AOLCP December cont. 2010 News
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Dec. cont enews 


Tis the season for Winter Conferences at NOFA - cont.



NOFA Massachusetts Winter Conference - Saturday, January 15, 2011, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. 

Worcester Technical High School

1 Skyline Drive
Worcester, Massachusetts

For more information go to this site


-NOFA New Jersey Winter Conference - Saturday - Sunday, January 29 - 30, 2011

Princeton Environmental Institute

Princeton University
Guyot Hall, Room 129
Princeton, NJ 08544

For more information go to this site   


-NOFA New York Winter Conference - Friday - Sunday, January, 21-23, 2011

Saratoga Hilton and City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY

Look at this site for more information. 


-NOFA Vermont Winter Conference - Saturday - Monday, February 12, 13, & 14, 2011

At the University of Vermont

50 University Place
Burlington, VT 05405

 Go to this site for more information. 


-NOFA New Hampshire Winter Conference - Saturday March 6th, 2011
Rundlett Middle School

144 South Street 

Concord, NH 03301-2398 

For more information go to this site



Out and About ... Matt Kucik - cont. 



Kucik and Meridian ran an extensive organic lawn fertilization pilot program, following the NOFA 5-day course and Chip Osborne's two-day organic lawn seminar last winter, and said he'll launch it officially in Spring 2011.

"At least one local town, Reston, Va., has outlawed the use of phosphorus for commercial fertilizer applicators," he said, thanks largely to work by the Reston Association, a large homeowners' group.

            "People know that chemicals are bad, and what catches their attention is that we don't use chemicals on lawn care," he said. "Most people look to us to help them better understand organic programs so I explain soil health and the 'right plant, right place' concept."

Kucik also recently hired a landscape designer with a marketing background. They plan to  re-design the company website and update their Google analytics to integrate the organic lawn care program.

            "I haven't marketed myself as 'organic' yet but we understand that this is the direction of the landscape industry," he said.

            Kucik has always been leery of chemicals. "We've always used a lot of compost to amend the soil. We're using 'right plant, right place' and we're using more native plants that are appropriate for this region," he said. "With one commercial client, over the last couple of years, we've been able to plant perennials and native plants, where before we had annuals. I'm not sure what the company's incentive is (aside from going 'greener,') but they're trying to change their landscaping budget to include perennials rather than annuals, which makes much more sense and saves time, energy and effort."

            Partnering with SAI Contractors, a LEED certified contractor, Kucik has also installed several permeable driveways and a bio-retention pond.

            He has found success approaching clients with new ideas and suggests landscapers "not be afraid to try new things" with customers. "More often than not, what you want to try works and has positive results," said Kucik, who maintains a simple philosophy that guides his work:

            "From a professional perspective, people see us as the experts so we need to be responsible and accountable for our actions and for what we're recommending to our clients. On a personal level, we have to take care of the resources we have and it's just the right thing to do."


NOFA Standards

Water conservation and protection of water quality should be factored into site design and management practices. Existing natural water features (wetlands, streams, ponds) on and near the property should be identified and protected. Where appropriate, excessive rainwater runoff should be minimized by promoting infiltration with rain gardens or other rainwater collection techniques. Soil texture (sand/silt/clay) as it affects water-holding capacity and depth to groundwater (which fluctuates seasonally based on rainfall and plant uptake) are important factors in plant selection.



-Right plant, right place-choose plants suited to site conditions

-Minimize impermeable areas (driveways, terraces, etc.)

-Minimize lawn areas (to reduce irrigation needs)

-Direct runoff to natural depressions or infiltration areas

-Create/maintain natural buffers along watercourses and wetlands

-Rainwater collection properly maintained to prevent mosquito breeding and contamination

-Provide appropriate water sources for wildlife

-Rain gardens

-Use mulches and plants to retain moisture

-Choose plants that minimize the need for irrigation, pest and disease control

-Maintain existing soil structure



-Irrigation only when necessary based on soil type and plant needs

-Retention basins designed by a professional engineer that meet all applicable laws

-Drainage of non-wetland areas where regulations permit, providing the outflow causes no

damage to the surrounding environment

-Use of gray water for irrigation of non-edible plants

-Improve soil structure to reduce compaction and erosion



-Excessive irrigation that may cause water run-off, puddles, compaction, disease or growth

of slime mold in lawns

-Inappropriate plant choice-avoid plants that are not suited to site conditions

-Surface water causing flooding or erosion problems

-Leaching of nutrients and/or soil amendments through runoff

-Drainage or filling of wetland areas



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