2022 plant bids could read "market price" Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now“How can contractors even bid a job now?” was one nurseryman’s reply when we asked what landscape companies should expect for plant availability and costs this year. His perspective was similar to others in our small poll of wholesale and re-wholesale nursery folks. Overall, they said supply is down for container trees and shrubs, especially conifers. Costs are up due to a few factors, but primarily the “staggering” cost of getting plants to Colorado. One shared his freight costs are up 30-40%.

Here's what landscape companies need to know. All nursery pros had the same message for their customers: “Be flexible and substitute to get the job done.” The example one gave was for contractors to tell the client, “Yellow would look good there,” without specifying which plant in yellow should be used. They said customers need to be educated and understand that to get the specific plant they desire may take 2-3 years. With adequate substitutions, however, customers can have a complete and growing landscape this season.

Current supply shortages stem in part to the aftermath of the recession a decade ago. Growers didn’t want to be left holding the bag on plant material they couldn’t sell and as a consequence, reduced their future inventory by planting less. Recently, those growers “borrowed” from their next 2-3 years of inventory which further decreased supply.

They didn’t want to be stuck with conifers, in particular, because they take so long to grow. Many growers won’t grow the 8-10-foot trees they once did and specifiers should be ready to adjust their planting plans accordingly, said the nurserymen.

One of them illustrated the point from catalog listings. He noted that very large wholesale nurseries that once listed 8 to 10 pages of container shrubs are now down to 1-2 pages of offerings. Bottom line prediction is to expect a tight supply market for the next 2-3 years.

In addition to the previous recession, other factors have been at work within the nursery industry to impact ongoing supply. Read the May/June issue of Colorado Green magazine for a more in-depth perspective on their situation.

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