lilac bushes

learningasigoMay 11, 2007

I have four lilac bushes (small, not sure what variety...they came with the house). They are all in different areas of my yard, not all together. They budded and some of the buds (but not many) have flowered. I noticed there is a lot of new growth but the majority of leaves on each bush are shriveled and the tips are browning/black. I am really confused as to what is causing this. Is this a fungus/disease or could this be due to frostbite? I kinda ruled out frost because my neighbors lilac tree is beautiful and FULL of flowers. But it did warm up here (SE WI)and then got cold again but I'm not sure that we actually got frost. Any ideas?

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It could have been frost, I think. A couple of years ago one of mine did what yours are doing, after a light frost. All mine are in a row, and only one on the end of the row had those symptoms. Next year they were all fine. There are so many tiny microclimates these things can happen.

Or maybe it's something else...

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 12:43PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

Hey learning, I cant imagine any variety of lilac that isnt hardy to WI. But, Elvis is right, a frost at the wrong time can nip those buds a bit. You dont say how old your home is, but if these lilacs are still small, they are probably still very young and therefore vulnerable. Prune after the bloom time is over. Dont neglect this step. While young, just nip off the brown blooms. The older and taller your lilacs get, the less susceptable to frost. You might want to make a note of which plantings do the best- bloom-wise. Just hang on and hang in. Your lilac lovlies will do well for you. Pondy

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 6:43PM
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Thanks for advice. The house is 15 years old but most of the landscaping (I was told by neighbor) is about 8-10 years old. I know these bushes are at least 5 years old because the people we bought from lived there for 4 years and other than mow the grass they did absolutely NOTHING outdoors. All of the landscaping was in pretty bad shape when we bought a year ago. Nice stuff....just overgrown, crowded and generally neglected.

I would say all three of the lilac bushes are about 3-4ft. tall. One is perhaps 5 ft. tall. So they are definitely a dwarf variety. I noticed lots of new growth this year but not alot of blooms. How far should I prune it back?


    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 10:11AM
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nanatink(Z4 WI)

Lilacs bloom on old growth, so if you want blossoms next year, don't prune! My neighbor pruned mine "for me" (as in without asking) a couple of years ago and I had hardly any flowers the following year.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 9:02PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

You can prune right after flowering and get growth for next year's blooms.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 12:32AM
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milwdave(Zone5 Milwaukee)

I think they should be pruned and regularly for shape, but as Tsugajunkie says, timing is VERY important. Prune right after bloom so they can produce enough growth for next years flowers. One to two weeks after bloom is the limit, I would say.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 5:35AM
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