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How to Prune Lilac Bushes Video

Felix from Gurney's guides how to prune an old fashioned lilac, offering information on the bush's growing and flowering behavior throughout the year.


Good morning everyone, Felix here at Gurney's and today I'm talking to you about lilacs and pruning your lilacs after flowering in spring and I'm standing by this nice, old specimen, it's about fifteen years old here and it has some nice growth on it and some older canes and lots of options for teaching some pruning techniques, how you might want to manage your lilac plant. So we're going to cover some detail there in this video. Alright everyone, so the first item I'd like to point out is the flowering habit of the lilac and this is of course the old fashioned lilac and they flower on last season's growth. If you look closely here, this, here is actually where last spring, there was this shoot initiation just like this green one that's breaking this spring. So last spring, the year prior, this was the shoot growth and you can see, the flowers, which are all finished now were up at the top tip and the second bud below typically on that last season's shoot. So that's where you get your flowering on your old fashioned lilac, is on the last season's growth, the prior season's growth. At this green shoot here is going to be where next season's flowers are produced. So when you prune, you just need to keep that in mind and it'll help you a lot in deciding, okay, how do I want to prune it and where do I want all my flowers. So that's a key point about the old fashioned lilac, where do they flower - it's on the tip, or just below the tip of the last season's growth. Alright everyone, so here we are with our lilac and I want to point out the branches that I'm going to take out here. This is a specimen that I want to keep large because I have a space that I want to fill out along a fence line or I have a larger landscape and I want to keep the size large and all I'm doing is rejuvenating and getting new shoots to come up. And we have a branch here that I'm taking out that has a little bit of winter damage, the bark color doesn't look quite as healthy, you can compare these two, and so that's going to come out and then I'm going to take out some of these lagging branches here just to allow more light down to the base here which will stimulate new branch growth which are going to be future of this lilac. Alright, so for those of you that would like to have all your lilac flowers at about nose level, you can take an older specimen like this and right now, which is after flowering which we've pointed out, you want to go through here and actually just head this back, so can go through here and take out limbs right in here, you know, so your new shoot production is going to be right about here next spring and that's where your flowers will be. So you just, can go through here and head back, like that, all along here and for some of these interior, you have a number of shoots that didn't get enough sun last year, you can take those all the way back, clean that up because this tissue is no good and you'll get initiations here, coming off this branch, all during the growing season, and those will flower next spring and that'll give you your flowers where you want them and you can start doing that every year, you can take it back a little bit, keeping in mind the flowering tendency of the lilac - it's on last season's growth and that'll allow you to manicure your lilac exactly how you want it, and have a lot of fun, folks.


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