Prepare for Spring by Pruning Plants Now

Once again spring is on its way. Though the official start of spring isn’t until March 20 this year, Arizona offers the distinct pleasure of warm weather and sunshine earlier than most of the nation. That also means residents here have to prepare their plants, trees, and lawns for warmer weather sooner. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you with prep your landscape for a beautiful spring season.

Start with Pruning Frost Damage

To get your plants ready for a strong growing season, it’s time to begin pruning back any frost damage sustained during the cold months come the end of February or start of March. Frost damage in Tucson should be minimal considering the mild winter we have had. Cherry Landscape is now starting to prune back some frost damage to plants including Bougainvillea, Lantana, and Mexican Birds of Paradise.

When plants suffer frost damage, you will see sudden wilting of the outer growth followed by the leaves turning brown and crispy. The leaves may even turn black. Damaged stems will also turn brown or black and harden.

To prune back the frost damage, start by cutting away the affected outer growth. Using hand pruners or loppers, lightly prune away damaged stems and branches only back to the point where green can be seen in the bark. If your plants sustained a heavier frost, you can renewal prune, which involves severe pruning often within a few inches of the ground to promote new growth. 

In preparation for the growing season and to prevent a “leggy” appearance, now is the time to prune back plants such as Verbena, Salvia Greggii, and Fountain Grass. The Mexican Bird of Paradise are also being topped for renewed growth at this time. Follow these plant-specific recommendations for improved growth in your garden this spring.

Lantana
Purple Lantana, though they may not have suffered from the cold, should be topped lightly now. This will help rejuvenate new growth in the spring. Yellow Lantana should be cut down anywhere from two to six inches, depending on the severity of the frost damage in your area.

Salvia Greggii
A beautiful plant, Salv
ia Greggii can become leggy and unattractive over time if left untended. To maintain flowers during the growing season and a healthier look, prune Salvia Greggii in approximately half this spring. This will allow for and generate fresh growth.

Salvia Greggii will flower three to four times during the growing season. Each time the flowers finish blooming, we recommend pruning of any brown sticks and tipping seed pods that develop at the top of the plant to maintain a healthy crop of flowers and a nice, green healthy appearance. Cherry Landscape also recommends light fertilizing during the growing season for these plants.

Mexican Birds of Paradise
Mexican Birds of Paradise should be pruned to approximately one to two foot from the ground so they can regenerate new growth. They will return to the same size within the first two or three months of summer.

By pruning your plants now,
 you are helping to prepare them for the long growing season ahead and better health. As a result, you will add beauty to your landscaping and lengthen the life of your plants.