Regular pruning of lavender for the winter is a prerequisite for the successful cultivation of this beautiful flower. Every year, the bushes grow rapidly, the branches are gradually covered with wood, which is why the shape of the plant loses its attractiveness. Therefore, it is useful for every gardener to learn how to cut lavender, especially since this is a fairly simple procedure that can be dealt with with improvised means.
Why you need to cut the lavender
As a perennial, lavender needs regular pruning. The stems of its overgrown bushes thicken over time and become hard, flowering ceases to be plentiful. The decorativeness of not trimmed bushes, having lost their attractive compact form, is significantly reduced.
In order to minimize the stress caused by pruning, lavender bushes are partially trimmed in the spring, and partially in the autumn. Spring pruning, consisting in the removal of damaged, dry and frozen shoots, is mainly of a sanitary nature.
Autumn pruning performed:
- In order to help heat-loving culture to winter without much loss. In regions with snowy winters, long shoots are necessarily shortened, since with a sharp drop in temperature, the probability of their freezing is high. In addition, frozen branches become extremely fragile, unable to bear the effects of strong cold winds. Broken branches can subsequently be attacked by pests or become a breeding ground for bacterial or viral infections.
- In order for the lavender bushes to remain compact for a long time. However, far from all flower growers resort to strong pruning of the green part of the shoots. Some of them prefer to keep the maximum possible length of the branches, leaving the shape of the crown unchanged. They proceed from the belief that almost untouched bushes completely go under the snow and, being warm, do not freeze at all.
How often do you need to cut the lavender:
- The bushes of the first year of life are not pruned, giving them the opportunity to grow the root system, grow stronger and stock up with enough vitality necessary in the future for abundant long flowering. To achieve the same goal, experienced gardeners recommend removing single flowers that appear on first-year bushes.
- The first haircut of overwintered young plants is carried out in early spring, saving them from broken and frozen stems. Subsequently, they should be trimmed annually: in spring and autumn. Properly performed pruning, which is an obligatory part of lavender care, over the years will contribute to more magnificent flowering of bushes.
- For winter, only those plants that bloomed over two seasons are pruned. Pruning should be done before mid-September, so that before the onset of cold weather the plant has managed to give several new strong shoots (in this case they will have enough time to lignify). If for some reason it was not possible to perform autumn pruning at the indicated time, it is advisable to transfer the procedure to spring. In both cases, dry inflorescences are removed along with young green shoots (lignified brown branches cannot be pruned).
The rules of autumn pruning lavender
- The procedure should be performed using a secateurs or special garden shears (use of office scissors should be discarded, since they cannot be used to obtain sufficiently clean and even cuts).
- In order to avoid the risk of infection of lavender with viral or fungal infections, pruning the bushes is necessary only with a clean tool (you can use bleach solution to disinfect it).
- To obtain fast healing, smooth and clean sections, you must use a sharpened tool. Dumb tools that make the surface of cuts sober and uneven not only provoke the occurrence of dangerous diseases, but also facilitate access to insect pests.
- Autumn pruning can only be carried out in relation to plants of the second year of life.
- The timing of the autumn pruning of lavender largely depends on the climatic zone of its cultivation. The signal for autumn pruning is the completion of re-flowering, which in the regions with a warm climate falls on the first half of September. In some northern regions, lavender, as a rule, does not bloom repeatedly. In these areas, pruning lavender bushes - in order to avoid freezing - it is better to transfer to the spring.
- When performing the procedure, it should be remembered that the shorter the cropped shoots of lavender in the fall, the longer its bushes will wake up in the spring. On the other hand, a strong pruning of twigs ensures a very neat and compact form of lavender bushes.
- Trimming lavender should begin with the removal of inflorescences located on the drooping shoots touching the ground. Trim such branches should be to a level at which they can no longer lie on the ground.
- After that, they begin to cut the remaining branches. Lavender stems consist of lignified and green areas. Lignified sections of shoots are not pruned. In order to cover the bushes for the winter, it is necessary to cut off all the green tops, leaving no more than three centimeters of young shoots, smoothly turning into the lignified part of the branches. This shoot length guarantees a hassle-free, lossless wintering of lavender bushes. Cut branches can cover the soil under them: this layer will protect the lavender root system from winter cold.
Anti-Aging Trimming Technique
In the autumn period - in addition to shortening the branches - lavender bushes can be subjected to anti-aging pruning. Since it is impossible to cut them to the very root (unlike most flowering shrubs, lavender may not tolerate such a manipulation), it is performed in two stages.
- At the first stage, branches from the outside of the bushes are subject to radical removal.
- The following year, the central part is subjected to radical trimming.
Due to this periodicity in performing anti-aging pruning, lavender bushes are able not only to endure even harsh winters without much loss, but also to quickly recover with the onset of spring.
Can I use clipped branches
The cut branches of lavender are never thrown away. Containing a rich complex of nutrients and valuable essential oil, they are used in cosmetology and medicine. Most often they are used:
- For the preparation of medicinal teas and tinctures that help get rid of many diseases.
- To obtain lavender oil, which increases the tone of the skin, eliminates age-related hyperpigmentation and helps to improve complexion. Lavender oil can be used both for treatment and for the prevention of acne.
- To create exquisite flower arrangements and beautiful bouquets for decorating residential and office premises. Dried stems strewn with many fragrant inflorescences will fill the room in which such a bouquet stands with a specific spicy aroma. That is why lavender bouquets are often used to deodorize indoor air.
- As a warming material, designed to help rooting young plants withstand winter frosts.
A versatile plant has a wide range of uses from medicine to aromatic tea supplements.
- Now essential oils obtained from inflorescences, stems and leaves of this perennial shrub are used in medicine, perfumery and cosmetics.
- Decoctions and infusions of lavender twigs soothe and relax, act as a natural antiseptic, helping to heal burns, and work as a diuretic and choleretic.
- The cuisine of the Mediterranean countries, where lavender is included in many sauces and salads, is added to soups, vegetable, mushroom and fish dishes. For this, dry inflorescences are ground into powder, sprinkling them with dishes instead of pepper.
- Lavender is indispensable as a flavoring for vinegar, soft drinks and various teas (green and herbal).
- Use fragrant inflorescences in everyday life to give a pleasant smell to linen and the room, to repel insects.
- Lavender is widely used for decorative purposes, planting in flower beds or making delicate bouquets.
How to choose a collection period
The main value of lavender is its unique aroma arising from the essential oils contained in the plant. The correct time to collect the raw material depends on its purpose. In each flowering period, the concentration of nutrients in the plant is different: at the very beginning, at the bud stage, it is very small, and at the end it is maximum. In most regions of our country, this time begins in mid-June and lasts until the end of July.
- The largest number of oils is contained in inflorescences, and not even in the flowers themselves, but in their cups.
- If you want to use flowers for decorative purposes (for making fresh or dry bouquets), then they should be cut at the very beginning of flowering, not yet fully opened. If you collect the plants later, then too intense a smell will become unbearable.
- For culinary purposes, inflorescences are harvested at the bud stage. Usually this period falls on June.
- For harvesting for medical and cosmetic purposes, you should wait for the maximum concentration of essential oil in inflorescences. This moment comes at the end of flowering, when more than half of the flowers have already faded. It is then that the largest amount of aromatic substance is collected in their cups.
How to harvest lavender
If you grow lavender in your own garden, take your time to harvest it. You can quite safely enjoy the flowering of a fragrant flower bed until most of the flowers fade.
- At the very end of flowering, perennial bushes undergo formative pruning and at the same time produce aromatic raw materials. At the same time, part of the stem with a flower about 15-20 cm long is cut off.
- Never cut more than 1/3 of the height of the plant, otherwise it may not recover.
- It is necessary to choose the moment when 3/4 of the spikelet has already bloomed, but the seeds have not yet begun to ripen.
- Raw materials should be collected on a dry, fine day, and choose the moment when the bucket is at least the third or fourth day.
- It is best to cut lavender in the morning, immediately after the dew dries, but the night coolness still remains. Too hot weather does not allow the aroma to concentrate in the plant, under the influence of high temperature, essential oils begin to evaporate.
- Use a special pruner or sharp scissors to collect. Breaking stems should not be, as you can seriously damage the bush.
- Cut stems are collected in bouquets and hung to dry in a well-blown attic or under a canopy. Necessary conditions - no direct sun and low humidity.
- A small amount of inflorescences can be dried under the same conditions, spread out on thick paper or wooden boards.
- Never dry white or pink lavender with plants with bright blue flowers, otherwise their color will become dirty.
- If you have collected and dried the raw materials, strictly following all the recommendations, the flowers will definitely remain bright.
- Store the prepared raw materials using ventilated containers (canvas bags or cardboard boxes). The place is selected dry and protected from sunlight.
- Only cups can be stored, as they are the most fragrant. For them, you can take a sealed glass container, for example, with ground lids.
- Many store fragrant bags in closets with clothes, combining the benefits and benefits.
- Properly collected and dried lavender retains its unique smell for several seasons.
When is lavender cropped?
Over time, the stems of the flower become hard and thick. An overgrown lavender bush loses its attractiveness and blooms worse. Without a haircut, the decorativeness of a plant worsens; it loses its beautiful compact form.
In the first year of life, lavender is not cut. The plant is given time to grow stronger, take root well and gain strength for beautiful flowering in the future. For the same purpose, it is advisable to remove a few flowers on the first-year lavender. The first time the haircut is carried out after the first wintering of the plant.
The procedure is repeated annually, at the beginning and end of the growing season. With age, if pruning is done correctly, lavender will bloom more magnificent.
In the southern regions, pruning is carried out after spring flowering. The most suitable time is when lavender has almost completely blossomed, but single blossoming inflorescences remain and seeds are not yet tied.
In the northern regions, this type of pruning is not carried out: the plant does not have time to complete the repeated flowering cycle before the onset of cold weather, which leads to freezing of plantings. In the northern regions, a haircut is performed already in the fall, at the end of the growing season.
In the fall, pruning is done to help the plant survive the winter. Long stems are more susceptible to lower temperatures and cold winds - the probability of freezing part of the plants increases. Sometimes lavender is cut off partly in spring, partly in autumn, to minimize stress. Spring pruning is mainly of a sanitary nature: shoots frozen out during the winter, dry and damaged branches are removed.
Basic rules for pruning lavender
A few tips will help you get the job done right.
- Use a clean tool. A sharp pruner is best: it makes even cuts without chipping.
- When cutting, the bushes are most often formed in the form of a circle or a semicircle. Sometimes they cut large areas at the same height, creating spectacular group landings.
- Trimming lavender is carried out about 3 cm above the lignified part - only grassy shoots are removed. Some of them are left, because only from young stems for the next season new sprouts appear. A radical procedure can lead to the fact that the plant will die.
- Old specimens (over 8-9 years old) that have lost their decorative appearance sometimes have an extreme haircut. Cut off almost the entire aerial part, including lignified shoots. In spring, lavender either sprouts basal sprouts or dries. Missing bushes are removed, and updated plants will be able to please beautiful flowers for a long time.
Simple tips will help to carry out the procedure effectively.
- In nature, lavender has the appearance of an untidy bush with a bare bottom. The main purpose of pruning is to give the plant an attractive look. Shortened specimens acquire a beautiful bushy form, become more magnificent.
- When pruning for the winter, the lignified parts of lavender do not touch: they are prone to cracking when damaged and grow poorly. Grassy shoots leave about 3 cm. This length reduces the risk of damage from strong wind or snow.
- When the seeds ripen, the plant spends a lot of energy, so a summer haircut is carried out until the ovary appears.
- To make lavender oil, flower shoots are cut in the afternoon, immediately after mass flowering. After a week, the concentration of the beneficial substance gradually decreases.
- Extreme mowing on old plants is appropriate to organize in two stages. First, half of the shoots are cut very much at a height of about 8 cm. When new shoots wake up in the damaged areas, the second part of the plant is sheared. In very hot weather, there is a big risk that lavender will not grow back, at this time the procedure is not carried out.
Cropped parts of the plant are not thrown away. Lavender is widely used for cosmetic and medical purposes. Useful tea and tinctures are brewed from odorous inflorescences, which are used to treat various diseases. Lavender oil, a popular cosmetic product, is obtained from a spicy plant. Beautiful bouquets are formed from dried stems to decorate the interior. Fancy ikebans can be created independently, they will delight in appearance and recognizable spicy aroma.
Lavender will appreciate landing in a sunny and hot place. In the shade, she will not reveal all her beauty, it will bloom badly. He does not like too moist and heavy soils. The soil is not very nutritious, alkaline, with good drainage abilities. Wood ash or lime is added to the land with high acidity.
The flower does not require careful care, grows well without fertilizers and frequent watering. High humidity can lead to the development of fungal diseases. Additional hydration is carried out during prolonged droughts, so that the quality of flowering is not affected.
In the spring, at the beginning of the growing season, organic fertilizer can be carried out. This procedure is well replaced by mulching the soil, especially on old plantings of lavender. Excess organic fertilizers lead to the fact that the plant "grows fat" and does not bloom well. At the beginning of summer, potash and phosphorus fertilizers are added. Mineral fertilizing has a positive effect on flowering.
Плантации лаванды выдерживают температуру до 20-23 градусов мороза. В южных районах при подготовке к зиме укрытие не требуется. In the middle lane it is appropriate to hide lavender under the spruce branches, but it is not recommended to cover with straw or leaves - under these materials the plant can rot and rot. It is useful to shelter with snow, its thick layer retains heat well.
In cold areas, narrow-leaved lavender is used. This species is better adapted to low temperatures.
If necessary, carry out a transplant of lavender. At the same time, they try to keep as many roots as possible. They are transferred to a new place no later than two months before the establishment of cold weather, so that the bushes can take root.
Lavender grows well in a pot. This method is often used when growing in regions with a cold climate, so that you can transfer the plant to the room for the winter.
Cultivated lavender crops live up to thirty years, but they are rarely grown in one place for more than a decade. The flower is actively used in landscape design to create spectacular borders. The plant looks beautiful in the alpine hills. Lavender is unpretentious, but seasonal pruning of the spiced honey plant should be done regularly. The procedure will allow you to admire the vibrant colors for many years and enjoy the unique aroma of the plant.