Spring storms are washing out spring planting plans, and some nursery owners fear they may not be able to make up the lost sales of flowers, plants and shrubs.
"Some of it is postponed business. But in my opinion, in our business you'll never make it up because people are only going to plant so long and then they're going to play," said Troy Mitchell, vice president of Mitchell's Nursery & Gifts.Nursery owners and employees contacted Friday said the cold, wet weather has literally stalled plant sales. Apparently no one wants to plant flowers in the snow and the wind, and many plants are too tender to withstand the recent cool temperatures.
"They're not breaking down the door. It's really put us back a few weeks," said Gerri Lee, Utah certified nurserywoman at Wasatch Shadows Nursery.
Lon Clayton, president of Western Garden Centers, said the cold snap has merely postponed some gardeners. But the lull in sales coupled with the poor weather conditions have forced nursery workers to take extra steps to care for plants awaiting planting.
"In the greenhouses, growers are struggling to keep their plants from overgrowing, that would be mostly annuals and perennials. There are things they can do, but it's a struggle," Clayton said.
Cold overnight temperatures also are a concern. Growers have had to cover small plants at night and move particularly tender plants indoors to protect them from the snow.
"When you have weather like this, you combat the size factor and fungus. Because of the cooler temperatures, you have less light and more moisture. Some crops like geraniums need a certain amount of light to bloom," Mitchell said.
But the soggy tale also has a flip side. Some plants thrive in the wet weather, Mitchell said. This would be a good time to replace the roses and shrubs that died of dehydration last winter, he said. For instance, Salt Lake area gardeners lost 60 percent to 70 percent of their euonymus bushes last winter.
"It's no problem at all. They don't mind this kind of weather. Actually, it's a better time. It's cooler, so there's less stress on the plants," Mitchell said.
Although they are grateful for the moisture, nursery workers said they welcome warm, dry spring days.
"I'm ready for some 70s, myself," Lee said.