Forsythia Bush Pruning
Forsythia bush pruning is one of the more satisfying garden tasks. Its ‘time’ when its done flowering, when the weather’s just turned awesome and I WANT to be in the garden, some time in May. Forsythia is such a good grower, you cant screw it up. I feel like such a pro, hacking away branches pruning out large pieces, shaping it to my hearts desire, then watching it GROW again right before my very eyes. It truly feels like art.
Here’s a general guide for pruning any shrub.
1. Prune when its finished flowering
2. Cut out dead or diseased branches.
3. Take out 1/3rd of the oldest branches for new fresh growth, sunlight and air circulation (rejuvenation pruning)
4. Prune the top for shape and size.
Forsythia Bush Pruning
Because this plant can be such a beast, I do it differently than the experts suggest. Forsythia has this habit of attaching itself when it touches the ground (layering) Great if you would like more forsythia! Not so great if you want a single tidy shrub. It can get out of control fast. We had one forgotten area of the yard where the forsythia completely took over. Like a 50×50 foot area! Boy what a mess, and such a huge job to clean up. Knowing what I know now, it will never happen again.
The first thing I do when approaching this forsythia bush is to cut out and clean up all of the lower branches, so none of it touches the ground. I personally think it looks better. Working from bottom up (just like bonsai) I take out branches that are too close, cross each other and rub together, or are growing in weird directions.
This is my little ‘Kumson’ Forsythia. I started it from a cutting and have raised it ever since. Its more like my baby than any of the other plants in the nursery, I have no idea why. It was pruned in early July for propagation, and you can see it already needs some touching up. Pruning Kumson is even more rewarding, because new growth is REALLY variegated and you can see how much its growing.
Heres a new variety called ‘Fiesta’ Forsythia. Obviously, it doesnt need pruning yet, but if youre saying ‘oh wow’ Im right there with you. I cant wait to see how this guy grows.
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