The Scottsdale Ranch Success Story

Scottsdale Ranch was maintained in-house prior to DLC taking over in 2010. As a 30 year old community with dated facades and aging plant material, updating the Community’s look was a top priority for Community Management.

DLC has worked with Scottsdale Ranch over the last two years to update the Community’s common area palette and monument signage. DLC introduced new plant material upgrades in stages and custom built the Community’s new monument signs.

This is the story of the huge transition from in-house to DLC, and our progress since.

Dethatch for a Healthy Lawn

The Dethatching Process

The dethatching process is a perfect example of the saying “out of chaos comes harmony”.  Removing thatch can be a messy process, but the end result is well worth it. Dethatched turf will grow more uniformly, be healthier over all and be better prepared for successful overseeding in the fall.

dethatch debrisThatch is matted, fibrous material between the soil and surface of the turf.  Typically, it is caused by the accumulation of decomposing grass clippings and debris tangled with grass stems and roots. To prevent thatch buildup, use a vacuum or catch mower each time you mow. If you notice minor thatch build up, remove it by hand with a rake.

dethatching equipmentDethatching can be done several ways.  You can buy an attachment for your lawn mower, rent a dethatcher or hire a landscaper.  For a residential lot, we recommend using a dethatching mower attachment, which can be found at your local home improvement or gardening store, for a quick, seasonal dethatching.

Once you dethatch, remove debris by hand raking or with a catch mower.  If you dethatch your turf during the growing season, it will recover quicker than if you dethatch in the winter months.

dethatching process

Pruning Palms

Date-PalmsFan, Date and Queen are the most common varieties of palm trees in the Valley. Trimming old palm fronds and seed pods from each variety of palm takes place between June and August. If you prune sooner, the developing seed pods, which are usually removed with the old palm fronds, will grow after your first prune and you may need another seasonal trimming.

Seed pods are unique in size and shape to each variety of palm tree. However, one similarity between the subspecies is that each drops an abundance of seeds that can be a nuisance around pools and other recreational amenities. When you trim away old palm fronds, be cautious not to remove too many at once. Ideally, the remaining fronds should fan out to10:00 and 2:00 on a clock face. If you remove too many fronds, the heart, or growing center, may be damaged by the sun.

Remember, when trimming a tree, you never want to remove more than 25% of the green material.

Improper Pruning

Topping vs Pruning

“The ideal time of year to prune your trees is between October and April.”


Topped instead of pruned.

Many people “top” trees because they grow into utility wires, interfere with views/sunlight, or because it is the cheaper option. Unfortunately, people don’t realize the detrimental impact this has on trees. We, DLC Resources, would like to elaborate on “topping” and what you can do to prevent it.

The Ugliness of It All

Tree topping is where the main branches are cut back to only stubs. Many arborists say it’s the worst thing you can do for the health of a tree. It starves the tree by drastically reducing its food-making ability and makes the tree more vulnerable to insects and disease. The stubs will rapidly

Sprouting prevents starvation.

Sprouting prevents starvation.

replace leaf loss for food and shade. The end result is ugly, bushy, weakly attached limbs that usually grow back higher than the original branches. Often, the topping process is self-defeating. This quick and easy fix costs less in the short-term, but requires more frequent future maintenance. Additionally, the loss of property value, the liability from weak limbs, and the expense of removing or replacing the tree proves topping is drastically more costly than proper pruning.

Preventative Action

There are two ways to avoid the “topping” of trees. First, find the right tree for the right space. For example, when a tree will grow 40 feet tall, it is best to place it away from power lines and other structures. The other key is proper pruning. It is critical to start this early in the life of a tree, but no earlier than a year. Proper pruning should occur roughly every three years on a regular basis to maintain the health of the tree.

Proper Pruning Under Wires.

Proper Pruning Under Wires.


Improper Topping Under Wires.

Improper Topping Under Wires.

For trees that are already mature, crown reduction options are available. Excessive growth can be removed without topping the tree. We strongly suggest consulting a certified arborist for all your pruning needs. To obtain a list of Certified Arborists in your area please visit

Proper Tree Pruning

“The ideal time of year to prune your trees is between October and April.”

The value of pruning

This Mesquite was pruned for stability; “crown thinning” reduces wind resistance and storm damage.

This Mesquite was pruned for stability; “crown thinning” reduces wind resistance and storm damage.

In spring, trees are flush with new growth. In a natural setting, a tree does not require pruning to remain healthy. However, when planted in the landscape around structures, streets and sidewalks, trees require some pruning for safety and aesthetic concerns. Before pruning a tree, it is important to understand why you should prune. Here are some of the most common reasons for pruning:

• Remove dead or damaged branches

• Remove crowded, crossing or rubbing limbs

• Keep limbs from blocking sight lines or encroaching on structures, streets and walkways

• Improve tree structure and stability to avoid storm damage

Proper pruning practices

When you are properly equipped with good tools and knowledge, you are ready to go to work. Listed below are some general guidelines to remember when pruning:

• Do not remove more than 25% of a mature tree’s foliage

• Make cuts that leave a wound which can close properly to help avoid decay

• Do not prune a newly-planted tree during the first year, except to remove dead branches

• Cut back to the union of two branches, not in the middle of a branch

• Pruning paints are not necessary and can cause damage to your tree

• On large branches, use the three-cut method to prevent bark from tearing down along the trunk (diagram below)

• If there is a good reason to prune a tree, pruning can be done almost any time of the year. Use caution when heavily pruning just after spring growth as it may stress the tree.


Tools for pruning

Hand saw and safety equipment. Right: Bypass loppers

Hand saw and safety equipment.

Having proper tools to prune your tree is important to the health of the plant material. Limbs up to ½ inch in diameter can be pruned with hand pruners. Long-handled pruning loppers can handle limbs up to 1 inch in diameter but a special pruning saw is needed for larger limbs. Hand pruners and loppers should be of the scissor or bypass type rather than anvil type. Hedging shears or power hedge trimmers should not be used to prune trees because they will not be able to make proper cuts and will damage the tree.

Bypass loppers

Bypass loppers.

In addition to proper cutting tools, make sure you have safety equipment. It is a good idea to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and closed shoes when pruning; additionally, wear safety glasses, a hat and gloves to help prevent an injury. Unless you are a trained tree worker, avoid using a ladder or climbing a tree to trim it. Most importantly, never attempt to prune a tree that is near a utility line!

Lastly, DLC recommends that you never top trees. Topping is the indiscriminate cutting back of tree branches to stubs. This practice stresses and disfigures trees and creates hazardous, weakly-attached, new branches. It also creates an added maintenance expense as topped trees require more frequent pruning.

Bad cuts can severely damage trees and stunt their growth.

Bad cuts can severely damage trees and stunt their growth.

A fresh cut done properly with the right tools will promote the health of the tree.

A fresh cut done properly with the right tools will promote the health of the tree.

A proper cut will heal quickly and put as little strain on the tree as possible.

A proper cut will heal quickly and put as little strain on the tree as possible.

For large trees or if you are in doubt, call a Certified Arborist. An Arborist can determine what type of pruning is needed and provide the service of a trained crew with the appropriate safety equipment and liability insurance. You can find a Certified Arborist at