Renovating a lilac tree
We have an old lilac tree that is getting too big for it's situation and so I need to consider how best to cut it back and re-shape it.
I've looked at pruning tips for the job and the advice seems to be to take out a third of the stems down to ground level and re-shape over a three year period. What isn't clear is which stems to take out, thick ones, medium ones or thin ones.
Ideally as well as thinning it out a bit I would like to take it down by a couple of feet, which I think realistically means losing the flowers for next year anyway, so I'm wondering what the best approach is. I know I need to get on with it - I think I'm already a bit late, but things are running behind since our flood in June, so this is the best timing I can do.
Thoughts welcome, pics below. It was a tree with one thick stem and a few thinner ones, but the thick one broke, so what's there now is what has grown up over the last 17 years, with little or no pruning or tending in the interim. It is providing too much shade for the peony and rhododendron so something needs to be done!
This shows the base at the front where there are a number of new but spindly shoots growing up - spindly through lack of light I imagine
And this is it from the side