Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Most plants tend to stay healthier and better looking if we prune out, say, an entire branch rather than just the tip end of it. There are a number of reasons for this, one being that the tip bud of a branch or shoot controls the growth of the parts below it. If that tip bud is removed, a plant’s means of controlling growth is also removed, and all sorts of things can go haywire. However, with a little understanding of plant growth, utilizing tip pruning (aka tipping or pinching) techniques can help us create bushier plants with abundant flowers. But, before you begin tipping everything in the garden willy-nilly, consider the following carefully.
Respect that tipping is a technique best used on the new growth of herbaceous perennial and annual plants. It is not a method recommended for woody plants; tipping can severely, negatively impact many woody plants, including trees and shrubs.
For perennials, be sure to consider when each blooms. Perennials that bloom in winter or early spring rarely can be tipped, re-grow and set flower buds before their ephemeral growing season ends. Late summer and early autumn bloomers, on the other hand, grow for the entire spring and summer before flowering; these are ideal candidates to tip. A few great candidates for pinching: hardy and annual fuchsia, tall garden phlox, tall sedums and asters or mums, which specifically set flower in response to shortening daylight hours.
Remember that by tipping out the taller growth on these plants, the plant’s growth may remain somewhat shorter than it would be if the plant were left uncut. However, when the buds below the cut point open, the plant will become bushier, with more potential points for flowers to form. This is great if you want to fill in a empty bed space or get the plants in a hanging basket extra bushy, but it can backfire if you need your perennial to grow tall in the middle or back of a flowerbed behind other plants.
If you decide to try tipping your perennials, allow them to emerge from the soil and grow a few pair of leaves before you begin cutting them. When you do begin tipping them, pinch out the top few pairs of leaves. Make your cuts directly above a leaf, which is where new green growth will emerge from a bud tucked into the base of each leaf. When growth is supple in spring, cuts are easy to make with your fingernails. As it toughens up during a growing season, try using a pair of Micro-tip snips for accurate cuts. Buds that get damaged when you make your tipping cuts may die back or grow a deformed branch.
When deciding to tip back a perennial, you may choose to tip on shoot a few inches higher or lower than the pinching point on another shoot. This is called cutting to “alternating heights”. By doing this, your plant will grow to mixed heights and widths with flowers forming at different levels. Or, you may choose to tip the entire plant to uniform heights to create a rounder overall final form when the plant blooms.
As the season progresses, a late season bloomer can be pinched back multiple times. Each tip that is removed will be replaced by two or more shoots, which will emerge from the remaining buds below where you made your prior cuts. Then, once those new shoots have grown at least a couple of pairs of new leaves – usually within 7-14 days of the time you pinch -- they may be tipped as well. However, never try to re-tip a branch by cutting it at point below a prior pinch point. Only pinch newer growth that has emerged from other buds as a result of the original tipping.
Determining when to stop pinching back your perennials isn’t terribly tricky. You may simply get tired of doing it. Or, you may decide that the plant has filled in the space sufficiently, so additional pinching is no longer required. Or, the season may be on the wane, which means if you don’t stop pinching, the plant will never have time to set flower buds and bloom. Generally speaking, for late summer bloomers or fall bloomers, all pinching should end right around summer solstice – or if it’s easier to remember, make it the 4th of July. This is when the growing season plateaus and then begins to wind down slowly toward the fall Equinox and then winter. If pinching ends at about this time, late bloomers should still have sufficient time to put on a strong set of blooms to usher out the glory of summer.