Lilac Tree Sparse and never blooms

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by jimr, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. jimr

    jimr Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    connecticut
    I have a 7 foot tall lilac tree for 6 years. There are only leaves at the tip of the branches and it never blooms. (Every year) Why? and what can be done to inspire it. Thanks.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,138
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Lilac needs fertile, preferably lime-rich, soil - does that fit what you're growing it in?
     
  3. jimr

    jimr Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    connecticut
    I have put down lime around it over the years...but it made no difference...this year I didn't to see if it had any effect. It didn't.
     
  4. kalmia

    kalmia Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hammond, Indiana, USA
    Does it get enough sun? They like sun.
     
  5. jimr

    jimr Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    connecticut
    It gets sun for about 8 hours.
     
  6. kalmia

    kalmia Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hammond, Indiana, USA
    does it look healthy otherwise? They all seem to be in bloom around here right now. What about others in your area?
     
  7. jimr

    jimr Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    connecticut
    Others in the area are full and thick with leaves and blooms. Mine just has 3-4 leaves at the tip of each branch. It is always like that.
     
  8. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Aldergrove
    Lilac trees are very susceptable to bacterial blight, leaving growth only on the tips of branches.
     
  9. MamaBenita

    MamaBenita Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit, MI USA
    I had this problem with a lilac once. I cut one third of it back to about one foot tall, and then the next year another third, and the third year the final third. It bushed up and got lovely and bloomed fine after this rather ruthless treatment. If the first cutting hadn't made a difference I wouldn't have continued, so maybe you can experiment. It would be too late now to expect flowers next year from the cut parts, but you can see if they put out new growth and act happier, eh?

    Hope this helps,
    Benita
     
  10. jimr

    jimr Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    connecticut
    Thanks....When should I cut it back?
     
  11. Chuck White

    Chuck White Active Member

    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Florida,USA
    Whether you or someone else planted it, your lilac could be suffering from being root bound. I would dig it up, were it mine, with most of the summer ahead of you, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, fill the hole with leaf mould or compost, check to see that the roots were, in fact, opened up when originally planted, and stick it back in the hole. If it was root bound in the pot and the circularity of the roots was not interrupted by cutting, to interrupt the roots running around in a circle, it could be strangling itself. As a matter of fact, since you have no real 'show plant' here, I think that drastic action will only create improvement.
     
  12. MamaBenita

    MamaBenita Member

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit, MI USA
    The best time to cut it back would be right after you see other lilacs blooming...but it's too late for that; if you don't get bloom anyway, you may as well start now. Better do it before new growth would be too weak to survive winterkill, or wait for next year to start.

    Chuck White's suggestion is a good one, also. But if your lilac is the size mine was when I started working on it, you'd need a backhoe instead of a shovel.

    You refer to your Lilac as a TREE. Mine was a BUSH, with lots of growth from the ground, and new suckers/offshoots every year. If yours is a standard (tree shape) lilac I suppose the same treatment I have described would work, but I'd be a bit more cautious with that first year's clipping.

    Good luck!
    Benita
     

Share This Page