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pruning a forsythia hedge

Having spent the third afternoon trying to reduce the height of my forsythia hedge shrubs by just taking out the oldest and tallest stems, am I mad? I have had it done professionally with power hedge trimmers before but it got so big and thick that I drastically reduced it a couple of years ago. This produced a nicer shape but it is so hard to prune. My other problem is that my neighbour put in a huge fence and some stems are growing on the other side!  How would you deal with it?

Posts

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,038
    I would do what you're doing. It's what I do with my two forsythias - I like forsythia but not when it's clipped into formal hedges or lollipops.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,564
    JennyJ said:
    I would do what you're doing. It's what I do with my two forsythias - I like forsythia but not when it's clipped into formal hedges or lollipops.
    JennyJ said:
    I would do what you're doing. It's what I do with my two forsythias - I like forsythia but not when it's clipped into formal hedges or lollipops.
    I agree. Sometimes a bit more effort make for a much better outcome.
    Devon.
  • Sarah262Sarah262 Posts: 40
    Thanks Jenny.
    Guess I will just go with the wild look. Exhausting.
  • can anybody tell me how tall should a Forsythia grow, the best time to Prune it. We had moved into a bungalow 2 years ago that had been empty for 4 years and the forsythia is spliting and parts seem to be dead, what should I do, I don't want to chop it down unless I have no other choice.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    Hi @norman1066ej - have you a photo?
    They do get quite sizeable if left to their own devices, but if it's splitting, and parts are dead, they would need to be removed. That can help to revive it too.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,038
    Prune out the dead branches as far down as you can get, until you reach live wood (not dry and brittle). Then see what you have left. You can take out a few of the oldest branches/trunks if you like, to make it more open or more balanced. It should put on new growth over the summer which will flower next spring.
    I don't know how tall they would get if left alone because I prune mine as mentioned above, and it will also depend on variety and growing conditions.
  • Sarah262Sarah262 Posts: 40
    Hi
    Forythia need to be pruned straight after flowering but you can rejuvenate by cutting back really hard in the dormant season. Best then as you can see the branches more easily.  I did this with mine and it really helped. However some forsythia grow very tall and personally , I'd think hard whether you really want to keep it! Lovely in Spring and sparrows love it though.They really need room to show their naturally arching stems.
  • Sorry about the size of the picture, but at least you can see the problem some branches are dry which I have take out but others have leaves starting which have then died.

    Thanks for all your help.
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