Help with plants

Asked June 1, 2018, 6:04 PM EDT

I recently moved into a new home and this lilac bush (it's a dwarf?) and this rose bush are having problems. The rose bush has no leaves, but it does have buds and the lilac bush bloomed beautifully but when we trimmed it back the inside is all dead. Can you help me fix these problems? Thank you! Jennifer

Dakota County Minnesota pruning roses lilacs

1 Response

Insects appear to have damaged the rose, nearly defoliating it. The insect that caused the damage might have been a kind of sawfly called rose slug. If insect pests are no longer present, new leaves may develop on the green stems. Preserve those, but remove all other dead wood. The brown dead stems probably died over winter. These should be removed in early spring when new growth begins.

We can't be sure from viewing the photo, but it's possible the trimming that followed lilac bloom was too severe. If a rounded, formal shape is desired, shearing lightly two or three times a year is all that's needed.

New growth may eventually emerge on the bare stems. However, any that are dry or brittle should be removed. If the plant's appearance and form do not improve but it is still alive this fall, try cutting all the stems to the ground in late winter or early spring. Healthy lilacs usually respond well to rejuvenation pruning.