pruning vitex and desert willow

allen_newbieJanuary 4, 2009

Hi,

I planted 2 vitex and 1 desert willow in the summer. One vitex is 4 ft tall and full, the other and desert willow are about the same height but not full.

I want to shape them up to become small trees with an upright habit. Should prune them this winter or give it a skip this time as they are pretty small? Their main branches are about 1/2-3/4 inches in diameter. Is it better to start when they are this small or give them a chance to grow a little?

Thanks

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lavernialadybug(8B)

I'd wait until the end of February - you don't want to force new growth just yet. You can also put cuttings (5-6" long) into potting medium and maybe have extra plants grow. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 10:06AM
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rick_mcdaniel(Lewisville, TX)

I think the desert willow would be better to wait until it is larger, unless you want to just do minor pruning of some small branches.

When you do want to prune, prune in the late fall, after the first frost has finished off the leaves for the season.

You can still prune before the first growth shows up, though.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 5:27PM
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jardineratx

I agree that the desert willow can wait for pruning, but I started pruning my vitex trees at a very young age. The vitex have been robust growers and want to grow more shrub-like than I want to have. I remove spent flowerheads after bloom and find they will repeat bloom if deadheaded. In February (when I prune my roses) I remove low branches and any new growth suckering from the ground or along the main trunks of the tree. I selected 3-5 trunks on each of the two trees, forming a nice multi-trunk small tree.
molly

    Bookmark   January 5, 2009 at 7:06PM
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