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Plants hard to find as landscapers prepare for the busy spring to come

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BATON ROUGE - The landscaping industry saw a major boom after COVID-19 hit when many people were at home, increasing the market size by 4.9% in 2020, doubling the typical annual growth rate.

Even as things return to normal, local landscape services still expect boosts this spring, but that increase in demand also comes with some weeds of its own.

King Lawn and Landscape owner, Joseph King, is busy pulling weeds and blowing leaves to prep for their busiest season.

“I bought two more trucks over the winter,” King said. “I hired more guys than I needed to try to staff up and really get ready for the rush.”

Business is already growing.

“We're already getting a lot of calls,” King said. “We're already averaging like two calls a day and just expecting that to go even more.”

While the pandemic may have increased the demand the past two years, COVID-19 is now causing some thorns in the industry.

“One item we use a lot is steel edging,” King said. “Since COVID, it's doubled in price… So, we had to go in and kind of change what we had priced out for that.”

The increase in prices is not the only change. 

“It's put a cramp on all designers because the availability list is real slim nowadays,” King Lawn and Landscape architect, Tim Bullion, said. “I'm limited with the plants that I can put in the landscape.”

Even one popular Baton Rouge plant is limited.

A lot of people want it just simple,” Bullion said. “That's what you're seeing around Baton Rouge is just the boxwoods all across the front.”

Common plants like boxwood, Distylium, Foxtail ferns and sunshine ligustrum may not be growing in your gardens this spring because of high demand.

“I did several designs and I couldn't get the plants, so I had to make plant changes,” Bullion said.

However, there are some popular plants available.

“Pretty soon people can start planting warm season annuals again: vincas, there are Marigolds that are out, Angelonia,” King said.

“It's nice to drive up at the end of a long day and you have a nice place to come home to and it puts you in a good mood, you just enjoy it,” Bullion said.

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