Should I prune my Forsythia bush now or is it too late in the season?


I have an overgrown Forsythia bush.  It didn’t bloom this year because of the cold snap (I think) so it sort of fell off my radar for pruning. Now it is leafy, and huge, with new buds. I don’t want to miss another year of blooming so should I leave it overgrown or prune now? 


Jonathan Foster, Special Project Assistant 

I would imagine you are correct that your forsythia suffered some winter damage, and that’s why it failed to bloom as normal.

Please check our UMaine Coop Extension Bulletin #2513, Pruning Forsythias in Maine for a lot of fantastic information on the topic. The short version is that because forsythias bloom on one year old wood, it’s typically best to do it just after flowering or at least before the current year’s growth is well underway. You’ll probably be fine if you go ahead and prune it very soon, with the biggest risk being you lose some flowers next spring on any growth that has already begun this year. But forsythias also benefit from periodic rejuvenation hard pruning (you will read about it above), so 1) you won’t do any lasting damage by pruning now, and 2) you might decide it’s a good opportunity to rejuvenate the plant, anyway.