Sprouting lavender bushes at home provides you with bright colour and enticing scent for your garden, as well as herbs that can be used in cooking, soap making or just to spread sweet smells through your home. However, if your lavender plant starts to die off unexpectedly, the impressive look of the bush is ruined. You can improve the look and overall health of the lavender plant with careful pruning.
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Removing Old Foliage
Cutting back the dead or dying parts of your lavender bush can be done any time of year, as long as it is after the final frost of the spring and at least six weeks before the first frost of the fall. Cut back the dead or dying flower stems, which are probably still green or fading to brown or yellow, as well as about one-third of the way into the grey supporting stems. This will remove the damaged or dying sections, leaving only healthy growth to produce new shoots and stems in its place. If you suspect that the plant is dying due to an infection or a disease, sanitise your clippers in rubbing alcohol between each cut to avoid spreading the problem.
Regular pruning is done just after blooming each year; pruning each year is the only way to ensure that the lavender bush stays under control and produces only healthy growth. Start pruning as early as possible in the life of the plant so that the centre of the bush creates strong, woody stems that will produce large and healthy growth later. Remove one-third to one-half of all growth, cutting back any thin or damaged stems as well as some of the weaker ones. Cutting back weak or thick stems encourages the bush to produce stronger, healthier growth in its place.
Never remove more than half of the lavender bush's total growth at one time and never cut into any woody supporting stems that don't feature any leaves or buds. Such severe pruning can cause stunted growth and the death of other blooms and leaves as the bush tries to recover from such a significant loss of foliage. Only remove old supporting wood if it is infected with disease or is clearly completely dead and will not produce any new growth. Never cut the plant back so that it features no leaves or blooms at all; this will surely kill the plant.
Care After Pruning
Make sure the lavender plant gets a lot of water (so that the soil is consistently moist) for at least a week after pruning to encourage it to start producing healthy new growth in place of the dead or dying pieces you removed. You must also make sure temperatures remain warm; that is why you should only prune in the spring or summer. Summer pruning may require you to apply much more water than usual as the plant fights against the heat and humidity as it tries to recover.
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