Forsythia Bush - Knowledgebase Question

Glennie, MI (Zone 5B)
Avatar for tonygail
Question by tonygail
April 30, 2005
We have 2 bushes -- one trimmed and one untrimmed. They are 13 years old and neither of them have ever fully bloomed - only a few branches on the bottom. Do we just pull them out and start over again or just trim them back?

Answer from NGA
April 30, 2005
It seems odd that neither of your forsythia have bloomed. They typically grow well in both sunny and partly shady sites so I don't think their lack of bloom is due to exposure to sunlight. I would prune both shrubs back hard in mid-May. Flowers form on prior year's growth, not new growth. You can cut back old growth to as far as four inches from the ground. Don't hesitate to be aggressive in pruning these fast growing plants. The new growth they produce this summer should bloom for you next winter and you can prune them back again next spring for the following year's bloom.

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