This spring and early summer were so cold and wet that we didn’t do much garden maintenance. I usually trim the forcythia after it blooms but have only ever trimmed a foot or two off. I didn’t get to it this summer which meant that it was very tall and very lanky by August.
I read that you can trim it any time in the growth season as long as it has enough time to restore its energy for the winter. I also read that it’s common to cut it back to a third of its size. One garden site said that if you didn’t like the shape just hack it back to near the ground!
It was no longer any recognisable shape so I thought I’d try a radical ‘trim’. Since summer growth bears the spring flowers and because I wanted to give it a chance to keep photosynthesising I kept a few clusters of leaves on longer branches.
My main approach, however, was this:
Cut anything dead. Cut anything trying to intersect with anything else. Leave a third of the branches in the trunk area and be sure they have air circulation. Focus on keeping younger and more flexible branches. Revisit the spared branches to trim them in to a third of the length with two leaf clusters remaining.
As you can see, the branches that were cut way down have since leafed and I’ll be able to cut the tall branches after their spring flower knowing that I have renewed the shape of the forcythia.
*excuse the weirdly focused phone shot!