Connecting Greater Phoenix gardeners with information that helps put xeriscape principles into action.

The Best Pruning Tip Ever

Not PruningHere’s the best pruning tip ever:  DON’T DO THIS!  This isn’t the greatest photo…sorry ’bout that.  But you can see where a landscape crew was asked to “trim” the trees and they pretty much denuded this one and the others on the property…foliage and all.

Any guesses as to how this will grow back in…if, in fact, it DOES grow in?  Anywhere a cut was made–and this poor tree had had this procedure before–will sprout spindly little twigs that look like a witch’s broom.  Imagine a hundred little brooms all over this tree.

The really unfortunate part (aside from the fact that it’s killing the tree) is that this mature tree, which should require very little pruning, now needs constant pruning to deal with all the little twigs.  Sigh…

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3 Quick Tips for Pruning Trees and Shrubs

Even though I’m a Certified Desert Landscaper, I still take classes to refresh my learning and stay ahead of the latest stuff.  That’s how I landed in a classroom down at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix for a “Pruning Trees & Shrubs” class on Sunday.  From certified arborist John Eisenhower of Integrity Tree Service, we received some great pruning tips:

  1. Select plants carefully.  Planting trees and shrubs where they can freely grow to their mature size will reduce the amount of pruning that you’ll need to do later on.  
  2. Define your pruning goal.  Pruning should be done for safety reasons, to improve the health of the plant, or for aesthetic reasons.  Pruning should not be done when armed with a lopper and sporting a crazy look in your eyes.
  3. Less is more.  As a general rule, no more than 25% of a tree or shrub should be removed during pruning.  A tree trunk with three stubs where branches used to be is…well, it’s just over the top.

But there’s so much more.  Check out the “Pruning Trees and Shrubs” class (and all the classes) at the Desert Botanical Garden.  Even if you don’t intend to do the pruning yourself, you’ll learn enough about pruning to know what to look for and to hire knowledgeable professionals.