Back in April, I discussed my upcoming plans to prune my forsythia bush. It wasn’t flowering very much, and my commenters agreed with me that it needed a heavy pruning. Some even suggested cutting the whole thing down to the ground. But I felt a little too nervous to do that.
Cutting it down to size
On May 13th, less than two weeks after the forsythia finished blooming, I decided to drastically thin it. I asked my son Collin to do the actual cutting, because I really don’t have the upper body strength for a long stint of pruning with loppers, and I don’t have the flexibility to get inside a shrub like that without paying for it for a week afterward. And besides, it was Mother’s Day.
At the top of this post, you see what the shrub looked like before the pruning. If you look carefully, you might be able to discern Collin’s white shirt near the bottom of the shrub, as he was getting ready to make the first cut when I realized I needed a before picture. I asked him to cut everything that was 3/4″ (approx. 2 cm) in diameter or larger. He pruned out all of this:
And the forsythia looked like this:
Growing Back Nicely
Don’t let it scare you. My shrub is growing back nicely.
Those branches coming out every which way are the ones that were not pruned out in May. They still have leaves on the tips, but have not really made new side branches along their length. I’m wondering if I should have taken them out. If the whole shrub flowers next spring, I will definitely cut them out. (Or should I say, “have one of my kids cut them out,” since that’s probably what will happen.) But if they are the only branches that bloom next year, I will be glad to have left them in. Update: Just found this great tutorial on pruning forsythias.
What scary pruning job have you tackled? How did it turn out?