Pruning Forsythia - How to prune
Forsythias are so easy to grow, that they often get overlooked when
it comes to care and attention. This is its downfall in many gardens.
It simply need a bit of correct pruning at the right time of the year.
Therein lies another problem - the time and way in which it should be
This is probably one of the most wrongly pruned
shrubs of all!
If you prune it correctly then it will favour you
with masses of good sized flowers. If you do it wrong, then nothing on
your Forsythia but foliage!
Don't worry, we will show and tell you how to prune
four forsythia properly.
Advice and information about pruning Forsythias - including the
Weeping Forsythia - Forsythia suspensa.
Forsythia flowers on stems and buds made
in the previous year. If you prune Forsythia too late in the year, then
you will be cutting off the next spring's flower buds and flowering
stems! Forsythia needs a long growing season in which to make its
flowering stems and flower buds for the next spring. If you prune
Forsythia too late in the year, then you will be pruning off the
flowering branches for next spring.
For normal Forsythia shrubs - bushes - you
will need to prune them as soon as possible after flowering in the early
spring. If this is done, then you will have masses of flowers the
Pruning Forsythia bushes and shrubs. When and How.
Right after flowering, cut out all of the stems that
have flowered - back to a good healthy pair of buds. Depending upon how
vigorous your forsythia variety is, the pruning cuts may be from between
12 in (30cm) to 2ft (60cm) in length. At the same time - with an
established shrub, it is a good idea to cut a few stems back down to
within a few inches (cms) of the ground - say one out of every three
stems pruned this way. This will encourage basal shoots to grow, which
will keep the Forsythia well provided with strong stems to flower in
This is a typical Forsythia stem that would be
pruned out right after flowering has finished. The pruning cut would be
right at the bottom of the picture. The stem will then re-grow during th
year, to the same length as before.
a/ Cut back flowered
growths at least 1/3rd of the way back into the shrub, to a new young
shoot; or a strong bud (Leaf joint)
some of the growth - about 25% - right back to
within a few cm of the ground. This will produce
nice basal growth, which in turn will be part of
your framework for the following year. If you don't
do this, then the shrub will simply get taller each
year, with the flowering growth right at the top.
well back into the growth. It is no use just
trimming the ends off this shrub. Cut back well into
the bush as shown, low down the flowered stem -
ideally to a pair of strong new buds.
But DO remember to do this as soon as
possible after the Forsythia has finished blooming in
the lower cuts to force some basal growth.
By cutting some of the main stems of your
Forsythia bush back to near ground level, you
will get a continued supply of new stems -
which will ensure that your Forsythia flower
from top to near bottom. Not just at the top
of an untidy mess of a shrub.
Do this each year and you will get
larger flowering branches - full of good coloured bell
flowers, and afterwards, bright green foliage, which
incidentally will be good for Autumn - Fall - colour.
Gold to orange foliage.
Pruning Forsythia Hedges
Forsythia make good
dense and colourful hedges, that can be kept well
under control for a small (3ft) 1m high hedge - or
as a larger hedge. If you want a well clipped hedge
of Forsythia, the pruning is carried out with either
a pair of shears or a hedge trimmer. The hedge can
be cut twice each year, with the last cut taking
place in Late July/August.
As can be seen, you
can prune forsythia to make neat shapes as well as
Providing that the
pruning is a light trim, and not back hard into the
stems, then there will be plenty of flowers the
following year. If the hedge gets too 'open' then
don't be afraid to prune it hard in Early Summer. It
will soon send out a mass of new shoots with which
you can re-form your hedge. Thereafter, prune as
Pruning Weeping Forsythia.
Forsythia suspensa -
The weeping Forsytia -
grown as a hedge - should only be pruned the once,
to allow plenty of long arching stems to form an
attractive - but slightly informal hedge.
Pruning Weeping Forsythia as a tall
shrub, is slightly different to the normal Forsythia
bush pruning. As the Forsythia suspensa has a weeping
habit, the way to go is to aim for the long arching
branches from the top of he shrub. It may be necessary
to train three or four main stems up a stout stake,
and when the stems have reached the desired height -
normally around 1.8 metres - prune the tops to
encourage new arching shoots from the top - thereby
giving you a weeping standard Forsythia bush.
By David Hughes -