How to Prune Lilacs in the Spring

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you want to have beautiful lilacs in your garden, you need to prune them in the spring. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it.

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When to prune

Lilacs are best pruned in late winter or very early spring, while the plant is still dormant. Pruning any later in the season can result in diminished flowering the following year.

How to prune

When to prune: The best time to prune your lilacs is in the late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This will give the plant time to recover before the summer growing season.

Cut off dead wood

Pruning lilacs is important to maintain the health of the bush and to encourage new growth. You should prune your lilacs in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

To begin, you will need a sharp pair of pruning shears. Cut off any dead wood first, then cut back any branches that are longer than 2/3 of the desired length. Next, cut back any branches that are growing inward or crossing other branches. Finally, remove any suckers (thin, fast-growing shoots) that are growing from the base of the bush.

When you are finished pruning, your lilac bush should have a clean, open shape with plenty of space for new growth.

Cut back to live wood

Lilacs are best pruned in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. The exception is if you see beetle damage, in which case you should prune out the affected branches as soon as possible.

To encourage lots of new growth and big blooms, cut back hard—all the way to live wood (branches that are green under the bark). You can prune up to one-third of a lilac bush in a season without harming it.

Why prune

Lilacs are best pruned in the spring, after they have flowered. Pruning in the spring will ensure that the plant has the entire growing season to produce new growth.

To encourage new growth

Prune your lilacs in the spring to encourage new growth and prevent overcrowding. Lilacs grow best when they’re pruned back hard every few years. This encourages them to produce new, vigorous shoots from the base of the plant.

If you don’t prune your lilacs, they’ll eventually become overcrowded and produce fewer flowers. Overcrowding also makes lilacs more susceptible to disease and pests.

To shape the plant

Pruning lilacs is important to maintain the health and shape of the plant. It’s best to prune in the spring, after the plant has flowered. By pruning in the spring, you’ll be sure to remove any dead or diseased wood, and you’ll also encourage new growth.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books