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University of Vermont Extension.

Dec 10, Whenever possible, avoid pruning the lilac in summer, fall or winter, because the lilac blooms on growth produced during the previous growing season.

Delaying pruning. At ' they are small compared to the common lilacs ('; perfect to sniff from a second floor window), but not tiny enough to be cast alongside Snow White. S. meyeri grows to about 8', S. chinensis to nearly 15'. So if you want a dwarf lilac to remain less than 8' or a common lilac to be less than 20', plan to prune it regularly. Apr 02, Most lilacs don’t require pruning until they reach about 6 to 8 feet ( m.) tall. The best time for pruning lilac bushes is right after their flowering has ceased.

This allows new shoots plenty of time to develop the next season of blooms. Pruning lilacs too late can kill young developing buds. If you are pruning lilac trees or shrubs entirely to within inches of the ground, it is best to do so in early spring. Prune these spring flowering shrubs soon after they have bloomed. Top prune the plant to improve the shape and reduce its size but, be careful not to remove more than 30% of the top growth. Some summer pruning can also be done on particularly vigorous plants but, not after mid-July.

As the plant matures, some “renewal pruning” should be done. Jul 08, Start by taking out the thickest stems first. Although you'll be losing some flowers for the current year, pruning overgrown lilacs is easiest early in the spring before the branches leaf out. After three consecutive years of pruning your overgrown lilac.