Lilac Help

A forum for discussions about the Lilac. Share your Lilac care experiences and tips, or ask your Lilac questions here. Don't be shy!
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Lilac Help

Post by cstultz »

I planted this lilac about 9 years ago. I wasnt very privy on how to care for it. I did not keep it trimmed as it was growing. Recently, Ive tried to doctor it back. I need it to thicken up. What do I need to do?

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Re: Lilac Help

Post by rainbowgardener »

It is not looking very healthy. Not an issue of trimming - healthy lilacs should not need much trimming or pruning.

You can rejuvenate it by cutting one third of those stems (starting with the tallest and barest) off at ground level. Next year cut another 1/3 of the tallest stems and the same the following year. At that point you will have all newer stems and it should be looking better.

But you also need to find out why it is not healthy or the problem may just continue. Is something shading it? In the picture, it looks like there is a trunk of a big tree right next to it. Lilacs need full sun. What is the soil like? Lilacs, unlike many common plants, prefer alkaline soil. They will tolerate neutral, but will show some failure to thrive if you have acidic soil. Have you fertilized? In general, lilacs shouldn't need much added nutrients, but if it is right next to a tree, the tree may be sucking up the majority of the soil nutrients, leaving your lilac a bit starved.

It's possible this is just not a good location for it. In that case, in the fall after the leaves have dropped, you can dig it up and move it to a better spot.
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