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Lilac bushes...is now too late to prune?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Ultra05, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Ultra05

    Ultra05 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Help. I'm in upper CT . I have some healthy lilac bushes that i've been asked to prune, but i'm not sure how long since the blooms died. I'm way afraid of killing any new blooms for next year. I know you're supposed to deadhead them as soon as they die off. I'm thinking maybe I should just leave them alone. Anyone have lilac experience out there? TIA
  2. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 553

    You will most likely remove some of the buds for next year if you prune now. What I would do is explain this to the customer, and then tell them that you will do a light pruning now just to neaten them up, and then next spring when they are done blooming, go ahead and prune them hard.

    If your customer can deal without their lilac blooms next spring, put them on the winter pruning list and have at it.
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Depending on what they are like/ Even at this time, if you are taking out some of the older wood that doesn't produce that well, many times the benefits outweigh the few buds taken off would produce. It is the thinner, younger, more viable chutes that produce more. take the old stuff out, and it's that much more energy going to the good stuff.
  4. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,234

    Yep what runner said. Take the dead out and do some light structural pruning. You will be good to go for a heavy trimming next year.

    Remember to look at the overall structure of a plant before you prune. If you wreck the structure now it will never be prize plant material.
  5. Ultra05

    Ultra05 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Thank you all! I always get good solid advice here and it really is invaluable to a newbie like myself. Thx again:clapping:
  6. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    How you prune lilacs is just as important as when. What are you trying to accomplish; maintain or reduce current size, rejuvenate an old shrub, etc?
  7. Ultra05

    Ultra05 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Hi Phast, the bushes are 4 yrs old, healthy and tall. The customer wanted them to stay tall. I already pruned them, removing the dead wood and some of the older outside stalks to keep them growing tall. I think I did it right. Thx for replying.

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