How to Prune Desert Plants


Desert plants are beautiful in their own way. Thin in foliage, emaciated in body, desert plants look as if they could survive anything, without anyone's help. However, desert plants do require a small amount of annual care, and pruning is included. Although ornamental desert plants should never be topped, shrubs will need a rare shear, and a regular trimming to keep up appearances and to enhance the natural beauty of the plant.

Step 1

Cut away any dead or diseased branches from the plant to tidy up appearance.

Step 2

Cut away any stumps on the plant to prevent rotting or disease in the future.

Step 3

Remove any root suckers (newly developing limbs) from the bottom of the tree. This will prevent new sucklings from competing with the plant for nutritional resources.

Step 4

Thin branches that are crossing each other or touching by removing older plant growth to encourage the newer branches.

Step 5

Create heading cuts by trimming away the tips of branches. This creates bushiness in the plant by promoting new growth. New offshoots will begin in the spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Arizona: Pruning Shrubs
  • Plant Amnesty: Pruning Guide
  • U.S. Department of the Interior: Desert Blooms--A Sunscape Guide to Plants for a Water Scarce Region
Keywords: desert plants, desert plant pruning, drought plants

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.