When Should You Trim Lilac Bushes?


Quick Answer

Trim lilac bushes right after they have finished flowering to give the plant time to develop blooms for the next season. Pruning lilacs too long after they finish blooming kills developing buds. Remove spent blossoms to encourage the development of next year's flowers.

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Full Answer

Lilacs need yearly pruning to maintain their shape and promote healthy growth. Lilac plants should be full but not bushy. Cut off suckers or shoots close to the ground or main trunk, but leave a few strong new stalks every year. Remove older, larger stems from the center of the bush to allow air to circulate. If a lilac is large and overgrown, cut back the whole plant to 6 or 8 inches from the ground in early spring. New shoots emerge, and the bush blooms again in two to three years.

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