'Over/unseasonal pruning of Lilac tree

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by fredrickleonard, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. fredrickleonard

    fredrickleonard Member

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    I got a little over zealous - pruned an older lilac tree/brush in the backyard.
    There is still 6' on the stems - I removed (and not very gently) about 3-4 feet
    off those stems.

    I have been reading on line - about correct fertilizer - but I am praying I have not
    ruined the plant, that it won't bloom (this spring?) and that my unseasonal
    pruning could actually kill the plant.?

    ANY help will be so greatly appreciated.
    thank you
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    please clarify: you have 6 inches of stem left or 6 feet of stem left???

    if you only have 6 inches you will have a couple years before blooms again...and, if it is grafted and you cut to below the scion, then you won't have a lilac at all.

    hopefully you did mean 6 feet! in that case, you won't get any flowers this year - should get some next year though.

    in the future, prune right after the blooms are finished and only cut to just above the nodes of the next years buds - they start to form right after the current years flowers are done and go dormant with the rest of the bush during winter and then pick up growth in spring and then bloom.
     
  4. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    So these stems were 9' to 10' high the way I'm reading your post.

    A bit substantial, but should sprout new growth.

    Just leave stubs, or a few small branches too?
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Common lilacs being renovated can have all stems cut down to 18 inches or lower in one go. Or it can be done in stages over several years, eventually ending up with each original stem having been cut down low at some point in the process.

    These look better being kept with mostly comparatively young stems coming from down low - if you have cut all of yours off at 6 feet that is rather high. It would actually be better to cut more off. It will take some years to restore full flowering but then you should be getting quite a good display as all flowering growth will be young, vigorous and productive.

    As always, fertilize if you have some specific indications of a need for it such as a soil test report.
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Lilacs are almost impossible to kill, you'll get extensive sprouting from the cut stumps. But it will all be vegetative growth for several years, until it builds up enough of a crown of mature wood to start flowering again, which could be 5-7 years or so.
     
  7. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    We had Lilacs in our yard in Calgary where I grew up. They were so hardy (read hard to kill) that I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them sprouting from the foundations of the infill houses that replaced our house. I personally consider them a weed, and despite my best efforts they are growing in my yard north of Whitehorse. You'll be fine.
    Carl
     
  8. fredrickleonard

    fredrickleonard Member

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    Thank you so much for your reply - and words of encouragement.
    I really upset a certain person that I did it - and just feel awful.
    I have researched fertiziler for them, and will go ahead with that...
    and your hopeful words !!! thank you so much
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Again, you don't want to throw on fertilizer just to see what happens. Maybe they don't need it all, maybe they need a different forumulation. Try King County Cooperative Extension for help with soil sampling and testing.
     

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