Dead leaves in Miss Kim lilac

Asked July 26, 2019, 2:38 PM EDT

Hi- My Miss Kim dwarf lilac bloomed this year and seemed fine. Now it’s developed dead leaves and what looks like dead branches in several places. Should I trim out the dead-looking areas, or do something else. What does it look like is happening here? Thanks!

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Lilacs are susceptible to a couple of different fungal and bacterial diseases that can lead to foliage decline and dieback. The bacterial blight, Pseudomonas syringae, is one of the more common problems we see. There is more information on this in the following links.

A physical injury to a stem or portion of the root system (e.g., from poor drainage) can also lead to dieback in a portion of a shrub.

All you can do at this point is prune out the symptomatic foliage and brown stems. Prune when the weather is dry and put the plant material in the trash (do not compost it). Check to make sure your mulch isn't too deep; it should be no more than 2-3" deep and avoid putting it right up against the trunk/main stems of the plant.