My Forsythias blooms are a huge fail this year. Why?

ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)April 26, 2014

Hi. I have 3 Forsythias. Last year they had spectacular blooms all over, and last summer they grew almost 4 feet. They look robust and healthy. They have HUGE buds all over them ready to explode, but they just aren't blooming.

Each shrub, last week, only bloomed on a couple of branches, at the most, and it's only at the very bottom of them.

I've noticed around my area that Forsythias aren't blooming. In fact, I'm one of the few that even had a couple of branches bloom.

Does that mean the shrubs are dead? We had a bitter cold winter with 2 blizzards and almost 300 inches of snow, could that kill them? If they are dead why do the buds look so good?

This post was edited by ilovemytrees on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 4:38

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There are many varieties of forsythia and some are much hardier than others. The flower buds on the lowest branches were protected by the snow so they bloomed. The others were exposed to the deep cold of the past winter and were killed. The plants themselves are probably fine and will grow normally this summer and set flower buds for next year.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:52AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

buds were set last fall ...

you could have cut them in mid winter.. and forced bloom indoors.. i recall suggesting such to you ... did you?? .. because it might tell us if there were viable buds set

otherwise.. spring frost or freeze can kill the flower buds ... but not the plant ...

mine .. in my z5.. arent even close to blooming yet.. are you sure its a fail ..??? ... if you are going by last years journal ... we should have to tell you.. this year.. is not last year ...

hyperfertilization high in nitro can also reduce bloom ... 4 feet is a lot of growth.. even for a F


    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 8:37AM
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ilovemytrees(5b/6a Western, NY)

Good morning!

I attached a picture of one of the shrubs, I don't know if it'll help or not, but it will show the bottom, where on one side, it bloomed.

I fertilized twice, once at the time of planting, and then once a couple weeks later like the directions said, and that was it. I used Miracle-Gro Liquid Quick Start.

I am so glad that if the flower buds are damaged that at least the leaf buds will be okay. These are Lynwood Gold Forsythias.

I am dying to cut a small piece off to see if it will bloom, but if it's already under stress, I don't want to push it over the edge.

P.S Please excuse all the rocks, the rocks outside the fence were for vole protection (which was useless for our Burning Bushes) and the rocks around the shrub were for mulch. We're going to be clearing out all the rocks and putting in cedar mulch, once we get a day warmer than 50 degrees on the weekend..

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:51AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

What do you mean by 'bitterly cold'? Lynwood Gold flower buds are killed at about -15F. Snow can insulate them very well, so the blizzards and the snow are good things. We've had winters where the bottom 18 inches of forsythia were in full bloom, but nothing higher up because the exposed flower buds were killed off. A hedge of that is very strange looking.

Regarding your forsythia, it looks more to me like that one branch is blooming unnaturally early for some reason. Sometimes flowers will open in fall, or during a winter thaw, so it happens. Only time will tell if the rest of it will bloom this year. Here, the only forsythia that is blooming is mine. It's a different type that is hardier and blooms earlier.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 10:40AM
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I had Lynwood Gold for 20 years in zone 5A and I don't remember that it ever missed a year of bloom. I even had -20F lows several times. Can't recall though if there was snowcover protection at those times.

Those buds look beefy. If it were me and I couldn't tell if the buds were good or not, I would snip off a branch and probe. If the bud is dead, it will fall off easily and be brown and dried up. You can also scrape with your fingernail to see whats going on.

Here in 5B (I moved last year from 5A to 5B), forsythia are starting to bloom.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:02PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Those Forsythias don't look under any kind of stress from what I can see. They would not be harmed by cutting a twig to put in water. Or if you rub a flower bud it will crumble and fall off if it is really dead. A close up would confirm it but the buds look fine as far as I can tell from the picture. I'd just wait and be patient. If you're itching to do something active for them you could pull out the couch grass which is beginning to get entangled with the base of the shrubs.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:20AM
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