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In general, by the time a stem reaches more than 2 inches in.

Sep 21, Cut one or two of the lilac's oldest stems back to the base of the plant if the shrub is several years old and becoming bare or scraggly looking at the base. This encourages the growth of new, vigorous stems.

Jun 21, Your better plan is to approach this as a 3 years project. The first year, cut back 1/3 of the branches. The second year cut back another third. By the last year, you will have the shrub trimmed down. Also, by the way, a good rule of thumb is to not cut the shrub down by more than a third–in other words, don’t cut it down to the stumplop.buzzted Reading Time: 3 mins.

When to prune Dwarf Korean Lilac Trees. I have three beautiful Dwarf Korean Lilac Trees (not shrubs) which have trunks about 5 inches in diameter and crowns up to 7 feet in diameter. A local landscaper said I should trim them back in the Fall using a hedge trimmer to shape it, i.e., pay no attention to branch structure.

We do it by leaving the shrub 6" shorter after the spring pruning than we want it to be at bloom time the following spring. Year three and beyond: To keep a dwarf lilac small, start out by accepting that it has the potential to be as big as those at the very top of this page and that you must prune it regularly.

Dec 10, Cut one or two of the lilac's oldest stems back to the base of the plant if the shrub is several years old and becoming bare or scraggly looking at the base.

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.