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Forsythia and Flowering Quince are the reminders that spring is just around the corner. The yellow buds burst forth with glorious color. They provide that late winter/ early spring color needed in the garden. After their blooms,  the foliage fills out for the season. Forsythia shrubs are found in zones 5 – 8, perfect for a Memphis garden. They love full sun and well-drained soil.  The plant taxonomy of border forsythias is Forsythia x intermedia. They are a hybrid of greenstem (F. viridissima) and a weeping type (F. suspensa). Some varieties of Forsythia x intermedia are "Sunrise" forsythia which are more compact growing 4'-6' tall with a spread of 3'-5', ‘Meadowlark’ grows 8'-10' tall, and in between 'Northern Gold' at 6'-8' tall.   

 When to Prune Forsythia Bushes:
 Pruning of forsythia bushes is best done just after they've finished putting on their flower display in spring, because they bloom on the prior year's growth (pruning either too late or too early interrupts the growth/blooming cycle). Begin by pruning 1/4 to 1/3 of oldest branches, pruning them right down to the ground. This will encourage new growth and a more compact form. Beyond this "renewal pruning," you can also selectively cut newer branches in order to improve upon the overall shape of your forsythia plants.   

Pruning after they have finished their blooms allows you to see the newest branches apart from the older. Only the older branches will have blooms; the first-year branches won't have any yet, so you have a graphic reminder to avoid pruning them.   

When to Fertilize:
It is best to fertilize in the late fall just as they are losing their leaves. This will allow the plant to have a fabulous floral display in the early spring. Use your favorite fertilizer following manufacturer’s directions regarding amount and placement.   

In the picture, you will see yellow blooming forsythia with the pink flowering quince in the background. These were planted close together in the bed by the penguin pool and Round Barn. Enjoy your day at the Memphis Zoo.

Posted by Zoo Info at 11:06 AM