The Age of Information Technology has changed every industry and profession in America. Software writers have delivered very workable solutions on new hardware which enable professionalism efficiency and timely flow of information in all industries. We have come to expect this from every business that competes in the marketplace. Landscape maintenance contractors in both commercial and private sectors have achieved some of this in their offices, but fall short of delivering on many aspects of horticulture their clients assume are part of the program. This is the meaning of the term 'horrorculture': a departure from plant health based maintenance which produces profit for the contractor but slowly diminishes plant health of clients landscape, shortening the life of a plant which should mature into 'traffic stopping' show.
Landscape horticulture is very complex and multidisciplinary. On the front lines of the biological economy of nature and the business economy of civilization this industry is plagued by real problems which derail the expectations and best laid plans of all. Many of these problems were started by architects or designers, who mean well but are never commissioned to write a management plan for their own work. One of my favorite UC Co-op agents (now retired) Dr. Pavel Svihra has described landscape maintenance as a "multilayered nightmare." This article attempts to explain the gulf between client expectations and contractor performance, and why the prevailing business model cannot achieve the clients' goals. A new business model is presented to bridge the gulf between the clients' rightful expectations of service and the contractors' obligation to deliver textbook quality maintenance and enhancement. Neither party to a contract signs a blank check, but the client frequently gets short changed because the contractors' business economics only permit so much service, and the client holds the "sword of Damocles" over the contractors head, forcing him to attempt impossible miracles without the budget to accomplish it. Such an arrangement is a LOSE-LOSE game which can be easily corrected by a new business model which creates a WIN-WIN deal for both parties and the landscape.
The use of plant growth regulators (PGR's) in horticulture is well established by growers of horticultural commodities, and much university research has explained the biochemical pathways which are the targets of the applied chemical. They all interfere with the synthesis of the Gibberellins, a primary growth hormone made in apical meristems.Thus deprived of the stimulus for growth the effects are a great reduction in new growth at the apical meristems of the plant. They are metabolized slowly, and have lasting effects. The plants' physiology changes when new growth ceases. There is more starch available for root tissues enhancement.