National Collegiate Landscape Competition Set for March 20 – 23 at Colorado State University

With increasingly extreme weather conditions throughout the country, tomorrow’s professionals help business and homeowners with managing drought conditions, firescaping and overall water management.

FORT COLLINS – More than 850 college students from 65 of the nation’s top horticulture and landscape programs will compete in the 38th annual Student Career Days, a National Collegiate Landscape Competition, March 20−23 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The event is organized by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the national landscape industry association.

Considered the largest collegiate competition event in the country, Student Career Days is the "Olympics of Landscaping." Students compete in events and attend workshops that are directly related to the skills they’ll need to succeed in the industry: 3-D landscape design, irrigation techniques, hardscape installation, plant identification, business management, and many more. (Last year’s top-placing schools included Brigham Young University – Idaho in first place, Cal Poly Obispo – San Luis Obispo in second place, and Brigham Young University – Provo in third place).

"The emerging professionals we call our students, will need an extensive set of skills to meet the needs of our environment, customers, and companies," said Zach Johnson, Landscape Industry Certified, associate professor at Colorado State University. "They will require a core education of science and business with a coupling of design, water management, construction, and landscape management classes. These tools will provide exceptional careers for our students which directly benefit our society by increasing recreational opportunities, creating natural environments, and increasing general well-being.″

Student Career Days is also a leading recruitment event for the $71 billion landscape industry. There continues to be high demand for graduating students from some of the nation’s top landscape companies and equipment manufacturers, including Bartlett Tree Experts, BRICKMAN, Caterpillar, JOHN DEERE, STIHL Inc., and many others who travel the country to participate in this event.

"Demand is at an all-time high for graduating horticulturists and landscape designers," said Ed Furner, Landscape Industry Certified, chair of PLANET’s Student Career Days. "At Student Careers days, employers are actively assessing students during the competitive events to fill positions to account for the industry growth that exists today. And, with the extreme weather conditions throughout the country, students are also having to prepare and educate business and homeowners, on techniques for managing drought conditions, firescaping, and overall water management.″

In addition to the competition and recruiting events, the PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF), a $3.7 million nonprofit foundation that provides academic scholarships to promising students aspiring to be landscape industry professionals, will award 47 scholarships valued at $79,300 at this year’s event.

The major sponsors for Student Career Days 2014 include STIHL Inc. at the Platinum level; JOHN DEERE at the Gold level; Caterpillar Inc., Gravely, an Ariens Company Brand, Husqvarna, and New Holland Construction at the Silver level; and Anchor Wall Systems, Inc., Belgard Hardscapes, BRICKMAN, Terracare Associates, the Toro Company, and ValleyCrest Landscape Companies at the Bronze level.

For additional information on Student Career Days, visit or call the PLANET office at 800-395-2522.


PLANET is the national trade association representing more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America. PLANET members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices, and business professionalism. Many of PLANET’s professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge. Visit PLANET at

About Colorado State University

Colorado State University, a land-grant institution and a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, is one of the nation’s leading research universities, with world-class research and academic programs in infectious disease, atmospheric science, clean energy technologies, human and animal health, environmental science, global business and more. Founded in 1870, Colorado State is a campus of more than 27,034 students in Fort Collins, with a student-faculty ratio of 17 to 1, and research funding of more than $313 million. Colorado State University is the "university of choice" for Colorado residents – more Colorado high school graduates choose CSU than any other campus. With its strong STEM disciplines, 30 percent of all of Colorado’s science, math, engineering and technology majors pursue degrees at CSU. From the base of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado State advances a distinctive model of a modern public research university, where striking natural surroundings and the heritage of the American West come together with academic, intellectual, and personal discovery. Colorado State students, dedicated to service in the community and beyond, regularly work hand-in-hand with university research faculty and together they pursue the possibility of transformative action and achieving excellence in all they do. Find more information at