If you cut back too far, removing foliage and not just bare stem and seed capsules, you’ll reduce next year’s blooms. If it’s been there for several years, you may want to do renewal pruning instead as plants in this kind of environment often have decreased root vigor and so may not grow back easily. Add another photo. If possible, trim them a bit below ground level for a neater appearance. Cut branches back selectively to shape the dwarf lilac bush as desired, removing no more than one-third of any stem and making a clean cut just above a bud facing in the desired direction. Remove diseased or … When to Trim Lilac Bushes I also like to cut the smaller branches back by one third to encourage the bush into a good shape for next season. This will keep the side shoots growing and … Doing so helps to maintain the plant's shape and to minimize the number of old, damaged branches, which are vulnerable to disease. One of the main reasons why lilacs start to die back is that they are not pruned enough. A lilac bush does best when it is trimmed every year. If you have any overgrown branches, then you may need to control these with more vigorous pruning. Unless you want this to be a tree, cut back 1/3 of the stems to just above your height, 1/3 a couple feet lower and 1/3 even lower. Old growth should also be cut back every few years to help keep the bush productive. But if you cut back too far, (down to 3ft) it won't flower for a couple of years, it says. When lilac flowers reach their peak and are just this side of fading out, cutting... 2. Do not cut the branches down further than two thirds and try to cut just above an outward facing bud. A beautiful autumn display of lilacs is easy when you prune your Bloomerang® reblooming lilac after its spring show. You can actually dig the suckers up and pot them to make more lilacs if you wish, they actually mature faster than taking cuttings and rooting them. Habit: This lilac is a deciduous shrub with a rounded shape. The following year cut out the next 1/3 of the oldest branches then the final year cut back the last of the oldest branches. This gives a well rounded shape with blooms on many levels. You can oil the blades as well. The first pruning session in April, can be as severe as you wish - if you want to head back untidy growth. Cut one or two of the lilac's oldest stems back to the base of the plant if the shrub is several years old and becoming bare or scraggly looking at the base. Control the height of your lilac tree by trimming it to roughly one foot below the desired height in spring, right after the tree finishes flowering for the year. Another option for old lilacs is to chop the whole thing back to about 6 or 8 inches high. Mark Viette has some tips on doing it right, In The Garden. Lilac, syringa, is a garden classic, flowering in late spring.Its pale purple, pink or white flowers are excellent for cutting and work well in bouquets. You did the right thing and that is how you prune an overgrown lilac. Maintain Its Shape: The natural shape of a lilac bush is that of a flower vase. It has smaller blooms, a shorter mature height, and a flower fragrance that differs from the traditional common or French lilac (Syringa vulgaris). If you simply want to remove the seed capsules from a common or French lilac (Syringa vulgaris), go ahead … but cut only the leafless stem at the tip of the branch that carries the capsules, not the secondary branches just below, the ones with green leaves. Removing blooms to bring inside is actually healthy for you lilac bush. I did cut back the old blooms this spring. Record the plants in your garden, share your photos, and make like-minded friends. Older lilacs can have stems as thick as small trees and will flower only on the topmost branches. patula ‘Miss Kim’) are both relatively small lilacs with a twiggy habit. When performing the trimming or pruning cut the branch back to 1/4 above the bud or swollen section of the branch, it will encourage additional growth the next year. Unlike the common lilac, these plants will seldom get out of control. An older lilac tends to have few flowers, all of which grow on the tips of the longest branches, making those that are high hard to reach and enjoy. Use sharp pruning shears to avoid leaving ragged ends that might invite disease. Grows on You is a community for gardeners. 'Miss Kim' lilacs require less pruning than the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris. Little pruning other than deadheading is required on these types. Keep in mind that you may have to wait for flowers, as it takes about three years for them to develop once entire shrub has been cut. Best to cut it back while it's dormant in winter or spring as it's coming into growth. Prune right after the blooming period because 'Miss Kim' blooms on old wood and if you prune too late in the season, you will remove next year's blooms. Just concentrate on getting it to the size and shape you want. Cut one or two of the lilac's oldest stems back to the base of the plant if the shrub is several years old and becoming bare or scraggly looking at the base. Many rural farm houses have lilac bushes around them that are simply let go once they are established. But if you cut back too far, (down to 3ft) it won't flower for a couple of years, it says. This step stops the lilac from using its energy to make seeds. If your lilac is old and in really bad shape, remove one-third of the oldest canes (down to the ground) in year one, half of the remaining old wood in year two, and the rest of the old wood in year three. 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