Fall mums are a source of color and beauty for your fall garden, taking the time during the summer months to maintain them can ensure a healthy and beautiful fall. Around this time of year some gardeners find their mums starting to flower. It may be your natural instinct to leave them flower and then trim the tops back to bloom in the fall. This may not be the best course of action. Cutting the tops of the plant could lead to less blooms come the fall season. If you notice that your mums are starting to bloom during the summer months our experts recommend cutting the plant back by 1/3. This will promote growth and allow your plant to get thicker and more well branched leading your buds to set later in the season and have fuller flowers come the fall. After pruning the plant back collect your trimmings and place them in soil and keep them moist. The trimmings should start to root in 2 to 3 weeks. After that time they can be planted outside and follow a similar pruning process. Dividing your plants is only one of the keys to healthy mums. When planting your mums keep in mind location, soil preparation, and pests, taking the time to plan out these factors can help increase the life and bloom of your mums in the fall. Select a location that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. A plant that does not receive enough sun will be tall, leggy, and produce fewer smaller flowers. Once you have chosen a spot to plant your mums use heavy clay soil, as mums do best in well-drained soil. After some time you might notice aphids, leafhoppers, or spider mites these plants are not likely to harm your plant but do keep an eye out for harmful pests. The last key to beautiful fall mums is the pinching process. Pinching is used to achieve full, rounded domes of blooms. If you bought full grown plants in the fall they are already pinched and are ready to be planted. If you have young spring plants, they will need pinched to achieve maximum bloom. Start to pinch as soon as you see a good flush of buds. Pinch about half of the tender growth at the top of the shoot, make sure to select stems with buds and some without. Repeat the process with every 3 to 5 inches of growth, this works out to be every 2 to 4 weeks. This will ensure good bud formation for a beautiful garden in the fall.