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lilac hedge

I inherited a 40yr old (?) Lilac boundary hedge with my house it still flowers well but is too tall and too wide with suckers invading everywhere even the lawn. I'd like to keep it if it can be made more manageable/contained. The mother trees are over a foot wide. I tried to 'prune 1/3' of the tallest growth last year and have cut the suckers back quite severely this year, over a foot back towards the original growth but I'm not sure how to go forwad as cutting the suckers just made me aware of how thick the trunks are. It's not really a hedge bit a number of trees surrounded by a miriad of suckers. Is the any way of containing it, it's so established I doubt I could dig it out to start again even if I wanted to. Frankly I'm totally daunted.


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Take it in small steps elizabeth, one tree at a time. Lilac can take a hard prune, you lose flowers for one year but a hard prune will be of benefit with better shape and better flowering the year after next. Containing it isn't an option, the only solution is hard pruning and repeated removal of the suckers.  

  • Thank you for you advice. Could you tell me what I should do with the foot wide trunks? One web site said cut them out with a saw but I'm not sure about that myself as it would just leave the suckers wouldn't it? How far back should these be cut?

    Thank you for your help it is greatly appreciated.
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