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Bare Lilac

We have a very old lilac which for the last 12 years has been smothered in purple flowers every May/June. This year the pigeons have completely eaten every leaf and flower leaving us with just a massive twig tree. This tree is probably 50-90 years old and I'm worried that it won't recover. Do I give it a hard prune back now (October 17) or wait till February? I know I won't see any flowers next year but would appreciate some advice on what to do.




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,076

    Lilac is deciduous ... If it's healthy it will grow new leaves in the spring. Give it a feed of fish, blood and bone in late  Feb/ early March and it should be fine. 

    On the other hand , if it's that old it's possible that it's not the pigeons that have stripped all the leaves ... There is a possibility that it's just dying ... Have you checked around the base for signs of rot?

    Last edited: 25 October 2017 06:47:48

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    However, if it is alive and healthy you will need to keep the pigeons off it so that new growth can come through. And that is a real challenge.

  • Thanks DovefromAbove - I'll check out the base for rot and give it a good feed next February.

    Good point Posy - I think the pigeons have eaten everything because my neighbour has stopped putting any bird feeders out. They were fed up with the mess but the pigeons never seem to want to hang out elsewhere. Sadly the neighbours are having a wonderful Maple tree cut down next week which will change the "borrowed" landscape completely.


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