Landscape expenditures

AN INDUSTRY IN TWO PARTS The green industry-as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-has two major subsectors: environmental horticulture (trees and shrubs, bedding and garden plants, and turfgrass) and floriculture (cut flowers, cut cultivated greens, and potted flowering and foliage plants). Environmental horticulture dominates green-industry sales, accounting for four-fifths of growers' cash receipts.

A POSITIVE ECONOMY MEANS POSITIVELY GREAT SALES Expenditures for environmental-horticulture products other than bedding and garden plants increased 5 percent in 1998 to about $32 billion ($118 per capita). The reason behind the high demand: consumer confidence in a robust economy, along with relatively high disposable income and low unemployment. Similarly, low interest rates have spurred new housing and business starts, helping fuel demand for landscaping products and services.

Government analysts expect strong demand from consumers, businesses and institutions for flowers, plants and landscaping greenery to continue, pushing retail sales for environmental-horticulture products to $40 billion in 1999.

BEDDING-, GARDEN-PLANT GROWTH IS SKYWARD Bedding- and garden-plant cash receipts jumped 8 percent in 1998. A similar increase is expected in 1999. The relatively fast growth of domestic grower receipts for bedding and garden plants (annuals sold in flats, pots or hanging baskets) has occurred partly because these products have little or no import competition. Imports are generally restricted for phytosanitary reasons, and international shipments of plants in growing media is costly and complex.

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