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West Sussex, United Kingdom Gb

My 10 year old lilac tree has become rather ugly in form and ungainly looking. It blooms well but only at the top. What can I do to improve it please and when should I do it?



If its a Syringia vulgaris variety, you can carry out renovation in winter when its dormant by stooling. Reduce down to 1 or 2 metres, making sure the limbs you keep are well spaced, to create the new framework. In spring, new growth will emerge from the bare wood and can be selectively pruned to form a neat, well balanced shrub. You will not get any flowers for 2 or 3 years though, and you may find there's a big increase in sucker production, which should be removed.

19 Sep, 2016


Thank you Bamboo. It sounds a bit drastic, but I think needs must!

20 Sep, 2016


Yea, quite a big job, but its not uncommon for Lilacs to become ungainly and unattractive over time, so this, drastic though it is, should renew it.

20 Sep, 2016

How do I say thanks?

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