HoneyBerry
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big branch is leaning

I have a dark purple heirloom lilac tree that could be as old as the house.
It produces lots of blooms in April-May. But evenso, I think it is slowly dieing. It developed some insect issues on the trunk during the recent drought. Now a good sized branch is leaning heavily. I think it would break if I hadn't added a makeshift concrete support. That branch used to be much higher. I used to be able to walk under it. Now it almost touches the ground. I am wondering if the holly tree sprout at the base is causing this. I can't see how big the root is, but the holly tree sprout is very close to the base of the lilac. I am attaching some photos.
image.jpg
image.jpg
I've been planting sprouts from this tree in other locations around my yard. So if it dies, at least I have those.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: big branch is leaning

In general, lilac trees are rejuvenated by cutting off a third of the oldest branches each year for three years.

For your tree, I think that means it is time to sacrifice the branch that is leaning and let some more of the new sprouts grow.

And yes, I would get rid of the holly tree that is growing in the midst. It would not have caused this, but it can't be helping any.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: big branch is leaning

That holly tree is stubborn. I've been cuttjng it back each year for several years now, but it keeps coming back. I can't dig up the holly without seriously disturbing the lilac. The holly is rooted in the lilac tree root.
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Re: big branch is leaning

In the spring, when the holly is growing vigorously, cut it back to a few inches above the ground and then paint the cut stems with a brush with RoundUp. By brushing it on, the holly will absorb the RoundUp, but the lilac will be unaffected.

I hate to recommend poisons, but what you have is one of the few situations where nothing else works.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: big branch is leaning

What a great idea. Why didn't I think of that.
Since I haven't used chemicals on my lawn or in my yard for over 10 years now, I don't need to feel guilty about paint brushing a little Roundup on that nuisance holly sprout. The problem I see with it is that I have to buy a whole bottle of Roundup when I don't need much.
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luis_pr
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Re: big branch is leaning

I would be careful using Round Up under those conditions as the lilac could absorb Round Up when the holly is killed.

"According to Utah State University, when glyphosate is applied to an undesirable plant and kills it, the dying plant releases some of the chemical back into the soil through its roots. Tree roots in the area can take up some of this chemical, either by contact with the roots of the dying plant or by directly taking up residual glyphosate from the soil."

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/effect-gly ... 29076.html

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Re: big branch is leaning

Hmmm... If thays the case, maybe just keep cutting the holly down to soil level and maybe bury with pea or even fine aquarium gravel gravel mulch?
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Re: big branch is leaning

Yes, luis_pr: I read about glycophosphate and how it tends to linger. For up to 10 years, so I read. I also read that glycophosphate works by binding to the nutrients in the soil and thereby starving the plants. So considering that, it seems like it wouldn't be effective if brushed onto the plant rather than applied to the soil around the plant. But I really don't know. My PhD tree expert coworker said that pruning holly trees affects the size of the root. The root ball is smaller because the holly does not have adequate leaves to provide nutrients to the root. I have been pruning the holly sprout back to no visible leaves for years, but it keeps coming back anyway. My PhD coworker said that holly is like that, hardy and hard to kill.
Apple: Rocks are a great idea for some areas, I'd rather not use rocks under the lilac. That area is currently beauty barked. And the holly is on top of the lilac, rooted into the root of the lilac. The rocks would cradle the lilac but not the holly. The pictures are a close representation, but not exactly how things look in real life.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: big branch is leaning

Well I know the RoundUp is effective brushed on actively growing cut stumps, because I have treated Japanese honeysuckle shrub that way for years. It's the only thing that works. You can cut honeysuckle down to the ground twice a year for years and it will keep coming back. An actively growing stem sucks the RoundUp down into the roots. That's why I said to do this you need to leave a few inches of stem, not cut it all the way down to the ground. And you need to put the RoundUp on it right away, immediately after you cut it, so the cut stem doesn't dry out.

I don't know about the RoundUp being released later, but I have never noticed any dead zone around honeysuckle stumps that I have treated that way.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: big branch is leaning

Okay, thanks Rainbow for the good advice. What I read elsewhere about Roundup may have been twisted. The author was an anti-Roundup. But what I read did seem credible at the time.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: big branch is leaning

I'm pretty anti-RoundUp too and hardly ever use it. But there are a few situations where almost nothing else will do. I have used it on poison ivy sometimes too, since I'm very allergic.
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Re: big branch is leaning

I checked out your links. Very impressive.
I used to subscribe to Sierra Club emails. The organization does some great work for the sake of the planet. It's very important work.
I try to do my part. Some people seem to not care. I don't always get that. Sometimes it has to do with immaturity perhaps.
On the other hand, there are many people who do care and they are doing some great work. It's heartwarming to know that there are people like that working for the sake of the planet.
I think that the corporations need to do more. Not just pretend by adding lables on their products.
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