Prune lilac bush now?

luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)May 4, 2008

I have a Purple Persian Lilac that finished blooming several weeks ago. Did I dream that I am supposed to prune it after blooming in order to increase bloomage? I cannot find my notes now!!! The shrub is now producing seeds. Where should I prune it? etc etc etc TIA, Luis

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jview(Z7a NY)

Yes, now is the time, and be sure to remove all of those ex-flowers or those branches will not bloom next year.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 10:24AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Much obliged, Jerry. I added a reminder on my Outlook Calendar & my regular wall calendar for future years. My notes are still missing but maybe those steps will help.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 2:42PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

I came here today seeking similar advice. My Miss Kim is not blooming this year except for three flowers on one side, although the bush looks healthy. I would like to know what I can do this year to insure bloom next year. I thought perhaps it got drought stressed last summer, because end of Aug./beginning of Sept. it lost most of its leaves, which seemed kind of early. Also, I left the spent blooms/seedheads on the plant, I thought they looked kind of decorative.

My question is, what should I do now--prune or just be nice to her and hope for the best for next year? If the answer is prune, how and when? I am in zone 6.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 10:02AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, lpinkmountain. This what I do.

Pruning after blooming promotes more blooms next Spring. It also forces reblooming lilacs to bloom again. But the lack of water last year could have also been a factor in your case.

To prune the seed pods off, notice that the pods in any one stem of the shrub will originate off a little stem that can be easily pruned off. That is it; I do not do any other type of pruning because my shrub is still young. If your shrub were to be big, you could rejuvenate it by cutting stems that are 1.5" thick in thirds over a period of 3 years.

Something else you can do is make sure that the soil is moist. Insert a finger into the soil to a depth of 4". Then determine if it feels dry, moist or wet. If it feels dry or almost dry then water; otherwise, skip watering on that day. Repeat this daily for 1-2 weeks and mark on a calendar when you water. When you observe that you are watering on a certain frequency (every 2/3/4/5 days) then set your sprinkler to water on that same frequency. If the temps change by 10-15 degrees and stay there, re-check using this method.

My three year old shrub looses it leaves between October and December. If your shrub lost leaves last year because the temps went down then that is ok but if the temps were well above freezing, you need to prevent these droughts by watering as soon as the soil feels almost dry or dry. If lilcas do as azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias, the plant responds by aborting the buds.

Fertilize now, i.e., right after blooming and cover the ground with mulch to prevent grass from growing under the shrub. I use cottonseed meal but a slow-release general purpose fertilizer with a NPK Ratio of 5-10-5 should work.


Here is a link that might be useful: Lilac Info

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 9:48PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Thanks Luis! Sounds like a plan! I can't believe I let my babies suffer last year. All the plants in my yard looked good, right up until they went completely to pot. I did water some, but not enough. I plan to be much more vigilant this year.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 10:49AM
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