You truly know it’s Spring when the Forsythias are out in every garden. The riot of yellow truly lifts the spirits. Although it is an extremely popular plant it is the one that causes the most problems with pruning…
How a Forsythia flowers
It takes two years to form flower buds and is a shrub that flowers on the second year old wood. Also they become very unruly and leggy very quickly as they just keep growing to produce they flowers at the end of the shoots. Bad pruning can so easily ruin the shape, prevent flowering and allow it to get out of control.
When to Prune
Forsythias are best tackled immediately after flowering so you can see where they have flowered and where the new shoots are coming from. This is impossible to see in the winter and you will end up cutting off the imminent flowers! So now is the time to be brave….
How to Prune
Get yourself a good pair of sharp secateurs, loppers and a small pruning saw.
Have a look at the shape of the plant and try to see where the shoots are with the faded flowers on.
Cut out about one third of the flowered shoots, follow the branch back and cut it just above a new shoot with leaves on which will be the flowers next year. If there are no shoots take it out completely or it will become a tree.
Look at the shape again and cut out any crossing, congested, or damaged branches as well as anything that is dead.
It should be a pleasing shape, with arching branches, no chopped ends and ready to herald the arrival of Spring next year!
Other plants that come into the same pruning category are Weigela, Deutzia, Philadelphus and Kolwitzia.
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