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Author Topic: Pruning leggy basil  (Read 1923 times)
Bobbie
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« on: January 28, 2009, 07:24:38 PM »

With my first herb garden, I admit that I was a timid pruner.  Also, it was the dill that kept growing taller and taller, leading me to keep raising the lights.  With the intervening flower gardens, I learned that plants actually do like to be pruned, so I determined to keep the basil short and bushy.  Despite my best intentions, the basil still seems to be leggy, as you can see in the photos.  The manual says to prune off the top after counting up three past 3 sets of leaves.  The problem is that the stem between them keeps growing.  I pruned it as directed as soon as I could count up three, and I've kept the top pinched off.  But even so, I had to raise the lights because the leaves were touching them.  On the talest plant, there's actually only two sets of leaves.  TSo can I trim that top "head" off the tall basil stalkhe bottom set is branching out nicely.  The top set is also sprouting leaves,  but they're close to touching the lights again.  Shoud I prune that off and let the bottom set take off, or will that be removing too much of the plant?  If I wait for the top set to develop further, it'll be even taller, and I'll have to raise the lights again.  Right now, the shorter plants are thriving. I know, from my experience the first time, that if I keep raising the lights, they'll start to peter out.  So can I safely trim that top head off the tall basil ?stalk?
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Bobbie
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« on: January 28, 2009, 07:24:38 PM »

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eko
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 10:05:23 PM »

I would assume that you probably can, basil is a very hardy plant.  With saying that it would be helpful to see a picture of the garden with everything growing  Grin  Also how old is the garden that would make a difference to me as well?
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shane arthur
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 10:45:42 PM »

yes, you can trim it. here is the link i found

http://www.aerogrow.com/community/images/stories/file/THMini_HerbSeries.pdf
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 11:59:26 PM »

All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not the only one with leggy basil. I followed the directions with my first Gourmet Herb garden and didn't prune until there were three sets of leaves and only took off the top, but I later felt that I'd have been better off pruning it lower on that first snip.

Anyway, with the basil in the AG3, I did wait until there were three sets of leaves, but the three sets were very close together and my basil was about to grow into the light. So, I decided to prune right after the first set of true leaves. Between those leaves and the growing platform is about 4-5". So there was a lot of stem between the seed leaves and the first leaves just like on my first kit in the AG7.

This was only a few days ago, the plant is continuing to grow and doesn't appear to have been set back any, so I don't *think* I hurt anything. And it has enabled me to keep the light low so the parsley and thyme get plenty. I did worry that it might constitute pruning more than 1/3 of the plant, but so far, so good.
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Bobbie
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 06:37:36 AM »

I would assume that you probably can, basil is a very hardy plant.  With saying that it would be helpful to see a picture of the garden with everything growing  Grin  Also how old is the garden that would make a difference to me as well?

Oops! I took the pictures but forgot to post them.  Here they are: the garden was planted on Christmas Day. 


* Basil.jpg (20 KB, 300x400 - viewed 233 times.)

* Basil-2.jpg (17.06 KB, 300x400 - viewed 204 times.)
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Bobbie
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eko
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009, 07:06:30 AM »

Im not anexpert by any means, but if it was mine I would probably top/pinch off those taller sections.  That way it will give you more time for your other herbs to catch up.
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Mark
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 04:09:25 PM »

same as eko, i'm pretty new to this, but I'd top the larger section.
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 05:09:45 PM »

I've topped mine twice now at the 2nd proper leaf set. I was kind of worried about the 2nd time, so I think I would advise against that as it has been slower to recover. The first time though it had almost all grown back within 1-2 days.
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Bobbie
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2009, 05:58:27 PM »

Thanks, everyone.  Tomorrow I'm planning on a caprese salad, so I shall steel myself and top it off.  The side growth really does seem hearty enough that it should be able to handle it.  I am determined to practive Tough Love on the basil and dill this time, so that I continue to have healthy oregano, mint and thyme. 

(We made pizza tonight, and I had some fresh oregano to scatter over the top of it.)
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Bobbie
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