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Shriveling, curling leaves on lilacs

Posted by lkplatow PA (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 8, 07 at 8:28

Hi all. This is my first post here. I love lilacs and have planted them successfully at every place I've ever lived...until now. We've lived here for 6 years and every lilac I plant (now totaling 4) goes in great, blooms great, then the leaves get all curled and shriveled and there is very little new growth all summer long. The leaves drop in the fall and the next spring, the leaves emerge perfectly, the plants bloom beautifully, then the leaves shrivel up again. I've tried 2 Miss Kims and two traditional lilacs. They are planted in different spots in my 5 acre yard, so it is not something local to the specific planting spot. They are all in full sun. The soil here is pretty clay-ey and I did not amend it much - the Miss Kims got new topsoil in the beds they are in, but the other two I think are planted right in the clay. I'm not entirely sure what powdery mildew looks like, but I don't see anything on the leaves at all - they look fine, just curled up. And I thought Miss Kims weren't supposed to get mildew anyhow?

Any clue what is going on? They look so pathetic right now I'm tempted to tear them out!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Shriveling, curling leaves on lilacs

lilacs are deciduous ... so they are supposed to drop their leaves in winter ... like the rest of the trees ...

mildews are a white to gray powdery substance on the leaves ... you WILL KNOW when you have it .. usually caused by night wetness and high night temps ... with lack of air movement at night ... there is at least one organic cure.. if and when you get it ...

curling leaves.. is probably indicative of drought ... my lilacs.. which are normally care free and bullet proof [since we see them free range at abandoned home sites from 100 years ago .. with no help from any gardener] ....

i suspect improper watering ... take a small trowel and dig a small hole.. and see if your watering regimen is getting water deep enough into the root zone in your clay soil .. i suspect not .... put the hose on trickle.. and give them a good long drink if its dry in there ... and watch them bounce back ...

do not water with a sprinkler in the evening.. causing them to go into darkness with wet leaves.. or soon enough you will be learning about PMildew ....

i went through 6 weeks of drought with 2 weeks near 100F ... they were all curling.. first time i ever noticed that.. because they are normally so carefree that i don't need to pay attention to them, except in flower ... watered them twice.. and they returned to normal .. with perhaps a free yellow leaves ... this week i got 3 inches of rain .. and they look like their normal selves .... readying themselves to swallow the driveway ....

i suspect you might be new to clay ... that's a whole new problem that i don't know about first hand ... as i have sand ...

good luck


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