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Dividing Lilac

tom_plant19tom_plant19 Posts: 21

hi all,


i have this lovely old lilac in our new garden, was a big unkempt bush but I've recently given it a considerable prune as it is right on top of our back window and was blocking the light.

 I had planned to dig it out and move it to allow a patio to be built behind the house but with our clay soil this is proving quite a task! 

I noticed today that two of the main trunks are loose where they meet at the ground and appear to have a frizz of small roots under them - is it possible that I could separate these stems and replant them successfully or is that wishful thinking? 


If they will is there anything I can do to help them establish in the new position? 

If not should I just keep digging? 

Thank you 


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,295

    looks like time to let that one go. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,518

    You have a lot of top growth there and the roots needed to sustain that would have to be extensive. If you think of the roots as a mirror image of the plant you will get some idea of the system required to anchor and feed the plant. Sadly the roots illustrated in your photo are just too small.

    Its always a bit of a wrench when a plant has to make way for a patio but I think you might have to consider the possibility of getting a new lilac rather than trying to move this one to a different part of the garden.

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,457

    I'd buy a new one.  You can get lots of new varieties that are very pretty.

  • tom_plant19tom_plant19 Posts: 21

    I kinda figured it would not be possible with such small roots, but was worth checking all the same. While I'm renovating the whole overgrown garden I was hoping to keep some of the 'character' of the old garden by retaining original plants. Back to the drawing board for this one I guess! 

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