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Forsythia: to kill or not to kill

ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 334
Assuming that I can even kill it, should I? I have a rather robust forsythia in the front garden that I'm about to cut back and I'm debating whether to try and kill it with SBK on the stump. I've got a few bits that I propagated in pots, although they have yet to flower.

I like that it flowers early and gives a little colour but it's not necessarily the most attractive plant. I also have a few shrubs in pots that might be nicer in the spot. 


  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,038
    Kill. But then I'm prejudiced.😉
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 334
    Do they grow ok in pots? Might be nice to keep one contained for the colour. 
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601
    I like them. Just when you need some sunny colour, up they come. You can prune to size and shape after flowering so they don't need to become rampant.
  • Aaron 583Aaron 583 Posts: 95
    Photo of setting would be nice if possible?
  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil CorkPosts: 669
    I think they are good to have in the garden with the nice early flowers and the leaf colour is a nice bright green as well. If you cut it down to the stump you would be waiting for a while to see flowers again as they seem to bloom on older stems. Just pruned out the most flopped over growth on the older forsythia in my own garden a few weeks back and they look much better with the more sprawling growth removed and I have seen some very nice upright ones when they have been well maintained. One good example is shown at about 3 and a half minutes into this video clip.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,676
    I prefer them when allowed to have a graceful open habit rather than pruned/clipped into the twiggy blobs that I see a lot around here. I prune by taking out a few of the older stems right down to the base, each year after flowering finishes (so now, if not earlier), and selectively shortening some of the thin floppy branches (mine is F. suspensa so it tends to produce those). You could try that. If you want to replace it with something else (or a younger one) you'll probably need to dig out the roots so that you have space to plant in.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,305
    there was a massive ( 3m + ) when we moved here. I gave it my best shot at growing to like it, but gave up. Cut it to the ground and put an inside out compost bag over the stump and covered it in mulch. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,175
    Like @JennyJ  i love ‘Suspensa’ when pruned properly. The rest are garish bogbrushes. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 334
    No clue what variety it is, as this one is a descendant of a dying one that came with the house. I cut a stick of it off and stuck it in the ground to use as a support for something else and ended up with this. I let it grow tall just to see what it looked like but all the flowers were on the lower half. The other day I cut quite a bit of it down but not as drastically as I originally thought I would.

    I suppose it's not *that* overwhelming now that I've cut it back some. I've just bought too many shrubs on a whim and now I don't know where to plant them! 
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 1,895
    We have just cut back one that wasn't doing really well.
    It was cut right back and now new growths are showing.
    We will hopefully find next year that is has a good show of flowers.
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