For a needed break each month, I became a volunteer at the UTEP Chihuahuan Desert Gardens – blocks from home. Plus, it gave me a discount on attending a public gardens conference in a few weeks :-)
Photos from yesterday’s 40F and biting east winds, 2/27/2014 –
It includes 600+ plant species native to our Chihuahuan Desert and adjacent ecoregions, so there’s much variety to do here
, short of ! After a 15 minute walking survey, the dwarf trees were my target. starting over
Not even my plan, until I looked closely.
Subtle, eh? I was only 3/4 finished, but my work filled that trash can.
Pruning is about health, then aesthetics. About 1 year after planting (or establishment), with basic care, pruning a smaller tree is simple:
1) remove dead stems and branches
2) remove crossing live stems and branches
Only additional, minor pruning for form may be needed now – most of that was addressed in the first 2 steps. Limit pruning to under 30% of live growth each year, and what’s appropriate for the plant and climate.
That’s it, until the plant becomes larger than one’s skills and equipment – time for an arborist, qualifed in deed and mindset – not just by testing.
Notice the Mountain Mahogany now, with the grasses and wall? Health and form. Lateral growth to grow into the walkway? Gone – function.
Are you daunted by pruning a dwarf tree or other plant? Don’t be.
Many hear someone appreciative of the natural world, yet unknowing of a need for healthy plants, in a time frame in line with typical property ownership – gardens aren’t for geologic time.
Health and beauty, wildness and order, function and form – all together, now.