Newbie: Rejuvenation pruning of flowering shrubs

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5March 27, 2012

ok .. first.. you get a hate on for the monster ... it really helps you clarify your thought process ...

first.. we enjoy the flowers ... after flowering is past ... we get to work ...

as you can see.. its getting ready to get into the lawn.. its gotta be taught a lesson

here it is from the other side ...

here.. i have gone at it a bit ... starting with the thickest branches ... as close to the ground as i can get ...

and more

and more

and then i got the shovel.. and started digging out all the flopping branches that rooted in ... too bad you peeps werent here to get a free plant .. they all went into the burn pile

and here is the end result

and here... from the other side

and here is the sister plant.. which will get the same this year.. if i get around to it ...

and a couple others that need it

can you see.. with this lilac.. the interior plant.. that will be left.. when you cut all the thick trunks out.. reducing height by 2-3 feet??? ... the lower canopy within????

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Haha....good luck with the lilac. It won't flower for you again until it's VERY rapidly grown out to precisely the size it is now.

At least the Spirea will be somewhat better behaved. You'd be better off following the 1/3 rule every year with the Spirea rather than waiting until you have to chop the whole thing down.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 7:32PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

since you all are asking about spirea.. and these pix were still in my PB album.. i am bumping this..

and smiv is wrong on the lilac... i agree i might lose a year.. but it bloomed at half the height it is now.. so why should it need to get the same height again ...

anyone care to link this to the multitude of spirea ???'s .. feel free ...


    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 4:37PM
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MollyDog(6 PA)

The lower 1/2 of an older shrub is often bare and unattractive. There are two approaches to rejuvenating the shrub (other than replacing it). The easiest and worst way to do it is to just hack the whole thing down. It will most likely come back, but in desperation, the lilac may send up lots of suckers that grow straight up and take years to strengthen and develop any character or blooms. The best way to rejuvenate an older lilac is to remove 1/4 to 1/3 of the oldest, woodiest stems as close to the ground as possible. At the same time, cut back the remaining branches a few inches, being sure to leave enough leaves to feed the plant for the summer. This encourages suckering. The following spring, do the same thing again, removing more of the oldest remaining stems. If there are too many suckers forming, select the strongest few and trim out the rest. Continue this process each spring until the shrub has been totally rejuvenated.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lilac care

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The most effective approach varies with the specific kind of shrub. "Flowering shrubs" is too broad. And usually when cutting most of the top away that is done in winter, as mentioned in regard to lilacs in the preceding post.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 12:25PM
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anna_beth(zone 5-6)

Yes. I'm glad you posted this because I've just severely pruned my spirea vanhouttei hedge and boy does it look pitiful. Last week it screened my garden from the street and now it almost is - no more.. Worse, I only cut off the tops of older canes because new growth is only emerging higher up and not at the base of the shrubs. Right now they look like a bunch of six foot tall sticks with little green on top. I'm sure the hedge will bounce back to its former self but could I have done it better? I should add that in March I also removed some of the old growth cutting at the base of the shrubs.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You should have just cut the whole thing down all at once during winter.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 2:00AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i found i still had the pix loaded.. go figure


    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 5:18PM
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