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How and when should I prune my old fashioned lilac? It is maybe 10 years old or more. I don't think it has ever been pruned. It blooms on the south side of the bush. This year the blooms are very small.
In my master gardener class we discussed this. Here are my notes.
Only need to prune for a desired shape, and it must be done as soon as the blooms are finished. By summer, they are already forming the buds and growth for the next year. Pruning is not necessary. Lilacs do best and bloom best in full sun. Too much shade and they won't bloom. Trim out any dead portions of the lilac. Be sure it has good air flow.
The very best time to prune is mid December to early spring BUT if you do it then you won't get any blooms the following year.
Too much nitrogen, and they won't bloom good.
When and how do you prune a lilac bush?
Hardiness Zone: 4a
By b ludwig from WI
One of the widows on our street where we used to live, asked my husband if he would prune her lilac bush.
In the autumn when the growing season ended he just sawed off a lot of the limbs.
I have to agree with trimming off the spent flowers because the new growth supplies the blooms for the next year. However, I went nuts on my lilac bushes that divide my back yard from my field a couple years ago because they were so overgrown and thick they barely flowered.
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My lilac bushes do not have too many flowers this year. When is the proper time to prune? Perhaps I trimmed too much last year. I try to keep them from growing too large and out of control.
Hardiness Zone: 6a
Rose from Malvern, PA
You are suppose to cut right it after bloom dies, because they flower on the new growth. (05/13/2008)
It is my experience that lilac bushes tend to bloom in cycles, every second year (in my climate) you get loads of blossoms. The alternate year, very few. Be sure to cut off the spent blossoms after they die, especially when you are not going to do a massive pruning job. (05/14/2008)
By Mary Lou