You may have seen these brilliant yellow shrubs around town lately and thought to yourself "what the heck is this magnificent harbinger of spring?"
Here is the Midwest, forsythias are one of the first plants to burst into happy spring blooms along with the pears, magnolias, flowering quince and redbuds.
Your first application of a pre-emergent herbicide should occur just as the forsythia bushes finish blooming in spring – that should stop crabgrass and other weeds before they have a chance to grow.
You cane easily cut forsythia branches with hand pruners and bring them inside for a cheery spring display just in time for Easter.
You may not have even realized that you had forsythia in your area. After their fabulous spring bloom, then return to a rather boring green blob. Please consider this factor when locating a new one in your landscape. They are often best located in the back of a property or bed so other plants can be the stars the rest of the season. They also prefer full sun for the best bloom but also can handle part shade.
These shrubs start out small but keep in mind that most varieties will get 6-8 ft tall and wide so locate appropriately. If you need a dwarf variety check out 'Gold Tide' (2'x 4') or 'Show Off Sugar Baby' (3'x 3')
Fall color isn't a huge factor but you'll get some shades of yellow and scarlet depending on sun exposure and moisture content of the soil.
Like all spring blooming shrubs (Lilac, Viburnum, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Quince), forsythia need to be pruned right AFTER they bloom. These plants all set their buds in fall. If you trim in early spring or late fall, you will cut off your lovely buds and be very disappointed.
Forsythia are a cane type flowering shrub and they flower the best on fresh, new growth. As opposed to the hard, woody branches. For this reason proper pruning techniques are really important. If your goal is just to get a stunning bloom, try this.
If you want great flowering but also need to control the overall size of you forsythia, check out this.
Using the above techniques will keep your shrubs happy and healthy. You can also avoid pruning diasters like this. . .
I prefer my shrubs have more natural look. It's less maintenance and much more appealing to the eye. But no matter how you cut it, forsythia can be a great addition to any landscape. Try it out!