The New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association Back to the Land

For more than 90 years, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association (NJNLA) has been representing landscapers, landscaper designers, landscape maintenance contractors, retail garden centers, and wholesale production. Its mission is to protect the interest of these landscaping professionals, increase their knowledge of landscaping, and industry trends, and promote them as "stewards of the environment and providers of quality products and professional services."

"We're the largest and oldest association representing the nursery and landscape industry [in New Jersey], and the only one that is statewide," says Carl Nordstrom, the executive director of NJNLA. "We have three full-time staff and a cadre of volunteers who serve on committees and conduct educational programs for our members."

The group offers landscapers the opportunity to register with the association, which it claims adds credibility and helps fortify a landscaper's business. Members must adhere to the NJNLA's code of ethics, which requires them to follow certain group-sanctioned practices, such as ensuring that they'll obey all plant patent laws and regulation, and that the materials they grow, sell and install "conform with the grade and size standards contained in the American Standard for Nursery Stock approved by the American National Standards Institute." The code also stipulates that members obey all local and state laws, and carry all the required insurance.

21st Century Resources

NJNLA's website can be useful to property managers as well. The site lists certified landscapers, nurseries, and architects, and also has a section listing award-winning landscapers. You can also get tips about landscaping via the "Plant of the Month" section. The section lists a plant or tree, (January's was the Japanese Laceleaf Maple, for example) its colors throughout the year, its height and spread, proper exposure, moisture and soil, and other information about the plant and how to tend it, written by an association member.

The site also features the "Water-Wise" section, filled with tips for saving water and making plants stronger— such as grouping plants based on their water needs, using plants that need less water (the website promises there are plenty of attractive species in this category), planting new plants in the fall when it rains more, and building basins around shrubs and tree to limit runoff. Another section is devoted to "Tips of the Month," and offers hints to improve your planting throughout the year.