When people think of lilacs, the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderfully fragrant flowers. Follow these three requirements to ensure your lilacs are the rock stars of your spring garden:

Drainage / Soil

Lilacs are found growing naturally on hills and edges of mountain woodlands, so they prefer fertile, well-drained soil with a neutral (pH of 7) to alkaline soil. When in doubt, add garden lime. Flowers are produced from new shoots each year, so poor soil will lead to poor growth and in turn affect flower production. If your lilac is established in good soil, new growth will be at least 6″ long and about as thick as a pencil; this type of shoot will give you plump flower buds next spring. It is best to enrich the soil with good organic material instead of traditional fertilizers.

Sun Exposure

Lilacs require full sun, which means at least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight each day. Lilacs are known to be selfish and don’t like to compete with other tree roots that could be growing nearby, so give your plant plenty of space. If you’re not sure how much sun your location gets, we can help with that!

Thoughtful Pruning

Lilac pruning can be the most intimidating requirement for beginners, but it’s easier than you think! Remove any diseased or declining canes, suckers, and small branches each year; small growth and suckers are signs of poor growth. Prune out 1/4 to 1/3 of the oldest branches each year and be sure to leave a strong main stem. Deadhead immediately after flowering (before the fourth of July).

Troubleshooting tip: If new growth is longer than 18″ and thinner than a pencil, your lilac is most likely either planted in acidic soil, isn’t getting enough sun, or needs to be pruned.

By following these steps, we’re confident you’ll enjoy your lilacs for years to come!

Don’t you want your family and friends to look at your fruit trees this year and exclaim, “What a fruiting beauty?! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to share your bountiful harvest of peaches, apples, and plums with those you love? I am assuming your answer is a hardy “Yes!” Okay then, let’s make this happen. Fruit tree care begins now.
It would seem – from the outside – that there isn’t much going on right now with your fruit trees – or is there? Yes, actually, quite a bit! The root system is waking up and busily absorbing nutrients and water, the canopy is starting to push out green buds that will open into beautiful flowers, and unfortunately, diseases and insects may also be waking up on our fruit trees too.
First, you will want to grab a bottle of Bonide’s All Season Horticultural Oil. If using concentrate, mix at a rate of 3 tablespoons per gallon of water. Spray the entire fruit tree from the tips of branches to the bottom of the trunk. This will help eliminate any overwintering insects or insect eggs. I always recommend horticultural oil to wake up the garden. Spray when temperatures are above 40 degrees but before the buds open.
At the same time you are reaching for the horticultural oil, be sure to also pick up a bag of Espoma’s Tree-Tone. It’s the perfect, organic, slow-release fertilizer for your fruit trees. Don’t be shy. Most people under-fertilize. Remember, it takes a lot of energy for fruit trees to push out that delicious fruit.
Depending on the size of your fruit trees, you can use anywhere from 3 lbs./9 cups to 6 lbs./18 cups per inch of trunk diameter. We know it sounds like a lot, but don’t worry! Always apply the fertilizer at the drip line of the tree. That is where all the hungry feeder roots hang out. Feeding and Horticultural Spray can both happen right NOW!
But don’t get too comfortable, because the next step will happen very soon. When you start to notice green tips appearing on your fruit trees, it is time to switch to Bonide’s Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray, or Bonide’s Fruit Tree & Plant Guard.
If using the concentrate of the Orchard Spray, use at a rate of 2.5 oz./5 tablespoons to 5 oz./10 tablespoons to 1 gallon of water. Spray every seven to ten days up to the day of harvesting fruit. If using the Fruit Tree Guard, mix at a rate of 2 ounces/2 tablespoons to 1 gallon of water. This product packs a potent punch and only needs to be applied three times in the season – at the green tip to pre-bloom, when the flower petals fall, and when the fruit has set. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Have you already done your winter pruning? If not, now is the time to clean up those suckers! I literally mean – it’s time to clean up those suckers! Suckers are the unwanted branches that grow straight up from the base of the trunk, from shallow roots, and from branches. Anytime you see suckers growing, cut them off at the base. We don’t like suckers.
After all this work, you and your family and friends will be able to reap the bounty of your plentiful harvest or simply enjoy eating a homegrown apple or two.
Recommended Fruit Tree Supplies:
• Bonide’s Horticultural Oil
• Bonide’s Citrus, Fruit, & Nut Orchard Spray
• Bonide’s Fruit Tree & Plant Guard
• Espoma’s Tree-Tone
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!
Thanks a bunch!