How Can I Plant a Shoot of a Lilac Tree Successfully?

Chosen by many for its early burst of color in the spring and the aromatic, intoxicating fragrance its blossoms put out, a lilac bush can be found in almost every landscape, from parks to home landscapes. Lilacs are prolific in producing new plants by shoots sprouting from the main root of the bush. You can separate these young shoots to establish a new lilac bush.

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Do Not Buy A Lilac, Transplant a Shoot

When you purchase a lilac bush from your local nursery, it usually is between 18 inches to 3 feet in height. Choose a lilac shoot about the same size to transplant. Lilac shoots can come from a bush you have in your own landscaping or from a friend, family member or neighbor's yard. Although you can transplant lilac shoots at almost anytime of the year, transplant your shoot while the daytime temperatures are cooler, rather than during the heat of summer, for the best results.

Before digging up the shoot you wish to transplant, prepare the spot where the shoot will be re-planted. Select a sunny location that has well-draining soil. If the soil is also loamy with some decomposed organic material, your new lilac shoot will be happy. But if you have clay soil or would like to add a bit more nutrients to the soil, work some organic compost into the area you plan to plant the lilac shoot. No other fertilizer is needed for your lilac. Dig a hole that is deep enough and wide enough to accommodate the root system of the transplanted bush.

Because your lilac shoot is attached to the "mother" lilac, look for a good root system and take care when extracting the shoot from the main lilac bush. To remove the lilac shoot from the existing bush, dig deep to capture as much of the new root system as possible. When you see the main root that is attached to the existing lilac bush, use a pair of clean, sharp clippers or shears to cut the shoot from this main root. Gently lift the root system out, retaining as much of the soil around the roots as you can. The new hole needs to be dug as deep as the hole you took the lilac shoot out of when you detached it from the existing bush. Place the root ball into your pre-dug hole and fill in soil around the roots and trunk stem.

After you have planted your new lilac shoot, water it, but do not soak the ground. Lilacs do not like to be in soggy soil. While your lilac shoot is establishing its root system, keep the soil slightly moist, but, again, do not over water. Your new lilac should be established in two to three months, though it will probably not produce flowers for another two to three years, the same as if you planted a small lilac purchased from a nursery.