Economy

California garden centers face recession-driven changes

A Home Depot nursery buyer says people are not buying as many foundation plants and large trees as they used to as the recession has slowed new home buying. At Target, meanwhile, garden centers are being closed in favor of more grocery space.
A Home Depot nursery buyer says people are not buying as many foundation plants and large trees as they used to as the recession has slowed new home buying. At Target, meanwhile, garden centers are being closed in favor of more grocery space. Andy Alfaro/aalfaro@sacbee.com

The sea change sweeping through California's nursery business continues to make waves.

Target is phasing out its garden centers while adding more space for groceries. Meanwhile, Home Depot, the nation's No. 1 nursery retailer, is making more space for vegetable plants and fruit trees, plus succulents and colorful annuals.

On the other end of the scale, small mom-and-pop nurseries have seen business tick upward as they focus on personalized service and expert advice.

"On the growers' side, a lot of companies have gone out of business," said Tim Obert, Home Depot's lawn and garden buyer for the West Coast. "On the consumer side, with the lack of construction, sales of big-ticket landscaping (for new homes) have gone way down. People aren't buying big trees and foundation plants."

During the recession, nurseries have seen their business drop dramatically after 15 years of steady growth. California ranks as the nation's leading nursery and floral crop producer. Most stock found in Sacramento area nurseries was grown in this state.

Read the complete story at sacbee.com

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