Lilac Tree Problems

Written by jennifer dermody
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Lilac Tree Problems
Lilac, loved by gardeners for its sweet smell. (portrait of the beautiful young woman with lilacs image by Stasys Eidiejus from

Lilac trees are beautiful and fragrant. They boast light purple to magenta flower clusters, with dark green, romantically heart-shaped leaves. Lilacs trees tend not to have complicated issues, but there are problems to be aware of.

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Climate and Surroundings

A climate that is primarily tropical with no significant frost can be problematic for lilacs, which can withstand very cold winters. Although cold tolerant, lilacs do not like wet soil or too much shade. Lilacs need room to breathe, away from other closely planted bushes or trees.

Lilac Tree Problems
Cold winters are not a problem for Lilacs. (it's cold image by Leticia Wilson from

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a common problem for lilac trees; it does not harm the plant but detracts from its beauty. Powdery mildew is a disease on the leaves that appears as a white, powdery growth. Characteristic tiny black dots can sometimes be found in the powder. These dots are another spore body that forms from the powdery mildew so it can survive the winter cold.

A healthy lilac with healthy leaves.
A healthy lilac with healthy leaves. (lilac image by laviniaparscuta from

Leaf Miners

Leaf miners are wormlike organisms that devour the tissues between the top and underside of lilac tree leaves. Eventually the leaves will start to curl on their ends and turn brown. Strangely coloured tunnels might be visible where there are leaf miners. Heavily prune the old, dead and diseased branches from the centre of the tree to guide energy to the healthy parts.

Prune the unhealthy stocks to open the lilac tree to light.
Prune the unhealthy stocks to open the lilac tree to light. (sécateur de jardin image by YvesBonnet from

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