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Considering recent events, we hope this finds all our readers happy and healthy. We are glad that many of you have found some solace in working outside around your homes over the past year and will continue to do so.

The new interest in gardening has put tremendous pressure on the horticultural industry. Spring 2020, most growers were faced with wondering whether there would be a market to sell their goods in the future. Consequently, there was a lag in planting for a few months while the growers waited for signs that there would be buyers for their plants. Meanwhile people were buying plants in record numbers so they would have something to do while they waited for the “All Clear” signal. This caused a flushing out of the plant supply pipeline.

Unfortunately, “plant manufacturing” is not like widget manufacturing. It takes years to grow some of the items in our inventory. The demand was so high last year that many growers had sold inventory that was slated for spring 2021. So before the freeze was even thought about, plant inventories were extremely low. Then came that dreaded freeze. That put a very heavy strain on all the local growers. 

So the combination of those 2 things created the perfect storm for our industry. It appears at this time that most of the local inventories of common woody ornamentals, (shrubs and trees), have been depleted. When things run a little short in Texas we usually go to our neighbors to the east. Our friends in Louisiana got hit harder than we did, so it was off to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. At the time of writing this article, growers in these states were curtailing sales to Texas so they could ship to their longtime customers up the east coast. 

So here we are. Some industry veterans are saying it could take several years to get the pipeline filled back up. We hope that will not be the case but it doesn’t look like the demand will be easing up anytime soon. Fortunately, the bedding plant growers have a “quick cycle” crop and should be able to get caught up before the end of the summer.

If you haven’t replanted those casualties from Snowvid 21’ you may be in for a hard time in your quest for replacements. Be patient and visit some of the local garden centers in our area. You might find something that will fill up that empty spot in your flower bed.

A Garden To Do List for the month of May in our area will include the following:

*Put down a pre-emergent weed killer to prevent weeds like crabgrass from sprouting in the summer.

*Now is the time to think about setting out hot season annual bedding plants like vinca, caladiums, moss rose, coleus, pentas, and purslane.

*If you haven’t put any mulch down, now would be a great time. It will help you reduce watering and control weeds.

*Continue to feed your roses. 

*Be on the lookout for powdery mildew on your crape myrtles and roses. This is easy to remedy.

*If you haven’t put down your lawn fertilizer in April, now would be a great time to get it done. Use a fertilizer like Nitro Phos Super Turf slow release fertilizer. If you want to use an organic then consider using the Microlife 6-2-4 or the Nitro Phos Sweet green.

*During periods of cloudy damp weather be sure and spray your shrubs, especially roses, to prevent fungal diseases like black spot.

*This is a great month to spray for Virginia Buttonweed. 

*Use a systemic insecticide on your crape myrtles to prevent aphids and help get rid of Asian Bark Scale.

For great gardening products and information, come by the Growers Outlet and visit with any member of our team to get the help you need or go to our website at WWW.growersoutletinwillis.com. We have the products and knowledge to help you have the prettiest yard on the block.

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