The Q&A Archives: Lilac Bushes

Question: Last year I planted a MME. Lemoine Lilac, which grew and bloomed this spring. I fed the plant with miracle grow spikes and added new mulch a few weeks ago and just noticed that the leaves on one side of the plant have become blackened and dried. I haven't seen this happen before and it did not happen to my other lilac plant. What do you think is the problem? Could it be overfed? If so what can I do to reverse it as I don't want the plant to die.

Answer: Although somewhat unusual, there are several different disease problems such as bacterial blight and verticillium that could cause symptoms similar to what you described. I would suggest you work with your Penn State county extension to obtain a specific diagnosis of the problem and based on knowing that, decide how to treat it.

I don't think the spikes would have caused this, however in general perhaps a more suitable fertilizer would be a spring top dressing with compost and then a general purpose granular or slow release granular fertilizer spread over the surface to provide a more evenly distributed dose of nutrients. You could try that next year.

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