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pruning established manzanita?

Posted by aliceb_ma6 z6 MA (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 8, 11 at 12:47

I'm visiting friends in Claremont California who bought a house with an established manzanita in the yard. Having visited a local botanic garden yesterday & having seen the manzanitas with bare trunks showing off their gorgeous bark & beautiful structure, we would like to prune theirs to the same effect -- right now it's just an ordinary-looking shrub, green leaves top to bottom.

The specimen is about 5' x 5' -- not sure how old that makes it. Can we dive in & prune out the lower branches? Just a few? None at all? Is this an OK time to do it?

Any help would be appreciated!

Alice


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: pruning established manzanita?

My manzanita have never been pruned, but I would not hesitate to prune if I thought it would improve the appearance. Al


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

I've done tons of manzanita pruning, mostly with a chain saw. Common sense will get the results you want.


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

Hmm, that advice seems a little casual to me. You increase the risk of a pathogen invading the manzanita cuts now, late summer/early fall is the more typical season to prune, when our weather is typically at its driest. Pruning to expose the trunk is a good idea, but a useful rule of thumb is don't prune much more than 25% of the manzanita at a time.


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 28, 11 at 13:44

Check with the Rancho Santa Ana botanical garden, which is probably where you saw the Manzanitas...they have a weekly consultant day for questions like that. The manzanitas in the botanical garden I doubt are trimmed, they are grown "hard"--without irrigation, so their shape is natural. Your friend's garden Manzanita probably has much richer, easier conditions, and is expressing that situation by growing lushly. Cutting off all irrigation (gradually) will probably eventually get you that bare limbed habit.


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

I strongly believe that new home-owners should live with their major plantings for an entire growing season before they bring out the chainsaws.

There are so many kinds of manzanitas, and your friends' may not be the type they imagine.

Here is a link that might be useful: california manzanitas


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

Would some one please help me with my manzanita pruning question. I have 7 Archtostaphylos morroensis 'Montana de Oro' that were 1 gal plants 6 years ago. They are happy and are now aproximately 6 feet tall. They are encroaching in an area in my garden. I need to prune. I have read that most manzanita that are pruned will not grow back, look woody and not have as many leaves. Would some one, with direct pruning experience of this particular manzanita, give me some advice?
Thank you.


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

Can't say many words without a photo or seeing the plant personally.

But one of the most common amateur mistakes is trying to fix or change the plant in one day.

If it's young plant, remove no more than about 25% of it's leaf / volume.

Older plant, maybe 10% to 15%. Then do more next year.

_____________________

M. D. Vaden of Oregon


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

Hi Alice, I just did a little pruning to my Howard McMinn Manzanita. I wanted some of the beautiful trunk to be exposed, as you do. All I did was remove some of the smaller inside growth from the trunk, (those close to the ground)just to limb it up a little. I have never pruned a large limb or top foliage. You should be able to see the trunk if it is thinned just a LITTLE. Be careful not to remove any limb for which you would need a saw.


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

Thank you for this thread! I love Manzanitas and plan on growing one in the fall. Unfortunately I only have room for a small shrub or groundcover. However hope to make room for a small tree someday.


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RE: pruning established manzanita?

We also have Manzanitas (Arctostaphylos St. Helena) we'd like to prune to look more like trees than bushes. They've been in the ground for two years now and were in 15 gal pots when planted. They're both about 4' tall now. Is there an ideal time of year to do this? Should they be a certain size before attempting to prune? We really don't want to do anything that would jeopardize or harm the plants.


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