The Q&A Archives: Trimming Kale

Question: I live in St. Louis. Do I need to trim my kale plants back in the winter? If so, how far from the stump of the plant?

Answer: It's natural for the stem of the kale plant to grow tall. Edible kale can be harvested over a long season if you pull off the lower leaves but leave the inner leaves alone. Once you remove the growing tip, the plant will stop producing leaves.

Ornamental kale is an annual plant used to add interest to the winter landscape. If you cut the top off, the plant will die. Enjoy your kale until it looks really bizarre, then pull the plant out and put something else in its place. Primroses and pansies grow nicely in late winter and early spring.

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