How And When To Cut Back Everblooming Lilac And Rose Of Sharon

Question From: C. Broderick - Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States
Q: I have a hedge that started from bare root about 6 years ago. It is everblooming lilac(yeah, right) and Rose of Sharon. It has grown to provide us with the privacy we wanted however, it's taking over everything. How do I cut it back? When should I do it? Should I remove some plants/bushes instead of pruning? I'm kind of at a loss.

A: First the pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before the shrubs leaf out. I would get a book on pruning so you learn the basics. There are lots of good videos on Youtube. Rule of thumb is to take out no more than a third of the growth in one season. Learn the difference between thinning cuts and heading cuts. It's not rocket science. Prune a bit and step back and look at your work. Use sharp tools and take your time. It may take a couple of years to get exactly what you want. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy