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Monday, December 12, 2016

Pruning Texas Ranger Different From Oleander

Q. I was reading your article on pruning overgrown oleanders close to the ground to renew them.  Our community has a bunch of 10-15 years old Texas Rangers. They have not been properly maintained.  If they were pruned like the oleanders, would they come back so they don’t have woody stalks at the bottom? My concern is they may not recover quickly enough and be an eyesore.

A. The big advantage oleander has when cutting them close to the ground is their rapid growth the following season. With water and fertilizer applied in the spring, they can be 3 to 5 feet tall the following year after being cut nearly to the ground in late winter.
Oleander can be cut to the ground, renewal pruning, without problems because it grows back so fast. Different story with Texas Rangers.
            This is not true for Texas Ranger. They grow more slowly. But yes, they will regrow from the base if they are pruned close to the ground. They may take two seasons to fully recover to your satisfaction. It is up to you to decide if that is too slow under your circumstances. You may decide to take them out and replace them instead.
Texas Ranger can be pruned back to the ground but they grow back slowly. This can be a problem if you want a quick recovery.
            Remember, the reason that oleanders and Texas Rangers look so bad in the first place is because of how they were pruned after they were planted. If they were pruned properly in the first place they would never have “woody stalks” at the bottom. As long as the same landscape crew is pruning them, the same problem will appear in about 3 to 5 years of pruning. Then you’ll be faced with the same problem all over again.
Texas Ranger gives a great floral show most of the year if it is not sheared with a hedge shears.
            The proper way to prune Texas Rangers is to remove one or two of the largest or oldest “stalks” near soil level every 2 to 3 years and not use a hedge shears. This will cause the shrub to grow from these cut stalks and fill in from the base. Using a hedge shears and pruning only the top and sides causes the stalks to become older, woodier and larger in diameter. The leafy stems and flowers will be found only around the top and sides of the shrub.

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