How Does Your Garden Grow? – February 2015

Tree topping is a pruning no-no and leads to more pruning!

Tree topping is a pruning no-no and leads to more pruning!

Louise Grabell

Did you know that pruning your trees and shrubs is an art form? The problem around SaddleBrooke is that we don’t have too many artists! Oh, we have plenty of power hedge trimmers and they can make any shape you want out of the greenery on your estate. Lollipops, cotton balls, pineapples, umbrellas, etc. are all available at no extra charge and in record time. Sadly, as these landscapers drive away with all the pruned growth, too many homeowners are satisfied that their yards have been cleaned up and look spiffy.

Here’s the thing: pruning leads to more pruning! That is, when branches are cut back on trees and shrubs, those stubby little ends just produce three or four times the number of branches that were there in the first place! Furthermore, when that master of the power trimmer is done, the only growth that occurs is on the outside edges of the shrubs, leaving naked wood on the inside. Result: the shrubs get larger each year because they can no longer be pruned back due to the ugly, barren woody stems that remain.

Pruning is a relaxing pastime—didn’t you know? With a lopper and a pair of hand-pruners, you can spend a delightful afternoon among your greenery and the birds, doing a proper job of making your shrubs smaller and your trees shorter. I say, go out there and do the job, and let your mate do the clean-up. Think of all the money you will save! The art of pruning is to make the end product look as nature intended. If you do otherwise, you will be in a perpetual battle with your plants as they continue to grow the way they want to, in spite of your efforts.

Proper pruning takes time and you should research this website for lots of good information: Good pruning techniques will go a long way towards beautifying our neighborhoods.

The Master Gardeners of SaddleBrooke have a website: for all up to date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our SaddleBrooke Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 520-407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem.

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

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jeffrey C. Silvertooth, Director, Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Arizona.

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