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National collegiate landscape competition March 20-23

March 7, 2014

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

  • Coming soon to Colorado State University - PLANET's Student Career Days March 20-23.The video above showcases PLANET's 2012 Student Career Days.

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.

Largest collegiate competition in the country

The 2014 PLANET Student Career Days will be held at CSU March 20-23.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.″

Students participate in interior plant identification as part of the PLANET Student Career Days competition.Leading recruit event

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.″

Students participate in the landscape installation competition.Academic Excellence Foundation

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