The Q&A Archives: Lilac tree problems

Question: Leaves are turning brown curling up and falling off over entire branches. Consulted 2 experts. One says it's not fungus and not to worry--branch shows signs of life; could be too little or too much water. Another expert is stumped. What do you think?

Answer: I'm at a disadvantage here, because I cannot examine the plant or the leaves. Bacterial blight is the most common problem with lilacs, followed by fungal diseases and Phytophthora root rot. Any of these can cause the symptoms you describe, but there are other signs, as well. For a positive diagnosis take samples of the affected leaves and stems to your local cooperative extension office. If they can't diagnosis it on the spot they will send it to the plant pathology department. Contact: Illinois Cooperative Extension, Cook County Unit, Headquarters Office, 4801 Southwick Drive, Suite 100, Matteson, IL 60443. Phone: 708-481-0111

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