Plants have a life expectancy… Your trees, shrubs and perennial grasses weren’t designed to last forever. Not to mention, your commercial property is constantly evolving, whether you realize it or not. Trees grow and impact the sun exposure in nearby landscape beds. Shrubs expand and can interfere with walkways or block views. And, of course, some plants simply do not thrive for one reason or another.
At what point do you replace a plant rather than pruning it back, or transplanting it to another part of your Westchester, NY property? When is it time to say, “Out with the old, in with the new”?
We’re glad you asked. The decision to replace plants is one that impacts your commercial landscaping budget, and as a property manager, we realize that larger landscape investments like new plants might need to happen well in advance. This is why we suggest carving out an enhancements budget so you can cover the cost of unexpected plant replacements.
Also, there’s more deciding to do once you determine the time is right to replace a plant (or several). What will plant will you install in its place? (We’ll get to that later.)
First, let’s identify five signs that it’s time to replace plants.
Sometimes, plants are not properly spaced in the landscape bed when they are first installed.
When this happens, they eventually crowd each other out, competing for nutrients and water. The plants will not grow with the same level of vigor as they would if they had “breathing room.”
Also, the landscape bed will begin to look messy and overgrown.
Prune: You have a few options here. You can prune the shrubs to a smaller size—but you’re not addressing the root of the problem. They will grow again, and you’ll be dealing with the same over-crowded plant issue.
Transplant: You could dig up the plants, replace them so they are appropriately spaced, and move the extra plants to another area of the landscape. This process, however, requires even more labor (and cost) because transplanting requires carefully removing the plant and its rootball, replanting it elsewhere, and ensuring the health of the plant through this process. Unlike new plants that come with a guarantee, there’s no warranty to protect shrubs you transplant.
Replace: Often, the solution is to reconfigure the landscape bed with plants that are properly spaced and have appropriate growing habits for the space.
#2 Showing Signs of Disease or Damage
A plant health care program will protect trees, shrubs, and flowers from disease and insects. Without plant nutrition, you’re taking a risk. Once a disease or insect causes significant damage to a plant, it might be too late to treat the issue so the plant can return to good health for the long-term. If you see dead spots, healthy leaves that are dropping when they’re not supposed to, wilting, dried-out leaves, holes in leaves, etc., there is a problem. Depending on how severe, the best way to restore the health and beauty of the landscape bed might be to remove that infected plant (so the problem doesn’t spread), install a new plant, and continue with a plant health care program.
#3 Past Its Prime
Like we said, plants have a life expectancy. Sure, some trees will outlive you and your grandchildren. Others may last 15 to 20 years, and some shrubs or perennials will “age out” and require replacement much sooner.
An experienced landscape professional can evaluate your commercial property’s existing trees, shrubs, and plants and identify the ones that are on their way out.
With this assessment, you can plan in advance for plant replacements and build the cost into your property maintenance budget.
#4 Outdated Landscaping
Now, we’re not talking about older plants—we’re speaking of varieties that no longer complement the aesthetic of your commercial property. Perhaps you’ve done renovations to your HOA clubhouse or invested in new signage for your retail property. Maybe your office park added a new, modern building. Your Westchester, NY property is evolving with the times. What about the landscaping?
For example, low-maintenance landscapes and pollinator gardens are popular trends right now, according to Garden Design magazine. So is asymmetrical design and secluded spaces where people can gather and relax. These concepts call for different plant life than traditional hedgerows.
#5 The Plantings Are Too High-Maintenance
A continued move toward low-maintenance plantings is prompting landscape designers to select native plants that require less care. Native plants are already adapted to the local environment, so you’ll dedicate less time and resources to keep them healthy. These plants usually need less fertilizer and water, too. The maintenance savings you realize can help offset the cost of plant replacement.
First Impression Landscaping on Your Westchester, NY Property
Enhance your commercial landscape with healthy, vibrant shrubs and plants that improve curb appeal and property value. Our in-house horticulturists and landscape designers collaborate with a full-service maintenance team to select and install appropriate plants for your Westchester, NY landscape.