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The original item was published from 6/18/2019 9:49:00 AM to 7/18/2019 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: May 17, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Trimming Trees: Learn the Essentials (Lush & Lean)

Trimming Trees

By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels

Published in Las Cruces Bulletin 5/17/19

It’s an early morning with golden light at the Frank O'Brien Papen Center and Les Finley is about to do what he does best: sharing tree pruning knowledge with the newest class of Las Cruces tree stewards. For more than 45 years Finley has been a horticulturist; the next opportunity to hear him is the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Lush and Lean Workshop on Thursday, May 30th.

“Tree stewards can be forces of change within the community,” said Finley, who explains that the role of trees being planted in Las Cruces has changed throughout the decades as people have realized their benefits, and which trees are best to plant - either native or water-wise additions to the area. Finley would know, he is the former arborist for the City of Las Cruces.

Even if you don’t have time to take a class to become a tree steward, being a caretaker for your own trees – whether it’s one or two or a whole grove – is critical to their success. The specialty that Finley will share for the Lush and Lean Workshop is how to correctly prune your trees and shrubs to make sure to retain their health.

“It’s important to know when and what to prune,” said Finely. “If you can catch structural issues early, you’ll have more sustainable growth in the tree during its lifespan.” He gave an example of when two branches grow too closely together and form weak branch attachments. “That makes the tree unstable. Then, when wind or a storm

breaks the tree, it usually signals the end of the tree because sadly people feel it is too ugly,” he said.

All Lush and Lean Workshops are free and open to the public. They are held Thursday evenings at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave., upstairs in the Roadrunner Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the complete list of speakers and Lush and Lean dates at


You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.


PHOTO 1: Horticulturist and former City of Las Cruces arborist Les Finley points out issues with two branches of a tree. He’ll explain when and how to trim your trees and shrubs at the LCU Lush and Lean Workshop at the Branigan Memorial Library on Thursday, May 30th.

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