Garden Center Safety in a COVID-19 World

Some landscape centers are still open for business. But before you venture out, make sure you plan ahead to help keep you and your community safe.

In some ways, this spring is like any other. The birds are singing, bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming. It’s also unlike any other as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency.

With Stay Home, Work Safe orders in place in San Antonio and Bexar County until further notice, we’re all doing our part to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, we’re all desperately seeking ways to keep ourselves and our families active and healthy.

Fortunately, one place we can linger, explore and get a bit of a workout is right outside our door: the garden.

If you haven’t yet, make good use of this mandatory extra time at home to plan and design the landscape of your dreams. Sketch out what you envision — whether it’s a new patioscape complete with seating for lingering and lounging, or bold, blooming garden beds to replace a water-guzzling lawn. And remember to apply for our WaterSaver Coupons to help cover some of the cost of your dream oasis!

Maybe you’ve already done all that and you’re itching to get planting. While some garden centers are still open for business, it’s critical for your health and safety — and everyone else’s — that you plan ahead before you venture out.

Our best advice? Stay at home and do what you can with the supplies and tools you have on hand. But if you insist on heading out, follow these safe shopping tips:

Before you go:

  1. Make a list of the plants you want. Our Find a Plant section can help you.
  2. Call ahead to see what the nursery has from your list. Ask if they offer curbside pickup. Remember these are small businesses so be patient with their efforts.
  3. Have your WaterSaver Coupon email handy in case you are asked to key in the redemption code at the nursery.
  4. Bring your credit/debit card to cover any out-of-pocket expenses and make sure to have your own pen. Most nurseries are trying to protect their employees and customers by not sharing unnecessary items.

While you’re there:

  1. Wear your mask.
  2. Maintain six feet between you and fellow shoppers. Wearing a mask does not negate the need for physical distancing.
  3. Wear your garden gloves — they’re right at home at the garden nursery.
  4. If someone is in the aisle you want to shop, visit another area until you can shop safely while maintaining a six-foot distance.

When you return home:

  1. Leave your plants outside for a day before you start planting.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  3. Wash your mask and gloves in hot water and dry so they’re ready to wear again.
  4. Leave leather gloves out in the sun for at least a day.

Remember, the COVID-19 emergency is a quickly changing situation. Always check the latest local information and restrictions at before leaving home.

Picture of Dana Nichols
Dana Nichols
As conservation manager at SAWS, Dana spent her days promoting beautiful San Antonio landscapes that need little to no water while benefiting Texas wildlife. While she’s no longer whipping up new landscape programs, she’s still cooking up delicious dinners made with fresh herbs from her low-water-use garden or planning the next trip with her husband, Rick -- preferably to some exotic place that requires a passport.
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