The Q&A Archives: Pruning Lilac Bushes

Question: How often should lilac bushes be pruned and what needs to be pruned to keep them controlled?

Answer: Lilacs are pruned once a year, if needed, immediately after blooming. Periodically remove some of the oldest stems by cutting them off very short at the base. A rule of thumb would be to take out about a fifth of them each year. This will keep the plant vigorous. Also remove any suckers that are smaller than a pencil in diameter. You may also deadhead, meaning remove the spent flowers, if you wish.

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