Q. I planted a 5 gallon Arizona Rosewood a year ago against a wall for visual screening. How and when should I prune it?
|Arizona Rosewood one year after planting|
A. This plant can be grown as a shrub or small tree. As a shrub, led it continue to grow as it is except for any weak stems. Any weak, floppy stems should be cut back about 1/3 to half their length to encourage them to become stronger.
As a tree, it can be grown with a single trunk or multiple trunks. This initial pruning to establish its architecture or form should be done during the winter or early spring. It is not too late now.
If your plan is to use this as a small tree, then I would select 3 or 5 larger diameter stems (an odd number is more pleasing to the eye) coming from the ground and eliminate all other growth coming from the base. As new growth appears from the base, eliminate it at any time of the year you see it.
Next, stake these stems individually in an arrangement you would like them to grow. Staking young stems for one year will encourage them to continue growing in those directions. Finally, cut any long, floppy stems back to encourage strength. Make these cuts ¼ inch above a side branch in any direction away from the wall. Remove any strong growth growing towards the wall.
Here is some excellent information with more background on Arizona Rosewood by an extension agent in Arizona.