Many of you have had questions about whether the nursery and landscape industry is considered an essential business under the executive order requiring non-essential businesses to close. The following was sent to our members and friends over the weekend updating them on the situation as it currently stands. Please read, and watch this site for future updates. Thank you for all you do for our industry.

Dear Members and Friends,

In these very uncertain and concerning times, we want you to know the steps that NYSNLA is taking to help our members through this trying ordeal. You can rest assured that NYSNLA is working on it from multiple directions and the best interests of our industry are being represented.

Click here to read the letter NYSNLA Past President Jerry Parmenter sent to the Governor to try to get our industry to qualify under the "essential service" classification.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) has written a letter of support for the green industry in all states (click here for NALP's letter). I was able to get NYSNLA listed as a supporting association to NALP’s letter which is being sent to the Governor for consideration.

NY Alliance For Environmental Concerns (NYAFEC) is also working to get spray techs, turf and landscape exempt from the workforce shutdown and to get the green industry listed as an "essential business," and has sent a letter to the Governor.

Region 1 (Long Island) has written letters pushing for the "essential business" classification.

The TCIA/ISA has submitted a letter with the rationale for arboriculture to be deemed an essential business. Their letter can be read here.

Nursery & farm production is exempt so nurseries can have employees maintaining plant material or planting fruit trees or agricultural plants. The exemption is narrow, however, and only excludes nurseries that are also growing edibles like vegetables or herbs. The Farm Bureau has written a letter to the Governor requesting the definition be broadened to include greenhouses and plant nurseries.

NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation is also in our corner and working with the Vandervort Group (lobbyists with NYAFEC) to have landscaping defined as an essential business. “Construction” (skilled trades) is considered exempt from the 100% workforce reduction right now. The examples of skilled trades they list are "plumber, electrician; etc." There is a valid argument to be made at the very least for landscape construction and hardscaping to fall under that category.

Owner/operator businesses are currently exempt. However, if you have employees, even if not working, you do not qualify.

Empire State Development Corporation (the body determining the protocol for "essential businesses") is supposed to be coming up with a more clearly defined list of "essential services" in the very near future. Our neighboring state of Pennsylvania has completely shut down all construction and skilled trades.

We have had a few members tell us that have requested designation as an essential business for themselves. You can submit a request for your business by following this link:

If you have questions or concerns or know of any other initiatives being pursued to help our industry please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will let you know if there are any updates

Our industry consists of the most resilient professionals around; together we will beat this! Stay healthy, stay safe and stay sane.

Anthony Caggiano, Lifetime CNLP
President, New York State Nursery and Landscape AssociationDear Members and Friends,