The Right Time to Prune

Good to Know

Feb 8, 2018

The Right Time to Prune

By:  Randy Mitchell, Director of Landscape Maintenance

Many of the plant varieties here in the Coachella Valley are in bloom and enjoying the cooler weather, just as we are.  This pattern will continue through into early Spring.  However, for the next few weeks, the threat of a cold snap still remains.  While many of the species in our local landscapes are native to the area, there are some that are not and near freezing temperatures will cause damage.  Some common non-native plants include Yellow Dot (Wedelia), Lantanas, and Bougainvilleas.  Because of this lingering threat, we need to remain cautious in when and how we prune frost sensitive plants and shrubs this time of year.  For our properties, we will continue to maintain the plants on our rotation when they: (1) grow too tall for the area where they are located, (2) block vehicular line of sight, (3) become rangy or woody, (4) have dead flower stocks, and (5) block or hamper access to sidewalks or curb areas. 

However, any heavy restorative or regenerative pruning will not be done until the threat of frost has passed.  Typically, this is loosely defined by the beginning of March.  At that time, we'll begin the process of cutting back any species that require this type of pruning such as Lantanas and ornamental grasses.  In most cases, they will be pruned back to the ground.  While there is a 4-6 week period where the plant may not look its best, this type of pruning is necessary to remove dead wood, prevent woodiness and to keep the plant looking its best throughout the year.

Prior to hard spring pruning                                             

Prior to hard spring pruning                                                                                                                         8 Weeks after regenerative pruning

At this same time, we'll be working on opening up and thinning from the inside plants like the Texas Rangers, Bougainvilleas, Cassias, and Oleanders.  We will not be pruning plant material into geometric shapes as this is not an accepted method of pruning.  The goal is to enhance the health of the plant and maintain a desirable appearance.   Plants should be pruned to promote a natural shape and form and only pruned when needed.


Prior to hard spring pruning                                                                                                                              8 Weeks after hard spring pruning