Cutting Mums back

When is the right time to do that for fullness and not falling over with blooms? Mine are over a foot tall and look spindly already. I'm in Delaware right in the middle of the peninsula zone 7. TIA
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I have always heard and followed the fourth of July rule. Let them grow until the fourth and then cut them back for a fall bloom. MJ
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On 5/22/12 10:27 AM, mj wrote:

blooms? Mine are over a foot tall and look spindly already. I'm in Delaware right in the middle of the peninsula zone 7. TIA

I cut mine back as soon as they finish flowering. When new shoots appear, I then pinch them back (see below) almost every week until the 4th of July.
Pinching involves removing just about 1 inch of the tip of a shoot. I use my thumb nail against my middle finger.
Right now, however, my chrysanthemum is in full bloom -- out of season. I might not get any opportunity to pinch it.
In the third year, I root cuttings in the early spring and then discard the parent plant.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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I had been told that since they have hollow stems not to cut them back before winter as the stems took water to roots and would kill them if it all froze. And these people raise acres of mums for commercial sale. But this was during the growing season I was questioning cutting them back by half to encourage branching and more blooms with shorter stronger, stems to avoid them flopping with the weight of heavy blooms. Thanks for your answer.
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