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Monday, August 31, 2015

Texas Rangers Can Be Pruned Shorter

Q. Can I trim large Rangers so they are not so tall?

A. Yes you can and you can do it to this plant any time after the major bloom time or this winter. Texas Ranger can handle two different methods of pruning and one of those types will allow you to adjust the size of the plant more than the other method. Texas Ranger can be pruned into a hedge using a hedge shears or pruned into a single shrub.

Texas Ranger showing branches located at the base where pruning cuts can be made.
When any plant is getting too large the same general method of pruning is used to make it smaller. Some plants can rebound after severe pruning (like oleander) and others should be pruned with a more delicate touch.

To make it smaller.....First, identify one branch in the canopy which is too tall. With your eyes and hands follow this branch downward to a location where it joins another branch which is smaller. This location will be a "crotch" or "Y" where two branches are joined together.Make sure the remaining branch is growing in a favorable direction.

You will remove the taller branch by cutting just above crotch with a pruning shears that has been sharpened and sanitized. Make the cut so that the larger branch is removed and there is no remnant of that branch remaining.. The cut should be smooth with no remnant of a stump remaining. Find other branches that are to long or tall and cut them back using the same method. Vary the height of this cut above ground so that all the cuts are not at the same height.

In some cases, you may have to follow a branch a long distance close to the soil to find a favorable place to make a cut. You can remove branches at any of these locations.

If this is an older, large branch that is removed, it may leave a hole in the canopy. These holes will eventually fill with new growth from branches surrounding the hole. It will take a season for these holes to fill again so cut early enough in the season so the holes fill before winter. 

A much more dramatic but sometimes necessary method of pruning older plants is called renewal pruning. Here the shrub is cut nearly to the ground with new growth that will sucker from the cut stems.

The best time to make these pruning cuts are at the tail end of winter or very early spring before new growth starts.

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