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RE: smoke tree/coppicing

A neighbor of mine used to prune his lilacs in the winter after all the buds
had formed and then complained that the darned thing never bloomed! LOL!!!
He was shocked when I told him to prune it AFTER the blooms in the spring!

As for pruning a HUGE, obviously mature lilac back that severely, I too,
would be concerned as to its come-back.  However, Mother's almond bush got
chopped down by some workmen one year and the little scraggly twig I had of
the same plant got broken by someone another year and both of them came back
MUCH bigger and better than they had been before.  Do you think trimming the
lilac back by half one year and by half again the next year might work?
Wouldn't you need to leave some buds left on the stems you prune off?  I
don't know, but I know someone here will have an answer for both of us!



-----Original Message-----
From: owner-gardenchat@hort.net [mailto:owner-gardenchat@hort.net] On Behalf
Of Maria Olshin
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2003 10:29 AM
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Subject: Re: [CHAT] smoke tree/coppicing

My friend's lilac has been in the ground for 27 years and not pruned in all
that time. It's on the property line and several trees have grown up around
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?


> Hmmm- this is very interesting.  I am under the impression (perhaps wrong)
> 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 been
> 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 cases
> 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 immediately
>> 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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