dwarf korean lilac

Asked September 7, 2020, 12:26 PM EDT

I've had this plant for about 25 years. It has been healthy and bloomed prolifically. It bloomed well this spring, but its upper branches started turning brown. I cut off the first dead branch, but the die-back has rapidly spread, again from the top down. Is this simply the end of its typical life span, or could there be a disease or insect involved? I saw no insect damage on the leaves and no boring holes down on the stem. I wondering if I should just dig this old one up and plant a new one.

District of Columbia County District of Columbia

2 Responses

We would like to see photos of the lilac so we can see what you are dealing with. Send photos of the whole shrub and surrounding site conditions, photos around the base of the shrub, and affected branches.

When stressed due to poor site conditions, poor drainage, drought, etc. Korean lilac can be susceptible to possible borers and verticillium wilt, a disease.


Thanks for your thoughts. But I’m pretty sure that it’s not wilt. The entire branch just goes brown, with no drooping or partial browning of the leaves before it just dies. I’ve lost regular lilacs to borers, but the stems of this plant do not show the same entry holes. I also can’t see stress, because the rest of the plant, like the bushes on either side, looks quite fresh, not drooping or browning at all - until the next branch down from the top goes from green to brown/dead within a matter of days. My further research and answers from a local arborist indicates that 25 years is simply the lifespan of this plant, so I think that I’ll go ahead and replace it. Thanks again.