What is the senescence of plants

Dry tree

All plant beings that inhabit this planet follow the same path: they germinate, grow, flourish, bear fruit and then die. These processes are something that can be limited, delayed or advanced, but never eliminated.

Therefore, although we feel great appreciation for one in question, no matter how well we take care of it, we have to know that sooner or later it will leave us. But, What does the senescence of plants consist of?

What is plant senescence?

Trees die after several decades

Trees die after several decades

Senescence or aging is a set of changes that occur both superficially and internally in living beings as time passes. And it is that the cells come a time when they can no longer divide, so that the body will begin to fail. For example, people aged 60-70 years (more or less) are more likely to suffer from joint problems, because at that age their cells no longer reproduce as much or as quickly.

In the case of plants, these changes will be seen sooner or later depending on each type of plant. Thus, while the giant sequoia it may take several centuries to show any signs of aging, the petunias on the contrary, they will age and die in a few years (and if the climate is not warm, they will do so in a few months).

What are the signs of aging in plants?

To know if a plant is reaching the end of its life, what we can do is observe them and check if they show any of these signs:

Decreases flower production

As it happens to humans and any other animal, cells that keep plants alive gradually age. When they are young, they multiply quickly, generating a lot of energy, which is used to grow, and also to flourish. But with the passage of time that vigor, that strength, is lost.

In a documentary they said that you could ‘see’ the signs of human aging if you made photocopies of photocopies, photocopies, … As they are made, color and firmness are lost, and wrinkles appear. Again, something similar happens with plants: their stems lose vitality, and with them, so do their flowers.

These are produced in fewer numbers, with poorer quality, and with a life expectancy that, or may be a little longer than usual (something that would happen if it is a plant that is dying before its time, in order to achieve be pollinated) or shorter.

Hapaxanthic plants

Hapaxanthic plants are those that bloom only onceAs the agaves. They will produce flower rods or stems with a large number of flowers (in some cases there may be more than a thousand). But it is curious, because not all types of plants that are like this produce such a quantity of flowers for their seeds; in fact, agaves for example, it is more common for them to multiply by the suckers that sprout when the mother plant is about to die, than by its seeds.

Without a doubt, multiplication by suckers is much more effective, since anything can happen to the seeds before they germinate (they can be covered with snow, eaten by some herbivorous animal, not buried deep enough, …). A son, as he already has something of the roots when he is left without a mother, he only has to continue growing.

Loss of shine and firmness in the leaves

This is related to what was commented before. The leaves, by themselves, are not usually very hard. Some like those of holly (Holly aquifolium) Yes they are leathery, but with our hands we can break them easily, and if they are from old plants even more so. The reason is that the cells come a time when they do not multiply as before; each time they are doing it more slowly, and in less quantity.

Leaf fall for no apparent reason

As they receive less and less sap, a consequence of the aging of the roots, the leaves fall. They may have some pests, but they may also have none. When picked up, they look apparently healthy, maybe a little yellowish but nothing to suspect that the plant is dying, at least, as I say, in appearance.

If it is a deciduous plant that runs out of leaves in summer or autumn / winter, and after several years loses them in spring for example, we must suspect that its life is coming to an end.

Produces less and less fruit and of poorer quality

The fruits of plants that have already reached what we could call “the third plant age”, if they still produce fruit, they will be scarcer and less pleasant in taste.. In this sense, I can tell you that we in the garden had a fig tree (loaded with figs) who gave delicious figs when he was young; however, from the age of 40-45 (we never knew how old he was) he began to produce them with a flavor that was no longer sweet. In fact, it seemed to me that they had lost all flavor.

Fortunately, this species produces regrowth as if it were a weed, and even if the adult specimen dies, you can always take care of some regrowth.

Dry, diseased, or weak branches

The trunk cracks over the years, and the branches can become brittle. When they become weak, the insects that cause pests often attack themand microorganisms such as mushrooms They will not hesitate to decompose all the organic matter that has begun to die.

In any case, if you have doubts, we recommend consulting us to solve them .

Dry leaves

Dry leaves

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What is the senescence of plants

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