Other posts have touched on the subject of renovation. I have found through the years that renovation is more an art than a science. So many things have to be considered. Not just the methods, but the extent to which the plants will be trimmed back. Another key decision point is the health of the plants, the season, the environmental conditions, and plans for future crops.
I’m not going to go into all that right now. Suffice it to say that I recommend that one or a few plants are renovated at a time. You don’t want to take a chance with all your plants.
I’ll start this discussion with a reply to an email today from a customer who is having great success with their plants. They are growing in the garden in raised beds and in containers. They asked about cutting the plants back. Here’s the reply sent to them:
“Yes, the plants can be cut back to clean them up. Timing is critical and it is important to cut them back as little as possible. Once they have produced a crop they are messy because of spent bloom stalks and dead and dying leaves. The best and least risky way to clean them up is by hand by cutting out the bloom stalks and dead leaves. The next way would be to take a hedge clipper and trim them back, always leaving as much foliage as possible. The least desirable and not recommended way is to mow them down with a mower. Many will die as a result of this method.
The hardest thing to do after renovation is irrigation. The tendency is to overwater these plants to compensate for the trimming. Now that they have less foliage they will need less water, not more. Regularly overwatering leads to root rots. Some blame the trimming for the loss of the plants when in actuality it’s the irrigation.”
I’ll continue this discussion as time allows.