- Describe reasons for pruning plants
- Effectively prune various plants grown in the Lab
Pruning is essential for healthy and high-yielding plants. Of course, many gardeners see it as a painful process, especially when they look out on their garden and lose count at 100 plants or more. But if you want to grow those large tomatoes or peppers, or harvest so much basil that you need to make new friends just so you can unload it all, then learning to properly prune your plants is imperative. Once you figure out when to prune and exactly where to clip those green leaves and shoots it’s just another step in the process that you will quickly become comfortable doing.
If you think about it, it makes sense that plants that have thicker, more robust shoots and branches have the ability to support larger fruit. And once those tomatoes or peppers set, giving them more airflow and light naturally promotes a better-ripened end result. That makes sense, right?
It’s not rocket science, it’s gardening. And unlike flying rockets, we’ve been growing food successfully for centuries.
Teach the Teacher
Tools & Materials
- Pruners or garden shears
- Harvest bin
- Cut and come again
- Apical dominance
- Axillary buds
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson with a review of the ways that pruning affects plant growth, development of lateral shoots, and yield. Demonstrate how to properly prune each variety and describe the best time to do so. Typically, pruning is performed during the vegetative stage or just after flowering and pollination. Be specific for each variety.
Activity (20 minutes)
Have the Student, one at a time, prune a plant themselves with your guidance. Before each cut, ask them to explain why that leaf, shoot, or terminal is being pruned. Guide them as needed.
Discussion (10 minutes)
What do you think the plant will do differently now that it has been pruned? How will that affect the way it grows going forward?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you think a plant will grow better if we actually cut it back when it’s young? Why?
- Now that you understand the impact that proper pruning can have on plant development, do you feel confident that you could prune a plant on your own without any assistance?
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