Saturday, November 25, 2017

Pruning Help Needed For Palo Verde!

For the back garden, there's two plants that i think i really need to prune, but i'm not entirely sure how? They are both in the same bed. Maybe seeing pictures will help me figure it out (and if anyone has any ideas/advice, please share!)

The first is my Palo Verde tree. It's about 2 years in the ground now, and has grown quite a bit. In fact, probably too much, as became clear after a wind storm this summer.

something not quite right...
 An entire branch (almost as thick as the trunk) broke off!
That was not a very clean break - it looks much better now (a few months later)
 The branch was pretty much big enough to be a tree by itself:
it may have also taken me until this weekend to get rid of the branch... oops.
With the branch gone, its just even clearer that the tree needs some substantial pruning. I'd like it to be an actual tree, not an overgrown bush.

Looking at the picture below, i'm thinking the bottom 4 branches have to go?
ignore the cables - they don't do anything any more, and will be removed at some point soon.
Maybe all the branches up to where the trunk branches, minus the really big one?

This is kind of hard to see, but all the branches are on one side (forward in the bed), so getting rid of them will hopefully make the tree more balanced, and less likely to fall over at some point?
note to self - trim the grasses...
You would think that having that entire branch fall off with no noticeable bad effects would make it less scary for me to consider pruning off some more...but apparently not! Looking at the pictures does help - as does imagining what all i can plant under the tree once i can get in there.

I'm thinking i'm just going to have to dive in and do it! Any sage words of advice?


  1. I was very hesitant to prune my manzanita this summer, but I finally just jumped in and did it, and I like the result much better now. Go slowly and keep stopping to look at it and assess it after every couple of cuts (Loree gave me that same advice, and she was right). Also, please get those cables off ASAP. They may not be doing anything constructive, but they may be having a destructive effect, if the tree starts growing around them.

    1. Thank you! And yes, the cables need to come off asap... thank you for the reminder! Going slowly seems like good advice.

  2. I've no experience with palo verde trees specifically but I agree with Alison, just take it slowly. The only words of wisdom I can pass on is what an arborist told me about tree pruning: best not to remove any more than 20% of the tree's volume at any given time. Good luck!

    1. Hm... i should probably wait a bit then - i think the branch was a lot! And Amy's advice was also to wait. Going slow is the common piece of advice, so i'll definitely do that! Thank you!

  3. Hi Renee, I just saw your post title and came over from Kris's blog. My Palo Verdes are younger still, so I can't offer much from experience, but I thought I would double check the advice given in Gardening in the Desert Southwest by Mary Irish (fabulous book which has saved me some mistakes!). The recommendation there is to prune palo verdes during the hot months, not winter. It's probably good to go ahead and tidy it up a bit, but you might want to wait for a full shaping prune. Just thought I would mention it, hope you don't mind! :) Happy desert gardening!

    1. Hello Amy! Thank you! Both for the advice and reminding me to check my own gardening book (Sunset's Western Gardening one) - They also said to wait until it starts warming. Good thing i checked!


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