Will a plant that is not pinched branch? And if so, why?
As in, if I was doing an experiment and the control plant didn't receive a chemical pinching agent or was actually pinched, will it still branch?
Drought Smart Plants reply:
Hi Kelsey, that would depend on the type of plant - in some cases, the plant will branch regardless of whether you pinch or not, but in most cases I would say that without the release of 'auxins' (a chemical growth inhibitor given off by the terminal buds) most plants will branch. It would surprise me if you didn't pinch, and got a nice bushy plant.
Many nurseries (especially those growing hardy plants for the prairies, for instance) routinely mow the plants, using a machine. There's nothing delicate about their pinching methods.
A bonsai grower is constantly pinching their plants that are more like artforms. In many cases, once these plants are formed into the characteristic aged shape, pinching is all they do to shape them.
With all the attention paid to pinching, hedging, mowing and pruning it would be unusual to see a plant retain its normal shape in cultivation.
Hope that helps,