lilac leaves curling and brown

katieHCOctober 19, 2012

My lilac bush (2 years old) has curling leaves with brown edges. Some leaves have small pinholes. This started happening over the summer. The plant is about 4' high. Zone 6. Almost all the leaves are curled. No white powdery mildew.

More pictures here:;authkey=Gv1sRgCPvvmdygx_nMUA&feat=directlink

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey katie.. welcome to GW

where are you .. it is going into late fall.. and lilac leaves do fall off...

unless you have some named evergreen variety.. of which i never heard of ...

de nile.. is not a river near your house.. WINTER IS COMING ... lol


ps: not really the time of year.. to be wondering about the brown spots ... they will be gone.. when the leaves are gone ...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If as you say this started over the summer then it currently being fall isn't the issue.

Did you see this last summer?
Have you checked the underside of the leaves to look for aphids, spider mites and other sucking insects?
Was your weather unusually hot and dry and it didn't get enough water to accomodate its needs?
Do you have a vole problem, a small mammal that tunnels in mulch or just under the soil surface and eats plant roots? (pushing down with your hands around the plant will answer this - if there are vole tunnels, the soil will sink more in some places than others when you push.)
Do you have other animals that might have bothered the plant?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did have a little bit of this problem last summer too. The leaves were not as brown but they did curl. The leaves have not fallen off.

I think the plant got enough water this summer. I am outside of Boston , MA. We did not have as much drought as other parts of the country. I watered when it was the hottest in July and Aug.

I do not have voles. I have seen a garter snake in the area. I have cats, but have never seen them near the lilac.

We had a leaf hopper infestation in the lawn which we sprayed for. But the brown curling had happened long before the spray.

I have not seen any bugs on the plant.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 5:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ken's point about fall is that the plant is about to shed its leaves - foliage problems are really of no immediate concern at this time of year :-)

Your leaf problem looks like typical lilac blight - and not a very severe case of it, either. This is a bacterial disease lilacs (and a bunch of other plants) are prone to. Tends to be somewhat climate-related and you can treat for it if you wish but I find it more of a cosmetic issue than a serious health threat, at least with an established lilac. Can be pretty gruesome with certain other plants, however.

And pinhole insect damage to leaves is a no-brainer NBD and even more so at this time of year. Just make sure you rake up and properly dispose of all leaves this fall and then follow whatever treatment plan you prefer. A dormant spray with copper sulfate is often used in my area.

Here is a link that might be useful: lilac blight fact sheet

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the bugs.. if any are gone...

the weather.. if any are gone ...

the leaf hoppers are gone.. but drifting spray could have been the culprit ...

when it was planted.. was it extremely rootbound in the pot.. did you fix that .. if not.. then it is probably in drought ... during the heat.. but that is all speculation ... did you amend the planting hole ..

its great the puzzle this all out.. but i dont really think there is anything to do .. this time of year ... clean up all the leaves for winter ...


    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 6:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

I suggest it hasn't yet rooted in well because the browning is the pattern of water shortage rather than lilac blight.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jimbobfeeny(5a IN)

Looks like it's got good bud set - That's what matters right now. You really can't do much about it at this point; look again at it in the spring when they leaf out.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 8:39AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Best purple/red Cotinus Coggyria cultivars
Are there any particular purple cultivars of Continus...
Need suggestions
Hi everyone, I need to plant something in the front...
Evergreen Privacy Shrub Hedge
I want to plant an evergreen shrub hedge as a privacy...
My new-old shrub woes
I moved into this house a year ago and am now starting...
Name of this shrub?
I took this cutting from my Aunt's yard and don't remember...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™