Vegas Landscapers Betting on Palm Trees; Desert: Casinos want the tropical icons to set the mood. Scouts patrol Southern California, looking for homeowners willing to sell their specimens for up to $1,000
by Angie Bluethman
Tom Chacon considers himself a recycler. He sends his “spotters” out across the West, counting on them to buy and uproot prized palm trees from people’s back yards and bring them to Las Vegas—a city that’s gone mad for palms.
"The palm tree business is a booming business in Vegas. Vegas is a hot spot. For how long, I don’t know," said Chacon, owner of TC Enterprises, a Fontana, Calif., based palm tree company that also has operations in Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Those beautiful palm trees can be seen just about everywhere in Las Vegas. Their big leaves wave on the Las Vegas Strip, almost all the major resorts and most housing developments. While palms may be plentiful, what it takes to get them to this gambling mecca is another story.
"It’s phenomenal," said Ray Hoffman, division manager at Cedco Landscaping in Las Vegas. "It’s just unbelievable. Every project that we’re doing requires palm trees."
Hoffman believes the craze started eight years ago when the Mirage opened with palm trees planted outside and preserved palms gracing the lobby.
Now every casino wants palm trees.