Tough love for landscape apprentices

By January 22, 2024 No Comments

Nice try!

Picture an entrance area flanked by cedar hedges on the left and right. We got down to cedar pruning as temperatures dipped and light flurries started coming down. I worked on my hedge and then moved on. That’s when my apprentice saw me and motioned to me to come top his hedge.

Nice try! Now way! Apprentices training under Red Seal Vas do everything hands on. They learn by doing and by facing their fears. When I can, I give some background information but mostly it’s hands on in the field.

Since this hedge is in a high-profile spot, there’s extra pressure to make it look good. And when you succeed, you will do it well again somewhere else. That’s how we get good, confident workers. You have to face your fears. I still do.

Easy does it!

Notice that I didn’t crack any jokes. It’s important for the apprentice to know that we have confidence in him. I did stop him to remind him to slow down with the cedar tops. This is a common mistake: people rush the tops. They make two passes over the top and leave. That’s wrong, unless you’re trying to get the top to grow higher.

Cedar hedge sides are clipped much lighter than the tops. The tops should be tight and that requires making several passes over them with the blades. (It helps if your shears are sharp!) Don’t rush this step.

If you must check the level, by all means, walk away and take a look. In this case we already know that the top line is there from last year. We just have to find it under the new growth.

Journeyman: nice tight cedar tops (Note that the grasses are still standing!!)

Apprentice: not bad at all. Keep doing it!

Having fun

I like winter because it’s slower without lawn care. This gives me a chance to notice how the crew members are working. When I can, I gently instruct and correct them. To put in world-class work we need skilled workers.

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