The following is information on premature budding in mums and why plants may be shorter than normal from the New England Greenhouse Update.
Chrysanthemum flower buds initiate easily and develop rapidly, especially if plants are stressed in any way. Lack of adequate fertilizer and cool nights are causes for premature budding. When grown outdoors, we are relying on natural daylength and temperature to control the timing of the crop. Chrysanthemums are short-day plants. Both flower initiation and development of the flower buds occur more rapidly under short days than in long days. However, temperature has a greater influence than daylength on flowering of garden mums. With several cool nights in a row, garden mums can initiate many buds prematurely which results in early flowering of plants.
Again, short plants are a result of plants setting bud too early. In chrysanthemums, flower bud initiation marks the end of vegetative growth. Garden mums initiate leaves rapidly. Cool weather early in the growing season will reduce the number of leaves formed on each shoot, thereby, resulting in plants with fewer nodes and shorter plants. Another reason for smaller, harder plants may be due to lack of nutrients. Frequent rain made it difficult to keep plants fertilized. As a result, nutrients were leached and plants stopped growing.
Information from the current post on the New England Greenhouse Update Webpage http://www.negreenhouseupdate.info/index.php/august/445-chrysanthemums-early-flowering-and-short-plants