Lilac Bushes
Q.

Regarding Your Article On Pruning Lilac Bushes

Zone 12440 | Redscooter added on March 24, 2020 | Answered

Thanks for your help. One side of our house has many lilac bushes that have become very large and unwieldy. We want to prune them within a few inches of the ground. Your article was very helpful but I want a clarification. IN one part you say to wait until after they bloom out but then you say to prune in early spring. So I just wanted to clarify - when cutting back to the ground ( within 8 inches) should I do it before they bloom? Thanks.

A.
A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
GKH_Susan
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on March 24, 2020

When cutting to the ground, the earlier you do it, the more time the shrub has to regrow during the season. Waiting till after they bloom can put you into late spring. You may not get blooms for a few years, however.
A less severe approach is to remove 1/3 of the oldest canes each year for three years. Then you should be able to enjoy blooms each year.

https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/1993/2-10-1993/lilac.html

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/lilac/pruning-lilac-bushes-when-to-trim-lilac-bushes.htm

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