Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Pruning

There are consequences to planting a large shrub in a small space. It means that every year it will have to be pruned or cut back. As the lilacs finished blooming, it was time for their yearly haircut.

The white lilacs were planted more than 50 years ago (before we lived here). About 15 years ago they were cut back to about 3 feet. They have continued to grow and bloom. They are trimmed each year. (I've posted before and after pictures.)

Inch by inch they have become too large for the space and too tall for me to reach the top branches. So this year I gave them a major pruning. I reduced the size by 1/3. I pulled/cut/dug the runners that popped up – some as far as 3 feet away from the main shrub.

I also did a major pruning on the huge, old, purple French lilac in the front yard – got rid of some old branches, cut out the tallest branches and the dead wood. That opened it up a lot and may lessen the powdery mildew this summer (maybe). This lilac doesn’t send out runners.

We pruned and trimmed some other spring blooming shrubs and accumulated a large pile for the city’s compost center.

It will be interesting to see if there are more or less of the fragrant lilac blooms next year but at least now they are a more manageable size.
Who ever plans for the size a shrub will be in 15 (or 50) years?

(Information on lilacs from Cornell University Extension.)


gardener said...

I enjoyed reading your earlier posts. I hope you pick up the blog again soon. I have blog about home gardening too, same like you, I love gardening so much.

donna said...

Marie, the pruning of your lilacs looks like an overwhelming job, especially the French lilac. Nobody will ever accuse you of being lazy. In fact, I sometimes I feel like a lazy slug when I read about all your manual labor.

Who ever thinks they'll live in the same house for 50 years?


Marie said...

We haven't lived here that long. We are the third owner and our wonderful neighbors have shared stories about our house with us. The daughter of the man who built it lives across the street. The house was built in 1939 and a lot of the shrubs and trees were planted by them. It's great to have the history of the house.

Joyce said...

My first visit :) I love all your photos of everything. I love your lilacs they are one of my favorites and I just planted one this past year. I like how you think about planting and then thinking about the size later-lol, I have a tendency to do that more then not. Love your blog and it's always nice to hear from other garderners!!!