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Pruning Lavender & Drying the Harvest

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Learning how to prune lavender is relatively simple.

Learning how to prune lavender is simple. And when you do it right, your plants should thrive. And you’ll enjoy a multi-functional herbal harvest when you’re done!

Learn how to prune lavender for fragrant bundles like this

It’s important to know when to harvest your lavender.

Most who harvest the flowers to store will recommend cutting out the buds just before the flowers open. That’s because this is when the essential oils are at their most potent.

Honeybee Pollinators on Lavender Blooms

Honeybee Pollinators on Lavender Blooms in July

However,  it is okay to wait and prune your shrubs after the flowers open. That way you’ll allow pollinators to harvest from your lavender too.

But if you wait until after the flowers open and become pollinated there are some negatives. First, the plant oils won’t be as strong. And the dried buds won’t hold as tightly once they have dried.

What’s the best way to prune lavender plants?

Lavender is one of the few shrubs we cut by shearing. But, it’s important to trim without cutting into older wood. Instead, trim out all of the flower stalks. And do this by cutting just above the point where new leaves are forming on the plant. Try to complete this work before the threat of a freeze, when the plants are dry, and before any molding begins. And, if you don’t get to it before winter, no worries. Trim it in early spring before new growth emerges; don’t try to store this material. Compost it instead.

Pruning Lavender Cuts

Deadline to finish pruning lavender is…

Try to complete lavender pruning well before the threat of a freeze. And if you plan to preserve your harvest, trim when the plants are dry and before any molding begins.

But, if you don’t get to it before winter, no worries. Just trim it in early spring before new growth emerges. But don’t try to store this material. Compost it instead.

How to preserve your lavender harvest…

Late-harvested lavender for storage should be picked when the weather is dry. So, sunny late summer days can be perfect. And on days like this, you can spread cuttings in a hot, dry spot to help dry out any residual moisture. That’s because moisture can lead to rot when you bundle up your lavender cuttings later.

Lavender drying in the sun

How to bundle your lavender to dry it…

Once the lavender is harvested, gather it into small bundles. And by small that’s usually about 3″ of bundled stems.

Then strip the lower stems of any extra leaves. This will help reduce moisture build up. Finally, tie them each bundle with a biodegradable twine like the jute shown here.

Lavender Bundled & Ready to Hang to Dry

How to hang your lavender bundles to dry…

Since late-harvested lavender flowers fall apart fast, hang the bundles inside a paper grocery bag. That way any bits that fall with land in the bag instead of making a mess. In fact this is even helpful if you decided how to prune lavender for you means cutting it before the flowers open.

Too, try to keep the bundles from touching. So don’t overcrowd each bag. And hang the bags in a dark spot. Moreover, be sure it’s a dry location.

Check the bags and bundles often to be sure nothing is molding.

Lavender hanging to dry

When are your lavender bundles cured?

When the stems are dry and brittle they should be dry. In fact they should easily break with a snap of the fingers. And, now you can begin using them.

But before you pull them out of the bags, shake the bundles a little inside the bags. That’s because this will help rattle out the loosest of the flower bits. 

Need ideas for using your cured lavender harvest?

There are many uses for lavender cuttings that you’ve cured. And you’ll find some popular ways to use them here.

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