Lilac leaves are cupping - Knowledgebase Question

Vancouver, Wa
Question by mgladden
May 14, 2009
We have a lilac that we transplanted from someone else's yard 2 years ago. It's not too very old - maybe 5-8 years old. It has been healthy, been producing flowers and growing lots of foliage. This year, though, the leaves began cupping. Not dying and curling up, though. No sign of bugs, soil is good, has plenty of sun. Approx. 10 ft away are some more lilacs who are doing fine. What's going on?

Answer from NGA
May 14, 2009


Environmental stresses can cause cupping of the leaves as can exposure to the broadleaf weed killer 2,4-D. If you used a broadleaf weed killer near the lilac the chemical can translocate into the soil and reach the roots. Overly wet weather can stress the roots, and cause the same symptoms. I'd take a wait and watch position. If future leaves grow normally, the problem was weather related. If they show the same symptoms, I would suspect herbicide damage or even the very early signs of lilac leaf blight (a fungal disease).

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