|Summer 2014 Lavender|
If you are determined to give your new Lavender plant a regular dose of water, please use drip or emitter lines briefly, once a week, or let a hose trickle at the base of the plant briefly, like 10 minutes, once a week. We use drip irrigation, infrequently, and we have a dry, desert like climate. Please, no sprinklers! It will cause the stems to splay out and is not good for it. Lavender really hates wet feet. I know people who absolutely never water their Lavender, and they have lovely Lavender, anyway.
If you live in a wet, damp climate, i.e., coastal weather, you may need to put white rocks below your plants to maximize the warmth and reflection from the sun. Many people have to work around that issue, and if necessary just google for ideas and solutions for that.
We have just about finished spring garden clean up, and have been working on getting the Lavender plants ready for the growing season. We have 18 large plants that. span 5 feet across, so many of them are nearing the time for replacement. After they reach about 5 years of age, they begin to develop gaps and holes from damage that occurs to the woody interiors during long freezes and hard winters.
|Deadwood pulled out of the Lavender|
When the greening of the Lavender has begun in the spring, you can pull and/or twist off any stems with black or gray dead areas that sometimes occur in the center of the plants over the winter. Those stems are not alive, and are not going to thrive at any point in the future. If you have not pruned your Lavender yet, you can do that now, too, so long as buds have not formed yet.
We generally prune our Lavender plants in early March by giving them a trim across the top, cutting an even inch to an inch of a half off the top, leaving the surface evenly flat across the top of the plant, edge to edge. Then I invert the large shears, and prune the sides at an angle from the top edge inward and downward, which gives each plant a cupcake shape. It sounds odd, but do it anyway, and have no worries. When the new spring growth comes in, they will somehow miraculously turn into perfectly rounded plants!
In some areas of the country Lavender is pruned in the fall instead of the spring. But if you have winters with temperatures below freezing, you are better off waiting till spring. In any case, prune just the green part of the Lavender, and be careful you do not cut into the woody part of the stems. It is easy to tell the difference.
All the deadwood in the trailer came from just 5 large Lavender plants. Hollow centers with a fairy ring of healthy Lavender were all that remained. The photo below used to be a robust Lavender plant. Once the deadwood was removed, not much was left.
|Hollowed out Lavender plant - layered branches at top left|
The best way to use the remaining ring of Lavender stems is to propagate/clone new plants. It sounds difficult, but it is the simplest thing, ever! There are several ways you can start new Lavender plants. Some people say layering doesn't work for them, but it always works for us, and is a good way to grow a nice, big start for a new plant.
Method 1: Root in water Trim most of the leaves off 6-8 inch long stem cuttings, and put them into a jar of water in your kitchen. They will usually, eventually, grow a tangle of roots and can then be planted. (I'm not patient enough for this one...if I see it every day, I have to mess with it, change the water, etc.)
Method 2: (photo just below) Layering: Select a branch at the base of the Lavender plant. Leave it attached to the Mother plant. Have a handful of wire and wire cutters to make long, metal U-clips (or giant staples) nearby. With your hands, move the soil directly under the branch to form a sort of shallow trough that you can lay the branch in. Scrape the bottom part of the branch with the edge of a pocket knife, a rough rock, or whatever is handy. Lay it in the trough, pinning it down securely with the u-clip. Cover most of the branch with soil and pat down firmly with your hand. Water the branches regularly. Within just a few weeks, roots will have grown from the scraped part of the branch, and it may then be severed from the Mother and planted! You can also use the layering technique in the fall, pinning the branch down for the winter. By late spring roots will usually form!
|A pinned branch of Lavender.|
|In the spring it is easy to tell where the deadwood is!|
|These will be new Lavender plants in a few weeks.|
The next thing you know, you'll need a trailer and a Sickle to bring in your harvest, too!