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Experienced gardeners know many subtleties that will help grow an excellent cabbage crop. One of the most common and rather controversial questions is whether it is necessary to pick off the lower leaves of a cabbage. Everyone knows that every friend and neighbor has their own opinion on this matter. Let's see, this point of view is correct.
Role of the cabbage leaf
Cabbage is primarily grown for the sake of the head of cabbage. Why, then, are the covering leaves on the bush? They do not at all serve as a decoration for cabbage. Their role is quite significant. It is they who are responsible for the nutrition of the bush itself. During photosynthesis, this part of the plant is able to produce certain nutrients that are essential for the growth and development of the head of cabbage.
Those who once tried to cut off the lower shoots know that after a while the vegetation will grow back. This is due to the fact that all the necessary elements were in the torn root vegetation. After removing them, the bush begins to look for a new source of food. Therefore, many are interested in whether removing the lower leaves from cabbage will harm?
Also, a lot depends on the number of covering leaves. The head of cabbage itself begins to grow only after at least 7 such leaves appear on the bush. In addition, these shoots have a special wax coating that helps the plant to fight off pests and various diseases. Such vegetation contains a large amount of vitamin C. Namely, 2 times more than in the cabbage itself.
Attention! Root vegetation prevents the bush from overheating in hot weather and freezing in cold weather.
Do I need to pick off the lower leaves of the cabbage
Despite the listed features of the covering vegetation, many still pluck it. Gardeners claim that thanks to this, the plant spends energy only on the growth of the head itself, and not on the lower shoots. In addition, they often rot and spoil the appearance of the bush.
But do not forget that removing the leaves is a lot of stress for the whole plant. Plucking just one shoot, you can delay the maturation of the head of cabbage for the whole day, and if you do it constantly, then even more. From this we see that the covering vegetation of the cabbage, especially the young, cannot be plucked.
But what if the head of cabbage is almost ripe and this does not affect its growth in any way? According to the rules of agricultural technology, such a procedure is not provided. This is explained by the fact that after removal, open wounds remain on the stem, which often become a focus of various diseases.
Important! Cabbage and aphids quickly flock to the juice released after the breakdown.
But there are also many supporters of the idea that shoots can and should be plucked. The main thing is to do this at a time when the head of cabbage is fully formed. Many argue that after such a procedure, the head of cabbage becomes denser. It is also important to consider the state of such vegetation. If it is green and fresh, then there is no need to remove it. If the shoots began to rot after the rains or dried up, then, of course, it is better to carefully remove such vegetation.
In other cases, it is not advised to break off the shoots, since this may stop the growth of the head of cabbage, and the root system will begin to die off. Even if the plant does not die, such actions can adversely affect the size and quality of the fruit.
When can you pick the lower leaves of cabbage
But often it is really necessary to cut the lower leaves. Experienced gardeners have identified a whole list of cases when it is necessary to cut off the basal shoots:
- Cut off with vascular bacteriosis.
- Tear off to prevent the early cabbage heads from cracking.
- As protection against scoops and cabbage flies.
- How to prevent decay.
Now everything is in order. If the lower vegetation has become yellow and lifeless, and the surface of the leaves is covered with black veins, then most likely the plant has contracted vascular bacteriosis. In this case, it is necessary not only to cut off the lower leaves, but also to remove the entire plant. If you notice the affected bushes in time and dig them up, then you can protect the neighboring plants. If you just tore off the lower vegetation, then the disease can continue to spread.
There is an opinion that it is necessary to pick off the lower leaves of the cabbage if it is already ripe, but it is not possible to immediately process it. Very often, early varieties begin to crack. If you cut off the lower shoots, then you can really slow down the growth process. But experts believe this method is not the best. They recommend pulling the bush out slightly or rolling it around. Because of this, the root system will be pulled out, and growth will slow down. Thanks to this technique, the plant will be able to remain in the ground for a long time and not crack.
There are pests that settle just below the bush. These include the cabbage fly, as well as the scoop. Pupae of the moth spend the winter in the ground, and when it gets warmer, they crawl out and lay eggs on the lower part of the leaves. In this case, it will be better if you immediately cut off the shoots on which the pest eggs were found.
Attention! Tearing off the lower shoots is not the only option for pest control. You can treat the bushes with special tools.
Many have noticed that if you pick off the lower leaves of a cabbage 30 days before harvest, the heads of cabbage will become much denser. It does work, but is not always necessary. With proper care, the head of cabbage will be dense anyway. Most often, the problem of looseness lies in the improper use of fertilizers. Having picked up the right feeding in the right amount, you do not have to cut off the lower leaves.
Experienced gardeners know one secret that allows you to increase the mass of heads of cabbage. The most rapid growth of cabbage is usually observed in late August and September. In one day, the fetus can gain up to 100 grams in weight. Often gardeners prefer to tear off the basal vegetation before starting to harvest the cabbage. But if you remove the heads with it, then the fruit will continue to grow, until the entire supply of nutrients ends.
Some experts believe that in the fall, the lower vegetation no longer brings any benefit, but only takes away the strength of the plant. Therefore, it is simply necessary to cut off the lower shoots. But this is a rather controversial issue. Nevertheless, many gardeners do not notice a significant difference between those heads of cabbage that were left untouched and those from which the lower vegetation was plucked. In addition, the leaves can shade the soil too much, due to which a large amount of moisture accumulates. This can cause rot.
Attention! The torn off leaf will be to the taste of some animals. For example, rabbits and chickens. So don't throw away such a valuable product.
As you can see, it is difficult to give an unequivocal answer to the question of whether it is possible to pick off the lower leaves of cabbage. The opinions of gardeners and specialists were very different. Some believe that removing the lower leaves of cabbage is simply necessary to protect the plant from pests and many diseases. In fact, it can only contribute to the spread of bacteria. To cut off or not to cut off the shoots, everyone must decide for himself. Just remember to cut them off correctly. Intrusive pests can immediately flock to the allocated juice. Therefore, we carefully cut or break off the lower vegetation. And do not forget that you need to cut off the vegetation from the cabbage only in extreme cases. Let vegetables grow naturally. Still, this is not a decorative culture, it does not need to have a perfect appearance.