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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - April 23, 2011

From: Nashville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: What happens when plant shoot apex is removed from Nashville TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What happens to the plant when a shoot apex is removed?

ANSWER:

The shoot apex inhibits the lateral buds of the shoot through the production of indoleacetic acid (auxin), a phenomenon known as apical dominance. When the apex is removed or damaged, the lateral buds are released from inhibition due to reduced auxin levels, and they began to grow. This is the biology behind the practice of pinching out the tips of Chrysanthemums in order to get bushier plants, and pruning shrubs to encourage them to become hedges.

In case this is still a little murky, we searched on "pruning shoot apex" and found Basic Principles of Pruning Woody Plants

 

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