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Ten Years Later: How the Great Recession Still Negatively Impacts the Landscaping and Horticulture Industry Today

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The Garden Dept. Says Shortages of Plants and Shrubs are Attributed to 2008 Stock Market Crash

It has been nearly a decade since the Great Recession of 2008 took its toll on the world. Though the United States economy has vastly improved since then, some businesses, such as landscapers and wholesale nurseries, are still being impacted by the effects of the stock market crash. According to Don Caroleo, Owner, The Garden Dept., a multi-location wholesale nursery and horticultural supply distributor based on Long Island, New York, the landscaping industry is experiencing a severe shortage of plants and shrubs in the face of rising demand in a strong economy. 

Following the recession, businesses and homeowners scaled back on updates, purchases and new builds, which had a trickle-down effect, including to tree farmers. “The average growing time for a typical tree or shrub is roughly eight to 10 years,” explains Mr. Caroleo. “Due to a decline in purchases following the crash, farmers halted crop rotations, which had long-term effects on the state of the wholesale industry. Today, there are tremendous shortages of plant materials, and we’re projecting to see these same effects for the next several years.”

In addition to the shortages, rising fuel costs and stricter Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations on interstate commerce are making it increasingly more difficult and expensive to have products shipped east from California. What this all means is, despite that the real estate industry is now back in full-swing, home buyers and commercial developers may find themselves waiting to amend their current landscaping, altering their designs, or opting to pay higher prices for trees and shrubs that fit their plan.

“Though this makes things more difficult for us from an inventory standpoint, we still expect to see the same continued growth we have experienced for the past several years,” adds Caroleo. “We’ll simply have to work more closely with the landscapers and architects with whom we do business to ensure that we find alternative solutions to their clients’ needs. I look forward to seeing how landscapers and DIY’ers alike alter designs to adjust to the low inventory and higher prices.”

For more information regarding The Garden Dept., call 631-736-DEPT (3378) or visit




The Garden Dept.’s 16-acre Coram retail/wholesale location is open seven days per week and its eight-acre Dix Hills wholesale location is open Monday to Saturday. Both locations provide deliveries to homes and job sites throughout the tristate area for items such as trees, shrubs, plants and decorative stone, as well as gravel, compost, topsoil and mulch by the yard.

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