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What is Pinching?

I have read your column and other gardening books that mention pinching.  I have not been able to find a definition for this term.  Could you do a lot of people a favor and define the term pinching?

Every hobby or profession seems to develop its own set of terminology.  Gardening is no exception. Pinching simply means to remove part of the plant.  This term is usually used with flowers and houseplants.  Many people use their fingers to break off part of the stem.  I prefer sharp garden scissors or hand pruners.  A soft pinch removes just the upper most portion (the developing leaves and tip) of the stem.  A hard pinch involves removing a longer portion of the stem.  The tip and several inches of stem are removed with a hard pinch.  I always "pinch" stems to the point just above a set of leaves.  This leaves you with a relatively nice looking plant while you wait for new leaves and stems to grow.


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