Do you expect nursery stock prices to rise in 2008?

YES - "We buy a fair amount of stock from Holland, Italy and Germany, and though I don't see a significant shortage of container stock, the falling value of the pound against the euro will push up the price of imported plants by at least 10 per cent."Trees, however, are in short supply so prices for those will also go up. We find it hard to pass on transport costs but are going to have to take a much tougher line as fuel prices go up. For home growers this is good as it makes their stock more attractive."

Doug Reade, sales and marketing director, Wyevale Nurseries

NO - "Most people are panicking about the credit crunch and the economic problems in the US, and the knock-on effect is panic sales of up to 50 per cent off. I can see a lot of that throughout the year.

"Many nurseries will struggle in 2008 and they will have to be more competitive. Specialist firms like ours, which don't have so many competitors, can ride through tough times like these and shouldn't fare so badly. I've seen panic attacks in the market before, but not this intense, and that could drive down prices."

Christine Shaw, manager, Architectural Plants

YES - "I think they're going to have to. If they don't the profitability in the industry is going to fall further. Whether the retailers will accept price rises is another matter but people are going to have to accept it.

"I'm not aware of anything too drastic yet in terms of plant prices going up but I have noticed prices in Holland going up over the past year to 18 months by perhaps 10 to 15 per cent. The trolley auction prices are not as keen as they were. With rising fuel prices that has had to happen and they're putting fuel surcharges on to that."

Simon Edwards, operations director, Golden Acres Nursery

- YES - "We're constantly looking at where we can make savings but there's only so much you can do.

"We have concerns over potential supply issues later in the season because we've had such heavy sales run on stock recently. The natural economics of supply and demand will dictate that we will probably have to look at putting prices up because we may need to source plants and they will cost more.

"While we haven't done anything in regards to distribution costs, that's maybe something we're going to have to look at by Easter. That will probably see us considering whether to put a fuel surcharge on."

Nigel Coultas, director of amenity sales, Johnsons of Whixley.

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