Agressively spreading lilac

bananastandJuly 1, 2013

I never thought lilac was a poorly behaved shrub, but I'm finding that mine is getting a bit crazy. When we bought the house in 2007, there was a healthy lilac bush next to the front steps. It used to be surrounded by grass that got mowed. However that was in a difficult steep area and I ultimately decided to landscape that whole side of the house with native plants and mulch.

What I have noticed is that anywhere there is no plant cover to compete, the lilac sends up new branches and stems like crazy. I mean huge, bushy new growth every year. I feel like my lilac is trying to take over that whole area!

Is this common or is mine acting weirdly? There is only one thing I can think of that might have happened.... there used to be a honeysuckle growing right in with the lilac. I pulled it out the best I could and killed the remaining with roundup, but I remember when doing that it almost seemed like the honeysuckle was grafted onto the lilac. I was able to kill it, but I'm just wondering if some of the honeysuckle's aggressiveness was bred into my lilac and it's a crazy cross of some kind?

I know that makes no sense.... but it's all I got! So tell me, is this normal behavior for a lilac? Anything I can do other than hack it back each year to keep it in check?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Yes, it is reasonably normal behavior for a lilac.

Your choices are basically:
A) kill the entire lilac
B) hack it back regularly when it invades place you don't want it
C) let the lilac expand until it hits lawn again.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 2:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardengal48

Lilacs are what are commonly referred to as "caning shrubs" or those that produce new stem growth (canes) from the root crown and even from major lateral roots. No single trunk (although they can trained in this manner). The behavior of your lilac is entirely normal.

Other shrubs which have this same growth habit include forsythia, weigela, beautyberry (kolkwitzia), spiraea, shrub dogwoods, Japanese kerria and hydrangeas. The spread with which they expand is variable. IME, lilac is one of the more aggressive spreaders.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 7:39PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Can a new wood fence be moved?
I recently purchased a house with a newly installed...
dyhgarden
Need privacy in backyard on three sides (zone 6)
I really like my neighbors but I live in the suburbs...
stlmom77
Landscaping front yard, zone 5. HELP!!!! :)
We have recently done some work to our front yard (tearing...
midwestmelissa
Spacing for Armstrong Maple and Crimson Spire Oak
I plan to provide height to the borders of my backyard...
Bob Sislow
Need tips to make garden spiral
so this is kind of embarrassing but I don't know how...
violetwest
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™