AOLCP November 2010 News

10th Annual 5-day NOFA Course in Organic Land Care 

Please help us get the word out on our upcoming 10th Annual 5-day NOFA Course in Organic Land Care.

The courses will be held in:

Newburyport, MA on January 12,13,14,18, and 19th, 2011.  The location is at Parker River Wildlife Refuge, 6 Plum Island Tpke.  With a snow date of January 20th.

New Haven, CT on January 24, 25, 26, 27, and 28th, 2011.  The location is CT Agricultural Experiment Station, 123 Huntington St. With a snow date of January 31st.

Providence, RI on February 17, 18, 22, 23, and 24th, 2011. Location is at Save the Bay Center, 100 Save the Bay Drive.  Snow date February 25th.

The flyers for the 10th Annual 5-day NOFA Course in Organic Land Care are available for you to share with others. Please e-mail  RJ, or call at 203-888-5146 for copies of the flyer.  Help grow this incredible movement that we belong to.

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Scholarships for the 5-day NOFA Course in OLC

NOFA OLC is excited to announce the availability of partial scholarships for the CT and RI NOFA Course in Organic Land Care. Non-profit and Municipal employees are encouraged to apply.  Scholarship recipients who are NOFA Accredited will be awarded up to $165 to apply to the course fee. Scholarships are limited and are reviewed on a rolling basis. 


-          Download the scholarship application

-          Return completed application to RJ <>  Mercedes


January 3, 2010 - New Haven, CT - NOFA Course in Organic Land Care

February 1, 2010 - Providence, RI - NOFA Course in Organic Land Care

-           Scholarship recipients are required to complete a total of 5 volunteer hours within
             a year of the award date.

-           Scholarship awards are applied to the base cost of the course (regular course discounts cannot be      applied)

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Corridors to Sustainability: Designing With the Natural Context 


2010 NOFA OLC Annual Gathering  -  December 7th, UCONN campus, Student Union, Storrs, CT

Keynote Speaker: Doug Tallamy


This Annual Gathering will explore biodiversity related to our role as landcare professionals.  Join us for this  year's outstanding line-up of speakers.

Join Doug Tallamy as he explores how to create biodiverse, beautiful and socially acceptable landscapes. Hear research conservationist, Dr. Michael Klemens, speak about maintaining and enhancing opportunities for wildlife through informed landscaping and how to and promote ecological resiliency and Carolyn Summers, author of Designing Gardens With Flora Of The American East on how native plants form the basis of the food web. Catherine Zimmerman, author of Urban and Suburban Meadows, will also speak on creating meadows and how to get the word out on organic.  We are also thrilled to have entomologist, Kim Stoner, one of the founders and former chair of the OLC Program, speak to us about pollinators and the landscape.

Course cost with the early registration discount is $75 for AOLCPs.  This is the last NOFA course offering before the reaccreditation deadline.  This is also the only course offered in 2010 that can be applied to your 2012 accreditation.

Interested in exhibiting or becoming a sponsor of the event?  Contact John Weedon at


We will have a staff member available to assist AOLCPs learn more about navigating the online searchable database; stop by at the booth for some hands-on practice.  

Register online, or 203-888-5146

This course is worth 6 AOLCP credits


Have you been an Accredited Professional for 5 years?  Join us at the Annual Gathering to receive your 5 year Acorn pin award!                                                                                                


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24th Annual NOFA Mass Winter Conference   

This exciting event is being held on Saturday, January 15, 2011, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. 


Worcester Technical High School

1 Skyline Drive
Worcester, Massachusetts


Featuring Keynote Speaker: Michael Phillips of Lost Nation Orchard, Groveton, NH. 60 Workshops, Dozens of Exhibitors and Vendors, Children's Program, Potluck Lunch. For more information go to their website.  


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Out and About -  Rich Lassor 
Berkshire Organic Land Care Professional says..."Nature Works!"  
By Kathy Litchfield


Rich LassorRich Lassor had been working at a nursery in Great Barrington for seven years, when he was bit by the organic bug. 

"I had graduated from UMass/ Stockbridge School and had been doing design /installation work for a reputable nursery.  My wife and I were expecting our first child when organics became important to us. I knew we didn't want pesticides in our food, but I didn't have a complete understanding about organic agriculture. We wanted to do everything we could to ensure our growing family's health. Organics made perfect sense," said Lassor.

            It wasn't until he attended a lecture by Jeff Frank of the Nature Lyceum, that he started to make the connection to organics and his landscaping career.

"Jeff helped me make a connection between landscaping and the importance of understanding and appreciating the natural systems at work in our world,"  he said. "I remember taking Jeff's two day course at The Nature Lyceum in Feb. of 2006 and coming home a changed man, knowing I would quit my job and start an organic land care service."

In the spring of 2006, Lassor founded Nature Works Land Care. He became NOFA accredited in January of 2007 in Massachusetts, joined the Ecological Landscape Association and began feeling like his work had more meaning than just designing and planting landscape plants.

            "Organics has meaning to me. Landscaping is essentially a luxury item, an indulgence.  When you're doing things organically, you're working with this incredible system, teaching people about the importance of health in their homes and lives," he said. "That is inspiring!"         Continue reading.


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AOLCP Search Changes


We would like to inform you of upcoming changes that will be made to the online searchable database of Accredited Professionals, AOLCP Search.  We are enacting these changes in an effort to simplify and create a more user-friendly environment within the account management section of the database.  The following is a list of changes that will be made:

*        Users will continue to search and sort businesses in the main AOLCPdatabase; the business search link will be removed.
*        Restrictions on the business name field will be removed (if you are a business owner, please coordinate with your employees who are AOLCPs)
*        All data fields in the account management page will be made public. The option to make data entered into these fields public or private will be

These updates are scheduled for the week of November 8th. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns by emailing

Take advantage of AOLCP Search!    

We have 75 visitors per month using our search tool to find themselves an organic landscaper.

Many NOFA AOLCPs have yet to complete their profile.  This search tool located on our website is a great opportunity to publicize yourself to potential clients
seeking a NOFA accredited professional in their area!  Stand out by adding pictures, selecting the services you provide and adding a description of your business to your profile. If you are interested in learning more, here
is a link to our 
   primer to help
you get started! 



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AOLCPs in Action...
Bettylou Sandy- from Bettylou's Gardening, CT has gone back to school, but this time she is teaching classes at Manchester Community College, Continuing Education.  Here is a list of some of the classes that she is currently teaching. Become a Professional Gardening- 2/8, 2/10;   Organic Lawn Care- 2/15; and Edible Schoolyards- 2/23. View a complete listing of the classes that Bettylou is teaching. 

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Nantucket Land Council supports our Accreditation Course

What a generous gesture! The Nantucket Land Council announced that they will provide $1,000 scholarships for local landscapers, gardeners, and municipal workers to attend the Northeast Organic Farming Association's 5-day Accreditation Course. The NLC has distributed $30,000 in scholarships over the last three years, and Nantucket now boasts the highest number of NOFA accredited organic land care professionals per capita than any other community in the USA. Contact the Nantucket Land Council office at 508-228-2818 or email to request your scholarship application.

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Also of Interest...   


  Booklet - The Ecological Landscaping Association has an informative booklet titled Discover Ecological Landscaping, for viewing on-line  and to purchase in bulk. 

  Facebook -  join us on Facebook. Please take a look...    Find us on Facebook      

  i-Tree - " a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree Tools help communities of all sizes to strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide." 

  Tree benefit calculator - allows anyone to make a simple estimation of the benefits individual street-side trees provide. View this i-Tree site.

  Compost for city-dwellers - this is a grist article that might be of interest to your urban clients.

"If you're going to all the trouble to eat locally grown, organic vegetables, it's rather a shame to truck their remains away to landfill prison when you could be feeding them back to the earth."  Smith, D.M.




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Current AOLCP Credit Opportunities

The following classes and events have been approved for OLC credits.  In order to see a complete description of an event and the number of credits that will be awarded for attendance please go to the credit opportunities page of our website.  When you click on an event title, a complete description, including time, place, registration information, and number of credits will open.

11/5/10 - Woody Plant Identification and Natural History in Winter, NY
11/6/10 - Ornamental Woody Plants: Broadleaved Evergreens, Bronx, NY
11/6/10 - Soil as a Super Organism, MA
11/8/10 - Season's-End Summit: Taking Stock and Looking Forward, MA
11/10/10 - Sensational Winter Plants, MA
11/12/10 - Turn Your Company Into A Destination Company, CT
11/16/10 - Designing a Sustainable Landscape, Bronx, NY
11/17/10 - Introduction to Plant Propagation, Bronx, NY
11/19/10 - Managing Landscapes Sustainably Conference, NY
12/1/10 - Using Computers for Gardening and Designing with Native Plants, NY
12/4/10 - Identifying and Enjoying Herbaceous Plants in the Late Fall, MA
12/7/10 - NOFA OLC Annual Gathering. Corridors to Sustainability: Designing within the Natural Context, Storrs, CT 
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NOFA Standards Review  


The following excerpt on Principles of Organic Land Care can be found on page 5 of the NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care.


Disease Control



Plant pathogenic organisms infecting turf, herbaceous plants, and woody ornamental trees and shrubs

include fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and phytoplasmas. These organisms can be dispersed by

wind and water, insects, mites, and other organisms, by contaminated tools and equipment, and by

human activities such as planting, pruning, and cultivating. Although these organisms are usually

present in the environment, they often infect stressed or weakened plants. As a consequence, the key to

disease management is prevention by maintaining plant and soil health. A disease management program

should consist of a program for managing plant health that includes scouting and prevention. Client

education is another important component of disease management since not all plant diseases require or

warrant aggressive strategies for control. For example, foliar leaf spots are considered cosmetic or

aesthetic diseases as compared with blights or dieback diseases, which have significant implications for

plant health.

All relevant laws should be followed in the application of any material used as a pesticide This includes

biological and botanical products used as pesticides. State licenses are required for commercial

application of any pesticides. Check with your state government about the need for additional licenses

that might be required to care, prune, or apply pesticides in certain situations.

It is illegal to apply materials for disease management unless they are registered by the Environmental

Protection Agency and the state government and are labeled for specific plants and diseases. The label is

the law, including restrictions for use on a crop or plant species and requirements for worker protection

(such as use of protective clothing and reentry intervals). In addition, posting signs and neighbor

notification may be required, depending upon the laws in your state.



-Building and maintaining healthy fertile soil, rich in organic matter, with balanced nutrients,

pH, and trace elements (see Soil Health). Nutrient toxicities and deficiencies can weaken

plants and make them more vulnerable to diseases as well as secondary pathogens or

opportunistic pests. Potassium has also been identified as an element that can enhance

disease resistance.

-Maintaining proper soil pH for the plant species (usually 6.4-7.0)

-Planting disease-resistant species and varieties

-Avoiding monocultures. For example: A monoculture of perennial rye grass can be heavily

infected by rust. However, if the lawn had been planted with 2-3 other grass species, the

highly susceptible perennial rye grass would be infected but the other types of grass might

be resistant or tolerant of the infection

-Carefully checking for symptoms and signs of disease on nursery stock before purchasing

trees, shrubs, or sod and by checking the root systems for evidence of disease prior to


-Using adequate spacing to promote and encourage overall plant health and good air


-Using good sanitation practices. Pruning dead, dying, damaged, or diseased branches.

Removing infected leaves, twigs, branches, needles, and cones around the base of trees and

shrubs in the fall to remove sources of inoculum. Removing infected grass clippings from

the lawn or eliminating infected hosts and replanting with disease-resistant cultivars.

Infected plant debris should be properly composted or removed from the site.

-Developing a plant health care plan. This should include scouting to detect and identify

diseases as early as possible. Scouting should be done at least twice a month for trees and

shrubs and if possible, once a week for turf. In time, trends develop and "hot spots" of

disease activity emerge. These hot spots are often consistent and are usually associated with

microclimates that exist in most landscapes. Plotting these areas on a map works well for

future reference. It is also helpful to consult with local extension service, Experiment

station, or university personnel to keep informed about what other professionals are seeing

in the field and obtain results of disease forecasting or other prediction models.



-Preparations of beneficial microbes with EPA labels as biocontrol agents that antagonize or

compete with specific plant pathogens.

-Potassium bicarbonate

-Insecticidal soaps

-Plant-derived anti-desiccants and anti-transpirants

-Plant or microbe-derived products used to enhance plant growth and improve soil health

-Hydrogen peroxide

-Copper products (e.g., copper sulfate, copper sulfur)


-Lime sulfur

-Neem products

-Refined (horticultural) oils used as dormant and growing season application



-All synthetic chemical fungicides

-Petrochemical based anti-desiccants

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