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Drought Takes Toll on 'Green Industry'

The "Green Industry" creates 152,000 jobs in the state and brings $8.6 billion into the economy each year – or has been.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — For some people, a lush lawn is a badge of pride. Maintaining that look is big business.

The Green Industry – which is what those in the business call it – creates 152,000 jobs in North Carolina and brings $8.6 billion into the economy each year. Those are numbers that are shrinking as the drought continues to take its toll, however.

Dry ground and watering restrictions keep homeowners from doing much to solve the problem. It’s a bad combination for businesses that deal in green.

Now is the time of year when homeowners normally re-seed their lawns for next year's growth. It’s normally the most profitable time of the year for landscapers like Steve Ball.

Without rain though, homeowners know they might not see their investment grow, and they're holding off.

“This has gotta be, honestly, the worst year on record I’ve had,” said Steve Ball, with Carolina Green Lawn Service.

Seeding sales are down as much as 60 percent. They are not moving as many plants at the Logan Trading Co. in Raleigh, either. Customers do not want to buy plants if they don't think they will live.

“We won’t speculate and bring in as many plants as we normally would so we won’t have to care for them,” said Robert Logan.

Plant sales are down by more than half, too.

Ball and Logan have been in business for decades. Though it won't be easy, both said they believe they can weather the dry weather.



Adam Owens, Reporter
Geof Levine, Photographer
Kelly Hinchcliffe, Web Editor

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