I normally only pinch once. But after seeing that gorgeous Labyrinth, I might reconsider. I remember a skinny plant years ago that I didn't pinch. It was growing in an area that received little sunlight till after noon. It ended up being over 8' tall and produced only a handful of blooms.
We finally got a nice soaking rain a couple days ago. Some plants seem to have doubled in size since then. Natural rain water provides something you can't get from a hose. I used to argue with my dad trying to convince him that "water is water". Boy, was I wrong!
After the rain, the wind picked up without my noticing. There were gusts to 37 MPH. When I finally looked out, my plants were rockin' and rollin'. I went out and tied up a half dozen of the weaker ones and will do the rest in a few days. I've replaced 3 underachieving plants so far. One had a soft tuber and the other two had developed no root system at all. They were beginning to wilt and would have died/rotted soon anyway. There are a couple more that might be exiled. I've also been cutting off the multiple stalks on some plants, leaving only one. I think that makes for a stronger, healthier plant and makes it tons easier to keep it tied to the stake.
Two things I've learned over the years: #1 Any plant that dies, rots, doesn't bloom, has a virus or is dug up by an animal, will almost always be a favorite and/or is your only one of that variety. So far, I've lost at least six one-of-a-kinds. And...#2. You couldn't kill one you don't like or a mislabeled one if you tried! Murphey's Law?
Haven't had a chance to check on the forum much lately. I'd like to welcome grahambond to the forum and thank you for posting photos while the rest of us are waiting for our own dahlias to bloom.