BGColor: #ededed
Font: Lato
Prime Color: #222222
Second Color: #ea0e0e
Third Color: #790fe2

Small Talk with Michael Hyland of Hyland Turfcare

Michael Hyland, MD, Hyland Turfcare

This week, talks to Hyland about labour shortages, pricing pressures and the importance of 'hands on' experience



Read More:

29 June 2023

In association with Gardenworld Nurseries

At Growtrade, we’re running a new interview series titled ‘Small Talk’, where we talk to various influential members of Ireland’s horticulture trade. This week’s conversation is with Michael Hyland, managing director of Hyland Turfcare.

How did you get your start in horticulture?

I started mowing the grass and some other pitch related works at my local GAA Club. Fairly quickly, some other local clubs asked me to also look after their pitches. I then bought a tractor and Verti-Drain and the business grew organically from there.

What was one of the proudest moments in your career to date?

I have proud moments of completing pitch constructions in difficult conditions and delivered a good product to the customer. We have had some big matches played on pitches that we built and maintained and that always makes you proud. But to be honest, what I am most proud of is to have been able to work in my own business for over 25 years and thankfully we are still busy to this day.

What was one of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in your career to date?

The weather is always a challenge. The other big challenge is the lack of trained people in the industry who are looking for employment. Margins are tight in this business and the higher wages in other industries, especially construction, creates an obstacle for business growth.

What are the greatest challenges facing the industry today?

Pricing pressures. The cost of inputs including materials and labour are rising rapidly and that puts pressures on margins. Customers are also feeling the pinch so we cannot simply pass those cost increases on to them. That is probably a common issue across many industries.

Specific to horticulture, I would say that the absence of a representative organisation to lobby for our industry at government level is a big challenge. Also, the lack of independent training and educational courses available for employees to improve their technical expertise is also a challenge.

Bord Bia research in 2019 revealed that the number of landscape contractors was 1,164 in 2007 compared to 431 in 2019. Why has the number of landscape contractors decreased in your opinion and what should be done about it in the short medium and long term?

There are probably many reasons but as previously mentioned there is a lack of available labour and the lack of recognised training and education for landscape workers also affects this. After the global recession of 2008, the construction industry took a huge hit which had a knock-on effect on landscaping. Again, linked to that, emigration also contributes to less young people taking up the profession.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their career in horticulture?

Gain ‘hands on’ work experience in as many areas of horticulture as possible. Learning in a classroom and learning ‘hands on’ offer different perspectives.

What are your hopes for the future of Irish horticulture?

I hope that the industry can become more recognised and valued for the skilled profession that it is. Our industry needs a representation similar to the ‘National Guild of Master craftsman’ to protect our industry against devaluing and damaging activities of unskilled operators. This would provide our clients with greater reassurance that only high standards shall be delivered.

Hyland Turfcare has been providing services for the construction, renovation and maintenance of both natural and artificial surfaces for more than 20 years. For more information, visit:

Small Talk is produced in association with Gardenworld Nurseries – passionate about plants. For more visit

Read More:

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑