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Deadheading To Keep Your Garden Healthy

Deadheading

A process known as deadheading is necessary to keep your flower garden fresh and healthy. (Credit: CBS)

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GLENCOE, Ill. (CBS) — Deadheading.

In this case, it has nothing to do with Jerry Garcia. Rather, it’s what you have to do in the garden if you want your plants to grow.

As CBS 2’s Megan Glaros explains, you always want your plants to look bright and healthy, but sometimes they look a bit brown, and that’s when it’s time to deadhead.

“Deadheading is simply a gardener’s term to remove a spent flower from a plant, to encourage it to begin producing more flowers,” said Tom Soulsby of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

One can think of deadheading like cleaning out a closet to make room for more stuff.

You can use a tool such as a pruner or scissors, and cut the stem below the flower to the base. But there is also a low-tech method.

“Pinching is, basically that is taking your finger and your thumb, and pressing down hard with your nail on the branch, and kind of twisting off the spent flower bloom,” Soulsby said.

He says every flower will require some sort of deadheading through the growing season. Some will need more, others less.

“There’s no specific rule of thumb other than watching your plant,” Soulsby said. “As the plant starts to fade, and as it starts to turn a little brown and less colorful than it had been, then that’s the time to begin deadheading.”

It sounds like a lot of work if you have a big garden.

“Take a little bit of a walk through your garden every day, first thing in the morning or afterwards, and take a few minutes to deadhead,” Soulsby said. “If you do a little bit at a time, it becomes much less of a chore than if you wait a few weeks and then do it all at once.”

If you have a whole lot of plants turning brown, Soulsby says you can use a large shears to deadhead, but be very careful.