What are some recommendations for a lilac with no leaves?


I have a lilac, that I purchased last year, that has grown and has many blooms, but almost no leaves. It looks like flowering sticks. Is there anything you recommend that might help?


Rebecca Long, Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture Professional

Rather than a disease or insect issue, it seems more likely the plant is either struggling still from being transplanted (or from possibly being stressed before you bought it), or a late frost damaged emerging leaves. I would recommend mulching it, to conserve moisture, and making sure to provide adequate moisture during any drought periods this summer. You could very lightly fertilize now but then don’t fertilize any later this summer, late fertilizer applications can cause flushes of growth that are more susceptible to winter damage. You shouldn’t need to do any pruning for a few years but when you do, follow this video tutorial. Bottom line, give it some time to recover and do what you can to prevent further stress.