When to prune Dwarf Korean Lilac Trees

desmier(3)August 5, 2010

I have three beautiful Dwarf Korean Lilac Trees (not shrubs) which have trunks about 5 inches in diameter and crowns up to 7 feet in diameter. A local landscaper said I should trim them back in the Fall using a hedge trimmer to shape it, i.e., pay no attention to branch structure. However, everything I've read says to wait until after they flower in June to cut them back, but they were talking about shrubs, not trees. What's correct here?

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It's getting kind of late.

You actually have 2 options. BEST time is right after they flower, that way, they have plenty of time to make new growth and set flower buds for the next season.

Or, you can do it first thing in the spring, with the full knowledge that you're sacrificing that years flowers for good growth for the next year.

But fall, no, probably not a good idea to prune much of anything heavily in the fall, since it won't have time to heal up a lot before winter.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 10:21AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

heal smeal ....

after flowering.. the plant goes into a phase of developing next years buds..

if they go thru all that work in july.. aug.. sept.. and you go out there.. and shear them off... guess how many flowers you will have next spring .. NONE ...

ergo .. as with ALL flowering shrubs and trees ... you trim right after flowering.. so that the plant will respond and have time to SET NEW BUDS before winter ....

all that said.. why in the world you would shear any tree or flowering shrub is beyond me.. all it would be.. is a system of topping a tree ... and we NEVER approve such ...

selective reduction of the canopy ... would be the way to go ... and with flowering shrubs that is called REJUVENATION PRUNING

w/o doing research ... a dwarf korean lilac is a flowering shrub .... which are never sheared .... they are renovated .... [AND I MAY BE TOTALLY WRONG ON ALL THIS.. LOL ] .... you probably have a shrub grafted onto a STANDARD .... it is not.. in theory .. a tree ...

you would prune it like a shrub ... not like a tree .. in some sense of the word ... and definitely not like a hedge ... jeez almighty .. thank God you came and asked ...

now.. all that said.. why do you want to massacre this thing??? ... just because some moron has some power shears he wants to charge you big money to start up???? is there some reason YOU want it done ... or is this his bright idea????

a 7 foot wide plant.. with a 5 inch trunk.. does NOT need to be taught a lesson with power tools.. unless you have it jammed into some severely confined space ... so whats up with all that????

more facts please ....


    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 10:41AM
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Dan Staley

The very first thing to do in this case is: reject every single piece of advice this "landscaper" has given you in the past, now, and in the future. Put it all out of your mind. Discard it ASAP. Hedge shears?!?!? Sigh. Worst. Advice. Ever.

Now. As denn says, it is likely too late to save next year's flowers. You want to think about the reason why you are pruning.

If you are simply doing some corrective pruning, do it when dormant and forgo a few flowers for overall plant health as structural pruning is more important than some flowers.

If you are pruning because you think you should prune because that's what everyone does on Saturday morning, then wait until next year after flowering so you don't ruin the show with your dutiful actions. And use hand pruners or loppers. Never, ever, ever use hedge shears on a tree. Only on a hedge. Not on ornamental shrubs. Not on trees. Only on a hedge. Maybe on some ornamental grasses. But never on a tree ever.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 10:55AM
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Dan Staley

I hit 'submit' and here pops up Ken's reply ahead of me!

It is instructive in how the very same advice can be given in two completely, utterly different ways.

Shorter Dan and Ken: whaddya doin'?!?


(sans ellipsis)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 11:00AM
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OK, thanks for all the replies ... and the sarcasm. The reason I want to prune is because a couple of them have grown too close to each other and another tree to the point that they're growing somewhat lopsided. I never said I was going to "massacre this thing", but thanks for asking.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:27PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no we arent mad at you ..... you wanted it PRUNED...

he wanted to MASSACRE it with shears ....

get rid of that guy ...

you need some selective surgery.. by someone who has a real clue about pruning ...

we got a 'hate on' for the poor advice.. obviously we want to help you .. dont think we are against you ... OK???


ps: dan.. your posts would mean so much more to ME.. if you did add some ellipses .. lol ...

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 5:32PM
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