Ask a Question forum: Reblooming lilac

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Name: Susie VanEmburgh
Southern New Jersey
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SusieVanEmburgh
May 1, 2016 9:12 AM CST
I planted a reblooming lilac early last fall and planted it with a good fertilizer. I
fertilized it again this Spring, but still no signs of new leaves even though everything else is showing signs of new growth. I followed all the directions on the package of Dr. Earth fertilizer. We've had plenty of rain. What's wrong?
Susie
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
May 1, 2016 9:47 AM CST
Susie, first determine if it's still alive or if it died over the winter. Scrape a little bit of bark away with your thumbnail, low down on a big stem. If there is green under there, it is still alive and you just need to wait. If it is dry and brown and the stems are brittle, it's deceased.

Just a word about planting in the fall, not really necessary or a good idea to fertilize a deciduous plant when it is going dormant for winter. The fertilizer can actually burn the roots because it's not being used up by the plant to grow any leaves.

You might also want to check the drainage situation in the spot where you planted the bush. If water was/is sitting around the plant, the roots will rot. If the plant is dead and you want to plant another in that same place, amend the soil generously enough so as to raise the soil level a few inches, then plant on top of a little mound. Mulch around the plant and make sure it doesn't dry out but this way at least it won't drown.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
May 1, 2016 9:59 AM CST
I agree

Plant in the spring to give it a chance to establish before winter comes. You don't say what zone you are in but I don't plant anything after about August 1.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 1, 2016 12:38 PM CST
I had pretty good luck buying bargain plants in the fall for my daughter's and my son's gardens in Salt Lake. The nurseries there shut down in October, and they mark all the big stuff 40% off sometimes. So being as we were on a budget (and I was paying) we took a chance the first year buying shrubs, perennials and even got apple trees from Home Depot for $14 each, marked down from $59. They all lived. A few of the daylilies I planted in the fall didn't make it but that was a drainage problem with the heavy clay soil there, before we amended with 25 pickup truckloads of compost.

But we didn't ever fertilize any of them until growth started up in spring. I also had to remind them to water a little bit when the weather was dry for long stretches in the fall, after the irrigation was turned off. Probably a few dozen watering cans were carried around that garden the first winter. But, since then, I've fall planted a bunch more stuff and it's all survived. It's when I lose my mind and plant stuff in June or July there that I have losses. Unless I'm staying for weeks, and can water new plants every day, plus make sure they're shaded they just dry up. (my kids are occupied with babies and toddlers now, so asking them to check watering of plants is useless)
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Susie VanEmburgh
Southern New Jersey
Meet you in the garden!
SusieVanEmburgh
May 1, 2016 12:51 PM CST
I thank all of you so much for your quick replies! I did check the plant, and it is still alive because the branches are soft and bendable. I scratched off a little bark to make sure it was green underneath. I guess I'm just impatient. (Maybe I should buy some of those, ha ha) My pansies are blooming like crazy in the front yard, but I just wish that lilac would soon bloom so I could see what it looks like. Patience Susie, patience. ;- ) I just love lilacs and I'm hoping that the reblooming kind are the same as the regular ones. Does anyone know? Oh, by the way, I live in southern NJ. I think that is zone 5??? Thank You!
Susie

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