Life in the desert often differs from other places in the country. If you live in Arizona, you may wonder if you should prune your trees. And if so, when and how? Here’s all the information you need before attempting to trim your trees or calling a professional to do the work for you.
Benefits of Trimming Trees in Arizona
Here are some of the most common objectives when pruning trees in Arizona:
- Manage disease risk by removing dead or damaged branches and improving air circulation within the crown.
- Improve branch and tree structure by creating more desirable branch spacing, along with better crown size, shape, and height.
- Improve clearance around road signs, utility lines, and sidewalks.
- Promote better production of fruit, flowers, or nuts.
- Rejuvenate old, overgrown plants with heavy renewal pruning.
Tree Trimming Do’s and Don’ts
For the best results, you may want to leave pruning to a tree care team that does this for a living. If you attempt the work yourself, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind.
DO Time it Right
For the best results, follow this Arizona tree pruning schedule:
- Trim deciduous trees from December through February when growth slows down. Evergreens require little pruning, but this is the right timing for them as well.
- Wait until mid-February to lightly shape citrus trees to avoid frost damage. Avoid heavy pruning.
- Prune water-wise desert trees in the spring or fall. Spring is best for mesquite and other vigorous desert species. Trim smaller, slower-growing desert trees in the fall.
DO Avoid Harmful Pruning Practices
Improper techniques can injure your trees. For instance:
- Topping shrinks the crown size by aggressively cutting large limbs. However, this only encourages sprouting at the ends. A better technique is to cut limbs back to side branches measuring at least one-third the diameter of the branches being cut.
- Lion’s tailing involves over-pruning interior branches, leaving a tuft of foliage at the end that resembles a lion’s tail. This can lead to sprouting, a sunburned trunk, and limb breakage in high winds.
DON’T Remove More Than a Quarter of the Foliage
If you want to remove more than this eventually, prune the tree a few years in a row. To avoid stunting the growth of young trees, wait until the upper branches have matured to remove any lower branches. When pruning is complete, the crown should make up two-thirds of the tree’s total height.
DON’T Paint or Tar Pruned Branches
This old practice is ineffective. It doesn’t deter insects or reduce the risk of disease. Instead, it interferes with the plant’s wound defense system and may slow healing.
Choose Moon Valley Nurseries to prune the trees around your Arizona home. Our tree care team happily provides pruning services to ensure a job well done while freeing up your valuable time. We also stock a nursery full of beautiful trees if you’re looking to add shade, beauty, or privacy to your yard. For more information, please contact us online or visit one of our Arizona locations today.