Lilac is a widely cultivated shrub that belongs to the olive plant family. Lilacs are quite popular for their ability to produce flowers that can help to add awesome and lovely scents to the air that we breathe in around us.
Lilacs can grow for so many years and they are an exotic plant to have around you in all seasons and periods of the year because they bloom quite well and can add color to your home whenever they are in seasons.
As much as lilacs are popular among people, there is also a need to always take good care of these plants if you want them to stay active and well-coordinated in the spots where they are planted.
There are several ways through which we can make sure that lilacs are well managed but today we will discuss the tips that you can employ when pruning or when you desire to prune your lilac plant to make them as presentable as possible.
Pruning lilacs, just like or every other plant, might require specific skills and other materials which are needed to manage them well.
Lilacs do flower or bloom during specific seasons and time of the year and they are quite enjoyable when you have them around you.
However, as the plants begin to mature and grow older they tend to reach heights that might make it impossible for you to enjoy the scents that they produce; therefore, there is a need for you to practice regular pruning of these lovely plants.
Pruning is a necessity to keep your plant in the desired shape and to ensure that the plant attains the desired growth and produces relatively well at all times.
Want to know how to prune your lilacs without damaging it? Then this is the right place for you to be – make sure to read further.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why is Pruning of Lilacs essential?
- 2 When is the right time to prune Lilacs?
- 3 Materials needed to carry out Pruning of Lilacs
- 4 Tips for Pruning Lilacs
- 5 Regular maintenance or Annual pruning
- 6 Rejuvenation pruning
- 7 Conclusion
Why is Pruning of Lilacs essential?
As much as I won’t want to bore you, it is also very important that I make sure that you understand why pruning is necessary and paramount.
Leaving plants to grow without any care whatsoever will but you and the plant at a disadvantage in specific ways. Below are some of the reasons why you should prune your lilac plants.
Over-all branch flowering:
In most cases, when flowers are allowed to grow on their own and spread, they tend to only flower only on the tops of the uppermost branches. Regular pruning of the branches will ensure that all the parts of the branches flowers.
When plants are not pruned or controlled in height, they tend to overgrow and for lilacs, they can reach a height of about 15 to 20 feet.
This makes it even much difficult to enjoy the fragrance produced by this plant and you don’t want that if they are grown for relaxation.
It is no doubt that lilacs will bloom at all times and will always perform well as long as they are grown under conditions that are suitable for them.
However, it is known that lilacs that have a balance of new shoots and older stems bloom the best. If you want your lilac tree/shrub to bloom to its full potential then you should consider pruning them, not just once but on a regular basis.
When is the right time to prune Lilacs?
Before going into the process involved in pruning lilacs, you might want to know the right and the perfect time to get it all done. Generally, lilac plants do not require pruning until they reach a height of about six to eight feet.
However, the best time to carry out pruning is after the flowering has stopped or just after its flowering season and this will give the new shoots plenty of times to develop for the next blooming season.
The lilac plant’s stem should be pruned when it reaches a thickness that is more than two inches in diameter.
You must make sure that the lilac plant is pruned as early as possible so that it can produce new shoots which develop better energy to develop and bloom more. Make sure that the plant is not pruned late so that the developing buds do not get damaged.
Ensure that the pruning is carried out annually and regularly and a lilac plant reaching a height of 8 feet will flower well and throughout its branches.
Materials needed to carry out Pruning of Lilacs
There are specific materials and implements that are needed for carrying out the pruning operations and they will be mentioned below. Make sure to have these materials around for easy and convenient pruning operation. They include:
They have short handles and are perfect for making cuts on plants where your hand can easily and conveniently reach.
These are long-handled shears that are perfect for cutting at a height where your hand can’t reach without stretching.
This is needed when you want to cut hard stems that have overgrown. They can be used for operations such as cutting back.
A type of ladder with two pairs of legs which are connected at the top. This type of ladder can always stand by itself without any need for support.
Tips for Pruning Lilacs
In the next part of this article, we will take you through the tips that are needed for pruning lilacs with ease. Note, if you have a plant that has been left to grow for too long without maintenance, there might be a need to do something different from the regular maintenance that will be discussed here. If you have an old lilac plant, don’t worry as we will make sure to touch the rejuvenation of lilac plants.
Regular maintenance or Annual pruning
This involves the annual pruning of the plant to enhance the vitality of the plant. Through this type of pruning, you aim at having a lilac bush that has between eight to twelve stems of various ages that are not up to two inches in thickness. Below are tips to properly prune your plant:
Prune dead or diseased stems:
If you have a stem on the plant that is dead you must always make sure to remove them before starting anything on the plant.
Also, the presence of plants stem that has a twiggy growth or a part with a pencil-thin sucker must be cut down at once.
This will ensure that the plant will be able to direct all of its energy towards beneficial growth. This can be done with a pruner or lopper.
Remove stems thicker than two inches in diameter:
When pruning, you should look for stems that are more than two inches in diameter and remove from the base. This will ensure that the lilac tree does not grow too tall and cumbersome.
When getting rid of thick stems, make sure not to cut off just the top of the stems as this can make the plant look odd and unnatural after growing back. You can employ the use of saw in cases where the stem is very thick.
Prune the new stems to an outward-facing bud:
You should make sure that the stems remaining on the plant are pruned to face outward as this will ensure that they branch more and will become even denser than it was before.
Avoid heavy pruning:
Make sure that you do not prune too much as this can affect the productivity of the plant. As a rule of thumb, make sure that you do not prune more than 1/3 of the total plant’s growth.
This type of pruning is basically carried out on old lilac plants. In some cases, old lilac plants can have stems that are not thicker than that of small trees and they do flower on the topmost part of the stem.
In subsequent paragraphs, we will take you through the method to employ when you desire to rejuvenate your lilac tree.
The one-third pruning rule:
This is one of the methods that can be employed when you desire to prune an old lilac plant. You should look for the oldest branches on your lilac tree and prune out one-third of these stems.
This should be carried out for three consecutive years and you should always engage in this during early spring for the best outcome.
After three years, the plant will be filled with new shoots that can produce flowers on the whole stems and this can then be followed by regular pruning.
This is done by reducing the plant to a height of about six to eight inches above the ground surface early in spring.
When it is the growing season, this plant will start to develop new shoots and you should allow them to grow throughout the summer.
In spring, you can then begin to prune the plant, leaving the healthy stems while paying attention to the shape and structure of the plant.
You should then cut back the remaining stem to above the bud to enhance branching. You can then go ahead with your regular lilac pruning after this.
Pruning your plant will give your plant the required structure while keeping the healthy stems that will make the best environmental companion for you during their blooming seasons. Always pay attention to the plant.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !