Oh, how times have changed. While we have seen this coming for some time, drastic plant material shortages are beginning to appear in the marketplace this spring. What does this mean for you? Let's discuss.
First, how did the shortage come to be? During the recession, demand for plant material shrunk. Housing development stopped and the real estate crisis has been well documented. With homeowners unable to move and no new housing, the horticulture industry faced drastically reduced sales. Plants were dumped for low prices in the effort to move material. While some nurseries closed down, the ones that survived the recession were unable to plant large amounts of new plant material. It takes a 1" diameter tree about 3-4 years to grow into a 2 1/2" tree, depending on the variety. 3-5 years later, we are seeing the effects of this minimized planting schedule.
At the same time, Emerald Ash Borer has swept the country, driving demand for trees. Combined with an improving economy, demand has unexpectedly increased at the same time that supply was constrained.
What does that lead to? Increased prices. Our growers and suppliers have sold out of many plants for the entire season. What remains available for sale is being sold for premium prices. Even on spring re-orders, we are seeing price increases of 30-50%.
What can we do?
There are a couple things we can do:
- Fight for the best quality plant material at the best price. We will work to continue to offer the best quality plant material at a fair price. Working with nurseries on a day to day basis, we are looking for good deals we can pass along to you, without sacrificing quality.
- Offer substitutions. By working with suppliers now, we can learn which plants are sold out for the year. This knowledge lets us source alternative plants that will make an appropriate substitution for what you are looking for. If you are working on a landscape plan now, build in some flexibility in plant choice.
- Work with you now to plan your landscape. If you are thinking of working on your landscape in 2014, starting now is the best way to ensure the highest quality, best selection and value.
- Purchase plant material this spring for the best pricing. In advance of this expected shortage, we ordered a large amount of plant material over the winter to lock in availability. Purchasing plant material now, from this first round of spring digging, will most likely be the lowest prices of year.
- Purchase plants in the quantities you need. If you need 12 Emerald Green Arborvitae in your landscape plan, we would recommend buying them all now. Breaking up your landscaping into phases is a great way to manage your budget. If your landscaping requires specific quantities and sizes of trees, shrubs or evergreens, make sure they are all in one phase of the project. Otherwise, you may have trouble finding matching varieties and sizes later in the season.
We appreciate all of our customers support and your business over the years. Please rest assured we want to provide the highest value and quality plant material to you at all times. A beautiful, quality landscape for all our customers is our end goal.
Questions? Call our garden center at 847-658-3883 anytime!