When: Prune after flowering is complete, usually in June for common lilacs.
How: Remove 1/3 of the largest and oldest trunks. Cut the trunk close to the ground. Make at least one preliminary cut in the trunk at the half-way point in order to make the final cut easier to manage. It is not necessary to prune lilacs every year. Ask “What does this lilac need to improve its appearance and performance?” Recommended tools: folding saw and/or SHARP loppers.
Don’t: Remove or cut back the new growth or shoots. These are the future of the lilac. They are not “suckers”.
Flowers: Removing the spent flowers is often recommended. The result is a more attractive shrub while in bloom the following year.
Fertilize: Fertilize the lilac if it is not blooming well. Use a balanced fertilizer such as 2-2-2 or a 3-3-3. Avoid a fertilizer that simply pushes flower production such as a 0-45-0. Fertilize in June after flowering to support the development of next year’s flowers. Fertilizing in the spring will not affect the flowering in the same year.
Lilac Pruning Video
Plant More Lilacs
We are encouraging the citizens and businesses of the Taos area to plant more lilacs. We are hopeful that our festival will grow into a regional attraction drawing people from the surrounding states to visit Taos in the spring to see our beautiful lilacs. We especially encourage homeowners and businesses that are on major thoroughfares to plant lilacs.
Lilacs may be planted at any time of the year. Local garden centers including Rio Grande Ace Hardware and Petree’s are well stocked with different varieties and sizes of lilacs. If we all plant lilacs now, it will not be long before we have mature lilac bushes all over town!