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Re: smoke tree/coppicing/lilacs

Thanks, Kitty. I doubt she'll want to dig it up and move it, so I'm going to
suggest getting a new one and siting it better. I planted a Syringa x
Prestoniae "Donald Wyman" in a nice sunny spot two springs ago, having read
that deer don't eat lilacs. Wrong! These marauders eat everything. Now that
the snow is almost all gone and the yard isn't completely under water, I got
out and had a look around today. The irises are eaten down to the ground; I
hope they got good and sick from it.

The daffodils have begun to poke above ground and there are hints of new
foliage on the Alchemilla mollis and the lamiastrum. My astilbes and
lysimachia are in a drainage swale and are still underwater. What would you
say their chances are?

I have been seeing long strings of migrating geese this past week and this
morning, there was a flock of maybe 200 birds passing overhead. They
appeared all white except for the wing tips, which were black. I haven't
seen any groups this large before, or similarly colored, so I suspect they
were Snow geese. Spring at last!


> Maria,
> 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
> sun.
> 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.
> Kitty
>> 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?
>> Maria
>>> 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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