Why Should I Heavy Prune My Landscape in Florida?

Pruning – it’s an important part of landscaping. In fact, it might even be more important that you immediately realize, especially in Florida. Pruning is essential to keeping your trees (and other landscape facets) happy and healthy. But why is pruning so important, and even further, what’s the difference between heavy pruning and regular pruning? Does heavy pruning matter to you and your yard specifically because you’re in Florida?

There are dozens of questions surrounding this landscaping practice — and honestly, after 20 years of working in Florida landscape, we still understand that pruning can spark lots of questions. The good news? We’re here to help you get to the bottom of those questions. We’ve put our head together and combined our two decades of experience to give you the ultimate heavy pruning guide!

Check out our heavy pruning article, read up on why we think it’s so important, and hear us out on why we think it’s incredibly important for Florida landscape specifically.

closeup of tree leaves with sky in the background

What is Heavy Pruning, Exactly?

We’re sure you’ve heard of pruning your yard before. In fact, you may have even pruned your yard before. When you prune your yard, you’re simply cutting away or trimming overgrown branches or stems in order to help promote healthy plant growth. You can prune your trees, shrubs, garden plants, flowers, and more!

Seems simple enough, right? But if that’s pruning, what exactly does heavy pruning include?

Heavy pruning, often called hard pruning, is like regular pruning, but a lot more dramatic. When you regularly prune a plant, shrub, or tree, you cut back the dead parts and trim back 2-4 inches of the flora and fauna. When you hard prune, or heavy prune, you go at it with far more vigor.

Heavy pruning typically requires that you cut off a minimum of 6 inches of growth. At a maximum, hard pruning can cut off up to an entire foot of growth! This can help rejuvenate old plants that may have stunted growth. Heavy pruning can help keep your plants, trees, and shrubs healthy and strong, but can also keep your landscape and home safe.

This leads to another question – why is heavy pruning so important in Florida landscapes? We’ve got you covered in the next section!

Why Should I Heavy Prune My Florida Landscape?

As we said, heavy pruning can be incredibly beneficial for all landscapes, but with our two decades of Florida landscape experience, we’ve concluded that heavy pruning is exceptionally important for Florida landscapes in particular.

Let’s face it – it’s harder for plants, trees, and shrubs to thrive in Florida. Even with native plants, the harsh heat, humidity, and sea-salt air can be tough on your favorite plants and shrubs. In the grand scheme of things, this can have a huge effect on your plants, shrubs, and trees. Although you might not notice it in your day-to-day life, your plants, in the long run, will not be able to reach their full potential if you’re not practicing heavy pruning. Why is this? If you’re trimming or light pruning your plants every few weeks, you’ll probably have a nice-looking plant that looks A-Okay, but you’re not getting rid of the old growth, dead parts that could be inhibiting your plant growth. Why settle for an average landscape when you could have a stellar one? Heavy pruning can help get you there!

Heavy pruning helps to encourage new growth in your plants, shrubs, and trees and can ensure that you have a fuller plant overall. Consider grass. If you heavy prune and remove all the dead blades, you’re getting all the nasty blades out of the way that could potentially prevent new growth. That means that your healthy grass is going to get a front-row seat for the air, nutrients, and sunlight that it need to survive and thrive.

Another reason that heavy pruning matters? Safety! Shrubs, plants, and trees all have the ability to overgrow. While it’s great that your landscape is growing, it could be inhibiting walkways, driveways, sidewalks, and more. All in all, that’s a pretty significant safety hazard. Why prune back a mere two or three inches when you could lop off a good six or eight? Not only will this keep your plants and shrubs in check longer, you’re ultimately doing them a favor and allowing them room to grow better and more efficiently!

Speaking of safety, heavy pruning has a significant impact on your property’s safety when it comes to hurricane season. Heavy pruning your trees, plants, and shrubs well before hurricane season hits helps you take care of any dead, overgrown, or thick canopies that could cause serious problems when the high winds and heavy rains hit you. If you’re heavy pruning, you’re likely ridding your plants and trees of weak limbs, dead branches, and problematic plants, making your landscape that much safer for the hectic season.

When Should I Avoid Heavy Pruning?

We typically recommend heavy pruning once a year and to try to plan it for the summer (before hurricane season strikes) and for rainy season, that way plants can regrow and rejuvenate quickly. This will help them to produce new, efficient growth. But not all plants are created equal, and not all trees and shrubs should be heavy pruned.

Understand the growth habits of the plants you have in your landscape before you hard prune, as some of them will not tolerate heavy pruning and might possibly struggle to grow back. For example, thyrallis and Liriope do not require or tolerate heavy pruning well. Some of your Florida plants will require small, year-round pruning, and some simply will self-prune, shedding dead parts on their own.

Before you hard prune, know what type of plant you’re working with, understand how it grows, and chat with us to see if would benefit the specific plant.

Did our heavy pruning talk get a landscape pruning frame of mind? Are you ready to get down to business and heavy prune that landscape? We thought you might! If you’re interested in learning more about our process, want to schedule an appointment with us, or simply want a free quote, we’ve got you covered. Give our office a call at (727)-201-3947 today! Want to get some more landscaping insight? Want a wonderland of landscaping inspiration at your fingertips? Your wish our command. Check out our regularly-updated blog for tons of landscaping tips, tricks, and advice!