Found a good article on grounds-mag.com this morning on the 2006 industry outlook. Here is an excerpt from the article just on the subject of chemical applications. Gives you some things to think about. Link to the entire article is http://grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_forecast/ Dan Carrothers, director Chipco Professional Products Bayer Environmental Science Research Triangle Park, N.C. Planning advice: Current demographics are playing in favor of the lawn care, sports turf and golf industries. As Baby Boomers age and disposable income for subsequent generations increases, people have more time for golf and organized sports. They also spend more money on professional lawn care. At the same time, operating expenses for these industries are driven by fuel and labor costs, which are steadily rising. If they don't find ways to grow and increase revenue, they will find themselves languishing. One way lawn care companies could do this is by developing more add-on services for combined efficiencies, such as fungicide applications, tree care and fire ant control in the South. The golf and sports turf industries could consider ways to combine jobs. For example, they may want use more chemical premixes to save time and labor. Attracting people to golf courses will also be a key consideration, requiring more creative approaches from golf management in the future. All three industries may want to put more emphasis on public relations in 2006. Trends: As home ownership continues to grow, demographics also play a role in presenting opportunities for the lawn care market. People are selecting the jobs they like to do, such as flower gardening, and hiring firms for mowing, chemical applications and shrub and tree care. Golf memberships are on the increase, but actual play is down, due to super-busy lifestyles. Golf courses may want to consider ramping up marketing efforts to provide more family outings, include children in golf activities and lure retirees back to the course. As for sports turf, NASCAR infields have never looked better! This sport has become wildly popular and it's a great opportunity to show off superior turf management. On the other hand, community sports, including soccer, lacrosse, football and baseball, are continually gaining in popularity, as parents seek more ways to keep their children involved. People are the most important asset to all three industries and proper training in turf maintenance is more important than ever. Concerns and challenges: Turf managers are wondering what kind of restrictions will be imposed on their industries in the coming years. Environmental concerns leading to government regulations are a foremost issue. Turf professionals could consider being more proactive in protecting their livelihood and mindful about maintaining a positive message for the industry. Programs such as Project Evergreen are an excellent way to participate on both local and national levels. It's not hard to do little things like renovating community sports fields and donating time and expertise to local and regional associations. We all may want to be careful not to take the industry for granted. Don't assume that when you wake up Monday morning, you're going to have the same ability to go out and do what you've been doing for the last 10 years. There's a stewardship component to keeping the green industry vital and everyone can play a role.