The Q&A Archives: Lilac Sucker Growth

Question: We have your Blue Skies Lilac, planted last summer. I want to know if I should prune out all the sucker growth or should I leave some growing so that when a large stem must be removed, the sucker growth will provide the new stems.

Any other hints would be appreciated. I still have your information/instruction tag which I have read.

Answer: Lilacs often produce suckers from the root system and they eventually grow into flower producing plants. You can cut the suckers off at soil level if you don't want your lilac to spread, or you can dig them up, cut the root attached to the main plant, and replant the sucker. Or, you can just allow the suckers to grow, and your lilac shrub will just keep getting wider and wider as it gets taller and taller. I have two lilacs. One I've trained into a tree shape by removing all but one main stem, and then rubbing out all growth up to about 5' on the trunk. The result is a spectacular canopy of green leaves and fragrant flower clusters. The other lilac is at the far end of my property and I've allowed it to sucker freely so it will form a beautiful hedge. Lilac's are quite happy to conform to your wishes. Hope this clarifies things for you!

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