Average life-span of ornamental shrubbery #152861 - Ask Extension


Average life-span of ornamental shrubbery #152861

Asked September 16, 2013, 11:29 AM EDT

I work for a homeowner's association and I need to find a general guide for the life-span of ornamental shrubbery.  We have several owners that have allowed their shrubs to get huge, and we need a general guide regarding which ones can be cut back (and survive), and which need to be replaced.  My argument is that some shrubs aren't meant to last over 10 years (without getting huge), and that after a point they must be replaced.  Can you give me some direction?

Denton County Texas

Expert Response

Shrubs have a wide range of lifespan. And then when they are put in our urban settings, their lifespans can be shortened because of the stress of living in these environments. Somewhere around 10 years is probably the upper limit of a lifespan for a shrub.

But, the main issue here is that we don't recommend pruning shrubs to reduce size. Shrubs should only require minimal pruning. Shrubs should be selected based on their mature size fitting the desired location. So if being too huge is the problem, the shrubs should be removed and replaced with dwarf or smaller varieties.

When pruning shrubs or trees or even mowing grass, only 1/3 of the plant material is to be removed at a time. Anything beyond that puts severe stress on the plant and may even kill it.

Does this help? Need more information?

Janet Laminack Replied September 17, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT

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