December 19th, 2020 – By J. L. Wells
Winterizing lilac and other bushes are generally the same. Before the first major frost hits, make sure to cover the base of the plant with 3-4 inches of your coverings (hay/straw, mulch, chopped fallen leaves, etc.). Don’t forget to remove any left over dead flowers. You don’t really have to worry much about trimming back the plant itself because come next spring new growth will appear from the old.
For milder winters, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Do not pack your coverings around the base of your lilac bush(es), and that goes for the rest of shrubs and perennials. Allow airflow to happen to prevent mold, mildew, fungi, and/or root rot. Root rot will not occur unless it has been a wetter season; not much snow but some rain and sleet. This comes to my next tip.
- Check the moisture level of the soil. If the soil is completely dry 4-6 inches down, make sure to give some water. Since the weather might not have hit below freezing many times, the plant is still growing though very slowly. If you feel within that 4-6 inches and the soil is very wet, pull back some of the coverings and get air circulation going. You don’t want to kill your plant(s) before the next season happens!
For snowier (and colder) season, here are a few tips.
- When the temperature goes below freezing and stays there, there is more risk. Not terrible but you don’t want to accidentally kill your plant(s). If the bush base is covered but not densely, immediately make it dense. Do not run the possibility of killing the roots from the freezing temperatures.
- If the temperature goes below freezing AND you have a lot of snow, keep those coverings on. That and the snow will help insulate and keep the base and the roots a bit warmer than the actual temperature outside of it.
- You do not want to water, the off and on melting of snow from fluctuations of temperatures, will keep a relatively stead flow of water to keep the plant thriving even when dormant.
All we are doing when it comes to winterizing bushes and perennials, is to emulate how forests protect themselves and the other species of floral from all seasons. Since many homes do not have large trees hovering over them or their gardens, we must move or create our own to protect what we have.
When the spring season starts approaching, when the weather has been nice and warmer (50’s-60’s), give your bush and other plants some fertilizer. I’ll explain fertilizer for those unfamiliar with the various types in another post. Just enough to get them a jump-start when the weather gets real nice.
That’s all you need to do for your Korean Dwarf Lilac bush, and other bushes and perennials. If you have any questions or if I missed something, please comment below. I love learning and would enjoy hearing your care techniques.