The Q&A Archives: Cut back

Question: I have lavender shrubs that have gotten quite large. When is the best time to cut them back and how much should I leave?

Answer: Lavender tends to get woody as it ages and unless you trim it in the spring and again in mid-summer to keep it looking neat and compact, you'll end up with leggy plants. The problem is that once a stem gets woody, it will not produce new growth. So the key is to keep your lavender plants trimmed on a regular basis. You can prune yours back now by a few inches, but don't trim back to bare wood. You may be able to rehabilitate your plants by pruning off a few inches now, a few inches in October and a few more inches in December. By reducing the size gradually you may be able to get them back into shape. If they are very overgrown you might just want to root some of the clippings and start all over with new plants next spring. Good luck with your lavender!

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