Old Neglected Lilac Bush


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I have an old lilac bush in my back yard. I believe it's very old but it's not very big. When I moved into my house about 2 and half years ago, I didn't know what this bush was and the back yard was so overgrown and neglected that I cut everything back. When I realized that this was a lilac I was so excited because I love how beautiful and fragrant they are! I remember huge lilac bushes that were almost the size of trees back in my neighborhood growing up.

Last year, they didn't flower and I assume that it was because it was all new growth. I fertilized it with miracle grow religiously and the foliage really came back on what I thought were dead branches. I'm hoping that this year it flowers.

Is there anything I can do to ensure that I get those big fragrant blooms I've been hoping for?
 
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The best time to prune Lilac is right after it has finished blooming, so if it was pruned at any other time it might take a little while to recover. Hopefully it should flower this year, but let us know how it goes!
 
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I'm guessing Syringa vulgaris and not Ceanothus? I have a nice Ceanothus on the side of my yard, but don't know much about Syringa vulgaris. I like the looks of the Syringa vulgaris, I might have to check them out, looks like a nice habitat plant?
 
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I'm guessing Syringa vulgaris and not Ceanothus? I have a nice Ceanothus on the side of my yard, but don't know much about Syringa vulgaris. I like the looks of the Syringa vulgaris, I might have to check them out, looks like a nice habitat plant?

Correct. I do believe this is a common lilac.
 
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first off what type of Lilac bush is it? I happen to have three types on my property. and one of which will not get large, but the pungent smell of the flowers is overwhelming and loaded each spring. the leaves a precious heart shape. Then there is a mid size one, gets about 6 foot. and a slightly different looking flower, but also lovely smelling, blooms later than the shorter one. And then the Lilac Tree. blooms last, in June. And I don't fertilize them or prune them.
 
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It could be that your Lilac has stopped flowering because of age Bethany. They are not as long lived as other mature shrubs or trees.
 
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It could be that your Lilac has stopped flowering because of age Bethany. They are not as long lived as other mature shrubs or trees.

My common lilac bush is all most 90 years old it was planted by the first owners of the house in the mid 20s, I don't do much do it I just clean out the dead come spring and top it every other year or it get to tall.
 
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I have lilacs that have been in the yard for decades. There are a few things I notice that make the lilacs not flower. In my region because we are Northern, Spring weather can really knock out the Lilacs if we get a warm spell and they bud to soon, and a bitter cold snap follows. Also not pruning can cause a decrease in the amount of lilacs, you can remove 1/3 of the growth every year after the bloom. Something I do in the spring that seems to help- I prune out any dead areas right as the leaves start. Deadwood attracts insects and in the past I had mildew problems on the leaves. Make sure you clear all the dead debris and droppings on the ground.

Overall Lilacs are very hardy and pretty indestructible, I lost one of my best and oldest Lilacs in a huge snowfall that actually bent the branches flat to the ground. The damage was to much for such an older Lilac. It did not recover, so if you live in a high snow area like I do what I suggest is to tie the branches before winter, if the snow is sever shake it off before they bend.
 
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Water the plant regularly and also spray with magnesium sulphate foliar which will stimulate photosynthesis. It is always good to apply well rotten manure and fertilizer to stimulate fast growth. Prune off the unhealthy branches so that the remaining healthy ones will have a chance to grow vigorously.
 
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Just looked at my lilac tree in my garden. It had been relocated from another spot. In its first spot a hug limb from another tree fell on it and split the thing in half down it's forked trunk. I wrapped the trunk together with tree gauze and then transplanted it to the present location. It now been there about 3 years, each year it gives me a couple flowers in June. But the best part---today I noticed the split part in the truck has self mended. Yes there is a ridge scar but its all together by itself. will remove the tree gauze.
 
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I too have a lilac bush in my yard and have been thinking of thinning it out as it is full of watersprouts/suckered and some dead. Some answers to Bethany post said trim right after blossoms are done. Would now be O.K., and would a picture help. Thanks, Rod.
 
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Some interesting comments regarding Lilac on this feed. Here in the U K we prune lilac after flower usually removing thick old wood, the plant then sends up new shoots which sometimes take a couple of years to mature and flower vigorously, usually a few flowers the first spring after pruning. If pruned at any other time, the plant will become stressed and send out many green vigorous shoots but may not flower properly until fully recovered, watering with rainwater and mulching with organic compost in the fall is to be recommended
 

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