Lilac ‘Palibin’ not blooming


My Lilac tree (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) is not giving much bloom and I wonder whether to take it out completely.  I measured the circumference of the tree and it is 7″



Thank you for bringing your garden question to Toronto Master Gardeners.

We recommend that you keep your Lilac ‘Palibin’ tree.  Try these two things to spur on the blooms.  The first is soil care.  As we discussed, it is ideal to add organic material in the fall (compost and shredded leaves) and to mulch in the spring.

The other way to help your lilac is to give it proper pruning.

Lilacs can have a lifespan of more than 100 years so there may still be the opportunity to bring new bloom to your lilac. Pruning it back is very important.  Cut the overgrowth back in late winter or very early spring when the weather is still cold and the plant is dormant. When pruning an overgrown lilac, remove and discard the dead stems first. Go to the bottom of the shrub and remove the small suckers that are coming up from the ground or around the base of the bush. Then, stand back and look at the shape of the tree. Cut unwanted branches from the bottom of the shrub. Cut back tall branches to about 18 to 24 inches above the ground. Shape with pruning shears to the desired shape.

Once you have pruned your lilac back and it begins to show growth, be sure to fertilize and water thoroughly weekly during the summer and fall. Since your lilac is already well established, I would suggest you follow these instructions versus planting a new bush.