Palo verde trees are desert landscaping plants desired for their ability to provide filtered shade for yards. With proper care, palo verde trees can reach 30 feet in height and a width of 40 feet. Branches tend to point downward; therefore, it is important for gardeners to plant these trees away from foot traffic or they will find that they have to prune often. Pruning palo verde trees improves their health by removing weak, damaged and diseased branches.

Step 1

Prune off dead palo verde branches. Spotting dead branches is easy, because living palo verde branches are green and dead ones are brown. Cut dead branches next to the branch collar at a 45-degree downward angle. The branch collar is the swelling that attaches the branch to the main trunk.

Step 2

Remove branches that are growing at a 90-degree angle. These branches grow almost parallel to the parent branch and must be removed so that the palo verde can maintain its weeping form.

Step 3

Cut branches that are crossing each other or rubbing against each other.

Step 4

Take suckers off of the palo verde with bypass shears or a pruning saw. Suckers are the small branches growing from the trunk near the base of the tree or small branches growing off of larger branches.

Step 5

Dig a hole next to any watersprouts or branches growing from the root ball of the palo verde. Make a cut flush with the root ball to remove these horizontally growing branches where they attach to the root ball. Watersprouts generally occur when a tree has been stressed.