"The last two years I think things have started to come back," says Chris Zanobini, President of the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers. "But there is a lot of concern given the water situation that we're facing right now."
Zanobini says warmer-than-usual winter weather has boosted sales for now...and nurseries are already seeing a shift in consumer demand to drought-tolerant ground cover and succulents.
"Definitely there are opportunities to promote California natives and drought resistant plants," says Zanobini. "But there is also information that we need to get out about how to just manage what you currently have and making sure your irrigation is effective."
One way to do that, Zanobini says, is to use mulch, which can reduce water evaporation by up to 40 percent.
Many nursery owners were hit hard in previous droughts and worry about a similar fate as water districts limit or ban outdoor watering.
Mandatory statewide water conservation rules have ended in California. But Sacramento-area users conserved 22 percent in June, compared to June 2013.
California and federal agencies say a new strategy is needed to save the endangered Delta smelt.
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought, but state water managers ended mandatory conservation rules. Local water suppliers now determine conservation rates, and some have low or no targets. A water expert says that's 'shortsighted.'
California is in the fifth consecutive year of drought. Although mandatory statewide water conservation is over, the State Water Resources Control Board says water conservation remains a "top priority."
The California Water Resources Control Board Wednesday says Californians cut water use by 28 percent in the final month of mandatory statewide conservation.