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Shortage of Trees Hinders Landscaping

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Residents of Chippewa Valley, in Wisconsin, are noticing a shortage in large trees this spring, due to the extreme inclement weather and lack of plantings. “Trees, for sure, are hard to find. We’re scrambling all over,” said Patty Marten, retail manager at Green Oasis Gardens in Chippewa Falls.

Down to Earth Garden Center, south of Eau Claire, is also is experiencing a shortage, “There’s certain trees that are going to be in tight supply, if available at all,” said Ben Polzin, vice president of retail operations,” noting that maples are particularly scarce.

Sharon Mueller of Circle M Nursery in Chippewa Falls said she placed tree orders in the fall, and heard then they might be in short supply. “I’m in pretty good shape because I ordered early, but I’ve heard others say there’s a shortage out there.”

Despite the tree shortage, operators are not planning on raising prices for customers. “We’re hoping that they don’t have to pick up extra costs or anything like that,” Marten said. “Right now, we’ve found some suppliers that have matched or even done better on pricing.” She believes the lack of availability is a result of fewer trees planted during the economic recession a few years ago, in addition to the bad winter, leaving trees stressed without enough moisture in the soil.

Operators say spring is a good selection time, because that’s when they receive their shipment. Down to Earth Garden Center gets shipments in spring and fall, and Polzin said that customers may have to wait until later, if certain trees run out early. He said he expects to start receiving some trees in April, depending on the weather.

 
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