Breaking Out My Pruners…….In 22 Days


Every year about this time, I get tired of seeing this in my garden……

My brown shrubs

My brown shrubs

Pretty ugly, isn’t it?

Just looking at my frozen Lantana, causes me to feel the pull of my pruners calling out to me.

Even though I know all the reasons that I should NOT prune them now, it would be so easy to prune them back early.

And so, to keep myself from venturing into the garage where my loppers and hand pruners are stored, I will keep repeating the following reasons to stay away……

1. If I prune early, I may prune off branches that are actually alive on the inside.

2.  I can cause irreparable damage by pruning early since that stimulates plants to produce new growth, which is especially susceptible to frost damage and may even kill my plants.

3.  The brown and crispy stuff actually protects the interior and sometimes the lower leaves of my plants from the cold.

I will go out prune to my hearts content once the danger of frost is over, which is about the first week of March in my zone 9a garden.

Okay, I feel much better now about leaving my brown shrubs alone…..for the next 22 days and counting down 😉


I have some special news to share with you all in about a week.

It is something that I have been working on for a while now and it is getting ready to debut soon.

More later 🙂  

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
11 replies
  1. Marie
    Marie says:

    Oh joy … your post is just in the nick of time. It is so hard for me to have all this sunshine and not go out and prune my garden. I was in an RV for 3 years and now have a bit of a house on the Sonoran desert.

    I just found your blog a day or two ago to help me along the way. Thank you.

    Now I have a goal ~ March 1st. whew…

  2. rohrerbot
    rohrerbot says:

    I know. Everytime I get out of my car or walk around, I just want to clip it all off….it would be oh so easy to do. The pruners are locked away and need a key. It's really difficult for me….so I work on the hardscape and then when March comes, I unleash the pruners!! But then my live oaks drop all their leaves so it's double whammy for me!

  3. Desert Dweller
    Desert Dweller says:

    Very true on pruning. In fact, I anticipate not seeing some all winter damage, until it has warmed up over the next few weeks.

    May as well not prune or deem anything as having made it (or not). Wish I only had 22 days…more like 60 days here 🙁

  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    Good info! After last week's freezing weather, my lantana looks just like yours; but I'll do my best to put off pruning. Usually I cut back perennials after the first freeze because I'm a timid pruner once spring growth starts, but it's good to know the why's behind delaying…especially with all our Texas swings between summer and icy temps.

  5. Amy
    Amy says:

    I am glad I read this today. I was outside in our 70 degree weather and really wanting to prune, prune, prune. It is so tempting.

  6. Floridagirl
    Floridagirl says:

    My lantana looks horrid right now as well. I normally wait until I see new green growth coming up, but we have such a great extended forecast, that I think I will start pruning next week. Of course, I've got a lot of stuff that looks like that, not just the lantana.

  7. Pam's English Garden
    Pam's English Garden says:

    Dear Noelle, I would want to prune it too if I were in your shoes! I am impressed with your restraint!

    Sorry I haven't visited lately; I was in the hospital. But I'm back, I'm well, and I'm frantically trying to catch up on my blog reading.

    Look forward to your news. P x

  8. Balisha
    Balisha says:

    I remembered you, when I turned the page on my beautiful calendar. We gardeners have to practice patience a lot of time.Waiting for Spring, waiting for blooms, waiting for rain, and waiting to prune.Balisha

  9. Jan
    Jan says:

    I know about the pruners too! I keep looking at my lantana and especially my hibiscus. I just want to chop them all the way down and start over! They look so bad and of course they are in the front yard!

  10. Jo Turner
    Jo Turner says:

    Thanks for your's very interesting! I won't prune now. My Feathery Cassia looks a bit grey, but, I think it will be all right. Jo

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