Why does my Forsythia have so few flowers each spring?

Asked April 16, 2018, 2:37 PM EDT

I have 3 very established rows of forsythia (10 years old). Each spring the neighbor’s bushes are loaded with blossoms. Mine has very healthy "leaf" growth each year, but not flowers. What can I do next fall to promote flower growth in the spring?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

After the first 3 years, if forsythia are not pruned regularly, they tend to get very leggy with long shoots of leafy growth, a tangled mass in the center, and no leaves at the base and poor flowering.

All the old dead canes should be cut down to the ground every year.
Yearly pruning should be done when it finishes flowering in early spring.
Flowering occurs on mature, but not old canes. So cut back some of the oldest canes each year all the way to the ground. Also cut back some of the long flowering canes back to where new vigorous upward growing shoots.

Old neglected plants can be renovated over a two year period by cutting it back to a foot or so from the ground--cut back 1/2 of the shrub per year.