How to say goodbye to an old plant

How well are the plants in your garden working for you? One important step in Elderyarding® the garden around your home is to consider the age of your plants, especially the trees and shrubs.

Yes, plants can get old.

Old plants may require additional time and loving care not just to survive, but to thrive. As we begin the slide from spring into summer, now is a good time to talk a walk around your yard and note the following:

  • Plants that look healthy and energetic
  • Plants that are the right size for their location
  • Plants that are located in noticeable, enjoyable spots around the house
  • Plants that require minimum upkeep to do well

If you find that the trees have taken over, creating a yard that is not only shady but dark and damp, a resort for breeding mosquitoes, it may be time to have branches thinned to allow light to enter.

Or it may be time to remove a tree or two.

Think back to when you bought the house, with its bare yard or scrawny builder-planted trees. Did you plant trees and coddle them to adulthood? Maybe the empty yard space found you planting a few too many trees or a tree whose mature size is w-a-a-a-a-y too big for the lot. Or you may have been fooled by the diminutive size of the tree root ball and planted too close to the house or the shed or the fence.

When you look at the jigsaw puzzle called “low maintenance,” having the right plants in the right place at the right time is a vital piece.

Plants continue to grow and change. Having a yard or garden that can be maintained for a lifetime, a truly Elderyarding® garden, means that some years you may just be adding annuals in containers for color and other years you may need to say goodbye.

When you add a plant to your garden, nurture it and gain pleasure from its flowers, fruits, leaves and bark over many years, the plant has inherently contributed to your quality of life. When it is no longer contributing, thank it for the satisfaction it has given you, for the carbon dioxide that it’s taken in and the oxygen it’s given off to enhance human life and let it go from your yard.

This week’s post is mostly about trees. Next week, I have a little more to say about shrubs. Stay tuned.