Do not take shortcuts and do not run.
  • Always use appropriate fall protection if not working at ground level.
  • Lift correctly to avoid sprains, strains, and back injuries. Always lift within your limits and never lift or move an object that weighs 50 pounds or more by yourself. Seek assistance from a coworker for heavy loads.
  • Practice good housekeeping at all times. Keep your work area and job sites free of objects and debris that could be tripping hazards. Do not allow oil, water, or other substances to remain on floors so they become slip hazards. Return all tools and equipment to their proper location at the end of the day.

 

The infographic, courtesy of Bolt Insurance, is available here

 

Safety – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

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CORPORATE OFFICES

3235 North State Street
PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

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Building lasting relationships.