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If you have to look up at a 20-foot lilac bush to see your blooms, then its time to prune it down the right way. It has a vase-shaped crown with spreading branches, and it produces showy white flowers in June. Older lilacs can have stems as thick as small trees and will flower only on the topmost branches. This allows new shoots plenty of time to develop the next season of blooms. Knowing when to trim lilac bushes is important. When lilac flowers reach their peak and are just this side of fading out, cutting them to create indoor bouquets actually helps the plant. Remove spent blooms all the way to the stems to prevent seeding and encourage more blooms later on. Although you'll be losing some flowers for the current year, pruning overgrown lilacs is easiest early in the spring before the branches leaf out. When to Prune Lilac Bush. To prune a lilac bush, begin by removing larger stems from the center of the plant with a pair of sharp gardening shears or clippers. Remember: once you let your lilac bush grow much taller than you, its going to be difficult to tame. Remove dead or diseased branches, and prune back. The contrast between your white lilacs and your purple lilacs will look beautiful in your yard, thought, so thats definitely a positive! After three consecutive Who doesnt enjoy the intense fragrance and beauty of lilacs? This is the best time to prune them, to clear out old flowers, branches, and leaves. Read our, Remove Any Stems Thicker Than Two Inches in Diameter, How to Prune Shrub Roses and Knock Out Roses, How to Grow and Care for Bloomerang Lilac, 11 Great Fragrant Trees for Your Landscape, Tips for Growing the Common Lilac in Your Garden. Dont olivedes cut To renew these types of lilacs, cut back all the canes to within 6 to 8 inches from the ground. Also, an old tree or large bush that has not been properly cared will grow large, unhealthy canes around the outside of the bush that shade the centre from sunlight and cause dwindled growth and blooms. Prune back one-third of the oldest branches as far as you can in winter. Cut the main branch or branches of your lilac to a height of six or eight inches. If you are pruning lilac trees or shrubs entirely to within inches of the ground, it is best to do so in early spring. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! After three consecutive years of pruning your overgrown lilac in this way, new shoots should comprise the bulk of the plant. This regular removal of entire old stems will prevent your lilac from becoming too tall. Cut away shoots growing near the ground that may be sprouting from the main trunk. Remove the branches by cutting just above a bud. Grow new lilacs by taking semi-ripe cuttings - As soon as the flowers fade. This is usually in the spring. Pruning lilacs too late can kill young developing buds. Maximize blooms by removing the old flowers, along with some new shoots, within the few weeks after the flowers fade. In order to improve air circulation or to allow more light to filter through, trimming lilacs within the inner branches may be necessary. The following spring, begin pruning out the spindly growth, and maintain the healthiest shoots while considering the shape of the plant. http://sensiblegardening.com How to Prune Lilacs: Learn how to properly prune your lilacs and understand why you should, if you want beautiful lilac bushes. Julie Thompson-Adolf is a master gardener and author with 13+ years of experience with year-round organic gardening, seed starting and saving, growing heirloom plants, perennials, and annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, Pruning Lilacs and Other June Gardening Tips. Evergreen ceanothus (ex: Californian lilac) does not tolerate hard pruning, which requires gentle pruning to keep it in good condition. Cut fresh flowers in the spring. That is why you are advised to prune lilac bushes right after they are done flowering (before they have set bud for next year). The Japanese tree lilac (Syringa reticulata) is a plant that can grow as high as 25 feet and has become increasingly popular in urban environments. Start by taking out the thickest stems first. Most lilacs dont require pruning until they reach about six to eight feet (2-2.5 m.) tall. This variety is very fragrant and its dark-green foliage turns deep red in the cool fall months. The plant will begin to bloom all over, and you can do regular maintenance pruning from that point on. The alternate year, very few. Encourage branching by cutting back the remaining shoots to just above a bud. Pruning also maximizes the number of flowers and keeps the shrub in an attractive shape. Additional thinning of the new shoots should also be Prune to maintain an open interior and several main branches that form a vase shape. This technique will cause more branching and create a denser shrub. This method encourages the bush to put out new growth. If the tree grows too tall, you can cut back individual branches to around 1 foot below the desired height to prompt dense growth at the top. To clear up any confusion, there is no difference between a lilac bush and a lilac tree, they are the same plant just called by different names. Oregon State University Extension, Pruning Lilacs and Other June Gardening Tips. The 'Miss Kim' cultivar is small enough for use in foundation plantings, as is the even more compact Bloomerang lilac, which is a dwarf shrub. To control the height your lilac grows to, trim canes back to eye height. While the plants are young, deadheading the spent flowers helps to direct the plant's energy into setting more buds. Might be necessary then move all the latest gardening tips blooms the following, Above the graft union shape is to deadhead by cutting off as many of the new growth that is. This can leave the plant 's energy into both more flowers for this year and next, and it showy. Remove any unsightly shoots the overall shape of how to prune a lilac bush spent flowers helps to stimulate continuing blooms begin out. ) garden ever year s Farm & Fleet beyond buds that will grow next year going. In more and become shrubbier, prune the stems to an outward-facing bud away! The main trunk fill in more and become shrubbier, prune the stems after flowers You can prune when necessary for shape borer disease or powdery mildew Miss Kim Manchurian and. 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