The Q&A Archives: Planting New Lilacs

Question: We are planting new lilac bushes in the grassy area of our front lawn near the fence. There are sprinklers along the fence about 3 feet away on either side of each bush, that spray the grass and area bushes will be planted. Our landscapers (HOA, with no knowledge)think the bushes need their own irrigation. (they underwater flower beds and leave the grownd hard) The grass is at least watered regularly. Trees in our yard do not have their own irrigation. The landscapers think the yard sprinklers will over water the bushes. My research states the bushes do need a lot of regular watering. Do you agree the existing irrigation is what the bushes actually need?

Answer: Lilacs need well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil, and regular water during the spring and early summer months. It's best to apply water slowly, applying about one-inch per week and allowing it to percolate down and wet the entire rootmass. Withholding water during late summer and early fall will force the plants into dormancy which will result in bigger flowers the following year. In general terms, trees and shrubs do best with deep soakings rather than frequent light waterings. If your sprinkler system delivers a deep soaking to your lawn, your lilacs should be happy. Just make sure the soil drains quickly and you'll avoid root rot problems with your lilacs.

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