Today's rant is short and bittersweet: get rid of under-performing plants.
There are a lot of other plants out there that would be very happy to take their place, and offer you more hassle-free enjoyment.
Many years ago, Sacramento-area landscape designer Michael Glassman told me something that has stuck: "Life is too short to put up with problem plants."
Roses that won't bloom? Shovel prune them. Plant another rose, better suited for the area.
Nut trees that aren't nutty enough? Bring out the chainsaw.
|Late blight on a tomato plant|
Tomato plants that sulk or are diseased? Off with their heads (and roots)! Get thee to a nursery. They have healthier veggies available.
|Frosty the Ficus|
And that frozen ficus? It ain't comin' back from the dead. To the compost pile!
Which brings up a good question... what do you do with that poor performer?
If it is in critical condition due to the weather or produces an unsatisfactory crop, chop it up and put it in a compost pile.
For those who get overly sentimental about their sickly plants, think of the compost pile as a way for your plant to keep on performing: as it breaks down, it is creating wonderful soil amendments.
If that sickly plant is riddled with insects, a hot compost pile will kill the bad bugs and their offspring. Otherwise, trash it.
If the plant is diseased, though, put it in the trash. Chances are, your compost pile isn't hot enough (140 degrees) to kill those pathogens.
The bottom line: putting the right plant in the right place, and properly cared for, reduces your need to commit horticultural homicide.