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Skaggs: Learn from industry experts at horticulture conference
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If you’re part of Georgia’s landscape horticulture industry, you will definitely want to attend the Winter Green 2010, Georgia’s premiere horticulture conference later this month.

The Georgia Green Industry Association has an exciting opportunity for landscape and turf professionals who want to gain new skills, as well as see the latest in plants and products. GGIA is hosting the annual WinterGreen Trade Show and the Winter School Training Seminars at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth on Jan. 27-29.

Winter Green includes more than 275 exhibitor booths, pesticide credit hours, great networking opportunities, excellent speakers, testing for the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional and the latest plants and new products in the horticulture industry.

The three-day conference offers workshops and seminars designed to bring industry professionals the latest in water management, landscaping, nursery practices and marketing. Many workshops earn pesticide recertification credit hours.

Educational workshops and sessions include: “The Days of Green Meatballs Are History” with Michael Dirr; “Troubleshooting Color in the Landscape” with Bodie Pennisi; “Discoveries and Developments in the World of Magnolias” with Gary Knox; “Tree Health Care” with Kim Coder; and “Plants are Still Important” with Allan Armitage.

New this year at WinterGreen is the Landscape Session sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Landscape & Turf Association. It is targeted to those professionals who work in the landscape installation and maintenance segment of the industry, and the session focuses on business and sustainability education.

The MALTA Landscape Session includes the following topics and speakers: “Sustainable Design for the Savvy Entrepreneur” with Gainesville’s own Richard Ludwig; “The 3 P’s of Sustainability – People, Planet and Profits” with Jim McCutcheon; “Sustainable Solutions for Irrigation – Rainwater and Reuse” with John Pounds; and “Financial Sustainability: Cost Estimating and Bidding” with Gary Wade.

The Georgia Green Industry Association is a nonprofit association, incorporated in the state of Georgia, representing the interests of the state’s nursery, garden center and landscape industry. Membership is comprised of nursery stock growers, landscape contractors and maintenance firms, garden centers, arborists and allied suppliers.

GGIA’s mission is to lead the horticultural industry in marketing quality products and services by promoting professionalism through education, certification and environmental stewardship, monitoring legislative issues and interacting with other industry allies.

Check out the entire WinterGreen schedule.

Billy Skaggs is a Hall County extension agent. He can be reached at 770-531-6988. His column appears biweekly.