The lilacs have begun to lose their blooms, so it’s time to trim them back to encourage new growth, to prevent them from setting seed, and to help them bloom next year.
A few best practices I’ve picked up regarding pruning lilacs:
- Lilacs set their buds almost a year in advance, so the best time to prune them is right as they finish blooming.
- Large branches a few inches thick should be pruned down to the ground or back to a junction point.
- Small branches that cross and rub against each other should be pruned.
- Nonproductive branches should be removed.
- Try not to remove more than 1/3 of the shrub.
- When all else fails, cut it back hard, and give it a few years to recover.
Our lilacs have so many suckers that we pruned them pretty severely this year (at least to me). I used careful pruning as much as possible: taking the largest or nonproducing branches first, but the bushes were still too big around the house, so we whacked out quite a bit more.
The shrubs along the lane had a more gentle pruning. We like the way they surround the property, and we don’t really want to lose too much height, but we did work on the sides a bit.
Here’s hoping next year is as lovely and wonderfully scented as this year!*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**