The Q&A Archives: Japanese lilac tree

Question: What is the best soil type and subsequent fertilizer for a Japanese lilac tree? We live in Zone 4 and we just want to make sure the new tree we planted will do ok. Do they like acid or basic soil? What type of fertilizer and when should we apply?

Answer: Syringa reticulata (Japanese Tree Lilac) is adaptable to a wide range of soils and exposures. It can be used as a patio tree, lawn specimen (especially if allowed to branch to the ground) or even as a small street tree. Cold-hardy, this is a tree that can add a refreshing dimension to the home landscape.

It is a shrub of medium size and, as an added bonus, this award winner holds its floral display after most of the other shrub-type lilacs have faded. The creamy white flowers don't have the same sweet fragrance of the traditional common varieties, but the later bloom time provides a nice way to extend the flowering season.

Japanese Tree Lilac does not require regular feeding, but if the growth is poor or the leaves are yellowish, you can fertilize with a low nitrogen, high phosphorus fertilizer such as a 5-10-10 in early summer, in amounts as indicated on the fertilizer package.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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