The Q&A Archives: Trimming Oleanders

Question: We would like to cut back our oleanders and are forced to do it now, in August. Will our cutting them back damage them in any way?

We would also like to use a chipper and use the chippings on our gardens, because oleanders are poisonous will they do any damage to any other plants?

Answer: August isn't the best month to prune, but sometimes there's just no choice. Pruning now won't do permanent damage to your oleanders, but you may sacrifice flowering for a season. Just be sure to make clean cuts and try to cut back to an outward facing bud. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. Some people are sensitive enough that even touching it will cause a skin rash, so be sure to wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when pruning. Finally, don't burn the clippings because the smoke is harmful. But, chipping the debris and scattering it around ornamentals is an alright practice. Remember to keep the clippings away from edible crops, just as an extra safety measure.

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