The first step to pruning a lilac bush is to decide what the overall outcome will be. Pruning lilacs should be done over a period of a few years, as they do not recover very well from extreme pruning, often not flowering for up to two years. Pruning lilacs should always be done on wood that is at least three years old. Since lilacs bloom on older wood, pruning new wood every year may limit the amount of blooms in the next few years. Lilacs also produce buds that will turn into flowers early once the current blooms have been spent. It is important to understand that removing too much in the summer or fall can drastically reduce the amount of blooms for the following year.
Pruning lilacs should always be done immediately after the blooming season has ended. Spent blooms should be cut off as soon as they are done. This will help prevent the plant from creating seeds, and instead focus its energy on the buds for the following year’s bloom. Pruning lilacs should almost always be done by hand. Using electrical trimmers makes the top of the bush flat, and this is not an attractive look for lilac bushes. Lilacs look much more appealing with a more rounded figure.
Pruning lilacs is a fun and rewarding experience. Gardeners all over the world prune their lilacs to different shapes and sizes. Pruning lilacs will not only allow a gardener to decide the form of the plant, but also the size. Lilacs can easily grow to almost twenty feet tall. Many gardens do not have enough room for a bush of that size. Pruning lilac bushes down to size allows smaller gardens to have enough room for these lovely plants. More information about pruning lilacs can be found in any local garden center or nursery.