If you have a favorite plant that got damaged in the Santa Ana windstorm a few weeks ago, don't do any pruning until you read this. Although your bird of paradise might look like confetti now, it may be possible to trim its leaves rather than cutting them off.
"If you don't mind spending time with each leaf, you can make many large-leaved plants look good again by simply cutting the damaged parts off and reshaping the leaves," says Jeffrey Garton, a partner in the full-service landscape firm Paradise Designs Inc. in Dana Point.
Or perhaps a favorite tree has a hanging limb that makes the plant look awkward. Don't amputate yet, Garton says. Mending trees is quite possible.
"If the branch is no more than half of the way broken off, tape it to the tree, and it may meld back together," Garton says.
Wind green garden tape around the trunk, securing the limb into its original position. If you think extra support is called for, place a small piece of carpeting on top of the wound and put duck tape around that.
"The carpeting gives the branch some flexibility, while the tape holds it secure," Garton says. "You don't want the limb to have to hold itself up. All of its energy should go into mending."
You can also save the limb's energy by trimming off any other growth on the damaged branch.