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Pollarding forsythia

AdRockAdRock Posts: 229
Hello, I would like to reshape a mature forsythia and wondered if they respond well to hard pruning after flowering? Was thinking of cutting the main stems down by half and removing some of the other older small stems as well.

Hoping to get a nice upright pollarding effect for next year!


Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,589
    They do respond to pruning but it's usually of the stooling variety, rather than pollarding which is more suited to shrubs and trees with a main trunk.   

    You can be drastic and cut all the stems back down low or you can be more systematic and cut out one third of the stems every spring, after flowering, so the shrub is renewed over 3 years or could do a combination and shorten over long stems and thin the rest.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,403
    You beat me to it @Obelixx  😊 that’s exactly what I was going to say 👍 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • AdRockAdRock Posts: 229
    Great, thank you! 
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 1,500
    Great as ours has been very poor this year and so will do as @Obleixx says
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,589
    If it's been poor, try feeding it. 

    I would never plant one of these myself as they have such garish yellow flowers for a very brief 2 or 3 weeks and then desperately dull foliage and stems the other 50 weeks of the year but I've inherited one in this garden in a mixed hedge and last spring I hacked it back quite strongly, gave it a good feed and a pep talk of the "or else" variety and watered it in the worst of the droughts last summer.

    Loads of new growth was produced and I'm expecting it to do well this spring - for the pollinators - and then fill the gap with foliage all summer.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • gjautosgjautos BuckinghamshirePosts: 326
    I'm going to steal someone else's line here because it made me laugh. Quote from @B3, make sure you pollard below ground level. 😂
  • Having done both pollarding and coppicing on a couple of real 'nests of twigs' I inherited, I think coppicing to the ground (more or less) results in a better and more controllable shape. 
    That said after (if) they flower (mine seem to flower on two year old wood) I am taking mine out and replacing with a dwarf Pampas and a couple of smaller grasses plus a red Cotinus all of which will provide longer interest.
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,900
    I quite like them.. remind me of daffodils for the spring yellow color.  I keep my two pruned to a loose ball shape (gasp, I know).  In the US it is also often used as a hedging bush, pruned to shape.  If yours is wildly out of control, I say you follow the advice of a few others and prune it all back down to about 5 inches above soil level.  It might be better to do this now, and sacrifice a year of bloom.. but let it put energy into new growth for the year ahead.  
    Utah, USA.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,403
    For a spring shrubbery, I think the rarely seen but elegant semi-weeping form, Forsythia suspensa, is far preferable to the usual bright yellow bottle brush appearance that appears everywhere. 

    Worth seeking out if you want some background spring colour. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







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