Mature Lilac Trees.

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Shade187, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. Shade187

    Shade187 Member

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    Hello. My grandmother has 2 mature lilac trees (white and purple) and they're at least 20 years old. She never planted them, she's always been adament they just "popped up" one day many years ago. But there her pride and joy. She really loves them.

    Anyway the problem is this. The trees are not flowering and are there has not been any green leaves on them for at least a year, possibly 2 years.

    The trees are in full sun and are located in the front garden. About a year ago we noticed some adolescents sitting on the garden wall by the trees and they thought it was funny snapping some of the branches off (I think it was the smaller branches) . I'm wondering if this could be related.

    There is one other thing, about 2 ft away from the lilac trees there is a fur tree which is in full bloom and is quite bushy and about 12ft + in height on the right side of the trees. This tree is roughly about 6-8 years old (could be older) and hasn't caused any problems for the lilac trees before but thought I would mention it.

    Does it sound like the trees are dead? How can I tell if they're dead? Is there anything I can do to try and save them? They look beautiful when in full bloom.
     
  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    lilac's set the buds for next years flowers right after they bloom in the current year, so the kids breaking off the tops of the branches would definitely cause there to be no blooms the next year - maybe even for a couple years if they took the branches down far enough.

    the fir tree roots may also be causing an issue - it's established enough now after 6-8 years for the roots to have spread out quite a bit. so, what you probably have is the roots of the lilacs and the roots of the fir competing for moisture in the soil (and the tree usually wins out because of sheer volume).

    do you mean the trunk of the fir tree is 2 feet away from the lilacs or do you mean the end of the branches of the fir tree are 2 feet from the lilacs?

    if it's the trunk, that's completely too close. even if it's the ends of the branches...that's still too close because trees have root systems underground comparable to what you see up top...sounds like something will need to be moved.

    any way to post some pics so we can see how close these are to each other?
     
  3. Shade187

    Shade187 Member

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    Hiya and thank you for your reply. I think the fur tree branches are about 2ft; perhaps a little further than this, away from the lilac trees. I had a feeling this was too close and we are thinking about digging the fur tree up. My dad bought the fur tree for a christmas tree several years ago and decided to stick it in the garden in the only available space he could find. Do you know how difficult the fur tree will be to dig up? It's definitely shot up within the last year or two.

    Is there anything I can do to enable the lilac trees to flower again? How can I tell if the tree is dead? I was thinking of cutting the lilac trees down to 6-8 inches away from the ground in the hope that this will rejuvinate them but I don't know if this will work. I sadly know very little about lilac trees.

    The whole of the front garden seems to lack flower life so maybe this is related to. None of the daffodil or tulip bulbs came up last year either so I'm planning on re-planting this year.

    There is one other strange thing. On the same side of the lilac trees but half way down the other end of the garden there is a christmas tree which is about 6 years old and roughly about 4.5ft high. He is alive but only has branches on the top. It's literally a stick and a bunch of green foilage/branches on the top which look very healthy and he's also slow growing. Is there anything that can cause this? He was very healthy when originally planted by myself.

    I will try and get some pictures but they will be taken on my mobile phone. I don't know how to upload the pics to this site so hopefully someone can help me with that.

    Thank you again. :-)
     
  4. Shade187

    Shade187 Member

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    Sorry I wasn't able to take some pics today. I will try tomorrow. I have checked the lilac trees and scraped part of the bark of both trees and the cabium (sp?) is green. This means it's alive right?

    The fir tree is closer than I thought. It's literally alongside one of the lilac trees so I'm going to remove it. At the moment I need to transplant the christmas tree I mentioned and give him some extra special attention.
    I'll do a post about the christmas tree on another thread. :-)
     
  5. Shade187

    Shade187 Member

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    Good news the lilac trees both have buds on them so I think there going to be ok. Thank you so much for your help.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Ordinarily 1-2 years without leaves = dead. The buds might be left from when they were alive. If they went for entire growing seasons without any foliage at all and then now leafed back out that would be strange.

    Lilac are prone to honey fungus (Armillaria), maybe you have that there. Search "armillaria" on the internet to find out what to look for.
     
  7. Shade187

    Shade187 Member

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    Thank you again Ron. :-) I googled armillaria and I haven't seen any of the symptoms of this honey fungus on the lilac trees. I'm pretty sure the Leyland Cypress isn't helping them as it will almost certainly be blocking out the sunlight.

    I hope it isn't old buds left over from when they were alive. Doesn't the green cabium (think thats the right word) mean the tree is alive?
     
  8. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    yes, the green inside the branches means that it's still living.
     
  9. Shade187

    Shade187 Member

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    That's good to hear. Thanks again. :-)
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    >there has not been any green leaves on them for at least a year, possibly 2 years<

    With that history I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to come back.
     

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