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I Dig Extension Blog


Pruning Forsythia

by Janet B. Carson - April 27, 2015

This blog will describe how to correctly prune a forsythia shrub to get the most blooms.

Forsythia is a wonderful shrub for full sun.  Its bright yellow flowers are a sure sign that spring has arrived.  This old fashioned plant is easy to grow with few pest problems, but it is often incorrectly pruned.  To get the most flowers, annual pruning is recommended.  

forsythia yellow blooms
forsythia boxed in
Forsythia is a cane producing plant, meaning it produces multiple stems instead of one dominant trunk.  It sets its flower buds on the growth it puts on after flowering has ended.  To encourage young, rapidly growing branches, thinning out up to 1/3 of the older canes at the soil line is recommended.  Prune as soon after flowering as possible, but no later than mid-June.

If you don’t prune, the canes get older and woodier, producing less and less flowers each spring.  If you only shear the plant, putting it into a ball form, you are leaving old growth, and again have fewer flowers each spring.  So thin your forsythia out by removing several, large woody stalks at the soil line.  Next spring, you should have an abundance of yellow flowers.  

forsythia canes