August Edition: Get the Dirt

By Lynn Barber

The pruning aspect of landscape maintenance does not have to involve a significant amount of your free time. It is easy to reduce the pruning required by selecting the right plant for the right place in your landscape. By matching the mature height and spread with the space you have available, you can decrease time allotted to this step of landscape management.

There are several reasons to prune plants: to train the plant to grow in a specific direction, stimulate flower or fruit production, promote more full growth, remove diseased or dead foliage and safety pruning, which is to prevent damage to people and property. When you prune, be sure to use a sterile, sharp pruning tool.

For assistance in pruning trees, which may be needed to improve shape and form, utilize an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborist which you can find at: www.treesarecool.com. Select “Choose a Tree Care Professional” to locate those in your area. While appropriate pruning is beneficial, Crape Murder is not. Please see the University of Florida (UF) publication, Crapemyrtle Pruning, by Gary W. Knox and Edward F. Gilman, at: http://edis.ifas. ufl.edu/ep399/.

Some landscaping maintenance or tree trimming operations may “sell” hurricane pruning, which is a practice that harms Palms and can cause more damage in strong winds. This type of pruning leaves only the fronds on the top of the Palm. Please see the UF publication on Pruning Palms, by Timothy K. Broschat at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep443. Not all Palms or fronds require pruning. Dead Palm fronds can be pruned; however, partially dead fronds (part green, yellow or brown) should not be pruned because they continue to supply Potassium to the Palm. Fronds should not be removed above the clock hand positions of 9 and 3. Hold your arms straight out from your sides. That’s the horizontal position of 9 and 3 o’clock.

This information was adapted from a presentation by Virginia Overstreet, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County. For assistance with gardening related questions, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, 744-5519.