Mum pinching help
Two questions -
First, immediate question - I came across a clump of mums that, despite pinching back several times, is covered with buds again. Is it too late to cutback yet again? I thought the trditional wisdom was July 4th for the last pinching. I'd rather have early blooms than cut back again now and have no blooms.
Second, more general question - why do my mums always look like cr*p when I cut them back? With the exception of the above-said clump with buds, they all look scraggly; little groups of sticks with rather ratty leaves. I have a feeling it may be the way I cut them back - I'm sure there is a specific spot on the stem that they should be cut at - but when I have to pinch back thousands of mum buds, I just don't have time to be that precise, so I pretty much grab a handful of stems, cut off the top couple inches and move on. Is this method so wrong that it's causing them to look so bad?
For what it's worth, the nice-looking clump with buds was cut back the same way. Also for what it's worth, now that I think of it, the good-looking clump with buds was a fall-purchased, stick-in-the-ground-and-hope-it-comes-back purchase, now on its third season. The ones that look bad were all spring-planted, nursery-purchased plants.
Please help. I love mums but can't seem to get the hang of them, unless I go back to buying them as annuals each fall.