Cutting Back Lilacs and Rose of Sharons - Knowledgebase Question

Plymouth, MI
Question by joeandlois
September 30, 2006
At our condo, we have several overgrown lilacs and rose of sharons. Can I cut them back severely? If so, should they be cut to ground or a few feet above the ground? Is fall the best time for this (I assume they won't flower for a year after the cut-back)?

Thank you,

Joe Gilmroe

Answer from NGA
September 30, 2006


You're correct, cutting them back now will sacrifice next year's blossoms and, depending upon how far you cut them back, may keep them from blooming for several years. The rule of thumb is to prune them back when they have finished flowering, and to remove no more than one-third of the plant in any pruning session. So, if they are very overgrown, it might take 2-3 years to reduce their sizes. In any case, I would not cut them down to ground level.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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