lilac bushes

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by G&Plawn, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. G&Plawn

    G&Plawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    hello i got my first bid on some lilac bushes and i was wondering if anyone had anysuggestions on pruning and clean up being that its mid season. The 4 bushes that have grown together should be cleaned up into 4 seperate bushes. Any help would be greatly appreciated thanks
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    G&P - lilacs should be pruned right after flowering. They flower on year old wood. It's too late to prune now if you want them to flower next spring. If you don't mind losing next years flowers, then go ahead and prune away. If the bushes are large, I would remove all the branches larger than 1", at the ground. Keep in mind that this is somewhat severe method of pruning and would not be recommended for the newer hybrid lilacs, but it will get the bushes in an easier to manage size. I've done lilacs (the old fashioned variety that has been around forever) that were 15' tall and had trunks 6" in diameter with the severe method and they looked great. If the bushes are already a manageable size, prune back the old blooms to a lateral branch. Remember, this is too late to do this year also, unless you're willing to forgo next springs blooms. If you can, post pics.

  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    If you are going to branch prune to reduce these guys, you should not worry about setting buds for next year. If you prune the entire perifery of the plant back, it would be a problem because the blooms are at the branch ends.

    If I was doing this, I would do much like Grassmechanic said. Cut entire stems back to the ground leaving in tact younger shorter pieces. This will reduce the overall size, not cut off every end where blooms will be, and reduce suckering on partially cut branches. There is still plenty of time for the lilac to produce more flower buds before the end of the season. That big root system will be feeding less stem growth allowing more energy to go toward flowering.

    Fertilize with a high P fert and lime them. Lilacs are not acid heads.
  4. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    You have options with lilacs: are they already really large (tall) AND grown together, or is it simple a large grouping that's sort of out if control? Remember that lilacs can be pruned into small (understory-sized) multi-trunked trees they don't HAVE to look like sheared shrubs (unless that's the look you're going for). Or are you pruning to increase flowering in succeeding seasons? That's an entirely separate style of pruning. Whatever your course of action, there will always be returning sucker stems that must be dealt with (either encouraging them to fill in or cutting them out to show more 'leg' on the tree-trained forms). I agree that you shouldn't worry about flowers the following season - prune in the best long term interests of the plants and the client.
  5. G&Plawn

    G&Plawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    here is a pic of th bush in question

  6. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    Those sure look like viburnums and not lilacs. Some viburnums will root-shoot (spread) like lilacs and so you will still still have continuing separation issues (keeping them apart). Do they make fruit? Lilacs will make seed pods, but not succulent fruit. Regardless, these look like a simple prune. Look for long, tall whippy stems on the interior of the plants. Cut 1/2 of those close to the ground to keep the base filled in. Prune the rest according to the homeowners desires.
  7. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    I second the advice just above, and I'd suggest removing or replanting the barberry plants just in front. Within a very short time those plants will grow together and you'll have a real mess.
    (PS - definitely not lilacs!)
  8. G&Plawn

    G&Plawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Thanks for the advice
    I have about 20 or so of theose Barberry plants in question also
    any ideas on replacement would be great
  9. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I'm with Kate. It looks like Viburnum to me.
  10. Evan528

    Evan528 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,144

    Looks like Rose of Sharon to me..... :confused:

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