How to prune bell pepper plants: use disinfected tools so that your peppers can stay safe. Also, only prune the affected nodes and not the sensitive parts of the Piperaceae family plant.
If you’d love to give your peppers a clean and safe cut, read this article.
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- How to Prune Bell Pepper Plants in 7 Steps?
- How To Tell if Your Bell Peppers Need Pruning?
How to Prune Bell Pepper Plants in 7 Steps?
To prune bell pepper plants in seven steps you have to get your timing right, identify the nodes and branches and then identify which need to be removed. Next, prepare your tools, prune them, dispose of the waste and water and feed the peppers.
1. Trim at the Right Time
Know the best time to prune pepper plants, as you can’t prune them whenever you want in the year. When is it too late to prune pepper plants? A few weeks to the end of their growing season is too late because the plants still need time to heal after you prune them. This means that the spring months are the best months to prune peppers.
You can also prune them in the summer months or later in the year, but your purpose for pruning them should be something urgent and important. Your peppers can only grow and heal well when they have enough time.
2. Identify the Nodes and Branches
Before you start pruning the plants, ensure that you understand how their leaves are arranged. When you see a leaf that needs pruning, you have to decide if you will cut off its node or branch. Cutting the node will remove just a few leaves. Cutting the branch will remove a cluster of leaves.
The nodes are those points where the leaves emerge from a branch. The branch, however, emerges from the stem. When pruning pepper plants, only cut the branch when you are very sure of what you are doing.
3. Identify Which Nodes and Branches to Prune
After distinguishing the nodes and branches, it is time to know which ones to cut. Is there any diseased leaf in the plant? You can remove it by cutting its nodes. However, if leaves in different nodes from the same branch are diseased, you have to remove the entire branch.
If your purpose of pruning the plants is to keep them in shape, you can prune only the nodes of overgrown leaves. As you can see, your purpose of pruning these plants determines which nodes or branches have to go.
4. Prepare Your Tools
It is time to sharpen your shears or scissors to prune your peppers. Make sure that a single cut is enough to cut the peppers so that you do not damage the remaining parts of the plant. If you have not used the tools for a long time, now is the time to start cleaning and disinfecting them.
To disinfect tools for your peppers, dip them in a bleaching solution for 30 minutes. If you do not have a bleaching solution, keep the tools in boiling water for a few minutes. Just make sure that you dry the tools quickly after sterilizing them. Also, ensure that you keep the tools only when they are completely dry.
5. Prune Your Bell Peppers
It is time to prune your pepper plants. Remember that the way you prune the plants or what branches to prune depends on your purpose of pruning them. For example, simply topping pepper plants (by nipping their tips) can help make them bushier, so you do not need to do a lot of cutting.
When cutting the nodes of your peppers, ensure that you cut them as close to the branch as possible. Also, when cutting some branches, ensure that you cut them as close to the stem as possible. However, cut only the node or branch and never harm what they are attached to.
6. Dispose of the Waste
After pruning pepper plants to your desired height and shape, it is time to remove and dispose of the pruned leaves, petioles, and branches. Any microbes that can decompose pepper leaves can harm your pepper plants, so do not use the leaves as mulch or keep them too close to the plants.
However, instead of throwing the leaves away, you can compost them to make rich organic nutrients for your plants. You can do whatever you want to do with the leaves, just make sure that they do not decompose too close to the growing peppers.
7. Water and Feed Your Peppers
Now your peppers are cut and growing in a neat environment. Congratulations, as you’ve done a great job. However, water them to complete the process. Peppers get stressed and lose hydration when you prune them, so water them so that they can heal quickly.
Consider feeding them as well. If your purpose of pruning the plants is to make them bushy, you have to feed them so that they can have enough nutrients to produce more leaves. If the substrate of your plants is not rich in nutrients, feed the plants.
How To Tell if Your Bell Peppers Need Pruning?
To tell if your bell peppers need pruning you will need to observe – make whether it has a low yield, remove diseased branches, and check if your peppers are overgrown. Finally, have a look at your peppers – if they look bad, that is a sign that you have to prune.
1. Count if Peppers Have a Low Yield
Do you sometimes see a lot of pepper flowers in your plants but the plants end up producing fewer fruits? It happens because not every flower gets pollinated. Even though some branches (with fruits) need a lot of nutrients, your plants will continue sending nutrients to every branch.
If your peppers continue sending nutrients to every leaf, the fruits will not grow as fast as they should. To ensure that the fruits grow quickly so that you can harvest every fruit in time, prune off some of the unproductive branches. Ensure that you do not touch the productive branches. This is how to prune bell pepper plants for maximum yield.
2. Remove Diseased Branches From Peppers
Do you see some diseased leaves in your peppers? If different leaves in the same branch have spots or are discolored, that branch might be sick. To prevent the disease from spreading to other branches, prune off the sick branch. If the sick leaves are found in just one or two nodes, remove the node and continue to examine the branch. The same should be done to leaves with holes, you need to remove them!
3. Check if Your Peppers Are Overgrown
This plant grows rapidly, especially when the soil is nutritious. However, not every branch will be productive. As you already know, too many leaves on your pepper can delay the development of fruits, so you always want to keep the size of your peppers in check.
If your purpose of pruning the peppers is to improve your yield, wait until the plant starts fruiting before you prune it. You just might be lucky and get a lot of fruits from the heavy foliage (i.e., if you do not prune it).
4. See Whether Your Peppers Have a Good Appearance
Take a look at your vegetable garden. Do you like the appearance? If so, you’re doing a great job. If not, however, your plants might need some pruning to keep the garden beautiful. Look for unproductive and overgrown branches in your peppers and prune them off.
If a branch has sick leaves, prune it off. Keep your garden green and beautiful, as plants growing in such gardens are usually more productive.
5. Prune Before The Growing Season Comes to an End
As you already know, early season pruning is the best type of pruning, as your peppers will have enough time to heal and produce fruits before the season comes to an end. If the season is coming to an end but your peppers (i.e., the fruits) are yet to develop completely, you have two options.
You can pluck them so that they can ripen out of the plant. However, you can also prune off the unproductive branches so that the plant will send most of its nutrients to the branches with fruits.
If you are growing your peppers in a warm region, you have to learn how to prune bell pepper plants for winter, as the plants will most likely continue growing in the next growing season. For winter pruning, cut off the leaves a few weeks before the first snow. After the last frost date, the leaves will grow back.
Pepper plant pruning is surely easier for you now, right? Before you go prune the peppers, remember some points from the article:
- Prune off sick or dying branches and nodes. Try not to cut the main stem
- After pruning the peppers, water them so that they can stay hydrated.
- Ensure that you keep some leaves in the pepper plant so that it can continue the process of photosynthesis.
- You can prune your plants in the late season to speed up the production of fruits.
- To get more hot peppers, prune off unproductive parts so that the plant can send nutrients to the fruits instead.
Congratulations, as you’d surely do well in pruning your peppers. However, do not forget to use clean tools so that your peppers can be safe.