The Q&A Archives: pruning sunflowers

Question: I have "Paul Bunyan" sunflowers growing along my front walkway and some of the branches are blocking the walkway. Is it okay to prune some of these leaves away to make it easier to walk by them or will it kill the plant? I have cut the flowers off as they have bloomed and wonder if I can trim the leafy branches also.

Answer: Helianthus augustifolius, or Swamp Sunflower, has the potential to grow 13' tall. You can safely trim it back without harming the plant. Pinching it back in the early summer will keep it full and bushy.

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