Marion Nesbitt
Marion Nesbitt
  • Hometalker
  • Canada
Asked on Jun 22, 2019

How do I cut large lilac branches?



My lilac has 2 branches about 5 inches in diameter growing over a sidewalk. You have to duck under. Can I cut these right near the base?

5 answers
  • Sharon
    on Jun 22, 2019

    Best to cut 6" away from where the branch meets the trunk to remove the weight, then make a second cut close to the truck, that way you don't damage the trunk.

  • Kim
    on Jun 22, 2019

    Wait until the bush goes dormant in the fall and you can prune away the branches . I'm not a tree expert but I have always pruned my trees & bushes during the fall and they come back every spring beautifully. I'm sure you can find how to videos on the web if you need further instructions. Good luck

    on Jun 22, 2019

    I've had great luck cutting big branches after lilacs are done flowering. Shrubs do well with a good pruning. Just make sure you cut less than a third of the total number of them so it stays healthy.

  • Jan Clark
    on Jun 24, 2019

    All of the above. Major pruning should be done in a dormant time. But ducking under to walk should be taken care of now. As Sharon said, prune back the offending limb until you've just got a relatively lightweight piece of branch. Start cutting from below so the bark won't peel or rip and then go ahead and cut from the top. Use a good, clean tree saw blade. You can cut as close as a couple of inches from the main trunk. But, since this is a big piece, I would also recommend sealing it with tree sealer to prevent disease and insect invasion. Love those lilacs!

  • Betsy
    on Jun 29, 2019

    Hi Marion: As with all flowering shrubs, it is best to trim them back right after the flowers fade. Right after that, the shrub is getting ready for next years flowers. So, you can trim the branches that are in the way now, or at any time, since you don't expect to have them flowering next year. Just make sure the cuts are clean and not jagged. Make the first cut on the bottom of the branch, close to the trunk, about 1/2 inch deep. Then, a bit away from that, and away from the trunk, start your trimming. This way, when the branch falls, it will fall off at the first cut and not tear any of the bark down with it, which it would do if you don't do this. Some people paint the cut with tar or other wound dressing for trees to keep insects or rot from getting into the cut. Good luck

Your comment...