Grounds management is more than planting shrubs, pulling weeds, and spraying bugs. One awards program recognizes vegetation management projects that go beyond the basics and show excellence in their planning and execution.

The 2007 Quality Vegetation Management awards—presented by Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based BASF Professional Vegetation Management—have honored a number of public and private sites that exhibit excellence and innovation in managing plant life. The winning projects take into account responsible use of herbicide, protection of threatened or endangered species, and other factors.

The Calhoun County (Ala.) Highway Department was recognized in the Roadside category, for overall excellence throughout its vegetation management program. The agency is tasked with tackling a diverse range of challenges, including aggressive kudzu growth, bahiagrass, marestail, Johnsongrass, and other pervasive vegetation. With the help of his crew, department manager Brian Conary has gathered data about the vegetation and landscape, and created a program that preserves the area's beauty while eliminating problem plants.