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Water Issues - Los Angeles Business Journal

Business at C&S Nursery in Baldwin Hills is in decline.
Cristian Rosales, who owns the company with his brother Santiago, said this summer’s slowdown was because customers were reluctant to buy new plants.

“Because of[watering]restrictions, I don’t want to risk the plants dying if I can’t water them properly,” says Rosales.

Severe restrictions on outdoor watering have severely reduced business in nurseries throughout the Los Angeles area, with one owner claiming a 90% drop in sales in August. They agree that their future may rest on growing California native plants and materials that use less water.

Water restrictions are by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), who in April told member water authorities to use a weekly watering schedule or use a water budget (which sets a volume limit on the amount of water) I asked you to Already used. The new requirements he started on June 1st.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced on May 10 that it will adopt a water budget option, allowing twice-weekly watering.
For all LADWP customers with street addresses ending in an odd number, watering is limited to Mondays and Fridays. For customers with an even number at the end, watering is limited to Thursdays and Sundays. The new city ordinance was also enforced on June 1.

The City of Los Angeles regulations differ from MWD regulations in that the city allows residents to water twice a week, as opposed to the weekly watering schedule mandated by MWD.

This change stipulates that sprinklers are limited to eight minutes of watering per use, in addition to existing watering limits. Sprinkler watering with water-saving nozzles is limited to 15 minutes. In addition, watering between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm is prohibited regardless of the watering day. Existing regulations were imposed by the LADWP last year.

“We are exempt because we are under the umbrella of agriculture,” Rosales said. “To keep the business going, we have to keep the factory alive.”
The exemption to which Rosales’ business applies is stipulated by the LADWP, allowing them to continue watering indefinitely. However, this may not be the case everywhere.

Martin Badilla waters plants in the greenhouse of C&S Nursery in Los Angeles. (Photo: Ringoqiu)

Not alone

At Agoura Hills, served by Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, water use is limited to once a week for both residential and commercial customers.
This includes the Colorful Garden Center.

Center owner Bharat Shah said business was down about 40% in July and nearly 90% in August.
Shah said his business was down 30-40% in 2014 and 2015, but everyone cut water use by 20-25%.

“It was nothing like this,” he added of the current situation.
Shah says he started his colorful garden over 30 years ago. The company sells flowers, trees, bushes, fruit trees, soil and houseplants.

“We are doing really good business here,” he added. “We’re making over $1 million a year. This is just one year. We’ve had an El Niño year and next year or the year after will be a lot of rain, so next year will be a normal year.”

Colorful gardens only break down in years of extreme drought, Shah continued.
“Then it starts to rain a lot and people start forgetting about the drought,” he said.

native plant

Bob Sussman founded Matilija Nursery in Moorpark over 25 years ago. It was a career change for Sussman, who was in the banking business. However, he was tired of driving to downtown Los Angeles and didn’t want to wear a tie anymore.

His nursery sells primarily California native plants (iris, sage, lilac, buckwheat, manzanita) and the flower that gave his business its name (Machilia poppy).
“They are the largest in the poppy family,” Sussman explained. “It is (a) a large white flower, about six inches in diameter, with a large orange ball in the middle, about the size of a golf he ball.”

Plant sales slow down during the summer months, so it’s too early to tell if water restrictions are having a significant impact on your business.
But Sussman said the business has seen some pick-up.

“If you don’t exercise a lot during the summer and do a little bit, it’s a big percentage increase and that’s an improvement,” he added.
Sunset Blvd manager Greg Couga. The Silver Lake nursery says it has reduced its water use over the years as it transitions to drought-tolerant plants. For vegetables and bed plants he waters every other day, but for other materials that the nursery sells he waters once every 4-5 days, sometimes once a week. I water it twice.

“It’s been a strange few years,” Kuga said. “Since the pandemic started, the childcare industry has been crazy. Demand for vegetables and herbs was so high because people were staying home and growing their own food.”
Over the past six months or so, sales have been trending downward, returning to pre-pandemic levels.

“It went up and down, but now it’s as normal as it was before,” Kuga said.
He continued that he had never seen a business boom like during the pandemic when sales doubled or tripled.

At the height of the pandemic, 1,000 people visited the nursery in one day. Kuga said the number would drop to a few hundred on weekdays and more on weekends.
“All nurseries were thriving during the pandemic, but now they are leveling off again,” he added.

looking to the future

When you ask nursery experts where the industry will be in California in five years, their response is all about drought-tolerant plants.
“The long-term trend is moving away from plants that consume a lot of water, and we hope that continues,” said Sussman of Matiriya Nursery. “It can be more Mediterranean, more desert, more natural, more juicy.”

Unfortunately, that also means more concrete, more artificial grass, and more rocks instead of green grass.
Sussman said:

Rosales of C&S Nursery also sees the future of aquatic plants.
“It’s a given that Los Angeles is water sensitive,” Rosales said. and California natives, and combine them so that you don’t have to spend too much on lawns and water-loving plants.

at Sunset Boulevard. The nursery business has always evolved to suit what customers are looking to buy, said Kuga, whose father, Dennis Kuga, owns the company.
Houseplants, vegetables and herbs were popular during the pandemic. It is currently a popular drought-tolerant plant with our customers. Kuga said the nursery sells a lot of cacti, succulents and plants native to California.

“Five years from now it will be very different than it is today,” he added.