Sustainable Practices in Landscaping

Presented by the JC Raulston Arboretum and the NC Composting Council

  • Thursday, July 26, 2018 – 8:30 am4:00 pm

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Featuring Ron Alexander, Greg Harris, Kevin Cooper, Barbara Fair, and Bryce Lane

Sustainable landscaping has many benefits for both the environment and your business. The best landscape designs are ones that strive to be responsive to local environmental conditions. Sustainable landscape practices seek to elevate this responsiveness by choosing landscape options that are regenerative, restorative, and progressive in developing the ecological health of our communities.

Landscape and green industry professionals are invited to attend this exceptional all-day conference held in partnership with the NC Composting Council. Come learn how to push your business towards more environmentally-friendly practices as leading industry players provide keynote talks on topics such as establishing soil health, maintaining turfgrass sustainably, and choosing low-impact plants. The conference will end with a session on successfully marketing your green business to customers and a panel discussion with our keynote speakers!

Don’t miss this chance to be a part of revolutionizing the "original green industry!"


8:30 am
9:00 am
Ronald Alexander
"Soil, Plant, and Environmental Benefits of Soil Health in Sustainable Landscape Practices"
10:00 am
10:15 am
Greg Harris
"Making Lawns Pop: Sustainable Practices in Turfgrass Maintenance and Establishment" and
Kevin Cooper
“Educating Customers on Sustainable vs. Traditional Turf Practices”
11:30 am
Sponsor Time (5–10 minute mini-presentations for each participating sponsor)
12:00 pm
1:00 pm
Barbara Fair, Ph.D.
"Managing for a Sustainable Landscape: Steps to Prevent Stress, Pests, and Pathogens"
2:00 pm
2:15 pm
Bryce Lane
"How to Market a Sustainable Landscaping Business"
3:00 pm
Panel (Ron, Greg, Kevin, Bryce, and additional speakers)


"Soil, Plant, and Environmental Benefits of Soil Health in Sustainable Landscape Practices"
Ronald Alexander

Healthy soils form the foundation of all beautiful landscapes. This presentation discusses the benefits of creating healthy soils in landscape applications and includes a description of appropriate product characteristics for compost used in these applications as well as insight regarding choosing and specifying the appropriate products.

"Making Lawns Pop: Sustainable Practices in Turfgrass Maintenance and Establishment"
Greg Harris

Soil is a very important element in creating sustainable lawns, a commitment to improving the soil's structure will help ensure best results for your clients. By improving the soil's organic matter content you will produce a healthier and thicker stand of grass, while reducing synthetic inputs. This presentation will outline how to discuss the benefits and challenges of an organic lawn care program with prospective clients by setting realistic expectations and delivering popping results.

"Educating Customers on Sustainable vs. Traditional Turf Practices"
Kevin Cooper

Providing proper guidance and setting realistic expectations is important when talking with prospective customers. This discussion will outline these topics and demonstrate how they represent 50% of the equation for a successful sustainable lawn care program.

sustainable landscape

"Managing for a Sustainable Landscape: Steps to Prevent Stress, Pests, and Pathogens"
Barbara Fair, Ph.D.

Developing a landscape that is resilient to insects, diseases, and abiotic disorders takes knowledge about proper management practices. To obtain a sustainable landscape you must know how to implement a comprehensive site assessment; prepare a site that encourages plant growth, water infiltration, and nutrient holding capacity; install plants correctly; and maintain plants well by applying sound fertility programs, corrective pruning, and proper irrigation techniques. By addressing all aspects of landscape management from the outset, with a future-looking perspective landscape managers will help ensure plants are healthy and long-lived and provide environmental and economic values to your client and larger community.

home landscape

"How to Market a Sustainable Landscaping Business"
Bryce Lane

With so much emphasis on sustainability in the landscape industry, we face many challenges as we try to market what we do. This talk will review the many sustainable landscape practices that most businesses already do, and identify ways we can market these services to an expanding and ever changing customer base. We will discuss ways to market many specific practices such as soil building and bed preparation, Waterwise landscaping, and energy saving and environmentally friendly landscape practices.

About the Speakers

Ronald Alexander

Ronald Alexander, President, R. Alexander Associates

Ron Alexander is a horticulturist and the president of R. Alexander Associates, a consulting company specializing in product development for organic recycled products. He has almost 35 years experience working with compost and organic recycled products. Early in his career, Ron was the vice president of marketing for one of the first compost brokerage firms. Since becoming a consultant, he has authored the Field Guide to Compost Use, AASHTO Specifications for Compost Use in Erosion Control, and Landscape Architecture Specifications for Compost Utilization. He was also the co-manager of the U.S. Composting Council's Seal of Testing Assurance Program (national compost testing program), and is the author of many state and national compost application specifications.

Greg Harris

Greg Harris, Owner, Leapfrog Landcare

Greg Harris is the owner of Leapfrog Landcare, a full-service landscaping company based in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. Greg is an ISA Certified Arborist with over 15 years experience in the landscaping industry.

Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper, Vice President, Cooper's Landscape Management

Kevin is vice president of Cooper's Landscape Management in Virginia Beach, a family legacy company in their 45th year of business. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University majoring in communications. Kevin is past president of the Professional Horticultural Conference of Virginia, and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Virginia Tech's Hampton Road's Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Barbara Fair

Barbara Fair, Ph.D., Associate Professor, NC State University

Barbara Fair is an associate professor in the Department of Horticultural Science and the landscape specialist for North Carolina. She provides expertise to Extension faculty and the green industry, focusing extensively on issues of landscape sustainability and arboriculture. In addition, Barbara teaches Landscape Ecosystem Management and Green Infrastructure: The Functional Use of Plants in Urban Landscapes at NC State in the four year program. She is a certified arborist with an extensive arboriculture and urban forestry background.

Barbara earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s from Penn State University and obtained her Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Bryce Lane

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University

Bryce grew up in Western Massachusetts, where he discovered his passion for plants and telling others about them, working at a local garden center through high school and college. After earning his B.S. in plant science from the University of Massachusetts in 1979 and an M.S. in horticulture from The Ohio State University in 1981, he came to the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University as a lecturer, teaching in both the two-year and four-year programs. He taught plant identification at NC State for 18 years. In 1987, he became the undergraduate coordinator, serving the department in that capacity for 26 years. Bryce taught both large and small courses, for majors and non-majors. In the past 30+ years, he has taught more than 20,000 students. He has received numerous local, regional, and national teaching awards and is frequently invited to speak at many workshops and symposia, about teaching as well as horticulture and gardening. He hosted and produced a three-time, Emmy winning UNC TV public television show called "In the Garden With Bryce Lane" which was on the air for 11 seasons. Most importantly, he has been married for 37 years to his high school sweetheart, has two happily married daughters, and six incredible grandchildren.

Continuing Education Credits

Continuing education credit (4 hours) have been approved by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Continuing education credit (3.25 hours) has been approved by the NC Board of Landscape Architects. The course number is 13006.

Continuing education credit (4.25L and 0.75B) has been approved by the NC Landscape Contractors' Licensing Board. The course number is CE 1118.

Continuing education credit (D:2.5, L:2.5, N:2.5, and X:2.5) has been approved by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The course number is 485803.


The JC Raulston Arboretum and the NC Composting Council would like to thank the following for sponsoring Sustainable Practices in Landscaping:
City of Raleigh
Early registration (ends July 18): $50.00; late registration (begins July 19): $75.00.
Advance registration is required. Please register online using our registration e-store. Registration is limited and is considered complete when payment is received.
Ruby C. McSwain Education Center, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please call (919) 513-7005 for more information about this program.