The homeowner was hot. She took our foreman over to her row of plumbagos that we had just pruned and began raking him over the coals. “You cut too much off!” she yelled. “It will take years for them to grow back. You even cut off all the flowers!”

Never mind that plumbagos bloom at the end of each branch and that any kind of pruning means the flowers will have to come off. This woman was not to be consoled. We explained that the pruning would result in her leggy plumbagos coming back fuller and tighter with even more flowers to admire, and that her HOA board had specifically requested a “hard cut” for various shrubs throughout her community (not all communities request this).

Several weeks later our account manager saw her at a community board meeting. The woman made a special effort to walk over and say how delighted she was with the way her plumbagos looked — how they were bursting with blooms and attracting bees like crazy.

Moral of the story: A fine-tuned prune will change your tune. Enduring a few weeks of flowerless shrubs is a small price to pay for plants that will come back healthier and more beautiful than ever. Ask a professional landscape-maintenance company for expert advice on when and when not to prune. Live in an HOA community or manage one? Request a maintenance proposal from ArtisTree and we’ll prepare a customized service program with all the trimmings. Contact Mike Casper at 941.488.8897 or mikec@artistree.com.

Established in 1990, ArtisTree serves communities throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

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