The watchword for pruning desert adapted trees and shrubs is WAIT
. Normally, there is no need to prune for the first year or two.
Watch your plants during the establishment period and you will find that most desert adapted plants and trees have a beautiful natural form that requires little or no pruning. Too much pruning leads to unnaturally shaped plants, inhibits the plant's food-making capability, reduces flowering and heightens a plant's water demand due to increased growth from new shoots. It also sends too much waste material to local landfills. Leaving growth on lower tree trunks for one to two years results in increased trunk size and strength.
There are some instances where pruning is appropriate:
- To remove dead, diseased or weakened branches.
- To keep walkways, driveways and other high traffic areas in your yard passable and safe.
- To remove branches that rub against each other.
- To control or direct growth.