Magnolias are one of those luxurious plants that you may fear ever going near with a pair of loppers.
Don your pearl-trimmed gloves, pretend you live in Chelsea and follow our guide to pruning the snooty sounding Forsythia.
Forsythia. It sounds rather posh doesn’t it? This rather unassuming looking plant has a gem up its sleeve when you’re least expecting it and flowers in late winter or early spring, bringing a welcome cascade of bright yellow flowers to your garden. It’s also a fantastic plant to fill gaps in your garden and provide a vivid green backdrop throughout the rest of year too. However, because it flowers so early in the year, there’s a special requirement when it comes to pruning.
Pruning Forsythia is all about timing and instead of cutting it back in the winter months as you would do with other deciduous plants, you have to trim it immediately after it’s flowered. This is because it flowers on the previous year’s wood, meaning that if you prune in winter, you’re cutting off all the flowering stems.
Removing dead branches
You will need to remove branches that are dead, or that are growing in odd directions. Using sharp tools to make clean cuts, first remove any dead or diseased branches back to healthy tissue, cutting right back to ground level if you need to do so. This will encourage new growth to appear and keep your plant healthy. You may need to use a pruning saw to do this.Photo credit: john47kent (Back Monday afternoon) / Foter / CC BY
Removing the flowered stems
Take each flowered stem in your hand and trace it back to a healthy bud next to the main trunk. Hold the stem firmly as forsythia branches have a tendency to snap and cut cleanly through each stem using sharp secateurs.
Do this until all flowering branches have been removed, but don't remove more than one third of the branches.
Cut stems into several sections before composting.