Storm Katie VS Lilac

Hello, new to this forum, have taken on a lovely new house, and therefore garden a few months ago. Still finding my way with lots of googling, but am now a bit lost. Following a very stormy weekend my lilac, which I want to keep, is now leaning over into the garden, and will now shade a bit of lawn I'm trying to grow and a newly planted border. I knew it needed pruning, as is now about 8 foot tall, with lots of branches crossing over each other but of course hadn't got round to it yet! 

Its pretty damn heavy when I had a little test go at pulling it back upright..... should I stake it? Any advice on how to do this appreciated!! Or should I just prune back down? The worst leaning over branch is pretty thick and looks old in comparison to other parts of the bush.

Thanks in anticipation of your advice!! 

Posts

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    If it's really bad country girl it'll take a hard prune. Take out the old wood first. You'll lose flowers but often it's worth it to regain control.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,039

    If the storm has broken some of the roots, it will be unlikely to ever re-establish itself solidly in the future even if you stake it, unfortunately.  If you decide to do that, I would completely remove the old branch you mention.  Any chance of uploading a photo of the tree in it's present condition?  That would help us in suggesting a course of action.

    Edit: just saw Dave's post - yes, they can take a heavy pruning which I would also advise but do be aware that lilacs can produce a lot of suckers after a hard prune.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for the quick replies, here are a couple of pics. So I wouldn't say its that bad, more of a 45 degree angle whereas it was almost upright before. What do you think?

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  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 8,039

    That doesn't look too bad at all! image  I would remove that old large branch and probably the smaller one to it's left which is also leaning over the lawn.  There seem to be plenty of younger shoots from the base which will replace it.  Give the rest a fairly hard prune and I think it'll be fine. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    I'd certainly take out the thickest branches and the reduce the height by half. Heel in the remainder, you can stake it but the damage has been done and reducing the height will probably suffice. After pruning, feed and mulch it. As spring progresses it should come to life and put on some nice new growth.

  • That's really helpful advice many thanks Dave and Bob!! Know what Ill be doing on my day off this week now! 

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