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  • Writer's pictureGround Zero LC

Shortages in the Landscaping Industry

The shortages that the landscaping industry is facing have created challenges for everyone involved, whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, client, or landscaping professional.

Things like manufacturing disruptions, raw materials shortages, damaging weather events, and global transportation costs have led to increased prices, among other challenges.

Landscaping businesses in the United States are continuing to look at industry statistics and the average spend on lawn care and gardening to ensure they're achieving their goals.

a tree in the middle of a field, it is dry on one side and green on the other

Common Landscaping Challenges of 2021-2022

Here are some things to keep in mind while we’re finishing off this year, and starting the next:

Raw Material Shortages

Industry reports show that the cost and demand for many common raw materials (like plastic resin, wire, printed circuit boards, urea) are at an all-time high.

Product costs were expected to normalize by the end of summer; however, most predict that they will remain inflated until spring of 2022.

  • Plastic Resin Prices: Increased from 50 to 200+%, impacting:

    • Irrigated rotors & sprays,

    • PVC/poly pipe & fittings,

    • Stormwater drainage pipe & fittings.

  • Copper Costs: Increased 45%, impacting

    • Irrigation & lighting wire.

  • COVID-Related Shutdowns: Increased consumer demand within the semiconductor industry and created worldwide shortage, impacting:

    • Irrigation controllers & lighting transformers.

  • Urea & Fertilizer Costs: Increased 65% and 115%, respectively due to Hurricane Ida, causing:

    • Multiple plant closures,

    • Another $100 per ton spike in urea cost.

  • Resin Manufacturing Capacity: Diminished following Winter Storm Uri, impacting:

    • Rotors & Sprays,

    • PVC/poly pipe & fittings,

    • Drainage pipe & fittings,

    • Nursery plant material supply.

  • Seed Crop Losses: up to 50% due to summer heat and weather conditions are anticipated to drive costs until the end of the year.

Labor Shortages

Manufactures have face labor shortages and wage increases:

  • More than 30% of manufacturers report that it’s more difficult to find employees now, than it was before the pandemic. About 80% of manufacturers are having trouble finding workers.

  • Significant increases in service industry wages are drawing hourly associates away from jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Transportation & Freight

Freight shortages and pricing have increased lead times and cost of products – especially freight intensive products like fertilizer, plant material, and hardscapes.

  • U.S. freight shipments and expenditures have increased over 10% and 40%, respectively.

  • U.S. diesel prices have nearly increased 40%.

  • Driver shortages have pushed the number of loads for every available truck over 150.

  • Container shipping costs from Asia are up 10 times more than at the start of the year.

  • Congestion in major U.S. ports are contributing to shipping and freight delays.

Landscaping Materials Outlook

We expect shortages and/or price inflation on frequently purchased products within the landscaping services industry:

  • Global resin shortages are expected to keep costs unusually high and limit PVC pipe production.

  • Irrigation and lighting electronics will be in short supply due to semiconductor chip shortages.

  • Fescue seed supply is expected to remain in a shortage through fall of 2022.

  • Plant materials larger than 7-gallon sizes are expected to be in tight supply through 2022. These items include large upright evergreen screening material, commodity items (hawthorns, loropetalums, hollies, Ligustrum, etc.) skip laurels, Japanese maples, and other specialty items will remain in short supply for the next several years.

Manufacturers may implement further price increases during the rest of 2021, plus through March of 2022 for core irrigation products and landscaping supplies like PVC pipe, plant material, and hardscape products.

Landscaping companies that offer landscaping maintenance, care, and gardening activities should pay attention to the landscaping market to ensure their position in the industry.

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