Nov 2, 2009
Around the IndustrySource: Various

GSI Horticultural Charged with Protecting Capitol Christmas Tree

GSI Horticultural of Bend, Ore., will be protecting this year’s Capitol Christmas tree with its antitranspirant, Moisturin. The tree, an 85-foot blue spruce, still stands in its secret location in the White Mountains of Arizona but will soon begin its journey toward Washington, D.C. GSI Horticultural is part of the team tasked with protecting and caring for the tree; Moisturin will help prevent water-loss stress on its trip eastward. The blue spruce will also get an application of GSI’s Root-Zone.

To help keep the tree healthy, National Forest Service officials will spray the tree twice with Moisturin before it’s cut. Then in early November it will be felled and transported on a flatbed truck for display around its native state of Arizona, then it will be paraded through numerous cities on its way to the Capitol. Along the way, the tree is expected to “drink” up to 65 gallons each day of a Root-Zone and water solution administered through a rubber boot around the tree’s trunk.

To follow the tree’s progress and get updates on the protection and care of this years Capitol Christmas tree, visit

McConkey Co. Adds to Sales Staff

McConkey Co. recently announced the appointment of Lance Lawson as the new sales manager for its Mountain States territory, which includes northern Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Lawson comes to McConkey with 13 years of sales and horticultural experience.

Most recently, Lawson was responsible for management and sales of fertilizers and plant-growth managers at Bio Huma Netics, Inc. Prior to that, he was the district manager for Sun Gro Horticulture. McConkey is the exclusive West Coast distributor of Sun Gro products.

“[Lawson] has a wonderful reputation and record for increasing sales for every company he has represented,” said Ed McConkey, McConkey’s CEO and president. “We’re confident he will do the same for McConkey.”

For more information on McConkey Co., visit the company’s website.

Hortica Announces Staff Expansion

Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits has announced the appointment of Jaye Hamel and Maria C. Shepherd. Hamel will serve horticultural businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. Shepherd will serve horticultural businesses in California, Arizona and Nevada.

Jaye Hamel, based in the Philadelphia area, handles commercial property and casualty insurance sales for Hortica. She has five years of experience in insurance as well as a strong agriculture background: She was raised on a fresh vegetable farm in southern New Jersey, was actively involved in the local 4-H program and graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s in agricultural and applied economics.

Maria Shepherd has dedicated herself to the retail florist market since 1994 and previously worked for Hortica for 10 years as an insurance account executive serving clients in southern California. After working with other retail markets outside of the floral industry, she returned to Hortica. Four years prior to Hortica, Shepherd worked as an FTD field business consultant in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino markets.

For more information about Hortica, call (800) 851-7740 or visit the company’s website.

Agri-Fab Earns National Attention

Agri-Fab and its products recently took the national stage: The company’s push spike aerator was featured on NBC’s Today Show in late October as part of a segment on fall fix-ups with Lou Manfredini, a home improvement expert and broadcast personality. Manfredini touted the push aerator as an eco-friendly way to prepare lawns for the harsh winter months ahead. You can watch the full segment here.

Another Agri-Fab product, the Agri-Fab push sweeper, had a moment in the spotlight when it was highlighted as a “cool tool” in the October issue of This Old House magazine. The sweeper was touted as an innovative solution to rid the lawn of leaves and an alternative to the gas-guzzling leaf blower or old-fashioned rake.

For fall lawn care tips, educational videos and information on the latest lawn care tools, visit Agri-Fab’s website.

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