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Thread: Frumpy Forsythia

  1. #1
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    Frumpy Forsythia

    My forsythia has been so ugly for years. It has just a fringe of yellow at the bottom. It's like the plant equivalent of George Costanza's hair. I have tried cutting it all the way down to the ground. It grew back with the same bare top in spring.

    There's a gas line to the neighbor's house in the area so I don't want to do any big dig. I'm not a fan of Roundup but would consider that if it would do the trick. The drainage slopes down into the street and not towards other plants.

    Two other areas of my yard have forsythias that were flowering all over but this year follow the pattern of the first one, which apparently can be due to old age or an old cultivar. I want something beautiful.

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I am so glad you started this thread! At my Herman place we have a large forsythia shrub that has been neglected for some years. I know it has been neglected because all of the shrubs have been neglected they have not been pruned. So, this forsythia flowers weakly But not as badly as you describe.


    I had just assumed that I can bring it back to full flowering by careful pruning and fertilizing. But who knows.

    Whatever you all do with your forsythias, do not chop them into little round balls. That looks gross. They should really be freeform growing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post

    Whatever you all do with your forsythias, do not chop them into little round balls. That looks gross. They should really be freeform growing.
    Absolutely! They look so lovely when permitted to grow in their natural form, but rather grotesque when pruned incorrectly.

  4. #4
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    Supposedly pruning them prevents blooming as only year old growth or older produces buds, so I have tried to leave them alone but it has not helped. One I have to cut back or it grows into the neighbor's driveway.

  5. #5
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Sounds like serious windburn to me. Dehydrating winter winds are really hard on the bloom buds.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post

    Whatever you all do with your forsythias, do not chop them into little round balls. That looks gross. They should really be freeform growing.
    I totally agree.

    I have to admit that until I took a Master Gardener's class I never knew how essential pruning is. But my forsythias never disappoint in the spring. The border our property on three sides, and they're really pretty robust in terms of blooms, and this year I took an extra careful look because I'm newly sensitive to the whole pruning thing. Of course we would prune when one bush started overtaking the sidewalk, and my husband would trim them all back just to control them every now and then, but we are pretty haphazard. They were there when we moved in in 1985, so I would say they're pretty old but still kicking.

    Maybe the site has something to do with it, as razz suggested. And maybe check your soil and add fertilizer.
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