How to Prune Forsythia for Maximum Bloom


It’s that time of year again when the forsythia bushes are starting to bloom. Here’s a quick guide on how to prune forsythia for maximum bloom.

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Forsythia Basics

The forsythia is a deciduous shrub that blooms yellow in early spring. It is an easy plant to grow and maintain, and it can add a cheerful splash of color to your landscape when it blooms. To get the most blooms out of your forsythia, you will need to prune it properly.

What is Forsythia?

Forsythia is a spring-flowering shrub that produces an abundance of bright yellow flowers. It is one of the first shrubs to bloom in the spring and its cheerful flowers are a welcome sight after a long winter. Forsythia is easy to grow and is low maintenance, making it a good choice for beginners.There are many different varieties of forsythia available, ranging in size from 2 feet to 10 feet tall. Some varieties are weeping while others are more upright. Forsythia can be used as a hedge, accent plant, or foundation planting. It can also be grown in containers.

The Best Time to Prune Forsythia

In order to encourage maximum blooming, it is best to prune forsythia bushes right after they have flowered. This may seem counterintuitive; however, by pruning in late spring or early summer, you are actually removing the stems that will produce next year’s flowers.

Generally, forsythia bushes need very little care or pruning. If you want to encourage a more compact growth habit, you can lightly prune the tips of the branches in late winter or early spring.

How to Prune Forsythia

Forsythia is a beautiful, bright yellow flowering shrub that blooms in the early spring. It’s a popular choice for many gardeners because it’s easy to care for and grows well in most climates. If you want to maximize the number of blooms on your forsythia, proper pruning is essential.

Step One: Decide How Much You Want to Cut

Before you grab the pruning shears, decide how much of the plant you want to remove. Forsythia are generally fast-growing plants, so they can withstand a pretty good trimming. However, if you want to keep your plant small, only remove about one-third of the stems back to the ground. For a more moderate size reduction, cut back one-half of the stems. If you want to encourage more growth or open up the center of the plant, remove up to two-thirds of the stems back to the ground.

Step Two: Cut Back One-Third of the Canes

After the first blooming season, cut back one-third of the canes to 6 inches above the ground. This will help to promote newer, more vigorous growth that will produce better flowers.

Step Three: Cut the Canes to the Ground

After you have removed the older canes, you will need to cut the remaining canes back to about 18 inches above the ground. This will encourage new growth that will produce more blooms.

How to Fertilize Forsythia

Forsythia are generally low-maintenance shrubs, but they do require some care to ensure prolific blooming. One of the most important things you can do for your forsythia is to fertilize it regularly.

Step One: Determine the Nutrient Deficiencies in Your Soil

Forsythia are hungry plants and will benefit from a light application of fertilizer in the spring. A general-purpose fertilizer with an analysis of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 can be used, or a fertilizer formulated especially for Forsythia can be used. To determine the nutrient deficiencies in your soil, have your soil tested by your local Cooperative Extension Service.

Step Two: Choose the Right Fertilizer

The best time to fertilize your forsythia is in late winter or early spring, before the new growth begins. This will give the plant the nutrients it needs to produce a bountiful crop of flowers.

When choosing a fertilizer for your forsythia, be sure to select one that is high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is essential for flowering, and it will help your plant produce more vibrant blooms. A general-purpose fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 will work well. You can also use a fertilizer specially formulated for flowering plants.

Apply the fertilizer around the drip line of the plant, taking care not to get any on the leaves or stems. Forsythia are relatively light feeders, so you don’t need to use a lot of fertilizer. A pound or two per 100 square feet should be sufficient.

Step Three: Apply the Fertilizer Properly

Now that you know what fertilizer to use on forsythia, it is time to apply it properly. The first step is to find out how much fertilizer the product’s manufacturer recommends for the size of your plant. This information can be found on the product’s packaging. Once you have this information, apply the fertilizer around the edge of the plant’s rootball. Be sure to water the fertilizer in well.

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