So you think your landscaper is doing a good job? Many people think as long as the person shows up, trims everything, rakes around the yard, and hauls trimmings away, they are doing a good job. Maybe. But if your landscaper is recommending any of the items below, it’s time to find someone else.
1. They recommend topping your tree so it doesn’t block your, or your neighbor’s, views.
Nonsense! Topping does not only create rampant sucker growth, requiring even more pruning to keep it in check, but can lead to insect infestation, sunburn of exposed bark, disease, or even plant death. Not to mention how it will devalue not only your property, but your entire neighborhood’s home values. Don’t get me started as to how ugly this is, either.
2. They shear your Texas Ranger shrubs into globes. Texas Rangers should never been sheared. Not only will all of the interior foliage die, but they are cutting off all of the lovely flowers. If the plant is too large for the space where it is planted, then take it out and plant either a smaller variety of Texas Ranger or a smaller plant. Period.
3. They insist that snakes will live under your plants, and thus you must let them raise the plants off the ground: including cutting the leaves of agaves and desert spoons, effectively turning them into pineapples. This is ridiculous. We live in the desert, and so do snakes. Snakes are just as likely to curl up at your front door or under your car. The fact is: don’t stick appendages into places you can’t see.
4. They recommend you feed your desert and desert adapted plants twice a year. Plants that are adapted to our desert soil rarely need fertilizer. In fact, if you feed plants in the legume family (and many of our desert plants are legumes), you will inhibit their natural ability to obtain nitrogen from the atmosphere. (Nitrogen fixation.) If your plant looks good, don’t feed it.
5. They recommend dousing your agaves with poison to prevent the agave snout-nosed weevil from attacking your plants. Chemical insecticides are contact insecticides: which means you have to hit the bug with the chemical in order to kill it. Dumping poison on your plants to prevent the insect from doing damage does not work. It’s also wise to avoid using pesticides and insecticides at all, since they all end up polluting our groundwater.
6. They tell you that if you let them cut the flower stalk off your agave, it will prolong its life. No, that is not true. Agaves flower at the end of their life cycle (about 30 years) and die. They will not live longer if you cut off the flower stalk.
7. They offer to cut the arm off of your sahuaro because it is leaning and that will keep it from falling over. NO! Don’t do this. If your sahuaro is leaning, it could be because something is wrong with the roots. Make sure your sahuaro is NOT getting regular irrigation.