Posted by: Highland landscaping | September 12, 2018

September 2018


September 2018                                       EDITION 115

817-488-2718  Phone |



 Since January, 2017, businesses in the United States, both large and small, have seen and felt new energy from the very foundation of the economy.  Restrictive Government regulations have been, and continue to be,  repealed.   On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” (H.R.1) into law.  The permanent reduction of tax rates for businesses in H.R.1 have fueled growth and innovation  in virtually every business sector.  As a result,  lay-offs reached a 50 year (five decades) low, and the unemployment rate is much lower (3.9%) than the United States of America has seen in 18 years.

       In our December, 2016 and January, 2017 editions, we presented some history and statistics on the Texas economy.  For decades, taxes and regulations in the state have been less restrictive, and more “pro” business, than many other states.  There has been a steady growth in business development that has exploded since the beginning of 2017.  Our April, 2017 edition discussed the increasing costs of construction.  In the area of construction, which includes the Green Industry, roughly 70% of business expense is the cost of compensating their employees.

      As new energy to the small business sector brought growth and innovation, labor costs have risen dramatically.   Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (July 31, 2018), wages and salaries have increased on average 2.9% this year. Health benefits are up 1.6%, and sales and “office occupation”, 3.5%.   Management and Professionals have actually seen the smallest increase at 2.4%.

    Wells Fargo senior economist Sarah House states, “Rising labor costs are evident across almost all major industries.”

      As we work through the chain, these increases also affect the companies that supply goods to businesses. Whether in the construction or renovation of businesses and homes, or the many businesses that provide a good or service, the cost of materials from suppliers is increasing. In many cases, the increase in the cost of materials has outpaced the completed project.  Labor costs affect every step in manufacturing, farming. and services.  The labor shortage also affects the transportation of goods to businesses.  There is a shortage of qualified drivers in the transport industry.  Trucking companies and others in the  business of transporting goods are paying large hiring bonuses that were not demanded a short time ago.

      In addition, there is a supply-demand mismatch.  Because of increased competition driven by a strong economy, there is a higher demand for labor. Employers must increase pay to attract and “secure” employees;  and, be prepared to offer some attractive benefits. There is a shortage of employees skilled in many sectors. Unskilled workers must by trained, which increases labor costs. In the July 3, 2018 edition of Forbes, Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte,  provides this analysis:

   -There are more jobs open, than people to fill them;

   -There is a lack of applicants for positions that require specific skills, especially technical skills. “There is an increasingly wide gap between the jobs being created and the skills and experience in the workforce to fill them”;

   -Technology has outpaced what business can utilize.

      In many sectors, a modest profit margin of 7% or less is no longer sustainable. Employers are forced to raise prices to their customers to keep pace with the varied effects that the labor shortage has on their business. “Unfortunately, ‘Fair wage’ champions and, unsuspecting consumers, are going to realize that they have to pay for what they get” (Gregg Wartgow of Green Industry The quality that the consumer is used to receiving will cost more;  or, for the same cost one can expect lower quality.

      As the economy continues to boom, and more people are trained and employed, fewer people are needing government assistance for basic needs. Rising labor costs may be a “growing pain” we have to endure a little while longer.

“There is meaning

 in every journey

that is unknown to the traveler.”

                -Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Plant trivia

Where is Blue Daze native to? (look for the answer at the end of our blog)


Featured project

Highland landscaping  completed several new enhancements for First Financial Bank located in Southlake .The stunning building was surrounded with liriope that wasn’t accentuating the building or consistent with the culture of the business.  By removing the Liriope and adding seasonal color in its place,  not only does it grab your attention  but brings more life and color to the property as well.  As mentioned in recent newsletters, Rosette disease is still an ongoing problem.  The roses that were  located on the side of the building showed obvious signs of the disease ( excessive amount of thorns, discoloration in foliage, flower buds emerging in clusters, etc.). There are many options to go with to replace roses and still keep those beautiful blooms. One of our favorites, the Black Diamond Crape Myrtle, was used for this property. The Black diamond crape myrtle reflects the roses dark foliage, small size, and  bright ,colorful blooms.



Brooke Sugden Photography : 817-948-6428

Upcoming Events:

 Seasonal color this month…

Angel’s Trumpet, Bacopa, Blue Daze, Candletree, Lantana, Moss Lavender, Moss Rose, Muhly Grass, Spider Lily, Texas Betony,  Tropical Hibiscus, Zinnias

September landscape Tasks:

  •  Plan landscape projects
  • Plant fall garden
  • Plan and schedule winter color change
  • Hand-water plants and trees as needed
  • Mulch landscape beds to 3”
  • Feed lawn and schedule over seeding
  • Plant trees, shrubs and groundcovers
  • Plant and fertilize fall perennials


When harvesting plants or herbs for consumption, one should avoid areas that have been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.

Trivia Answer

South America

Featured plant—TEXAS FROGFRUIT

Picture5 Texas Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora [L.] Greene), also known as Turkey Tangle Fogfruit (USDA designated name), Frogfruit, Mat Grass, Turkey Tangle and Fogfruit, is a member of the Verbena family.   Native to the southern half of the United States, it can be found as a native species in 24 states.  In areas with warm winters, Texas Frogfruit is evergreen.  Green foliage turns reddish-purple in cool weather.  In colder zones, the plant is deciduous and becomes dormant for the winter.

In its natural habitat, this heat and drought tolerant plant can be found growing in areas that may be high traffic, flowing over rocks and boulders.  This low grower (3-5” tall) trails to form a dense mat.  Each plant may have a spread of 18-24”.  Grey-green oval leaves with toothed margins contrast clusters of white-pink miniature verbena-like flowers in May-October.  “Phyla” of its botanical name  means “tribe” or “clan”.  Joao de Louriero (1717-1791), a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, botanist, paleontologist and mathematician, was describing the head of the flowers when he named our Texas Frogfruit.  The tight cluster of petals encircle a purple center.  Sitting on a 4” spike, the flower takes on a match-like appearance.  It is sometimes called “matchweed”.

The woody base of the trailing stems fortify the plant in areas of high traffic.  In a landscape design, Texas Frogfruit can be utilized as a groundcover or a substitute for grass in areas where standard turf struggles.  It can even be mowed like a lawn.  Since it thrives in full sun to part shade, this versatile plant can lend its beauty to many Picture6locations.   Attractive “rambling” over boulders, Texas Frogfruit makes it a beautiful addition to rock gardens, hanging containers, and native Texas designs.  Due to its adaptability to a wide range of soil pH, it is a good filler for open spaces and locations where other plants don’t do well.

The nectar of the Texas Frogfruit is excellent for butterflies.  The nectar supplies the Phaon Crescent, White Peacock and Common Buckeye butterflies with the food needed for the caterpillars.

Edward Lee Greene (1843-1915) was an American botanist known for his numerous publications, including Landmarks of Botanical History.  Over his lifetime, Greene named or re-described over 4400 plants in the American West.  During his service in the Union Army, he collected specimens in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.  In 1885, Greene was hired as the first professor of botany at the University of California, Berkeley, and later served as a botanist at the Smithsonian Institution.

Edward Greene’s legacy includes 565 original published papers and a library of over 4000 volumes, many of which have no duplicates in North America.  His works are at the University of Notre Dame in the Greene-Nieuwland Herbarium.



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