Clean Pruning Tools for Healthy Plants

I just finished writing the Oleander Leaf Scorch (OLS) article.  Caused by the Xylella fastidiosa bacteria, OLS has been decimating the oleander population in Phoenix xeriscapes, especially in north central Phoenix. There’s no evidence that OLS spreads by unclean pruning tools, but it’s a good reminder–now that’s it’s pruning season–to thoroughly clean and disinfect your pruning tools each time you (or your landscaping crew) move to a new plant. 

Here’s what I do:  put isopropyl alcohol, commonly available in drugstores, into a spray bottle.  Thoroughly spray the tool, then wipe clean after about a minute.  Do this before moving on to a new plant.  At the end of the day, after cleaning your tools but before you put them away, spray each with a thin coat of WD-40.  That keeps all the parts clean and working properly. 

Cleaning pruning tools is a best practice that keeps your tools in good shape while reducing the spread of pathogens.

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