How to Prune Broccoli

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Broccoli grows well in soil temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Accordingly, spring and fall planting work most effectively for growing broccoli. If soil temperatures rise above 75 F, prune broccoli to prevent the plant from bolting. Bolting -- producing yellow flowers -- is the plant's response to warm soil. With regular pruning, you can prevent flowers and harvest tender broccoli florets.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Watch for green buds in the center of a broccoli plant. Buds develop first in the center of the plant. By pruning the center head first, the plant will not bolt as quickly and it will continue to produce buds.

  • Prune the broccoli plant by removing the top 6 inches of the central stem. Cut the central stem off 6 inches from the top with the pruning shears when the buds finish developing but before they open and separate into yellow flowers. Use the harvested central stem of broccoli.

  • Watch for side shoots of buds after pruning off the central stem. Prune away all buds before they open and separate into flowers to prevent bolting and keep the plant producing for as long as possible. Use all buds you remove.

Tips & Warnings

  • A broccoli plant typically produces buds for harvesting for two to three weeks, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

References

  • Photo Credit Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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