Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pointless Pruner's Prize

Over the years (hackneyed phrase but I can't think of an alternative) I've seen far too many examples of bad pruning - trees butchered, shrubs nearly obliterated and even grasses with bad haircuts. Yesterday I finally saw the example that takes the 'Pointless Pruner's Prize' for this month or maybe the year! This is a short hedge of Opuntia - now I guess cacti are a slightly odd choice for a hedge but this is the desert. But just look at what they have done! Not even pruned them at a joint which could be acceptable but cut the pads in half.  What was the point? Was somebody proud of the finished job? Can you imagine standing back and saying - 'Doesn't that look good!'

Opuntias on parade

On a similar note and I do admit to having a real thing about bad pruning and general plant abuse,  I was horrified a week or so ago to hear hedge trimmers ripping in to the hedge at the bottom of our new yard. This is a hedge of Calliandra haematocephala, a common vigorous evergreen around here which, if allowed to grow, flowers with beautiful red flowers in spring that are loved by the humming birds.  This was in the next yard, but had been allowed to grow above the wall and was starting to flower beautifully.  Suddenly one morning it was attacked with hedgetrimmers - again can you imagine the logic? 'That's flowering - better prune it and cut off all those pretty red flowers!' Anyway, with three quarters of the hedge cut, the work stopped. I wonder why? Did the home owner arrive back and have a justifiable 'hissy fit at the gardeners or did time run out and the job is to be resumed - I hope not. Sadly so much of this bad pruning is carried out by professional landscape teams that operate in this area.

Half a hedge is better than none I guess!
Anyway if any reader feels they have a better contender for the 'Pointless Pruner's Prize', do please email me with a picture and I'd be happy to feature here.


  1. AMEN - there need to be PSA's on all media outlets on better maintenance in the SW. Senseless on the cacti (see it on ocotillos, too) So counterproductive on that Calliandra hedge (many don't even know Leucophyllum spp. flowers in the monsoon season due to crews balling them up / clients expecting them to). Great post!

  2. We've seen so many bad pruning and trimmings jobs through the years. Sadly some landscapers put more value on time saved rather than sympathetic and correct method.

  3. OMG...those poor opuntia take the cake! I'd love to lop off a couple fingers on the hand that did this work.