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Pruning a desert spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri)


Darylrsv4
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Is it even possible by hand or only with a hedge trimmer? I did a search and didn’t find much . Thanks all

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13 minutes ago, Darylrsv4 said:

Is it even possible by hand or only with a hedge trimmer? I did a search and didn’t find much . Thanks all

95669D99-2EA2-4FE8-91F4-A12CC88ECD70.jpeg

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Aside from the Chop n' Blow guys who butcher these in commercial landscapes here, most people leave these as they are until tall enough to remove dead leaves on the trunk.  When big enough to tidy up, use Elbow- length Rose gloves, and hand pruners..

Habitat specimens, Oak Flat, AZ, first 2 shots.. Catalina State Park, last picture..

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Appreciate the response. My wife was telling me to trim them, I'm happy with them as they are.

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25 minutes ago, Darylrsv4 said:

Appreciate the response. My wife was telling me to trim them, I'm happy with them as they are.

I hate to be divisive but in this case you are right and she is a little premature.  Maybe that is the way to handle it:  "yes honey, I will trim them, but not quite yet".  Nathan had it right, wait for the lower leaves to turn brown, long rose trimming gloves and hand clippers.  The only other safety measure Nathan left out was the safety glasses for this job.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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13 minutes ago, Darylrsv4 said:

Appreciate the response. My wife was telling me to trim them, I'm happy with them as they are.

:greenthumb:

If she saw what they look like after the chop n' blow guys "give them a hair cut," she might not suggest trimming again, lol.. Really ugly is an understatement.   That said, once they start forming a trunk, like the 3rd example, an occasional trim of the dead leaves to reveal the trunk a little more makes them stand out more in a residential landscape, imo.. 

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Just now, Tracy said:

I hate to be divisive but in this case you are right and she is a little premature.  Maybe that is the way to handle it, yes honey, I will trim them, but not quite yet.  Nathan had it right, wait for the lower leaves to turn brown, long rose trimming gloves and hand clippers.  The only other safety measure Nathan left out was the safety glasses for this job.

Safety Glasses? do people still wear those B):D 

Yes, trimming these is a painful experience, but not nearly as bad as trimming stiff-leaved Yucca ( or Y. elephantes / guatemalensis / gigantea. )..  or giant Agave ( I swear they're Vampires )

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6 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

:greenthumb:

If she saw what they look like after the chop n' blow guys "give them a hair cut," she might not suggest trimming again, lol.. Really ugly is an understatement.   That said, once they start forming a trunk, like the 3rd example, an occasional trim of the dead leaves to reveal the trunk a little more makes them stand out more in a residential landscape, imo.. 

Agree.. in addition to that the leaves are long lived.. like stay alive 10+years long....  so if you remove any.. leave all the leaves alone (after tying up) and trim the bottom 2-3 rows off.  Looks like yours are singles.. but sometimes when planted they are community grown which are messy looking with multiple growth points.  They really are maintenance free.. if its on Irrigation I'd remove that.. and dont waste water on them. Less is more. 

My 2 cents

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1 hour ago, SailorBold said:

Agree.. in addition to that the leaves are long lived.. like stay alive 10+years long....  so if you remove any.. leave all the leaves alone (after tying up) and trim the bottom 2-3 rows off.  Looks like yours are singles.. but sometimes when planted they are community grown which are messy looking with multiple growth points.  They really are maintenance free.. if its on Irrigation I'd remove that.. and dont waste water on them. Less is more. 

My 2 cents

I  don't remember even  trying to tie up the leaves when trimming the skirts on bigger specimens  at the nursery i'd worked at here..  Just reach in and enjoy the self torture, haha..  Not really that bad, at least the Dasylirion..  I'd pick an easier to access spot and trim out a few dead leaves to give me some room to get in, then work my way around the rest of the plant..  The dead leaves that had relaxed against the trunk as they dried out were the hardest to get under with the pruners without getting bit ( by the plant )..

The multi-headed ones were really fun to clean up, ...if you really enjoy self torture, lol..

Edited by Silas_Sancona
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@Darylrsv4 I do hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those Italian Cypress you have as foundation plantings, even if they're dwarf cultivars, will one day look like this:

Cupressus%20sempervirens%20mature.jpg

Edited by ahosey01
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12 minutes ago, ahosey01 said:

@Darylrsv4 I do hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those Italian Cypress you have as foundation plantings, even if they're dwarf cultivars, will one day look like this:

Cupressus%20sempervirens%20mature.jpg

Yep.. agree.. might end up clogging gutters etc.  Looks nice and neat right now...  ive made this mistake plenty of times.  Ital I an cypress are columnar but still like 5 feet around columnar...I hate to critique such a nice yard and home.. but sky pencil holly is the one they want..

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I keep them trimmed. Google must be wrong, it says dwarf cypress reach 7-9'.

Appreciate the feedback.

 

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3 minutes ago, Darylrsv4 said:

I keep them trimmed. Google must be wrong, it says dwarf cypress reach 7-9'.

Appreciate the feedback.

 

They can get big ..but only if allowed to ..and yes, pretty sure there is a dwarf cultivar/ variety the nursery i'd worked for used to sell up in San Jose..  Want to say it was a Monrovia creation -or something they slapped their name on..

The picture posted is interesting too since the house i lived in as a kid had half a dozen Ital. Cypress on one side of the driveway that were easily 20-30ft in height, but never got half as wide as the specimens shown.. And they were never trimmed. Were an extremely popular landscape staple around San Jose / other areas of the Bay Area in the 80's.  

Only thing i don't like about them is, at least on bigger ones, half the branches would droop / ...just look messy after a big winter storm..  Then they started suffering some sort of die- back issue, which was when a lot of them, up there at least, started getting pulled out / cut down.  See a few around here / down in Tucson occasionally.

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1 hour ago, Darylrsv4 said:

I keep them trimmed. Google must be wrong, it says dwarf cypress reach 7-9'.

Appreciate the feedback.

 

Those "mature height" calculations are always weird to me... Trees don't really stop growing.  They keep growing and eventually blow over or die.  Dwarf cultivars often grow very slow, no doubt... But they don't really stop at 10ft like they suggest.  Give it 20 years and I'd bet a ton of money they're meaningfully taller than your house.

I have a dwarf Taxodium distichum cultivar that supposedly only gets 6ft tall.  I have seen 12ft specimens in private gardens, though.

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22 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

They can get big ..but only if allowed to ..and yes, pretty sure there is a dwarf cultivar/ variety the nursery i'd worked for used to sell up in San Jose..  Want to say it was a Monrovia creation -or something they slapped their name on..

The picture posted is interesting too since the house i lived in as a kid had half a dozen Ital. Cypress on one side of the driveway that were easily 20-30ft in height, but never got half as wide as the specimens shown.. And they were never trimmed. Were an extremely popular landscape staple around San Jose / other areas of the Bay Area in the 80's.  

Only thing i don't like about them is, at least on bigger ones, half the branches would droop / ...just look messy after a big winter storm..  Then they started suffering some sort of die- back issue, which was when a lot of them, up there at least, started getting pulled out / cut down.  See a few around here / down in Tucson occasionally.

The big ones around here don't look like those wide ones either.  They seem to do a pretty good job keeping a tidy columnar appearance, but they do get tall!

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