How Does Your Garden Grow?

Louise Grabell

Have you noticed there’s a lot of crazy pruning that’s going on in SaddleBrooke?

I’ve written about proper pruning methods before, but I am heartbroken about what many of your so-called landscapers are doing to your beautiful garden treasures. Any “landscaper” who uses a power clipper to take care of your trees and shrubs should be booted off your property!

Rule Number One:

Don’t make lollipops out of your trees! There should be an ALC rule against this ugly and life-threatening (to the trees) method of growth control. If the tree is too big and causing trouble, get rid of it and plant a tree that is more suitable for the location. Look at all those lollipop and umbrella trees around our neighborhoods! Yuk!

Rule Number Two:

Don’t make unnatural mounds out of your shrubs. Stop the buzz-clipping that is rampant in SaddleBrooke. Note the mature size of a shrub before you plant it. Texas Rangers should never be planted next to a driveway or walkway. Their mature size is eight-foot diameter by six-foot height. What was your landscaper thinking when he planted that cute little shrub in the wrong place? This is why we must all do our homework before the “pro” does our yard work. If the size of a shrub cannot be controlled, then it is the wrong shrub in the wrong place. Perpetual shearing encourages little leaves on the outside edges and no growth on the inside of the shrub.

Rule Number Three:

Pruning leads to more pruning. That lollipop tree will start to throw off new branches almost as soon as they’ve been shaved off. “Shave” is a good analogy: men shave to prevent a beard—every day—because it just grows back! Mother Nature is making a statement: trees will grow as their genetics intended, so all that pruning does not control their growth.

Rule Number Four:

Buy a pair of clippers and a lopper and you’re in business! You can prune back any shrub yourself, maintaining the shape that nature intended and thereby not stimulating unwanted growth for quite some time. Large trees can be raised above ground level so that their branches do not interfere with cars or people passing underneath. There are many good examples of mesquites, Palo verde and live oaks in SaddleBrooke that have been correctly pruned. Trees and shrubs that look natural make our whole neighborhood look better.

Watch for an announcement from your Master Gardeners about the next garden lecture coming up in October. The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke invite you to visit their website: for all up to date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem. Your SaddleBrooke Master Gardener Volunteers are here all year round to assist with any plant or landscaping problem.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.