The Q&A Archives: How To Prune New Forsythia

Question: I just purchased two forsythia bushes. They are about 3 feet tall and have about 4 or 5 branches per bush. I have not planted them yet, so the roots are still in the package. I know that they have to be pruned after flowering but how do I prune them when they are so straggly. Do I just cut the branches down a bit?

Answer: Forsythias are naturally straggly and gangly and can grow about 8 feet high and wide, so plant them in a location where they will have enough room. The bushes were probably pruned prior to shipping, so they should not need any additional pruning now. They need the branches and their leaves to produce energy to root and grow, so it is a good idea to wait a year before pruning them at all. Amazing as it may seem now, they will fill in in just a few years.

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