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Lye for Lilacs?

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Question:

How can I get 3-year-old lilacs to bloom next spring? I have heard "work Lye in around them" have any of you heard the same?

Hardiness Zone: 7b

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Paula

Answer:

Paula,

I have never heard of using lye (sodium hydroxide) to get lilacs to bloom. Sodium hydroxide is extremely alkaline and is usually used to neutralize acids. Sodium hydroxides and potassium hydroxides are sometimes used in various hydroponic pH adjusters. Before adding anything to your soil to change the pH, be sure to have it tested first or you could find yourself worse off than when you started. Try to be patient. Your lilac bush is very young. Young lilacs are often coaxed into blooming to sell better at nurseries. Once planted, they often take a break for several years to focus on establishing themselves before blooming again. As long as your lilacs are at least 6 full hours of sun per day, plenty of water and you don't overdo it on the nitrogen fertilizer or prune them improperly, they should bloom for you after taking a few years to become firmly established. If after that they don't bloom, check to see that they aren't planted too deep. If not, consider plunging a sharp spade down into the soil on two sides of the plant, about a foot out from the trunk. Hopefully, that will give them the jolt they need to produce buds for the following year.

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Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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