Monday, December 6, 2010

Basal Growth

I think that correct pruning methods is one of the most difficult concepts for new gardeners to understand. When to prune, how to prune, what to prune is enough to fill books. In our area now is the time to cut back many scraggly perennials that tend to get woody in the center and lose their compact shapes. There are some that can be cut back to the ground with no consequences, but I think the easiest rule of thumb to remember is to look for basal growth and cut back to just above that growth. Basal growth are the new shoots that start showing up at the base of shrubs like this Margarete daisy. It is a good sign that the plant is ready to put out new life and by cutting back the long floppy branches it allows the fresh young shoots to take over resulting in a compact shrub that will bloom profusely in the spring. It may be difficult to cut off those remaining blooms, but it will be worth it in the long run!

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