Selection and pruning of desert-appropriate plants requires training and experience. Neither the State of Arizona nor the City of Scottsdale require landscapers or landscaping companies to have any specific training to purvey their landscaping services. So it is up to the homeowner to determine the qualifications of any landscaper hired.
Fortunately there are true landscaping professionals here. The International Society of Arboriculture has a true certification program to qualify members and their staffs as Certified Arborists. The HVR1 Architectural Committee strongly recommends consulting a Certified Arborist before planting or trimming your desert-landscape trees and other desert plants. Use the ISA Search tool to find those in our area. (Click here)
The Arizona Landscape Contractors Association has its Sustainable Landscape Management program that provides another type of certification. They have a cute video on Vimeo, a spoof of the Humane Society commercials you’ve probably seen on TV, to make their point about “plant abuse.” Click here to view it.