Pruning: Still not sure about deadheading lilac

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Idontgetit, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. Idontgetit

    Idontgetit Member

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    Location:
    East Vancouver Canada
    Having read the various posts on this topic i'm still not confident on how to deadhead my lilac.

    Does anyone have a clear illustration showing how to avoid the new buds? I would hate to miss a year of blooms.

    Last year I left the dead blooms alone and got a good flowering this year but the stems holding the blooms were very thin and brittle. If I bring a spray into the house for decoration they die almost immediately. Would hard pruning help this or is it just the type of lilac? We didn't have this problem with the bush we had in another garden.
     
  2. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    My experience indicates one should leave the dead blooms alone. It is too easy to cut off the source of next years blooms. Also I am of the opinion that lilacs bloom fully every other year.
     
  3. franflower

    franflower Member

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    Location:
    Burnaby, BC, Canada
    My neighbours have one that intrudes my deck. Neither of us have ever pruned it, other than to cut it back, and it was spectacular this year. We did not deadhead it, it did it's own thing and it was beautiful.
     
  4. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    deadheading lilacs isn't necessary and doesn't cause the bush to rebloom (as is the case with some other plants). deadheading could actually cause you to cut away next years blooms (as durgan mentioned).

    i just leave them be.
     
  5. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    I do think lilacs benefit from pruning, after a certain age. Perhaps it is a matter of taste. I find that the plants become unsightly and congested and sort of lumpy-looking after a while. Pruning out individual branches -- all the way down to the point where they emerge from the main trunk -- seems to open up the tree to light and air, and makes for a more attractive specimen.

    I've seen a garden that was originally designed by Beatrix Farrand nearly 100 years ago, and it has two lilacs that reportedly date back to the original plantings. They've been beautifully cared for, and this has resulted in a few main branches being preserved while the others are systematically cleared away. The resulting (huge) plants have an open shape with a good deal of old wood exposed. But they bloom beautifully.

    The question of deadheading is a separate issue. I've never seen anyone doing this, and it would become difficult with a large specimen. But perhaps it does have an effect on next year's blooming. It does seem to be the case that many lilacs don't bloom equally well every year.
     

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