Last October for the first time we planted the huge flowered mums that we bought. This year they grew gigantic. We just found out that we were suppose to pinch back in spring and again by July 4. If there are no buds can we still pinch back and how far do we pinch back? I have attached a pix of what they looked like last year (flowered) when we planted them and what they look like now. Notice that the middle one was small and now it's huge and the end one was huge and now it's small.
Pinching Back Mums
How much to pinch depends on how tall you want the blooming plant to be. Some just pinch the top couple of leaves to force the plant to produce more lateral stems for a bushier look. I've read the second trim is "mid-summer" although I've always heard the July 4th date. If you see no buds, trim off up to 4 inches. Even if you see buds, trimming will just delay bloom time, not prevent it.