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A misstep for spring business

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news Red Wing, 55066

Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

It's hard to think about caring for a lawn when it's buried under nearly an inch and a half of fresh April snow, and that's putting a damper on business at area lawn and garden stores.

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"It has been a big delay for us," said Jennifer Ziemer, landscape designer for River Valley Landscape. "It doesn't make sense to go measure lawns when they're covered in snow."

Over at Red Wing Ace Hardware, customers are just starting to trickle in, said owner Troy Daniels. He said spring is not too late yet, but it certainly feels like it when compared to how mild it was last year.

"Last year spoiled us so bad," Daniels said. "People were already planting by now."

Despite early signs of spring -- like the Twins home opener and start of the up-bound Mississippi River navigation season -- hopes were quickly dashed as a winter storm blew across the region Wednesday and Thursday.

"If it hadn't been for the latest snow we just got, we wouldn't be too far behind," Ziemer said.

Once the weather starts to warm up, Daniels said he expects customers will flock to his store to make the most out of the shortened spring. A month and a half worth of sales will be condensed into two or three weeks, he said.

"Every customer we see coming in is telling us how much they're hoping for spring," Daniels said. "You can just tell they're ready."

But Ziemer said a drastic shift from cool to warm temperature can be a problem, causing grass to grow quickly before proper spring cleanup can be completed.

A possible silver lining about this year's late spring is that April snowfall totals are still in line with the monthly average of 1.7 inches, and it is still a far cry from the record-setting 9 inches of snow that fell April 15, 1983.

But it looks like gardeners will have to hold off donning their gloves for the time being. The National Weather Service forecasts rain and snow for most of next week.

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