Half Dead Lilacs

Boundless

LawnSite Member
Hello, hopefully this would be the right section for this question... but we moved into a home in December and I'd say the lilacs in the backyard are pretty much maxed out for growth.. maybe I'm wrong but either way, just about every lilac is half dead.. some are producing flowers but its very erm bad. They all just look bad about 10 of them I think (Their upstairs and I'm down stairs haha so sorry for inaccuracy). I am wondering if their is a solution for this. They are all mature so is their a solution? I think I heard someone say if you cut them they will regrow.. are we out of the time zone for that? How much should I chop off? Would be awesome if I just could chop them all in half and then watch them grow into great lilacs. I can supply photos later if that would be better for an idea of my situation. Thank you
 

hort101

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
S.E. New England
Photos will help
Someone might have pruned them at the wrong time or not in a long time

Do the dead parts you mention have any leaves?
 

hedgehog_MI

LawnSite Senior Member
How much should I chop off? Would be awesome if I just could chop them all in half and then watch them grow into great lilacs. I can supply photos later if that would be better for an idea of my situation. Thank you
We planted several on the property when we built, and I have been unkind to them in my neglect of the beautiful little trees/shrubs. 3 years ago I decided to do a severe cutting back to get them into the size/shape best suited for their siting. Trimmed back 1/3 of the worst-looking branches down to about a foot from the ground. That way you will still have blooms on the remaining branches while the newer shoots grow back in a few years. Next year do the same for another 1/3 of the taller branches, repeat for the last 1/3. I always let mine grow out through the year and winter and then prune em down first thing in the spring. Up here in the northern states we need to let them grow as much as we can and get as strong as we can let them get to survive the harsh winters. OR, if they are in a site that isn't particularly bothersome, you can chop em down to 12 inches all at once and wait a few years for them to come back. Good luck. Lilacs are one of my favorites and just love them during their short blooming period. After blooms, they're kind of a "meh" tree/shrub. I'm experimenting this year with purple clematis and purple morning glory growing throughout the lilac to keep the purple theme going within my purple zones.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Keep in mind--most lilacs get powdery mildew disease on their leaves in humid climates. This reduces their strength and vitality--weak growth. Worse, if in partial shade.
Keep grass away in a circle about 4 feet in diameter to reduce competition with roots--and string trimmer injury.
 

phasthound

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Mt. Laurel, NJ
Powdery mildew is easy to control with Horticultural Oil.
Do not apply when 85 degrees and over.
 

hort101

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
S.E. New England
Powdery mildew is easy to control with Horticultural Oil.
Do not apply when 85 degrees and over.
Any more details on that use for oil?
Thanks
 
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