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Landscapers kick into gear after 'disastrous' spring

Josh Holz of Sargent's Nursery rakes rocks for a landscaping project at Mahn Family Funeral Homes Monday. This year's historically snowy spring means landscapers will be extra busy trying to make up for lost time. -- photo by Michael Brun/Republican Eagle

A snowy April was bad enough for gardening and landscaping businesses, but when that snow carries over into May, well, that is just unfair.

"It's certainly going to affect the bottom line," said Amy Olson, owner of Scenic Spaces in Red Wing. "There's no doubt about that."

Olson said the late spring has not only been frustrating for her business, but also for customers who have been anxiously awaiting warmer weather to start landscaping projects.

"It has been a disastrous spring," agreed Dave Lewis, manager and part owner of Sargent's Nursery in Red Wing. "That's all you can really say."

Lewis said the late spring has taken away a sizeable chunk of the landscaping business' peak sales period of May through June.

"A huge percentage of our business happens in those 12 weeks, and now we're looking at only about seven weeks left to work," Lewis said. "It's going to be very difficult."

It can be hard to think about landscaping and gardening during such an unpredictable spring, but Lewis said customer interest throughout the season has been high.

"People have been champing at the bit to get going, they've just been held back by the weather," he said.

Olson said she has likewise noticed strong demand for landscaping projects, and she expects to be very busy in the coming weeks.

With warm weather now returning to the area, Sargent's Nursery crews have already begun working on projects around Red Wing.

In addition, Olson and Lewis both said that last week's storm may actually help increase business more as homeowners look to replace downed or damaged trees.

"There was definitely significant tree damage. Some can be saved, but others will have to be replaced," said Lewis, who lost three large trees at his house during the storm.

Sargent's Nursery is getting calls daily from homeowners asking about assessments, Lewis said, adding that his staff is already increasing its tree inventory.

"It's a lot of work," Lewis said.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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