Thursday, January 07, 2010

Time to Prune Trees

It's been a very cold winter for the southwestern part of New Mexico.  Colder than most seasons and this is actually good news.  The freezing temperatures will kill off any remaining insects that will hatch more larvae and infest many of our trees and shrubs. 

This also means that many trees and plants that are very tolerant of the cold will probably go completley dormant.  It also means many more trees to prune.  Many novice gardeners think they have to prune their ornamental and fruit trees because it the right thing to do.  You do not have prune any tree or plant unless there is real reason to do so. 

Fruit trees need pruning if they are growing larger than what you need them to be.  Limbs that are touching or growing out of propotion than the rest of the treed need to be pruned.  Limbs that are touching electrical, phone, cable wires need to be pruned.  Be sure to call city, county or state officials before you prune near any of these type of wires.  Depending on your area many of these agencies will do this at no charge.

Branches or limbs that are broken or dead need to be removed.  You can usually tell if a branch is still viable by bending one way or the other.  If it bends it will shoot out new foliage.  If it doesn't it is time to cut if off.

Now that you are out there pruning it is a good idea to further observer your trees. Do they have holes in them are do they looking good or are they still small and thinish.  It is possible you may have had borer damage during the warmer months.  Fungus and and other diseases is also a problem. 

You can prevent some of these problems by using a dormant oil during the early spring season, just before foliage starts to shoot out.  Ask for this product at your nearby friendly nursery.

Got questions: You can contact me or ask your questions at

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