Cold slows business at many area nurseries, garden centers, managers say

10/09/2013 2:53 PM

08/06/2014 1:09 AM

With temperatures dropping into the 20s this week, nurseries and garden centers are anxious for a spring awakening, which will bring more customers.

“It’s exactly like what you would think. Cool weather slows traffic for sure,” said Eric Denneler, assistant manager at Tree Top, 5910 E. 37th St. North. “But as soon as it gets nice, we’ll see people come back.”

Local garden centers have had to move plants indoors and outdoors to protect them.

“It’s a challenge not only moving the plants, but on a weekly basis, we’re stocking up for spring with 20 to 30 percent more plants to move out,” said Jeremy Johnson, president of Johnson’s Garden Center, which has multiple locations in Wichita.

“Hopefully after the next couple of days, spring will stick around for a bit.”

This year’s weather seems out of place because of the early spring weather last year, Denneler said.

“What we’re seeing in April this year happened in March last year,” he said. “It’s kind of shifted a few weeks, but it will get better and warm up. We do appreciate the rain.”

Sherry Broomfield, manager for Benton’s Greenhouse in Hutchinson and North Newton, said that despite the weather, the stores are still getting customers who want items before they’re picked over.

“They’re taking them home and protecting them in their garages,” she said.

Denneler suggests that people bring potted plants indoors during cold weather and cover more delicate outdoor plants with a sheet. If covering the plants with plastic, it’s best to take the plastic off fairly early in the morning so it doesn’t build up too much heat, he said.

“Things coming up naturally from the ground should be fine,” he said. “It’s mostly annual flowers that are susceptible to damage.”

Johnson said he doesn’t expect the cold this week to damage landscape plants the way a hard freeze did over Easter weekend in April six years ago.

“The landscape was much more advanced than now,” Johnson said. “A lot of them had tender fresh leaves, and this year they’ve been slower to emerge.”

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