Ask a Question forum→Sick lilac?

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Minnesota
Minnesotagarden
Jun 2, 2018 4:23 PM CST
I'm have 3 lilacs in a row, last year and especially this year, the oldest lilac is really struggling with leaves. It's only older than the other 2 by 1 and 3 years but you can see the difference in the photos. Its about 7 years old and planted in full sun. It was sitting next to a broken gutter for about 3 years, maybe there's a connection? Blooms are fine but all the leaves are almost gone. I tried to remove 2 large limbs last year which did nothing, and 1 this year, with very little regrowth. Should I give it hard pruning? I really need this shrub for privacy.
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Minnesotagarden/cb3419
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Minnesotagarden/882b31

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 2, 2018 9:27 PM CST
Welcome!

That broken rain gutter may have lead to root rot. If so, there's really nothing you can do to save it.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jun 3, 2018 5:59 AM CST
Lilacs need to be pruned on a regular basis. They produce new stems every year. The older stems or canes need to be pruned out. The older trunks or stems do not bloom as they should.
When the lilac stems are younger, they are more vigorous, and they bloom reliably.
This is so important for the overall health of the plants that many people don't bother!
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Minnesota
Minnesotagarden
Jun 3, 2018 7:45 AM CST
I hope I'm responding the correct way. Thank you for your replies. Root rot.. I was afraid of something like that but I was hoping for maybe like nutrients being washed out of the soil, not even sure if that's a thing. This was the first shrub I've ever planted and it gave me a love of gardening, so I'm a little attached to him. I tend to them over the years with pruning because I know how ugly they get when they are left to run free. In case it's not root rot, can I add to the soil? I'd like to try to help it before I remove it. How do I go about that? Just remove the rocks and add compost? Assuming if it's worse next year just remove it? 😢 thank you for your help
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
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luis_pr
Jun 3, 2018 7:54 AM CST
I would remove the rocks and use organic mulch. The rocks retain heat, release it later in the night (which keeps the roots hot for longer periods) and thus can make the roots quite uncomfortable. In my area, temps can hit the 100s now and rock mulch would probably result in bunches of dead shrubs. Luckily, in MN the sun is not as bad in the summer.

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