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?
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.
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.