Do you know the proper way to prune forsythia? If your answer is to cut it to the ground every winter, then you’re probably falling victim to the same misconceptions of those who commit annual “crepe murder.” On the other hand, you may have not done any proper pruning of your forsythia and wonder why you aren’t seeing very many blooms. Either way, you need to know the correct way to prune your forsythia to ensure it looks it’s best.
Forsythia blooms on year old wood, so if you repeatedly chop it off every year, odds are, you are removing all of the wood that your blooms need to form. The only reason for cutting it completely to the ground would be if your shrub is in complete disrepair and you just want a complete restart. Depending on when you prune it, it may be the second year after pruning before you see blooms. The recommended time to prune is in Spring, after blooming, but before the branches fill with leaves. This ensures you can visualize the branch structure and make the best cuts.
Before pruning, it is important to understand that forsythia is a large shrub that has a natural vase shape. Allowing plenty of room for your forsythia to grow and following a regular fertilizing schedule during growing season will help ensure you are doing all you can for proper plant health.
Step-By-Step Forsythia Pruning
1- Begin by removing any dead , diseased, or injured canes.
2- Prune and remove any branches that bend out and touch the ground (forsythias tip root).
3- Remove any canes that rub. This can cause injury and leave the plant susceptible to infection.
4- Prune about a third of the oldest, thickest canes at the ground. This will open up the shrub and allow optimal air flow and sunlight.
Resist the urge to prune your forsythia into a hedge, box, ball, or any other compact shape. They are large shrubs that are quite large when mature. Attempting to prune them to a smaller shape does not work well in the long run. You are now you are equipped with the basic knowledge you need to prune your forsythia. It may be time consuming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be much faster at spotting the areas that need to be removed.
Good luck and Happy Gardening!