If they are not properly maintained, old shrubs can become a huge contributing factor to making your home an embarrassing eyesore. In addition, old and dying shrubs can also end up becoming a danger to you and your family by becoming a perfect location for pests and rodents to live. However, if you are interested in salvaging any old shrubs that you may have, then you are in luck. Reviving old shrubs isn't particularly difficult, though it will require a bit of time and dedication on your part.
- Inspect the shrub. Never just plunge into an old shrub and begin making changes. The main reason for this is that there could literally be anything hiding in that shrub, and you don't know exactly what is required to make sure that you get the shrub going again. Look carefully at your shrub, from top to bottom, making note of any and all problems that the shrub may have. Don't just look at the shrub, but also the soil that it planted in (if you can see it that is). If at all possible test the soil to see if it has the right pH balance for the shrub to continue growing there.
- Prune as needed. If the shrub has become overgrown, or you have spots that are diseased or dying, then you will need to do a bit of pruning. Ideally, you will be doing this pruning in the appropriate season for the particular plant you are dealing with. However, if you are not, be very gentle. This means that you may need to do a little bit of pruning each day, over a long period of time to ensure that you don't stress out and shock the plant too much. A good rule of thumb as to when to prune a shrub is to do that particular work about a season before it begins to bloom. For example, if you have a shrub that blooms in the spring time, then you will want to do the pruning in the late winter, or very early spring time.
- Adjust the soil. If you haven't done it already, this would be the perfect time to test the soil around your shrub. You will want to make sure that it is the proper condition for growing the particular shrub you are dealing with. If it is not, you will need to either remove the shrub or adjust the soil to help it begin to thrive once again. This can generally be done by applying a bit of organic mulch, or some fertilizer to the area and mixing it (the fertilizer) into the soil. Be careful that you do not damage the roots when you are doing this.
- Adjust watering. Adjust your watering habits so that it is appropriate for the particular shrub that you are dealing with. Surprisingly, many people forget to even include their shrubs into the watering plans for their landscape. Ideally, you will want to use a drip or seep system for watering your shrubs as it is more efficient.
- Remove any dead shrubs. In the event that the shrub was dead, or it has died despite your best efforts, you will need to remove it. Do not leave anything behind when you do this, since a stump left in the ground can easily become a home for dangerous pests such as hornets and wasps. Replace the dead shrub with a new one, or refill the hole in the ground with some topsoil, and grass seed.