Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pruning in the winter in AZ

The landscape companies that are roaming around in the valley right now seem to be chopping the bushes down in to small little clumps.  I find this shocking considering the winter is coming.  If we get a really cold night that freezes some plants they have now removed a lot of volume from the plants that could freeze out completely.

Let's think about this for a second, if you have a lantana that is nice and bushy and the night gets to say 30 degrees the outside of it might be damaged by the freeze.  It has protected the core of the plant with the extra growth on the outside.  These landscape companies that excessively prune them back into little flowerless ugly balls are simply ensuring job security by basically killing them in advance and making sure they will have to replace the plants in the Spring and be valuable to the people that they are employed by.

I would never tell anyone to do a severe pruning until Spring. Rarely does a plant ever even profit from any sort of such a pruning. The weather is more conducive to that sort of pruning in a warmer  season. It is such a brutal practice especially out in the outer regions of the valley like Queen Creek.  These large landscapers have really mastered the best business practices that they need to make sure they are in demand at all times of the year.  A little bit of common sense would really tell anyone that you would leave the bushes and trees to have their "winter coat" on just like the animals get in the winter.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tecoma stans or Arizona Yellow Bells and caterpillar damage

I keep seeing a lot of questions about the damage to the Yellow bells and the Orange jubilee plants we have in the valley and never see a lot of solutions.
These beautiful plants do get a caterpillar that can leave the entire plant looking like it was set on fire.  I live in a neighborhood that has a landscaping company that appears to be totally inept when it comes to dealing with these little worms and they just shave the entire bush down to the nubs in the fall (which is the absolute worst time to be pruning stuff down to the nubs in the outskirts of metro Phoenix but that will be the next blog) rather than just spray some bacteria on them to kill the caterpillars.
The Bougainvillea get the worms also and Bt is such an easy non chemical method to control the infestation I don't understand the people that cut the whole thing down rather than simply treat the problem.  They would be blooming profusely right now in such beautiful color if they were treated a few weeks ago.