Terri Matthews wrote:According to one rancher, when the corn eats the top of the grass then the grass drops off some of the roots, as the newly shortened plant no longer needs this much root. So the roots are not being lost to diseases or anything, instead the plant is doing it for the plants' own benefit.
He made it sound like cut and come again greens: I pick a fistful of leaves ans the plant grows the leaves back again. The plant that produces the greens does not get weaker at all: it just grows more slowly than the plant I did not give a "haircut" to. I think the roots do the same thing.
AFTER the plants has gotten rid of the roots of course they will decay, as those roots are no longer alive.
Thanks, this was my understanding as well. My confusion comes with the one line you said about the plant that was growing more slowly due to pruning off the leaves/branches. I've heard people say that pruning the plant actually sends energy that would have been directed towards maintaining that part of the plant now can be used to grow even MORE roots and make the plant better off for it. Although I assume you have to do this at certain times of the growing season.
MAYBE what people mean is that if you prune your perennials right before spring you allow for really strong new growth because the plant has this big root system and not a lot of above ground parts so it produces really healthy growth? And then conversely if you prune a perennial in the middle of the growing season, whether it's a nitrogen fixer, fruit tree, whatever, it actually drops off it's roots to match it's above ground parts?
I think this is an important thing to get right because we want to find that sweet spot where we can harvest a lot from our plants by way of leaves, fruits, flowers, stalks, etc but time it right so that we encourage the plant to grow even stronger the next season.