Whether you have a hydroponic or traditional garden, pruning is a necessary maintenance step for the health of your plants. It may seem counterintuitive, but cutting away parts of your plants that have died, are diseased or weak, or are unnecessarily sucking up resources actually helps them grow stronger and more fruitful. In this blog, we will go over the materials you need to prune your plants, and the four main pruning methods: sucker, cluster, leaf, and root pruning.
When you are pruning your garden, you will find the task a lot easier if you invest in certain materials.
Pruning shears: If you invest in high-quality, sharp pruning shears, you will find that they do a much better job than your fingers or scissors ever could. The clean cut that is only possible with sharp pruning shears will also ensure that your plant heals faster.
Bleach or isopropyl alcohol: This will be effective for sterilizing your pruning shears, which is especially important when you are dealing with unhealthy plants.
Magnifying glass: A magnifying glass allows you to look much closer at your plants, making it easier to identify and remove the undesirable parts of the plant.
The small growths you see branching from the main stem are referred to as suckers, or lateral shoots. Eventually, these grow into their own stem, which causes your plant to grow out horizontally. This is especially problematic with plants like tomatoes, because it makes the green leaves take up too much room for the plant to produce much fruit. Therefore, it is necessary to trim the suckers to allow your plant to grow more vertically, and yield more fruit.
Cluster pruning refers to when you prune the fruits or flowers of the plant. When your plant has too many flowers or fruits clustered together, they compete for nutrients, producing a weak crop. By eliminating the weaker fruits and flowers, you allow more of the resources to go to stronger blooms so they can grow more evenly and produce greater yields.
Pruning the leaves of your plants can help reallocate nutrients to the healthier parts of the plants, so remove any dead or dying leaves when you are pruning. Additionally, pruning the lower leaves on the plant allows the lower branches to get more light.
In hydroponic grow systems, some types of systems involve exposed roots, which are more prone to infection. Pruning infected plants’ roots can prevent the infection from spreading by reducing the risk of its roots touching the roots of another plant. To prune the roots of your plant, start by rinsing them well. After sterilizing your pruning shears, trim away the roots that look discolored, infected, or dead. Prevent cross-contamination by disinfecting your entire hydroponic grow system.
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