pruning forsythia

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by janetdoyle, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    I planted 3 young forsythia shrubs last autumn in a relatively sunny spot [noon and afternoon sun] which either have just finished blooming or are getting towards the end of the blooming period... two are small forms, one will be standard size -- all are small at the moment (knee-high or a bit higher), however. I have lost one tag so I have two tags but did not record, unfortunately, which was which, but I can see which is going to be the large one.

    My question: I have read extensively about pruning and have Cass Turnbull's book on pruning which has an extensive section on forsythia. She seems to imply that when pruning is done right after blooming the subsequent growth from it will bloom the next spring. One of the small shrubs is unbalanced and has one long frond on one side but several short ones on the other. I don't want to do anything which will prejudice any bloom for next spring, but I have read elsewhere that some shoots from a heading-back don't bloom the first year after growth but wait two years... which is correct? With new small shrubs I only want to encourage blooming stems. If I prune the long frond or stem soon to balance the shrub, should I prune it fairly close to the ground , or higher up, say half-way? I assume old blooming wood re-blooms every year.

    Another older forsythia we have is on the shady side of the house and quite close to the siding, which is dark brown. Quite spectacular against the siding although in the shade, totally. However this forsythia tends to branch out higher up where it reaches into a bit of sun. I want to prune so that I encourage side-branching on a shoot but the side-branching should be fairly high up, since there are very few side branches off the three or four strong sturdy stems for the first 4-5 feet or so -- it's much too shady there I am assuming so don't want to cut back at all close to the ground as I am pretty sure they won't do much down there in the darkness. One test-prune I did last year in the fall, having forgotten about spring pruning right after bloom, is now budding side-branches at what seems to me appropriate height for more blooming branches next spring -- about chest-height for a plant which is 9 or 10 feet high at its top.

    Sum-and-substance: will considerable heading-back done on forsythia soon produce shoots which will bloom the next spring, or is it two springs away?

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