First Recession, Now Drought Hitting Landscaping Crews

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A business can only take so many cuts.

For Fred’s Landscaping, first it was the recession forcing Fred Renteria to trim his full-time staff.

Now Gov. Jerry Brown’s official declaration of a drought is drying up business.

On a Friday with great weather to work in, Renteria says he’s never seen business this slow in all his years.

“I’ve been doing this 23 years, and I think this is the worst year,” he said.

Brown’s drought declaration asks everyone to conserve water, a move some communities including Sacramento are already mandating.

But when homeowners stop watering, grass and plants will die, and Renteria fears there will be no work left.

Ken Bell says he’ll keep his landscaper on, even if he has to let his lawn turn brown.

They’re gonna need him someday soon. He’s gonna get work because he’ll be putting new grass in,” Bell said.

Renteria hopes his customers will do the same. So far, he hasn’t lost any regulars, but as the dry California winter drags on, he worries the drought could put him out of business.

“We’ll see just gonna see we’ll leave it up to God whether we’ll be out of business, but I hope not,” he said.

Renteria says that many of his customers will change their lawns to rocks and give him some short-term business. But that would be a one-shot deal with no maintenance like there is with grass.

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