Is this a lilac virus?

redpeonyJuly 4, 2008

I have 2 lilac bushes that I planted 2 years ago. Both of these plants were started as cuttings from my father in law, off his one plant. Last year when I saw that one of the two plants looked strange, I wondered if it had some herbicide damage, but it has appeared again this year - leading me to think that there is something wrong with this plant. I have been checking my hostas for virus, and my lilac looks too much like what I check my hostas for!

Here is a normal looking leaf from the sister plant

Here is the first picture of the strange lilac

and the second picture with even more deformed leaves

If this is a virus, what do I do? If it was your plant, would you dig it out?

Now I forgot to mention that when this plant leafed out in spring, all the leaves looked completely normal. The plant only had 2 blooms on it, and in the last week or two, the leaves have changed to look like this.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!


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It looks like insect damage to me. Sometimes the leaves of the dogwoods are like that and also the virginia creeper can get like that.

Aphids? Thrips?

Anyone else have any ideas?


    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 7:43AM
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I was thinking the same as Brenda. Aphids or Thrips.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 10:07AM
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sazzyrose(2b Sk)

My chokecherry trees used to look similar at times. There was also nodules on the leaves. It was some sort of mite.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 11:52AM
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So I googled what both the thrip and aphid damage would look like, and I think it is thrips. Last year I had a ton of aphids, but I think they came after I noticed this on the plant last year.

If it is thrips, do I try to use a soap or pesticide on it? I need to find a way to control this for next year, because I can't stand to look at how deformed the plant is, keeping in mind that the plant wasn't my first choice for the area to begin with! I quite like the plant when it is healthy looking and blooming, but since this particular one had only 2 blooms this year anyways, if I can't get it healthy enough to set new flower buds, it will be ripped out. I see no point to a lilac plant that won't flower properly.

I did read that thrips generally target one plant in a garden at one time, so I would prefer them to stay on the lilac to be controlled, rather than spreading to my roses!


    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 11:55AM
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bemidjigreen(z2 MN)

Hi Janet--
Just my two cents. I had similar damage on my viburnum. I wasn't sure what it was until this year--aphids.

Before this year I had tried insecticide soap and dormant oil this spring. The dormant oil worked somewhat--minimized the damaged in early spring, but the buggers kept their stronghold and escalated. I ended up treated the tree with Bayer Advanced tree and shrub. Its done the trick.

I am not much for using non-eco friendly insecticides, but with the leaves being curled over the critters spraying the tree doesn't work very well. Bayer is suppose to work well on thrips as well as aphids. Good Luck--Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 8:07PM
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