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Georgia Horticulture Industry Growing

Metro Atlanta has always been a healthy market for the landscaping industry. The long growing season and the South's love of gardens, golf courses and lush landscaping has provided steady, and sometimes booming, employment for horticulturalists. Courtesy of Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association

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Between outdoor watering bans from 2007 to 2009 in response to north Georgia's extreme drought conditions and a recession that brought residential and commercial building to a halt, the horticulture industry has been suffering. Pike Nurseries declared bankruptcy in 2007 and Home Depot closed many of its landscape centers.

''Those were the kinds of places our students would go to find jobs,'' said Aaron Poulsen, environmental horticulture director for the program at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville Ga. ''We're not out of the woods yet, but drought restrictions have eased. We're starting to hear of new nurseries opening and we're seeing more job postings.''

The phones began ringing this spring in the office of the Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association (MALTA), said Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director. The 600-member organization is a trade association for landscape design, installation and horticultural maintenance companies.

''We're seeing a steady increase in the number of our members who are looking for new employees,'' Woodworth said. ''It's great to hear that landscaping companies are growing again. We send them to the programs at Gwinnett Tech, Chattahoochee Tech, Lanier Tech and others, where we know they'll find good people.''

''All signs show that Atlanta and Georgia will grow rapidly when building picks up again. It's such an attractive place for businesses to locate,'' Woodworth said.

- Courtesy of Atlanta Journal Constitution

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October 17, 2019, 9:17 am PDT

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