The college has scored high in the competition, taking home first place in 1995, 2008 and 2010, placing third in 2009 and also having a CTC student, Jessica Logan-Watters, be named "Superstar" in 2010. A "Superstar" is a student who competes in five categories and has the highest cumulative score of all students.
"This is not your ordinary academic competition," CTC Public Relations Specialist Rebecca Long said. "Students do take written tests, learn to identify plants, lay out plans for landscaping, but there is a very interactive portion of the competition with students competing against each other in tree climbing, plant installation, small engine repair and irrigation."
Students will take part in the competition at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., from Thursday through Sunday.
She has said what sets the event apart is it allows local students to not only compete with other two-year institutions, but with national and international four-year colleges and universities as well.
Taking part again this year is Bartow County's Anita Philips, who last year placed third in the area of Personnel Management.
This year, Philips will be competing in the area Problem Plant Diagnosis, during which she "will be required to identify 25-50 plant problems that may occur for a variety of causes including phytotoxicity, as well as direct damage from insects or disease," according to the PLANET website, www.landcarenetwork.com.
"Basically you have about 125 to 130 different insects and diseases that are common pests for plants across the United States and you have to identify what [the insect or disease ] is and then diagnose how to control it," Philips said. "They ask you a variety of identification questions like, 'where does the female lay her eggs, or where does this bug go over winter or what vector is this disease,' ... you have to know the family, order, all types of information on [the problems]."
Philips also is competing in the Installation category, which she said corresponds with the instruction received at CTC.
"They give you a landscape plan and a three-person team installs that landscape plan, and they have an installation class at the college as well," she said.
She said previously working for a landscaping company encouraged her to begin taking horticulture classes at CTC, which opened the door to competition.
"It was the hardest job I've ever had, because it's a lot of physical work, but it was my favorite job I've ever had," Philips said.
She said not all areas of the competition appealed to her at first, but grew on her.
"I'll admit I didn't sign up for Pest Identification [at my first competition], but they told me I'm a good test-taker and it's one of the hardest categories, so they gave it to me," Philips said. "The more I started studying the bugs and diseases, the more fascinated I became by it, and now you couldn't pry that category away from my fingers if you tried."
Read The Daily Tribune News for the results of this year's PLANET competition.