"Pruning Desert Plants

 

Many gardeners, both seasoned and beginners, feel they should prune, but many simply don't know why or how to prune.

 

For many, the act of pruning takes on the mysterious characteristics of some ancient rite, or it requires the intricate knowledge of a surgeon.

But pruning doesn’t have to be mysterious or complex.

Basically, pruning is done to train plants, to help improve or maintain their health, or to improve the quality of fruit, flowers, foliage or stems. It can also be used to restrict growth.

First pruning

When you purchase (or otherwise receive) a tree or shrub, you should carefully inspect the plant for broken limbs and roots, branches that cross another branch, and for branches that might be infested with insects or disease.

For many years, it was considered proper to “top off” or prune one-third of the top growth of a new tree before transplanting it. That has been proven to be untrue. In fact, it will reduce plant size and will not help the plant.

Also, don’t prune the central leader, unless the tree is naturally low branched or multi-stemmed.

Subsequent prunings

As time goes on and your tree or shrub grows, you may want to begin pruning lower limbs. How many of lower branches to prune depends on what the purpose of the tree is. If it’s to be used as a windbreak or a screen, you’ll want the lower branches to be only a few inches from the ground. If the tree is near a sidewalk or patio, pruning as high as seven feet is acceptable.

Remember though that this should be done over a period of years, and is an ongoing process until the tree reaches the size you want. Don’t be too anxious to prune lower branches until they are about one inch in diameter. Letting them grow until then will help the trunk get larger. Cutting limbs over an inch in diameter can scar the trunk permanently.

Branches with angles to the trunk less than 30 degrees have a really high breakage rate. Those between 60 and 70 degrees have a very low breakage rate."

 

Hopefully now pruning isn't so scary to you! Do your plants need to be pruned? Contact us and we'll get the job done!