University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
“PINCHING” FLOWERS AND OTHER JUNE
Nardozzi, Horticulturist and
Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist
back annuals and late-blooming perennials, tending to strawberries
and edging beds are some of the gardening activities for this
good idea to “pinch” or prune back many annual flowers, such as
snapdragons, zinnias, impatiens, and salvia, early in the season and
whenever they start getting leggy. Pinching encourages the side buds
to grow so
you'll get more flowers. Pinch just above a node on the stem where
attach. The lower you pinch on the plant, the bushier it will
become, but a low
pinch often will reduce the ultimate height of the plant.
late-season flowering perennials, such as phlox, asters, Helen’s
Pye, and Russian sage, now for shorter and fuller plants. Extend the
by pinching half of them, because the pinched ones will bloom a few
than the unpinched ones. Remove the top one-third of shoots.
summer perennials, such as peonies and foxgloves, have finished
the time to clip off the spent flowers to spare the plant the energy
spend on forming seeds. Don’t clip old
flowers if you plan to save the seed and do some propagating of your
leave the seeds for birds. For seed collecting, leave some seedheads
turn dry and then harvest before the wind and the birds get to
them. For some perennials that self-sow readily
such as mallows, make a note to cut off flowers when done unless you
want many seedlings.
don't have an edging material around the borders of your garden
beds, use a
spade to shave off clumps of sod to delineate the edges.
You'll probably need to do this a couple
of times, but if you don't you'll be fighting encroaching
grass all summer.
good drainage in your container plantings, raise the pots off the
deck so water can seep out the drainage holes. This also will reduce
staining that can occur when pots sit directly on wooden steps or a
can purchase pot feet or plant caddies from garden supply stores, or
own pot feet using flat stones of similar size, rubber bumpers from
hardware store, or even old checkers from the game you never play
frequently, and remove any that show signs of grey mold or rot
only are these berries inedible, they quickly spread disease to
fruits. Mulch under plants with straw to reduce contact with the
the disease spores reside.
grapes? Then you should remove any
flower clusters the first two years after planting. In the third,
and subsequent years, thin
grape clusters when grapes are about 1/8-inch wide, leaving only one
bunches of grapes per new shoot.
growing berries, cherries, or grapes, you should get familiar with
pest—the spotted wing drosophila—a vinegar fly, somewhat like a
fruit fly. The fly lays eggs in ripening fruit, which
hatch into small worms or larvae in the ripe fruit. You can place
large cups with an inch of
vinegar cider vinegar among your berries to trap flies. If just a
few plants or rows of berries,
cover them with a fine netting such as row cover fabric as the fruit
ripen to hopefully keep the flies away.
There are a couple of organic sprays you might use as well—check
your local full-service garden store for available and appropriate
plans to visit local perennial nurseries this summer
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).