API­CAL DOM­I­NANCE

Garden Answers (UK) - - Celebrate -

Cut­ting back or pinch­ing out a peren­nial when it’s newly planted of­ten im­proves its habit by mak­ing it bushier. In ef­fect what you’re do­ing is break­ing what’s known as ‘api­cal dom­i­nance’. This is where the plant hor­mone auxin al­lows the lead­ing, more vig­or­ous ‘api­cal’ bud to stop lat­eral buds from branch­ing out from the side of the shoot. If the dom­i­nant grow­ing tip is re­moved by pinch­ing out or prun­ing, the hor­mone ra­tio is ad­justed to favour cy­tokinin – a hor­mone that con­trols shoot growth and root for­ma­tion. This spurs lat­eral buds into growth.

Pinch­ing out the lead­ing bud gives a bushier plant

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