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Trimming Florsynthia Bushes

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by TNLC owners, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. TNLC owners

    TNLC owners LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    I would like to know how far I should cut a Forsythia (spelling) bush back after it has bloomed? Any help would be appreciated!
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    You can take a forsythia back to the ground after it blooms.
  3. parkmaster

    parkmaster LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    I've seen them pruned to the ground and reshaped as the plant(s) grew back. can be trimmed several times during the growing season. or left to grow naturally.

    you plant it
    I'll maintain it
  4. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi TNLC,

    Here is a quote from this site.

    "Forsythia should be pruned after blooming each spring. Remove one- fourth (1/4) of the plant starting the fifth year after planting to encourage new basal shoots. Remove old wood at ground level. Never prune or cut the entire plant back by one-fourth (1/4) from the top. "
  5. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    No offense, Gopher, but I've pruned, over the years, probably close to a hundred forsythia to the ground, mostly for rejuvenation, and I've never lost a single one. In fact, the result is a fuller, easier to manage plant. I've also taken large forsythia, pruned them to the ground, and divided them successfully.
  6. Peach

    Peach LawnSite Member
    Posts: 86

    Everybody has a different opinion about pruning. Here's mine.

    Gopher is correct in that Forsythia pruning should be an airing out of the plant. Meaning that you select dead or diseased branches, and any crossed or ugly branches, plus enough others to remove the center enough to allow air circulation. Cut these branches off at the ground and leave the rest whole. I've used 30% of the branches.

    The others are correct in that a complete and hard pruning allows a renewal of the entire bush. Basically... if it's ugly you can start over. Renewal pruning corrects many deciduous shrubs. Customers wanted some Golden Vicary removed. I convinced 'em and did this...within a month I looked like a smart landscaper.

    The troublesome part about Forsythia is their wild habit. When a Forsythia reaches too far ...like over a walk path... I even trim them. But very selectively. Last month I purchased some completely shaped Forsythia from a nursery. I was confused but thought they knew what they were doing. Right now they look terrible and I'm embarassed

    But the actual proper pruning method for health of Forsythia is the airing out method. Same with Lilacs I believe.

  7. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    I always prune mine back to about the size of a basketball. Forsythia grows so rapidly they will be to full size each year so its best to rejuvenate every other year or every year depepnding on how large you want them to grow.

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