mikecsti
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:07 pm
Location: Holmes, NY

My lilac trees are dying???

I'm new here.

I have planted lilac trees two years ago and they where doing great. There 4 times the size now. One is the normal one you see around and the othere one is a bush lilac. Parts of leaves are started to turn a light green and then start to change brown. After this the whole lilac turns brown and it dead?? I lost two lilacs already and now the bush lilac is turn and so is the last lilac tree.


I just sprade two weeks ago (GardenTech
1 Qt. Sevin Ready-to-Spray Bug Killer) I bought it at lowe's but it did not work.

I had the fungus last year and I bought fungus killer and put it in my sprayer and it took two times but it work last year. I'm not getting and white spots this time. Just this new problem.

I do feed all my plants with 5-10-5 three times a year and two times with Miracle-Gro. Yes I have the best yard


Here are the pictures. I did a 180 of the back yard so you can see where
they are.
This lilac is fine, it has know problems.
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301460&w=523

The one is the middle has been like that for a month now, but it has some green still on the leaves. The one bush lilac on the right in fine but the one on the left is dying now.
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301459&w=523

This one just started last week.
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301462&w=523
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301451&w=523
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301452&w=523
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301454&w=523
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301456&w=523
https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1301458&w=523

The leaves look like the have a fungus once they turn brown but not when there the light green?

It has been raining a lot.

Thanks

Mike

MaineDesigner
Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:17 pm
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

It looks like a lovely property. I don't have a definitive answer for you but I do have few observations:
1) You are over fertilizing. Lilacs thrive on neglect, I often see examples that must be more than fifty years old around old abandoned farm house sites where they have had no fertilizer for decades. I would suggest the 5-10-5 at most once in the early spring and maybe once again immediately after bloom but no more than that. No Miracle-Gro.
2) Get your soils tested. In much of the northeastern U.S. soils tend to be deficient in calcium. If you soil pH is below 6.0 apply high calcium lime if you are low in calcium. If you pH is above 6.0 use something like colloidal (soft rock) phosphate or gypsum which will provide calcium without altering the soil pH.
3) Lilacs hate wet feet and really require good drainage. I think all the rain is probably a big part of the problem. Do you have high clay content soil?
4) Get the mulch away from the lilac trunks, this traps moisture and provides an ideal environment for fungal disorders. Mulching is fine but you want 6" to 1' of bare soil immediately around the trunks.
5) Make sure your lilacs are in full sun, a minimum (more is better) of six hours of direct sun between 8:00AM and 5:00PM.
6) Powdery mildew on lilacs is almost always just a cosmetic problem. I think you are doing more harm than good by spraying fungicides.
[url]https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3047.html[/url]

mikecsti
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:07 pm
Location: Holmes, NY

Thanks for getting back to me.

Thanks,

Ok I did not no that about Lilacs.

I will get it tested

I have very clay soil. With the mulching and miracla-gro, for the past 5 years the top 2" it nice topsoil.

I will get all the mulch away from them tomorrow.

They all get full sun all day.

I think the 4" of mulch is messing with them big time. I just finished mulching all my gardens a month ago.

MaineDesigner
Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:17 pm
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Mike,

The idea of keeping mulch away from the trunks or crowns applies to all plants not just lilacs. 4" is fairly deep mulch even in a normal year and this year the combination of clay soils, very wet weather and a heavy mulch blanket probably adds up to too much moisture.

I don't want to put you off lilacs but some shrubs usually do better in heavy soils.
Hamamelis species, the Witchhazels (these are ultimately big shrubs)
Cornus species, the Dogwoods,
Clethra alernifolia, Sweet Pepperbush (this a really nice plant but it is slow to leaf out in the spring and it suckers)
Aronia species, the Chokeberries (another nice plant often with great fall color but heavy suckering)
Viburnum species - the Viburnums are among my favorite shrubs but there is an exotic insect pest (the Viburnum Leaf Beetle) which is attacking some species. Cornell has an excellent website on this issue:
[url]https://www.hort.cornell.edu/vlb/[/url]
I don't really recommend planting the species on their "Highly Susceptible" or "Susceptible" lists. Some of the Viburnums are very fragrant and most species bloom around the same time as lilacs (May and early June).

mikecsti
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:07 pm
Location: Holmes, NY

I moved the mulch today. It has not rained in 3 days now, The first 1" was dry but the rest was wet with mushrooms. The trunk of the lilacs are rotting and have small holes in them? I'll take a picture to tomorrow. The two bush lilac have this like white tan thinks covering all the bark?

Thanks for the list of trees and plans.

What's finny is I have this lilac tree. It says it can get up to 40' tall and spread 30' wide. She's about 20' and 5 years old now, and I have never had a problem with her.

Some stuff works and others do not I guess.

MaineDesigner
Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:17 pm
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

There is a lilac borer that sometimes affects stressed plants. That might account for the holes. Is there any material that sort of looks like very fine damp sawdust around the holes (the quantity would be quite small)?
The parent of the borer is a day flying moth that mimics a wasp. Sprays for this are not very effective. You might be able to kill or repel the moth will a well-timed spray in the spring but it is unlikely to kill borers already in the wood.
[url]https://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/entomology/444-278/444-278.html[/url]

mikecsti
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:07 pm
Location: Holmes, NY

Sorry for the delay. THere was like 2 or 3 holes in that one that just started dying. This is the picture of the bush lilac that was in the first picture but closer.

https://images.streetfire.net/handlers/getsizedimage.ashx?id=1313777&w=600

That's on both bush lilacs. What is it?

It has not rained in a week, so everything is drying out.

MaineDesigner
Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:17 pm
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

Other than that it appears to be fungal I can't be of much help. Your best bet is to send a sample to Cornell's plant pathology lab. [url]https://plantclinic.cornell.edu/[/url]

I would strongly discourage the use of generic, over-the-counter fungicides. You really need to know exactly what you are dealing with before taking any remedial action.

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