Is it just me, or did winter pass us by this year in Dallas? As I write this I see the forecast for today is 80 degrees (!) and the extended forecast is upper 60s and low 70s. It appears spring is, well, springing. Here at Bonick Landscaping, we are busy doing cutbacks or pruning. While not the most glamorous of landscaping activities, it’s an important one for plant and landscape health.
Properly cutting back or pruning of trees, shrubs, grasses, roses and perennials enhances the beauty of your landscape, but like any other skill, it does require knowledge of what you are doing to achieve success. In most cases, it’s better not to prune than to do it incorrectly as improper pruning can weaken, deform and even kill plants. Believe it or not, more trees are killed each year from improper pruning than by pests. Often DIY pruners don’t have a good fundamental understanding of plants – that the leaf surface reflects the root system, for example, and if you take out too much leaf system, the roots die back – add drought conditions to this equation and all of a sudden you are looking at a once healthy tree that is struggling to survive.
Reasons for Pruning
Reasons for pruning are to maintain plant health, improve the quality of flowers, fruit, foliage and stems and in some instances to restrict growth or “train” a plant. Pruning should always follow a plan that begins with understanding the reason for pruning before you begin. The most obvious reason to prune is to remove dead, broken, pest-infested or diseased limbs by cutting them at the point of origin or back to a strong lateral branch or shoot. Pruning beyond this basic level gets a bit trickier, and again, should only be approached when you are confident that you know what you are doing.
Don’t forget to cutback groundcover and grasses, too, to allow for new growth. It should go without saying, but at this point, wait to trim spring-flowing shrubs and vines until after flowing.
Other March Landscaping Activities
Remember, now is also a good time in the Dallas area to plant trees, shrubs, roses, perennials, herbs and annuals such as begonias, petunias, geraniums, alyssum and snapdragons. Did I mention roses? Some people don’t realize that there are many drought tolerant roses that grow well here in the Dallas area. If you are a DIY gardener, your local nursery can steer you in the right direction. In fact, our friends at North Haven Gardens will be hosting their Spring Rose Festival this weekend, March 3 and 4 and have several educational sessions about roses scheduled throughout the weekend.
These next few months in Dallas are truly some of the most pleasant times to be outside and gardening so enjoy!