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Lilac leaf issues

Hi to all.
Hope someone can let me know just what is wrong with the leaves on this small Lilac plant. I purchased this as a Lilac (Syringa) x chinensis Saugeana, 9cm plant, during late summer 2020. Repotted it early spring, and it put on normal growth for the next few months. It was probably early June when I noticed small brown spots appearing on one or two leaves. Not expecting too much of an issue, I just removed the problem leaves. However within a few weeks, practically all leaves were showing the same brown spots, and a few leaves were beginning to turn brown completely
So I decided to cut back the plant entirely. It only had 2 main branches at this stage so I cut back to about 8 to 10 inches.This I did early July. I did think that I was probably cutting too low, but within a few weeks, new growth appeared and the Lilac was like a new plant
All good healthy growth on multiple branches and I thought problem solved. But fast forward to start of September and once again, the brown spots have returned. And it is quickly spreading to several leaves once again
No other plants that I have growing have been affected. So I am wondering if this is an issue particular to Lilacs, and should I just bin this plant.
ps.  The pics you see are the current growth and leaf problems.



  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Is it possible that when you water it the leaves are being splashed? Have you checked for slugs and bugs, especially at night? It looks very healthy to me, I wouldn't remove the leaves.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,050
    I think it looks fine too. Most plants don't stay perfect all the time. As @Posy says, possibly it's been splashed with water and then got strong sun, or something's had a little nibble on it.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    It looks like early leaf miner damage and not something that will have lasting damage to your new shrub. The most important thing is to keep it moist and it should be fine. You can cut them out, but once you have it, most likely it's affected many other leaves. They lose their leaves so hopefully next year it will not happen.
  • OK, thanks everyone for your quick response.
    This plant is exposed to the rain and sun just like any other I have growing. So I dont see why it could be all of a sudden affected by water. Most plants will have issues, but I wouldnt classify this as very healthy
    I am more persuaded by Borderlines diagnosis. My concern was that the issue was not solved by my initial severe pruning, as the symptons have returned.
    I was also unsure as to whether this would spread beyond the Lilac plant. So for this year I will let nature do its thing, and hope its a healthier plant in 2022.
    I have posted a few more images, as perhaps the others were not the best quality
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    The extra photos help. I still think it is leaf miner damage, and common on Lilacs. As the damage takes over the leaf, they tend to curl/fold. Leaf miners do not move from one plant to the next. There are specific ones to certain plants/shrubs. Because your shrubs are young, the damage looks glaring, but even mature shrubs have similar damage from time to time. Because they are deciduous, hopefully next year they will be fine. 
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    The reason I asked about watering is that is leaves are splashed in strong sunlight they can 'burn', producing marks very like those in your first pictures. However, the second lot of pictures suggest a different cause. I am not familiar with leaf miner damage to lilac so I cannot comment.
  • Thanks again Borderline and Posy, for your posts. I think we can probably go with the leaf miner damage, as the culprit. And as you say, perhaps next year it will be fine.
    I will do a little research on this issue, and try to keep ahead of any problems in 2022
    So, once again thanks for your comments and suggestions. Much appreciated.. Bye for now
  • borgadrborgadr Posts: 703
    I can't help you with a diagnosis, but if it's any consolation I also have a potted Syringa lilac that I bought earlier this year (different cultivar - it's a 'flowerfesta'), and it has the exact same thing. I''m hoping it will shrug it off and grow back stronger next year after settling into its new pot and position. 
  • LynLyn Posts: 23,048
    I wonder what type of compost you have  planted them in, they prefer alkaline.
    I have one in the ground I have to water lime in from time to time,  completely the wrong plant for my garden, but I like them.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • borgadrborgadr Posts: 703
    I didn't know that @Lyn , I planted in JI3 with some grit and a little MPC mixed in to open it out a bit. Would wood ash from the log burner help with the pH?
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