Trimming Question - Forsythia

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Lawn-Scapes, Oct 29, 2001.

  1. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    I agree with the Doctor and Bill. Forsythia has a natural fountain shape which should not be forced into a tight geometrical form. The long arching branches covered with bright yellow flowers really brighten up a late winter day.
  2. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    Yes, I do a rough trim first and then cut out some of the big heads and then use a spring tooth rake to get the cut material off the top of the bush. Using the rake also readjusts the remaining branches to thier new natural position. I then retrim where necessary.

    You have to use your best judgment as to whitch " big old heads " to prune out as not to create visiable holes in the shrub.

    As others have noted, Forsythia should be left to grow natural but most home owners never plant them in an area with suffichent size to accept a full grown bush.

  3. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Forsythias grow like a weed. I always suggest a hard pruning as they will revert back to "natural" shape w/in one season. They never really look too bad if tightly sheared if they are plnted too close to a house, or other structure, but more frequent pruning is needed. Price seems fair as clean-up should prove to take as much time as moving ladder, etc.

  4. George777

    George777 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 305

    imagine how much you might charge if you were to put the gas powered Hedger in the truck and pulled out your hand pruners and used the thinning tech? Which is the recomened tech for forsythia.

    Sounds like you might want to do a remedial prune. if so tell the customer before hand. ( 4-6 inches from the ground) a thick growth and new cane and sprouts will resualt, then prune by thinning.

    End resualt customer happy and you get to come back to keep it in check. Price it higher for the first job and then come off the price a little to keep in maintained.
  5. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    Though it may not be the proper way to trim forsythia, this is the way they want it, and your customer isnt the first to trim em wrong, I'll stick with your original question:

    I think the price is fair considering you will be dumping on-site, but think the total time would/should be under 2 hours with the tools you have. Cut the sides in first, then you should be able to trim off a couple feet from the top without needing a ladder (big time-saver).

    Let us know how it turns out.

    PS I agree with cutting em to 6 inch stumps and letting them re-grow to a more natural form. Just did this at my mother-in-laws, as I was tired of looking at 3 or 4 flowers tops in the spring, due to improper pruning...
  6. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    LOL They are definitley like weeds. This reminds me of a 10' row of forsythia at my house. It was way overgrown and had always been trimmed into a hedge. I decided I didn't really want them there any more so I chopped them to the ground, sprayed roundup on the stumps a couple of times, piled left over timbers & junk concrete around\on them, and intended to pull the stumps the next time I had a back hoe handy. Well suffice it to say they grew back & this past year was the second since then & they were so beautiful I decided they weren't so bad & they are still there now.

    Now to my question. One of the neighbors has a bunch of forsythia that has grown to the point where the branches are on the ground in most places. Is it OK to prune them during this winter? I had told her I'd try to get to it back in late November early December when our temps were hovering in the 60's. However we then had a 2-3 week period of temps hovering around freezing, so I held off. Does anyone know if its OK to prune them now without damaging them (temps back to normal 40's daytime, low 30's night time)? I can just as easily wait until the spring, but if it won't hurt them, I could get the job out of the way now. Thanks.
  7. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,656

    Hey BRL long time no talk...:)

    I don't see how it would hurt them this time of year. People actually cut them now and bring them inside and put into vases to force the buds to bloom. While you're cutting give it a try. Nice color for the gloomy winter.
  8. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213


    Its a wast of time to trim them now because they will not grow until after blooming. The proper time to trim is after blooming. If you do decide to trim now you will just have less blooms per plant at flowering time.

  9. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Just tell the customer that whatever is cut off, won't be part of the spring bloom show outdoors. Might as well leave it until spring.
  10. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Thanks for the replies. I'm going with the wait until after bloom recommendations. They are 6-8 feet tall & look great when they bloom, and I'm sure she'd rather see that.

    Howdy Scraper...

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