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breedmitch's avatar

Can I prune forsythia bushes at this time of year?

Asked by breedmitch (12136points) May 30th, 2009

The large (3 foot) forsythia bushes I planted two months ago have dropped all their flowers (weeks ago) but then sprouted at least a foot and a half of new growth. They are starting to look scraggly and the longer limbs are beginning to sag. It it ok for me to prune them back at this tiime of year? Will it hurt them? I’m hoping they’ll just put new growth energy into the lower reaches of the bush. Do I have to wait to prune?

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7 Answers

mcbealer's avatar

Forsythia are very hardy, and there should be no problems with pruning at this point. General rule: as long as the plant/bush is quiet, i.e., not actively budding or flowering it should be OK. Better to do it on a day when the weather is not projected to be extremely hot/humid.

Next thing to figure out (if you haven’t already) is what kind of appearance you want next spring when they’re in bloom. Do you want a boxy look, or more of a flowy natural look? Keep in mind that closely pruned forsythia will not produce very dense flowering patterns for the first couple of springs.

augustlan's avatar

My husband is a Certified Tree Expert, and he concurs with @mcbealer. It’s definitely ok to prune them now.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You can root the cuttings in water and create more bushes. Forsythia cuttings root really well in water. Put the cuttings in soft drink bottles and change the water every few days.

gailcalled's avatar

Or just jam a cutting into some decent soil.

When you prune, Brian, don’t shear it like a lollipop. Cut from the bottom so you keep the sweeping and drooping look. (Like Ophelia).

bythebay's avatar

I love how gailcalled can make anything, even pruning, sound eloquent.

breedmitch's avatar

Thanks for the help, folks!

cyn's avatar

i was just reading a book about plants last night
this one got my attention since the last four letters of this plant are the same as mine…
i feel like such a psychic

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