Today I am going to show you How to Trim Forsythia.
Here’s an updated photo to show you how well this Forsythia responded to this pruning.
Since I pruned it on the video I’ve taken thousands of cuttings from these two plants and pruned them again after taking the cuttings.
The above photo is one of the Forsythia that I trimmed in this video that we shot at the end of November 2011.
I took this photo in early April 2012 just as the plant was starting putting out new growth. Notice how many new sprouts (branches) that are appearing down low on this plant.
With regular pruning throughout the growing season, this plant will be nice and full. Not stragly and lanky as it was before I ‘brutally’ pruned it last fall.
Don’t be afraid to prune your plants. They need it!
And here it is on April 13, 2013. Still dormant, ready to bloom, full as can be.
I’ve since moved these two plants out of the nursery and into a landscaping bed where they will remain forever.
Here’s the interesting thing. These two plants will supply me with a lifetime supply of cuttings for the nursery. Tens of thousands of cuttings!
I have a forsythia that does not bloom except for a few lower branches. I have heard that the English sparrows eat the buds off. These birds do hang out in the bush.
My mother in law has a forsythia that bloomed very nicely about 3 years ago, but since, just a few lower branches. It is probably not because of birds, because she is not feeding them over the winter there and doesn’t seem to have English sparrows much.
Does it need fertilizer?
It’s winter damage. The lower buds are protected because they are buried in snow. There’s a variety called New Hampshire Gold that is supposed to be more winter hardy.
Jane Becker says
I have purchase a Crepe Myrtle tree already established but small. Should I plant it in a planter until the fall and then plant it in the garden or wait until it is larger? Right now it is about 8 inches high.
I’d plant it in the garden now. All plants are happier in the ground. If you decide to move it later do so only when the tree is dormant. But summer planting is fine, but summer transplanting when you actually dig something out of the ground is not fine.
Jane Becker says
I have a Peony tree and I want to know if I can trim it?
I say if it needs pruning them by all means prune it.
Time flies when you are having fun. That’s what you have been doing for the past 15 years.
I am wishing that you continue to have such fun for 15 more times 1, 2, 3,4,5 for as long as you want..
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y MIKE
By cutting back so severely in the Fall, aren’t you sacrificing bloom in the Spring on a mature bush, or do you prune so severely only on a young bush to make it grow fuller? I thought that pruning is done on a flowering mature forsythia after the bloom is finished, so that new buds for the following Spring will be set.
Verlinda Gross says
Hi, Mike ~
I have been receiving your newsletters and tracking with you for quite awhile now, and I like what you are doing. I am ready to purchase information from you, but I’m really confused! You have a number of things for sale and I don’t know what I need and what would be the best for me. Can you help, please?
Thanks! And God bless . . .
This is the best product that I offer, the most comprehensive. http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm
When would you prune a forsythia in NH, in the Fall?
Really hard pruning is best done in the fall. But forsythia can really be trimmed at any time of the year. Right after it blooms would be ideal. But I trim mine anytime I can a notion.
Elizabeth L Livingston says
Hi Mike–I happen to like a Japanese style of arching branches on my Forsythia so rarely prune them as you do. They don’t freeze back in central CA as they might in the northern plains. But will prune back occasionally to semi-train the bush. My plants are cuttings from my mother’s unpruned huge bush from around 1980 and my daughter has cuttings/tip plants from my bushes.
I do enjoy your newsletter and all the effort you have put into it. Thank you.
I agree, but when the plant is young several prunings per season will make it really nice and full. Then you can just let it grow and weep once it’s nice and full at the bottom.
Jan Wiltzius says
Can you cut back the Rose of Sharon that far?
Doug Jeffries says
I love your videos and have learned a lot from watching them. Thanks for everything you share with us.
John Wheat says
Mike you are amazing. I can see why everyone that deals with you love you. I have learned so much from your book and your information to last a lifetime. Thanks again for you. I would recommend your information to anyone.
Sincerely, and your friend,
I did close to what you are doing in the video. I have taken the pruned sticks and put them in water in the house and the buds are beginning to show, so we may have flowers in the house very soon… just an idea you can always either root or bring them in the house and put in water so that they flower! A little early spring in the house
We moved into a house a number of years ago that had forsythia in several areas of the yard. They were probably attractive when young but they had never had a date with clippers. One was large enough to hide a car in, the other almost that big. The branches hung down to the ground and started new growth and it just took over. I went nuts with the clippers and removed most of both of them. My wife figured I killed the whole thing but in no time they had new growth and really looked nice. It did add quite a bit of additional lawn to mow, though
Great video and web site. Best info I have found on the web, Thank you!
I have 4 or 5 LARGE forsythias, almost 9 feet tall. Over the years they have only been trimmed at the top hence they have no leaves except at the top 1/4. What should I do with these? Take them all the way down?
I am trying to find an appropriate forum to post a picture and ask for help.
If they were mine I’d cut them back hard in the early winter. After Thanksgiving, no earlier. If you cut them back to 12″ they should fill out nicely. Of course, they are plants and I cannot guarantee the results. But if they were mine I’d certainly take that chance with confidence, especially with forsythia.
Great video, Mike. Thank you! Would this technique also work with hydrangeas?
Allisan Buckingham says
Thanks Mike, I have a preety lanky Forsythia that has a date with the pruning shears.
I love your video. Can I prune them in the spring? and how far back?
Sue, you can and should prune now if they need it, but not as far back as I did in the video. That’s more of a dormant plant technique.
thanks mike – I was wondering the same thing. I was worried if I trip them now they wont flower this year. Its April 16 already!
Go information simply explained. Thanks
I loved your Forsythia video. Very educational. Could you post a photo of the hard cuttings that have rooted? I would love to see what they look like now. Do they grow as fast as the origianl plant?
they’ll grow as fast as the original plant once they get started. But really they’re a lot easier to get rooted this way http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Hi Mike , that was a very impressive video and i was wondering if you can do the same to hibiscute plant , the one with the big flower that is white with red in the center and looks like a giant plate, that one. Thanks again,
Marlene, I’m sure you can cut the hibiscus back hard, but I’d wait for the plant to go dormant in late November.
Brenda Chase says
The video really helped me see just where I should cut THANKS!!!
Mike, Thanks for the video on pruning. Can I do the same thing with my lilacs?
Shirlene, wait for your lilacs to go completely dormant in early winter before you do this kind of pruning.
Hi Mike, Loved your Forsythia video! Very educational. I have a question. I do gardening here in NJ for some people. Many of them have so much mulch that it is hard to plant 4-inch high young impatiens and other plants. The mulch towers over them. Sometimes the mulch is hard and crusty which makes it even more difficult. Is it best to remove the mulch, plant and then put it back? Thanks!
Johanna, I like to loosen hard crusty mulch so rain water an penetrate the mulch and not run off. You can also put a couple handfuls of potting soil around the annual flowers so they are in soil and not just mulch. If you loosen that mulch it should decompose and become really nice topsoil that you can actually plant in.
Just wondering if anyone has ever tried to propogate a Climatus with any luck.
Dianne, Do Clematis like this in June http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Linda Robertson says
Great information Mike. I live on the West coast of British Columbia, Canada. (Vancouver). I have one further question regarding Forsythia. How do you go about pruning a well established Forsythia? Would you prune it back as aggressively as you did the new plants shown on your video
Linda, I’d wait until November and then cut it back really hard just like I did in the video. You could probably do it now, but it’s a little more risky for the plant. If you do it when it’s dormant it’s much easier on the plant.
Can I use these pruning techniques with Lemon Verbana?
I notice similar lush regrowth in Spring when I “chop” in the winter as my husband exclaimed.
I am wondering if an older more mature forsythia can be pruned in the same manner?
I am wondering if an older more mature forsythia can be pruned in the same manner?
I found out that propagating this plant are pretty easy. We just move in our new house few years ago and have one Forsythia growing wild. I made some cuttings to use on some of my plants that flop in the ground. when fall cleaning came & its time to pull all the sticks off the ground, I noticed roots on the forsythia cuttings I use to support my small plants.
Mary Sutterby says
Thanks Mike, I am going to be pruning back my forsythia soon as they have started to leaf out. I live in Central NY and we are slower than Ohio. I would love to drop by your place sometime. Thanks for all the tips over the years !
I have tons of forsythia all the way down a deep watershed ditch, that I got from a mother plant. They’re beautiful in the spring. But, they’re all leggy and really need pruning. Seeing this video, I noticed that they had no leaves. Is it best to prune in the winter? Can you prune in the late spring, after they bloom?
Marsha, dormant pruning is always best, but me? I prune all year long when things need it. Waiting costs you a full year of growing.
Ann McCoy says
Wondering if you can prune rhodedendrons this way? I had been trimming after bloom and it was full but last year heavy snow made a mess of it. Broken branches and such. Or do I need to buy a new one?
Ann, you can’t trim a Rhododendron as hard as I did the forsythia, but you can cut them back as needed.
Cathie Tobin says
I would like to insolate my greenhouse w/bubble wrap & need suggestions on how to attach it. Any ideas? Don’t worry it is recycled. Ha PLEASE HELP ???
babby wilson says
its is grate 2 join this program cause i have been growin plants an it is not comin out gud so tanks
Thank you so much for the video of how to trim a Rose of Sharon plant. I have several and now I can easily trim them and grow some more.
I love all of your articles!
charlotte Kent says
Rose of Sharon will produce baby trees all over the place
Thanks so much for all the good info. How do I root crepe myrtle? Same as forsythia?
I Learned something new this morning; The video showing how you prep cutting taught me to cut just below the bud for the roots. I have not been doing that. My yard is so filled I have been rooting and giving plants to my friends to do their yard.. They keep on asking for more, and I Just think of it as an extension of my garden. I believe I will finally pass on your video and site to them also..
Thanks for your time and information, and please give my respects to your family and friends..
Marti Miles says
Can I root other hardwood cuttings this way. I live near Jacksonville, Fl. and would like to root red tips. We cannot buy them here any more in the nurseries so thought I might root off the ones I have.
You didn’t say how deep to plant these
ed cekala says
i was wondering if i could use the same approach to rooting
forsythia on cuts from a silver maple.
i enjoy your videos and look forward to your answer.
thanks and merry Xmas
If you made the cuttings in the springtime, after they flower, would they take longer to develop a bushy form?
I love your videos I tell all my friends about you! You have such good information. Thank you for all of your time!
Thanks for this. I wanted to expand the plants across the property line. THis should do it!
You probably need to download the latest adobe flash player. Do a search for ” Adobe Flash Player Download ” on google and follow directions.
hi mike my name is ashton i realy enjoy your gardening things i am also a keen gardener but have never thought of making money out of it. i am 71 this year and still going strong. i am seriously thinking of buying your videos . will order soon .i dont seems to be able to see your video on the pruning story for some reason it dont want to open just blank.
thanks for every thing sofar
Jerrie Gontarz says
I did the propogation tank with the fish tank and did get 31 azaleas to root and they are now in my basement under a growing light till spring.
They are getting kind of leggy and my question is should I cut them back so that they will fill out from the bottom? I hope that you will give me an answer so that I won’t loose them. Thanks Jerrie Gontarz
always enjoy your videos thanks so much for your smarts on gardening!!!
Shirley from the Missippi River Wisconsin Bluffs!!!!
bobbie armstrong says
i wonder what else can be rooted like this perhaps ash trees? or lilacs?
charlotte Kent says
I have been trying to root a white Liac , I have used root tone , weeping Willow leaves and nothing is working help.
Charlotte, try again in June using this http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Jayne Farrell says
Can I do the same thing with privet? Here in Nashville they are still green. Can I still cut them even though they have leaves? It is already freezing here some at night and the privet never looses all it’s leaves here. Does is matter if the cane still has leaves on it?
Marie Litsch says
I posted to a question a few spaces up. I lived in NY and my neighbor had privet (which is the same family),and it was too high for her to cut. so what they did is cut it at the bottom and the following spring it had filled out at the bottom and tarted to grow up nice and full and then they kept it at a height they could reach to cut
I live in the high desert of Western Colorado, where i live we get almost no moisture during the winter months and only 5-7 inches for the whole year and this method hasn’t worked for me.
It did when I lived in Missouri, My grandmother did it and probably her mother, but here in the desert it doesn’t seem to work for me. Any suggestions.
thanks for the tip keep up the good work..i have lots of roses and i clip and stick them all the time along with other plants.
I am about to be a rosenapper. There is on a well-traveled street in my town (in CT) a beautiful rose planted a few years back between their fence and the sidewalk. New folks bought the house and let the area go to weeds – and then cleared all plants to the ground including the beautiful rose. Last year no rose but this year there are several young vigorous canes growing out of the formerly barren ground. I want to take several cuttings before the people in the house decide to destroy all the plants again!
What method do you use?
Thanks much for any advice you can give.
Jamie, do them as softwood cuttings using this http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
I never knew you could do this, I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Thanks again love your video’s and how easy you explain what your doing.
Bruce in Royalton Mn. says
Question, Will this method work in my neck of the woods ? Zone three, central minnesota. The ground is frozen now as we’ve had several days of weather below freezing with the night time temps close to zero degrees Fahrenheit.
A little bit of info., according to Horticulture Magazine the name of the plant is supposed to be pronounced for-sight-tia in recognition of the person that introduced it so long ago.
I recently learned this myself and like so many things in life I just took it for granted that what I was hearing from more senior folks was always correct.
Thank You for your dedication to horticulture and your penchant for explaining things in a practical and easy to understand format. I’m going to repost this one as I feel some of my friends can benefit from your knowledge and expertise.
Hilary Turner says
Thanks so much for trying to straighten out the pronunciation of forsythia. Almost right! Take it from a Brit, it’s “for-sigh-thia” named after William Forsyth, a British botanist, 19th century.
Sure like this website and Mike’s great videos.
Earline Bethea says
Mike, I just wanted you to know how much I love your growing system. I bought it just to landscapae my yard, which is 2 acres. I was able to cultivate the most beautiful crysanthemums you can imagine. As soon as I learn how to do pictures on my computer I will send you some.
Is it safe to try to take cuttings in the fall here in zone 7 in Virginia without killing the plant. I want to start some inside. I plan to get involved in your business very soon.
Thanks for all the information.
God Bless you and your family.
Dan Koshak says
Can camelia cuttings be taken and cultivated now or do I have to wait until next July?
Beverly Walker says
Your videos are a joy and a help!
rose fabre says
thanks for the info. I bet that teck. would would work on crape myrtle also. I need to further research hyour site for how to handle old boxwood
hedges! they are so tall I can’t reach to trim them, but they are still beautiful. How far back can I cut them, and when can I do this? [email protected]
Marie Litsch says
You can really trim them way back. they will fill out and be fine. Same family as the type used for hedges. I had a neighbor in NY that cut the hedges almost to the ground. Well in the next spring they were beautiful and in a managable height. So go and prune them back hard.
Deanie, I can’t get videos to load either. This rural area dial-up just doesn’t allow for that. Maybe, you, Mike, could just post the script. Thanks.
Try clicking the pause button on the lower left of the video and allowing it to load fully before trying to view it. I have to do that. You will see a gray progress bar in front of the viewing slider.
L.W., I can’t get videos to load either. This rural area dial-up just doesn’t allow for that. Maybe, you, Mike, could just post the script. Thanks.
Cannot view videos. Slow dialup. Pain and a Butt.
Can you kindly explain in text format. Respectfully
before there was video, there was text.
I accidently broke off a piece of one of my tall dracena plants. What is the best way to propagate the broken pieces?
Here is what I have done with them. What do you think of what I did with them? I broke the branch into four pieces. Planted one right away using rooting hormone; let one harden off (like geraniums) overnight, dipped in rooting hormone and planted; the other two are in water.
Please hurry your advice if you can…and thanks.
I appreciate the several cuttings you sent. Can’t wait to see what they look like in the spring!
Sandra Mullins says
I have tried to propagate “anger Trumpets” for so long with no luck.
Could you tell me how to do that correctly ?
They are such a beautiful plant when they bloom out.If you can’t give any instructions,I will understand. Thanks for all the information you give us all.
Your gardening friend,
Elizabeth DeLong says
Mike, will this work for shrub roses??
Hi, A friend of mine gave me an Angels Trumpet and I ahve it rooting in the house in a cup of water . Would it be wise to put it out side now or do I need to put ot in a pot of dirt and wait until Spring to set it outside? Thanks, Ellen
Carol Parham says
I think you should plant it in dirt now, and keep in a south-facing window or under a grow light. After it gets established, then whether to plant it outside depends on where you live. In zone 6-7, I have had several of them die in the winter though they were mulched. So I keep them in big pots which I keep in the garage during the winter. Mine are putting out new leaves, and I will be taking cuttings soon and rooting them in sand/dirt – they root pretty easy. Good luck.
My Angel Trumpet is not winter hardy. It doesn’t even sprout from seed until warm. I would recommend you wait until late spring when soil is really warm. Now, my advice comes from Michigan. We are still having low 50’s here. Angel Trumpet blooms after 4pm, its also called Moon Flower. The Seeds grow a full sized plant here every season.
becky west says
will it bloom in spring when such heavy cutting removes the flower buds or are you only interested in rooted cuttings.
Lester White says
Thanks for making the hardwood cuttings a bit easier to do.
I will give it a try this winter.
Coleus cuttings are a great example of an easy beginer level non-woody plant. I can’t tell you how many cuttings I have had turn into great coleus plants.
wanted how to root cuttings and got how to trim Forsythia
I have purchased one of your backyard garden programs and also receive your newsletter. However, when you post up videos, they will not play on my computer. They just freeze up and I have never been able to watch one all the way through. Can you tell me if there is something I need to have on my computer in order to view your videos.
Deanie. try this to get the video to play all the way through.
On the lower right side of the video to the right side of the
cc buttom. click on the small numbers and it will show you more numbers to choose from. Click on the smaller number. I think this is a resolution number. Try it. Hope it works for you.
Jerry Liles says
If you are using Firefox, go to your tools menu, select clear recent history and check cookies and cache. Uncheck any other box and select clear now. This should allow you to play videos. If you are using IE or another web explorer, I can’t verify this will work.
Jerry Liles says
You may be able to open YouTube and copy and paste:
John Curtis says
Try downloading Adobe Flash Player. If you have it, delete the file and download it again. You may have a corrupt file in the one you currently have, if you have it.
Steve Bryant says
The freezing videos are a problem that requires occassional re-setting of your browser. If you have Internet Explorer, click on the menu item that brings up the Internet Options, (either under the tools menu, or an icon that looks like a little gear). When the options window opens, click on the Advanced tab, then on reset. This will reset the browser to it’s original defaults. After you click the reset button, look above it and you will see a window with a lot of check boxes. Scroll down to the heading “security” and check the box that says “Empty temporary internet files when browser is closed. This will empty your cache every time you close the browser. Problems can occur when your cache gets too full. If that doesn’t work (but it does for me) you can download the free Mozilla Firefox Browser and use that to view the videos. Good luck and happy gardening.
Geri Walton says
Thanks Mike for the video on Forsythia. I live in Southeast GA. Is the time ok to try and root the Forsythia? Also how deep ? Thanks
Allen Dark says
Nice video can you do that with japanese maples.
Thanks for the hardwood cutting video. Are there any other hardwood plants that are similar to forsythia’s (as far as ease of propogating)that can be taken now?
FORSYTHIA CAN BE PROPIGATED, HOW ABOUT PUSSYWILLOW SHRUBS?
Meredith, Absolutely they can. Do them in June like this; http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Charlie Rados says
Willows are the easiest to propagate, just do it like any hardwood cutting. I’ve had full pussywillow fronds in a vase and left them for too long. When I remembered to toss them out they already had root hairs, so I left them in the vase and stuck them in the ground when the weather warmed. Now I have 8 pussywillow bushes in the back lot. This was 5 years ago.
Sabrina Johnson says
Mike, thank you so much for all your tips! It is nice to get tips from you that work so well and makes gardening cheap and simple!!!
Mike, Thank u so much! Answer to my prayers! I have like oh. 7 forsynthias (hybrid for cold weathers up here in Minnesota, the northern part zone 3) and when I got them as little babies in a pot; I was surprised how fast they grew and how pretty and how tall! I wanted to make more! And your explanations seemed so simple! Will they grow tall quickly again; that I am hoping. Thank you again, Mike.
Thanks Mike, you have inspired me to do more with what I already have. Great!! and thank you for your time.