thyme pruning

Asked July 28, 2018, 11:37 PM EDT

Am now at 4 thyme varieties, so thought should get more facts. Your site didn't help since carroll co has usurped the word (maybe a software geek could block them in searches). If you actually have info online then advise how to access. Online search found an article by a non-hort scientist (rexford talbert) who has become a professed culinary thyme expert. I was shocked to read his statement that each yr prunings should be: 1) the 1st right after bloom. i thought best flavor was before bloom; and 2) the 2nd 1 mo before frost. i thought nothing should be pruned then since any tender growth would be zapped by that frost or subsequent freezes. Contrarily, he states the new growth will be better able to survive winter since "hardier than mature stems." Could this counter intuitive recommendation be accurate? If not, when do you recommend cutting other than harvesting for food? tnx

Anne Arundel County Maryland herbs plant care thyme pruning

1 Response

We are glad you found us. The internet may have inaccurate information, especially if it is for a growing area different than our own.
We suggest waiting for new growth to break in spring so you can then cut off dead areas which have been winter damaged.
There are multiple growth-forms of thyme. If yo have the larger, upright, almost shrubby ones, which can get woody over time, consider shearing them down to about 6-8 inches every 3 years to rejuvenate. You can also lightly shape them in the spring.
We would not suggest pruning any later than mid/late August, for exactly the reason you note above.
Shearing off spent flower stems before seed set will prevent reseeding, but allowing some seeding can be nice in the perennial garden if you have room.

They must have well-draining soil but they can take low fertility soils.