Posted by: Highland landscaping | March 15, 2019

March 2019


March  2019                                      EDITION 121

817-488-2718  Phone |



The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), founded in 1852, counts as its members more than 150,000 civil engineers in 177 countries.  Civil Engineers plan, design, construct and operate the “built” environment, while protecting the natural environment.  Every four years the ASCE issues a report card on the condition of 16 elements of U.S. infrastructure.  The latest report, 2017, suggests further aging issues that were reported in 2001.   The Cumulative Infrastructure Grade is “D+”.  The information we present here may be found at

As we,  the citizenry of the United States,  go about our daily lives, the majority of us do not give a second thought to what enables us to have safe running water, paved roads to drive on, electricity on demand, etc.  These luxuries were not always a part of American life.  The advent of our current infrastructure was in 1933 (86 years ago) with President Franklin D. Roosevelts’ New Deal.  Among the initiatives were 650,000 miles of roads, 78,000 bridges, and 800 airports.   As late as 1940, nearly half of U.S. homes did not have “modern plumbing” .  Despite the development of the power grid, older power lines are now past their life expectancy.  Our attention is not drawn until there is a disaster.  The water lead crisis in Flint, Michigan, bridge collapses, and dam disasters are but a few that have been reported in the past few years.

Though Congress has passed bills that included funding for these major repairs and maintenance in the past, they were not fully funded.  The roads constructed as a result of the New Deal are now more than 80 years old.  The federal gas tax, first instituted in 1932, was often designated to other needs; such as helping to fund the Korean War.

Only since 1997 has the full federal gasoline tax gone to the Highway Trust Fund. Since that time, innovations impacting gas usage, such as;  higher fuel efficiency, electric vehicles, etc., has  reduced the tax base for the repairs and expansions that are necessary. Traffic congestion and road conditions:

– Waste billions of gallons of fuel each year;

– Waste billions of hours of travel time;

– Cost motorists more than $100 billion for vehicle repairs and operating costs;

– Cost UPS an estimated $100 million per year due to a five minute delay per truck per day.

– Increase traffic fatalities

– Raise the cost for businesses to manufacture and distribute goods and provide services.  The higher costs are passed on to workers and families, at a cost of $3400 per family per year.

The total cost to make the necessary repairs and improvements, and keep them maintained until 2025, is $2.04 trillion.  There is funding in place for an estimated $941 billion.  This leaves a gap of $1.1 trillion.  One suggestion by the ASCE is to increase the vehicle user fee and adjust for inflation thereafter.

In this edition, we have discussed only needed road repairs and improvements.  In February, 2016 we reported on the condition of the Lewisville Lake dam.  It is but one of 15,500 “high-hazard potential dams” in the United States.

In addition to the estimated $2 trillion to repair and update the infrastructure overall, a new legislation must also address the issues of the workforce requirements and creating a “new and improved” system for the federal governments’ failed permitting process.  It is not unusual for the approval process to take longer than the project itself. This process should not take longer than two years;  and where state and local permits are required, should run concurrently. As we reported in our September, 2018 and February, 2019 editions, there is a need for a larger workforce now.  The many jobs that will need to be filled nation-wide to make the necessary infrastructure repairs,  would need to be addressed by Congress, as well.  Expanded apprenticeship programs, increased technical education programs, and immigration reform that will attract and admit the skilled workers that are much needed.


“Finding is reserved 

for those who search.”          

     -Jim Rohn (1930-2009)



Plant trivia

PLANT TRIVIA   85% of the 900+ species of orchids are endemic (unique) to what country? (look for the answer at the end of our blog)


Featured project


Highland installed a beautiful, low maintenance new commercial project in Southlake Town Square. The new restaurant Shake Shack, is surrounded by extraordinary native evergreen plants. The front entrance consists of two giant Texas Mountain Laurels that will bloom an astonishing purple color, starting in the spring, drawing customers to the entrance. The low growing Berkley sedge and Red Hot pokers will fill the area with a bright green foliage and pops of red, while the different sized stone leuders, will add dimension and a unique look to the property.

When you walk around the sides of the property, there will be beds packed with cacti, trees, and perennials.  Directly to the side of the front entrance, is a stunning Allee Elm, this tree will produce a rich green and glossy foliage until the fall, where it turns a beautiful yellow. To keep the property nice year round, Spineless Prickly Pears and more Texas Mountain Laurels were strategically placed to keep a balanced evergreen look. Starting in the spring throughout the summer, we will start to see lovely pastel purples and yellows fill the rest of the beds from the Catmint, and Four Nerve Daisies, which will also be a great view when you are sitting out on the patio.

Heading to the back, you will see a fence to block the dumpster area.  By adding Evergreen Clematis, we have kept a bright purple look that reflects the front and sides and a simple way to turn something bland into beautiful.

Not only does Shake Shack have awesome low maintenance landscaping; they have delicious burgers and hot dogs too!



Brooke Sugden Photography : 817-948-6428



 Seasonal color this month…

Alyssum, Carolina Jessamine,Foxglove, Loropetalum, Pear Trees,Petunias, Redbuds, Saucer Magnolias,Tulips, Forsythia


March Landscape Tasks:

  • Plan landscape and hardscape projects
  • Install early spring seasonal color
  • Plant trees, shrubs, groundcovers
  • Prune trees, evergreens and shrubs
  • Apply post-emergent for weeds
  • Run -through sprinkler system
  • Mulch landscape beds to 3”



Trivia Answer


Featured plant—PETUNIA

Picture7Petunia (Petunia x hybrida), is a member of the Solanaceae family. Also known as “nightshades”, the family includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplant.  Nightshade plants have leaves arranged alternately on their stems, and usually have “hairs” on the foliage.  The flowers have five petals that may be fused or separate.

Petunia leaves are oval-shaped with smooth margins.  The soft, thick foliage is slightly sticky to the touch.  The trumpet-shaped flowers have five fused or partially fused petals.

Native to South America, Petunias are sun-loving plants that need sunlight to develop to their full potential.  There are now 35 species that are available in virtually any color, many color combinations, margins, veins, stripes, etc. through cultivation.

When the petunia was first noticed in South America in the mid-1700’s, there were two that existed.  The Petunia axillacis had large white flowers and was pollinated by hawk moths.  The Petunia violacea had smaller purple flowers and a strong fragrance at night.  It was pollinated by bees.  From Horticultural Science,  the database of horticultural science research, we learn that originally there was probably only one “parent” petunia.  Studies suggest that some Petunia violacea probably lost color and scent through a “natural” process, thereby attracting a different pollinator.  Early Petunias looked very different than the petunias we know today.

When Petunias were introduced to Europe in the early 1800’s , breeders in Germany, England and Japan immediately began working to achieve a wider variety of color and larger flowers.  By 1888, Burpee’s seed catalog (catalog first offered in 1880) featured a “Black-throated Superbissima deeply veined, dark crimson-purple petals and a black throat”.   Petunias have a long history in scientific research as a model for flower development, scent production and interactions with pollinators.

Today Petunias are a colorful garden “staple” across the country.  Our North Texas climate welcomes Petunias from spring through the first freeze in late fall or winter.  They are found in a low growing, compact 6-10” size that bring color and texture to Picture8landscape beds, borders, edging, and as groundcovers.  The trailing “balcony” or “wave” Petunias, with flower-laden stems that reach 18” or more, draw attention in containers, window boxes and hanging baskets.   Petunias became “national news” in 1944 when a severe drought throughout the U.S. displayed their drought tolerance.

Today, our Petunias are pollinated by insects, hummingbirds and butterflies.  In 2014, the National Garden Bureau named Petunias the Flower of the Year.





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