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Lilac Bush With Very Little Leaves?

June 3, 2021

Why does my lilac tree only have leaves near the end of branches. Thanks


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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 425 Answers
June 3, 20211 found this helpful
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Lilacs produce new leaves and the clusters of flowers on the newest wood...the outer ends of the branches. Unless you are planning on collecting seeds to try to grow new lilac bushes, you can cut off the spent flower clusters after they are done blooming. It won't really hurt the bush to leave them, but cutting them off does two things: it looks nicer without the dead seed pods on there, and it helps the bush to put more energy into growing new branches and flowers next year, instead of trying to maintain growth to the seeds.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
February 9, 2006

Question:

I bought my lilac bush last fall. It was approximately 2-3 feet tall and loaded with leaves. This season, it now has blooms but very little leaves. Most of the branches appear dry and dead. What can I do?

Torrie

Answer:

Torrie,

Without seeing your lilacs or analyzing your soil, it's difficult to know what the problem is. It sounds like it's either suffering from disease or isn't getting the proper nutrients. In any event, it won't continue to come back without good foliage.

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My advice would be to start by a process of elimination:

  • Is the plant getting everything it needs? It should be growing in full sun in soil that has adequate moisture and drainage.
  • The soil should contain a good balance of nutrients (nothing in excess or severely lacking) and have a fairly neutral pH.
  • Examine the bush for insects (aphids, scale, weevils, borers), and if necessary consult with a horticulturist for a proper diagnosis.
  • For now, remove the flowers immediately after they bloom so the plant's energy isn't wasted on producing seeds and cut down the dead branches and see if you can get some new sprouts from the roots.

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By ryan svoboda (Guest Post)
May 10, 20040 found this helpful

can lilac bushes grow brown leaves?

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