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watermelonpunch
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Posts: 207
Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 12:04 pm
Location: Pennsylvania USA

Forsythia

I read somewhere that the best time to prune it is right after it finishes blooming... which that would be now.
The bush is large, tall, lots of branches, and in a shady woodsy area.
Planted long before we moved here. No clue how old it is, but I'd guess the root ball to be too big to fit inside a large laundry basket. So it's going nowhere. ha ha

It did bloom pretty profusely this spring.
Of course before the leaves are on the trees, it gets a lot more sun, which is why it probably is able to bloom like that, despite that I read that it likes full sun.

I want to prune around the outside & bottom, because I'm hoping to clear away some of the weeds & nonsense in that area to make way for more ferns. So I'd like to remove some of the gangly branches on the forsythia.
OTOH, I'm wary about taking height off the forsythia, because I'm guessing that its height is the way it gets enough sun. Plus, it works well to shade the ground for more shady plants. (My husband REALLY likes ferns so I'm trying to find what few places are amenable to them in our yard, and this is the only place they seem to grow on their own.)

The forsythia only gets about 1 hour at most of somewhat filtered sun in the early morning. Then it gets maybe 2 hours at most of dappled sun in the evening. It gets a little more sun nearer to the summer solstice when the sun is setting in a line of sight position.

Soooo... I'm wondering if I could prune it to make it more tall & thin than fat.
Does this make sense? And what are the options or pitfalls here?

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Northeastern Pennsylvania
USDA zone 6a bordering 5b, Sunset Zone 37 bordering 42
I'm brainwashing you with this signature block.
watermelonpunch.com

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hendi_alex
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Re: Forsythia

Forsythia is virtually indestructible, we prune whenever we wish. While it can be pruned to be thinner and taller, IMO it will always tend toward wider, because that is its natural growth habit. Breath of spring grows similarly, but a hard pruning once or twice per year usually keeps the width of our two plants under control.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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watermelonpunch
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Posts: 207
Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 12:04 pm
Location: Pennsylvania USA

Re: Forsythia

Thank you.
So it sounds like even aggressive pruning wouldn't actually endanger the bush, regardless how I go about it.

Hmmm I tend to agree that it wants to kind of grow gangly & wide.

We moved here 1-1/2 year ago, and I've never pruned it, and I think the previous residents did not prune it for a few years. (This is based on what I heard about that part of the yard from some neighbors. lol)

I have read that with some types of plant life, pruning actually accelerates growth.

So would I be better off cutting the branches that stick out wide, at the base, or not to do that?

I'm still a little confused about how this bush grows.
A lot because I go nowhere near that part of the yard in winter (or when it's not nice out basically) - it's farthest from the house. And until leaves & flowers crop up... frankly everything looks the same in the mess of trees, bushes & weeds back there. (Hoping to remedy that somewhat.)

I'm familiar with how these bushes grow:
Saint John's Wort
Hardy Hibiscus
Lilac
Juniper (like a hedge or landscaping bush)
Blackberry
They don't all grow the same way. Know what I mean?

I want to understand how the Forsythia grows. ?

I hope this question makes sense. :oops:
Northeastern Pennsylvania
USDA zone 6a bordering 5b, Sunset Zone 37 bordering 42
I'm brainwashing you with this signature block.
watermelonpunch.com

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