Hello, I’d love to get some advice about whether and how to prune my lilacs. We recently moved in to a new house with a mostly shady lot, and there are some relatively young lilacs in the sunniest spot, which gets sun for probably 75% of the day, mostly afternoon. The base of the lilacs is a bit shadier than the tops (as you can see by the hostas that are planted with it). They are quite leggy and tall–at least 15 feet–and the bottom 4-5 feet have no foliage.
I am thinking of doing some rejuvenation pruning this week, but that might require taking out a whole "trunk" from each bush, and that makes me nervous about whether they’d bounce back given their growing conditions. Should I just leave them alone? Can I prune a smaller amount to get a bushier shrub?
Here is a picture. There are three lilacs which are up against the neighbor’s forsythia and some other trees. You can see the deadheads at the top of the picture to get a sense of the height.
I am in zone 6, metro Boston.
Thanks! I just discovered this blog last week because of the NY Times article, and love it.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.