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RE: smoke tree/coppicing

Kitty, I think that is a much better approach because of the "shade" issue.
"Happy" lilacs grow quickly into a shrub that is a beauty to behold.
Another problem with too much shade is powdery mildew.  I found that out the
hard way.  I thought my little shrub which got afternoon sun was doing
"o.k." until powdery mildew ruined its appearance.  I hadn't realized that a
tree that was cut way back when the house was built had recovered all of its
old growth plus some giving the lilac much too much shade.  They are
definitely sun lovers!



-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Kitty Morrissy
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2003 12:40 PM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: Re: [CHAT] smoke tree/coppicing

Generally you could rejuvenate an old lilac in any of the ways discussed. 
However, from your description of it's location, I don't think any of the
techniques would yield a very nice shrub.  The problem is " several trees
have grown up around it."  If you cut it back all the way, it won't get any
sun, hence little or spindly growth.  If you only cut a third or so, it's
still only going to have growth and flowers at the top where it gets some

Thirteen years ago a neighbor said he was planning to take out his old
lilacs and told me I could have them when he got around to it.  Not much
more was said; then one day in August I came home and found all these huge
stumps, cut back to about 2 feet laying in my yard.  Fortunately, I'd
already prepared the area, so I set about installing them, but didn't have
a lot of hope.  Every one of them bounced back and within 2 years I was
getting blooms.

So my suggestion would be to dig it out from under the trees and reposition
it.  If that's just too much work, check the base for new shoots, dig them
out and start a new shrub or two.


> [Original Message]
> From: Maria Olshin <marolsh@ptd.net>
> To: <gardenchat@hort.net>
> Date: 3/23/2003 10:28:48 AM
> Subject: Re: [CHAT] smoke tree/coppicing
> My friend's lilac has been in the ground for 27 years and not pruned in
> that time. It's on the property line and several trees have grown up
> it. Now it's a spindly 15 feet tall and blooms only at the very top. How
> severely can it be cut back? If cut down to less than a foot, is it likely
> to croak?
> Maria
> > 
> > Hmmm- this is very interesting.  I am under the impression (perhaps
> > that coppicing means cutting nearly to the ground.  Is this correct?
> > 
> > The lilacs we had in New York were severly pruned every year (just after
> > blooming I think)- essentially they were cut back by half (at least) and
> > they regrew and bloomed again the following spring- never missed a year.
> > They were on an east facing wall and would get just loaded with flowers.
> > 
> > Theresa
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Ceres,
> > You're right, I should have explained further.  Coppicing lilacs is done
> > only when a specimen requires extreme rejuvenation - plants that have
> > neglected for decades.  You do lose the next years bloom, but it is a
> > worthwhile method in some cases.  The reason it is suggested in such
> > is that it won't kill the lilac and the eventual results are very good
> > compared to the neglected plant.
> > 
> > Kitty
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >> In a message dated 3/21/03 8:54:09 PM, kmrsy@earthlink.net writes:
> >> 
> >>> BTW, Syringa - LILACS! - are also suggested as good subjects for
> > coppicing.
> >> Kitty, if you severely prune an entire lilac in the spring or
> >> after blooming I think you would not have bloom the next year.  I think
> > it is
> >> best to selectively prune cutting out the oldest wood to the ground.
> > This
> >> will keep the lilac in bloom and promote new growth to maintain a
> > desirable
> >> full plant.
> >> Some of the books list other trees/shrubs that this is applicable but
> >> which die to the ground each winter for northern gardeners.  Examples
> > would
> >> be Lespedeza, Sambucus & buddelei.  Nature does the
> >> stooling/stumpping/coppicing for us.
> >> Ceres
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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