Tips for Pruning Forsythia and How to Care of It Properly

Now that you want to know some tips for pruning forsythia, you must have planned to grow this attractive yellow flower in your garden.

Its stunning appearance is not the only thing that forsythia offers to you, but it also allows the growers to sit back and wait for their flowers to bloom without too much effort.

Forsythia does not require much maintenance and you can leave it to thrive naturally. However, you still need to know some parts of its basic care to get the most out of your forsythia.


Good Reasons to Prune Your Forsythia

An overgrown forsythia can be pruned in a couple of ways. One option is to remove a third of the oldest branches shortly after flowering in the first year, followed by half in the second year and the remainder in the third year.
Forsythia Flower

When it comes to pruning, there are some good reasons to prune your forsythia. The most common benefit is to get the lovely shape of this shrub.

Besides, you will want to prune your forsythia to reduce its size and promotes more blooming. This also helps to thin out dense and twiggy growth.

Pruning also promotes rejuvenation of older forsythia plants and allows you to get rid of damaged or dead foliages that may lead to various diseases.

Tips for Pruning Forsythia in the Right Way

It’s important to prune then as forsythia flower on shoots grown the year before flowering, so if you prune too late you’ll be removing the flowers for next year.
Pruning Forsythia Tips

You should prepare the appropriate hand tool to trim forsythia branches depending on their sizes.

Power pruning saw, a standard bypass pruner or the long-handled one, and a lopper is among the available options.

Furthermore, you must make sure that these pruning tools are sharp and clean to perform smooth cuts.

This also ensures your action will not spread any disease in the garden or increase the risk of personal injury.

Avoid wet weather when you want to prune your forsythia. You can perform it when your location is expected to have a dry climate for several days.

Pruning during wet weather may result in an unfavorable effect on the cut branches.

The open wounds that get damp can become a favorite spot for diseases to emerge, particularly ones caused by fungus.

To increase your rate of success in pruning forsythia, do the following tips too!

  1. Cut Where the Stems Start Off

Cut the rooted stem off at its point of origin. Make cuts in the rooted stem three to four inches above and below the sprouted roots. Plant the rooted stem two inches deep in soil that has been worked to a depth of six to 12 inches and drains well. It will sprout and have time to harden off before winter dormancy.
Cutting Forsythia

When it comes to a shrub, trimming the stems back to an outward-facing leaf node is the rule of thumb.

This technique can promote new growth to spread away from the center, encouraging better air circulation.

Meanwhile, trimming the branches mid-stem may help you keep the preferred shape. Nevertheless, you should not do this to your forsythia since it may cause the shrub to produce fewer blossoms.

Forsythia thrives on the previous season’s growth, so trimming the mid-stem will not generate as many flowers as the primary cane dose.

Hence, you should cut your forsythia at the spot where a stem starts instead of the lateral one. The point can be at the bottom of the shrub or the joint of it with an older woody branch.

You can also opt for trimming your forsythia as low as you can go toward the foot of the shrub.

Unlike what the majority of people believe, the least branching and airiest forsythia with the lengthiest straight main canes is the healthiest.

Thus, you do not need to strive for achieving the densest shrub with the most branching.

  1. Take the Timing into Account

Forsythia produces flower buds on current season's growth, so if you want to maximize the flower show, prune shrubs shortly after they finish flowering.
Best Time to Prune Forsythia

Every gardener agrees that timing is critical when pruning forsythia. If you want this shrub to produce a bunch of flowers next season, try performing the treatment right after the blossoms stop blooming.

Forsythia is an early bloomer, so you can enjoy its flowers from late winter to the beginning of spring. Once it starts flowering, the leaves will follow, offering green and yellow beauty simultaneously.

When the summer is just around the corner, you should start noticing a flush of new growth on the growing canes.

At this point, the buds for the upcoming year’s blooms will begin to form as well.

Aside from post-bloom, some other times also make a great moment for pruning forsythia if you want to help the shrub achieve its optimal blooming next season.

  • Every time there is a flush of growth, consider trimming it back by one-half to maintain the development of formal forsythia hedges.
  • Once you notice dead or damaged branches and spots that are infested with diseases or pests.
  • When you find that your forsythia grows out of control or is dying.

These three occasions not only allow your forsythia to bloom optimally in the upcoming season, but also give the shrub other benefits.

For instance, cutting every time new growth appears can maintain your forsythia’s shape and size. Meanwhile, removing debris will keep the shrub healthy since it can lower the spread of diseases.

You may also do a complete overhaul if your forsythia is dying.

This can be performed any time even during winter dormancy so that you can anticipate new healthy growths.

  1. Thin Overgrown Forsythia Regularly

An overgrown forsythia can be pruned in a couple of ways. One option is to remove a third of the oldest branches shortly after flowering in the first year, followed by half in the second year and the remainder in the third year.
Cut Overgrown Forsythia

Remember that the airier the better, so you must thin out your forsythia by its second or third season to maintain the condition.

Your forsythia requires some thinning out when it has a bunch of thick, twiggy growth in the center that does not allow you to see through it to the other side.

When thinning out, refrain from cutting from the middle to get an airhole. Instead, you should get rid of one-third of the biggest diameter stems first from bottom to top.

If you find it hard to see the base of the shrub, start by pruning forsythia from all the branches that stroke the ground.

Once you can remove those branches, the core stems of your forsythia must be visible. If they are densely clustered, consider cutting them to the ground or as low as you can.

Branches that cross one another become susceptible to diseases, pests, and water penetration as the rubbing may cause a wound during pruning.

Thus, you must be careful when discovering those crossed stems and consider removing several if they are harmed.

  1. Cut the Stem Individually

cut each stem individually to its point of origin, working around the shrub in a balanced fashion.
Cut One Stem of Forsythia

If you do not plan to cut the forsythia to the ground to start over, resist the urge to ‘gang’ cut your shrub stems.

When you cut off the stems’ twiggy tips, the upcoming branching growth will be weaker and have not many blossoms.

These weak growths then become vulnerable to frost damage, diseases, and breakage as well. Therefore, make sure to trim each stem separately in a balanced manner.

Pruning forsythia like this each year will encourage new vertical growth that is airier and has more blooms on the bushes.

  1. Perform Total Rejuvenation if Needed

You simply cut all the branches to the ground. A whole new set of branches will emerge the following spring.
Forsythia Rejuvenation

Total rejuvenation makes an ideal option if you have big forsythia in a narrow space. By going all in to revitalize the shrub from the ground up, you prevent it to cause damage to surrounding plants too.

You can use a hand or power tool that is suitable for the diameter of your forsythia stems. If you do it right, expect the shrub to come back within two years.

When pruning forsythia with rejuvenation in mind, you should remember that this shrub has multiple stems that create a well-balanced foundation instead of a single trunk.

If you want to form a strong base, don’t forget to start pruning with the first growth and cut it by half to promote lateral branching.

Although it can be an extreme choice for old forsythia, this allows you to begin healthier new growth that offers more blossoms.

Basic Care of Forsythia That You Should Know

Forsythia thrive with consistent moisture. Water very well the first two years as the roots become established, after which the plants can take some drought.
Basic Forsythia Care

Pruning forsythia is crucial, but you should know the basic care of this shrub as well. First, make sure to provide it with well-draining soil and adequate exposure to sunlight.

Forsythia will appreciate six hours of daily sunlight and do not like swampy or too wet soil. You can mulch around the shrub to help retain moisture since it prefers rich, organic matter.

Make sure to keep weeds down under your forsythia so that the soil can have a chance to absorb the organic material.

You must fertilize your forsythia with a balanced fertilizer once every 8 to 12 weeks, but avoid doing this throughout fall and winter.

When it comes to watering, your forsythia will need 5 cm (2 inches) of water every week. Hence, if it does not get much rain, you can provide extra water through the hose.

Since forsythia shrubs can withstand periods of limited watering, you do not need to worry about water conversation.

How to Keep Forsythia from Spreading Successfully

Cut branches as close to the ground as possible to encourage new growth to emerge from the base. Use this approach if the forsythia serves as a screen or an important backdrop in the garden.
Manage Forsythia from Spreading

Forsythia may offer such unique beauty that complements your garden. However, due to its nature as a fast grower, you should know how to manage it properly.

Different from many other shrubs and plants, your forsythia may keep growing throughout the winter dormancy.

This shrub acquires a taproot that thrusts deep in the ground and broad root systems that spread crossways, making it problematic to remove naturally.

If you have an overgrown forsythia and need to get rid of it, using high-leverage weed-removal equipment and a sharp shovel may help.

It can split the roots of your forsythia and pry the woody stem, allowing you to manage your shrub more easily.

In conclusion, pruning forsythia is highly important if you want to keep your shrub in size and healthy. Do it right by following the above tips and get ready to enjoy the best of your forsythia plants. Good luck!

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