When Forsythia gets overgrown, it’s really overgrown! We like to renovate Forsythia before it comes into bloom. It’s very easy to see parallel stems and pick the best ones to cut all the way to the ground. Crossing branches and deadwood are readily spotted, too. This thinning action helps keep your plant looking natural yet under control. Do this work before leaf-out around May 1 if possible, or else during dormant pruning season after leaf drop in November.
We follow the same procedure with other large arching flowering shrubs such as tall Deutzia, Physocarpus (Ninebark), Spiraea, and Kolkwitzia (Beautybush). Don’t forget to keep some pruned branches to force indoors for your spring decor! Just put them in water in a cool place like a basement or garage for a few weeks until you see signs of color. Then bring them out to enjoy in the house.