Pruning Woody Herbs – Is Cutting Back Woody Herbs Necessary

Pruning Woody Herbs – Is Cutting Back Woody Herbs Necessary

By: Amy Grant

Woody herb plants such as rosemary, lavender or thyme are perennials that, given propergrowing conditions, can take over an area; that’s when cutting back woody herbsbecomes a necessity. Plus, pruning woody herbs signals the plant to send outnew shoots and gives the plant an overall boost and a necessary haircut. Readon to learn how to prune woody herbs.

About Woody Herb Pruning

As they say, there is a time and place for everything, andwoody herb pruning is no exception. The best time to prune woody herbs is thespring once new growth can be seen at the base of the plant. A second chance toprune will be when the plant is done flowering.

Never prune woody herb plants late in the season. Pruningwill just encourage new growth at the same time the plant wants to becomedormant. Tender new leaves will be killed by cold winter temps, and theresulting stress will weaken or may even kill the herb.

Another thing about woody herb pruning is that if it hasn’tbeen done in a while and the plant has grown large, it will be nearlyimpossible to get it trimmed into a tidy bushy plant. Why? Woody stems do notre-sprout new growth, so if you chop it back to the wood you will end up withstubs and no foliage.

Cutting back woody herbs should become part of your annualyard maintenance both to control the size and shape of the plant and to get itto produce more foliage.

How to Prune Woody Herbs

In the spring, wait until you see new growth appearing atthe base of the plant or coming from the lower stems before cutting back. Onlycut a third of the plant back when pruning woody herbs. Any more could bedisastrous. Remove the spent flowers and one third of thebranch. Make your cut right at a set of leaves.

During the summer, the little bit ofcutting you do when taking a stem or two for use will be enough to keep theherbs in shape, and can be done at your discretion.

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Read more about General Herb Care


How to Cut Herbs So They Keep Growing

Tips to keep your herb garden healthy and bountiful.

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Give your herb garden a little extra attention this week, and take the time to trim your herbs so that they can continue to flourish for the rest of the growing season. With a little patience and a pair of sharpened snips, you’ll find that caring for your plants is the perfect dose of mid-summer zen.

How to Cut Herbs So They Keep Growing

Trimming and pruning is important to the health of your herb garden.


Two types of herbs

Herbaceous — These are tender, leafy plants that must be grown from seed each year. No matter how big they get, their stems remain tender and edible. If you experience freezing temperatures in your area, you won’t be able to overwinter them outside. Examples include basil, dill, cilantro and mint.

Woody — These can be perennial, depending on the climate you live in. As they get older, their stems get harder and more wood-like. Examples include rosemary, thyme and sage, with mint and oregano qualifying as “soft woody” herbs.


Prune Sage?

Sage is a woody perennial plant classified as a subshrub. The older it gets the thicker and woodier the stems get. In warm climates, sage is pruned year-round to use in culinary dishes, but it appreciates a rest during the winter when it does not produce as much. These bare stems should be pruned back right above the new leaves. Take off one-third of the new growth. Sage should never be cut all the way to the ground it will not recover. Stop pruning and harvesting large quantities of sage after the beginning of September in all regions.


Watch the video: How to prune herbs