How to Prune Cucumber Plants: For Healthy Fruit, You Need to Remove Those Leaves and Shoots!
If the cucumbers dry up or rot despite watering and fertilizing, then there is only one thing to do: prune cucumber plants. If you stick to a few basic rules and remove certain leaves and shoots, you will have a rich harvest and healthy fruit on the table.
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Prune Cucumber Plants and Harvest Healthy Fruit
Unlike tomatoes, pruning cucumber plants is not a must – but it is still recommended in some cases.
- Basically, the plants are thinned out, pinched and shortened in such a way that the fruits get enough water and nutrients. Otherwise they remain small, dry up or rot directly on the plant.
- In addition, some fungal diseases can be prevented or even fought in the early stages by careful pruning.
- It often happens that the cucumbers spread out in the vegetable patch and suppress other plants. To prevent this, it is a good idea to remove some of the leaves.
- Tall cucumber plants require pruning that regulates growth and direct them in the desired direction of growth.
- Pruning is also necessary if the cucumbers put all their energy into leaf formation and the fruits remain comparatively small.
- Fruiting can also be delayed if the wrong fertilizers are used, for example nitrogen fertilizers. Instead, the cucumbers spread. In this case, trimming the main shoots can help stimulate flowering and fruiting.
When to Prune Cucumber Plants?
When is the right time to prune cucumber plants? It’s never too late to give cucumbers a pruning. It is best to start with this at the beginning of the gardening season, but you can also prune cucumber plants during flowering and fruiting. It is only important to adjust the pruning to the particular development phase of the plant.
This Is How to Prune Different Types of Cucumbers
How the outdoor plants are pruned also depends on the cucumber species.
Basically, outdoor plants can get along without a pruning. you can pinch off the lower leaves and remove the side shoots, so that the plant can dry faster after watering and rain, and the leaves do not rot.
The cucumbers that are tied up high are carefully thinned out. All stingy shoots are removed, they bear neither flowers nor fruit. These plants often bear too many fruits, which then either remain small or become too heavy and the shoots break. To prevent this, leave a cucumber on each leaf stem.
For cucumbers in greenhouses or on the balcony protected from the wind, regularly remove the side shoots. Fruits that were formed directly on the trunk and those that lie on the ground are also removed promptly. In any case, rotting, sick and yellow shoots, leaves and fruits are also removed.
How to Prune Cucumber Plants: Step-By-Step Instructions
- Before you start pruning, disinfect the shears to prevent the spread of disease.
- Work from the bottom up. Most of the shoots at the very bottom, with the exception of the main shoot, are completely removed. As with all plants with a main shoot, you should never cut it off – because it will not sprout again. If you start pruning from the bottom, you can immediately see the side shoots. It is best to mark the main shoot so that you do not mix it up later and accidentally cut it off.
- Remove the buds at the bottom – they get little to no sunlight take unnecessary energy from the plant. Cut them at an angle, as close to the base of the stem as possible. In this way you encourage flower formation at the top, where most cucumbers get plenty of direct sunlight.
- Make sure to cut off all stingy shoots, as well as shoots that grow downwards or across.
- Remove all leaves that are diseased, yellow, dried up, wilted or eaten. In addition, cucumbers can be thinned out a little if the leaves grow too close together so the plants can dry faster after rain.
- If the plant reaches a height of 3 feet/90 cm in the greenhouse, you can shorten the main stem a little. This keeps the plants compact and encourages fruiting rather than growth. Outdoor plants can grow up to 3,5 feet/100 cm high, after that you should also trim them regularly.
- The fruit should be harvested at regular intervals, as often as possible. It is best to harvest the plants every week so that they then constantly bear fruit.
Care after Pruning
The cucumber plants are first watered from below, then cut and then fertilized if necessary. If it rains heavily in the coming days, the freshly cut plants need rain protection. If there are ripe fruits, you can harvest them immediately.