Now, dill is one of our most delicious herbs, but if you don’t use it judiciously it will take over your garden. Dill and parsley are both biennials: the first year they send up leaves, the second year flowers. If you let the dill flower, you’ll have more dill next year, but fewer flowers for your salad.
Dill grows like a weed. If you plant it, it will grow about 18 inches a day, so you have to act quickly if you want to stop the weeds from taking over.
To learn how to prune dill, read when to Prune.
When to prune dill?
Pruning not only encourages your dill to produce more leaves and flowers but it helps to keep it from getting too big as well. You can prune dill at any time throughout the year as needed, but the best time is just as it begins to grow in springtime.
Tools for Pruning:
Pruning tools come in many sizes, shapes, and styles. In fact, they are often shaped to fit into your hand. But most pruning tools are really just tools. You push them, pull them, swing them, or bend and twist them. Gardeners can and do use a wide variety of tools.
But tools are not magic. They become magic when you don’t know how to use them.
There are three basic tools to use when pruning:
- Pruning saws
Pruning saws are good for more precise cutting. They cut with a sharp blade that slices off the branch, leaving only a clean, smooth stub. The saw has a narrow blade with a handle and a sharp point on one end. It is a little like a small pruning knife. A pruning saw must be very sharp to work well.
- Loppers and loppers
They have more cutting power and a longer reach. They are like large pruning saws, only longer. Loppers and loppers have handles and sharp cutting blades.
Hands are good for pushing branches aside, for cutting small branches, and for digging in the compost pile. They work better than a pruning saw, lopper, or loppers at getting branches that are difficult to see.
How to Prune Dill? Different Methods
Once the dill gets a few weeks old, you must prune it. Rub a leaf gently between your fingers and you should notice a slight roughness to the leaves. This roughness signifies that the plant is going to seed. For herbs, prune out flower buds when they appear in order to encourage more leaves and fewer flowers.
Important ways to prune dill weeds
- Pruning through Cutting:
Cut dill in half lengthwise. Lift out the core. Set one half aside. Cutaway any tough stems, roots, and discolored leaves.
Trim the dill stems to 1⁄2 inch. Cut the stem ends at an angle and set the stems aside. Cut the remaining dill into 1-inch lengths.
A nice little trick to easily prune dill is to pinch off the flower heads with a small pair of pruning shears. (And if you have them, a pair of secateurs makes short work of this.) If you pinch off the heads, the plant will send up a bunch of little shoots, each with one flower. Pinch off these flower heads, and the plants will bloom for a few weeks longer. If you leave just one or two flower buds on a plant, the plant will stop producing new shoots.
There is an advantage to the cutting method, though. If you cut off the old flowers, the stems will grow, and next year the plant will produce lots more, probably more than you will use.
- Pruning Dill for storing Purpose
If you intend to store a branch, cut it off the main stem.
Dill is harvested when about 2 inches of the stems are shown above the leaves. Clip the plant just above the soil level. Dill can be dried, and the seeds stored for up to 2 years. Dry dill by spreading the stems in a dry, shady place. Then bundle the leaves and stems together, tie them loosely with string, and hang the bundle somewhere cool and dry. When the stems are completely dry, the seeds can be removed.
Dill leaves can be frozen for later use. Wash the leaves, pat them dry, and freeze them whole on a cookie sheet. When they are frozen, store them in a freezer bag.
“Once your dill has been pruned, give it a good soaking with water to help the plant recover better from the trauma of pruning and to reduce stress on the plant. Leave your dill plant in a sunny, well-drained location that gets at least an hour”.