XERISCAPE: LANDSCAPING WITH STYLE in the ARIZONA DESERT

       


Pruning
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.

A well-pruned desert tree.
Photo credit: Charles Mann, Charles Mann Photography

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TIPS
  • Before pruning, take a good look at the tree or shrub. Think about the reason for pruning and plan to remove only the limbs or branches necessary to accomplish your objective.

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A well-pruned desert tree. Good pruning on Palo Verde Tree. The three-point pruning method.

 
 
Additional Resources:
Pruning RecommendationsLandscape Plants for the Arizona Desert
Trees: Prune Now, Pay LaterPondering Pruning Your Plants?
Pruning Schedule: When and how to prune your plants
 
 


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