Monday, February 23, 2009

Lilac Mayhem and Rejuvenation

Our tiny old house came with a HUGE OVERGROWN LILAC BUSH. Two beloved pet ratties and a young robin are buried under this bush.

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It has seven or eight thick old trunks that have been chopped off about 3 to 4 feet up, giving it the appearance of a bundle of wood. I have only seen one flower on it in the four springs we have been here. After much pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth (and research), I decided to "start over" with the lilac. This time of year is perfect for lilac rejuvenation:

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Here is the lilac bush now (with a visitor who loves the camera and wouldn't stay away). I removed ALL of the thick, old stems with a sharp pruning saw. This is NOT recommended if you would like lilac blooms anytime in the next three years, as it takes three years for a stem to produce flowers. If your lilac is in better health/structure than mine, I would recommend taking off 1/3 of the branches each year right after blooming instead of this drastic haircut.

Hopefully, my lilac bush will become a contributing member of our backyard garden now. Lilacs can be beautiful bushes!

10 comments:

dynochick (Jan) said...

We had 7 or 8 huge overgrown lilac bushes when we purchased our home. R cut them down to about 5 inches with a chainsaw. In 3 years they were full, blooming, and almost 10 ft tall.

I love lilacs.

Robj98168 said...

My experience with my damn lilac is when you cut it back, It will grow back bigger than ever, so I doubt you will have any problems with yours.

Marilyn said...

I discovered lilac shoots in the side yard that had been mowed down for years by the PO. I let them grow and now have a forest of 20' tall white lilacs.

Why S? said...

3 years? We'll be patiently waiting for the update.

Jayne said...

I love lilacs. My mom has a row of them at the back of her property and I'm hoping to plant some shoots at my own house.

goddessof4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goddessof4 said...

I love lilacs!!! They smell great!!!

Molly said...

I love lilacs! They smell like spring, which I wish would hurry up and get here.

StuccoHouse said...

I'm on the third year of removing 33% of my lilac branches. The first year they protested, the second year they bloomed lightly. I think this year they are in the groove and should bloom ok. Good luck w/ yours!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the lilac bush photos. I too have a house with a lilac bush the PO neglected. The THICK stalks made me think it was a tree! so i guess i will cut 1/3 of the thick stuff down after it done blooming. Thanks again!

Sincerely,
1893 colonial south of Boston :)