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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:15 am 
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Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 11:22 am
Posts: 8
Location: Midland, MI
There is nothing as wonderful as a Lilac to me. But I can't have one. My soil is clay. I transplanted several this spring from my mothers bush (the one I grew up with and have childhood memories of) to my yard. The only difference I can see is that Mom's soil is sandy loam and mine is more clay. This summer the leaves were not vivid green like mom's, and by mid August were tinting yellow.
My question... Is there a shrub/bush similar to a Lilac in stature, color and bouquet that can thrive in clay?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 4:33 pm
Posts: 526
Location: parker county, texas
Vitex is a large shrub that gets flowers similar to lilac in appearance, but I don't think they have the frangrance you are seeking. They do well in our dark clay soil here, but we have higher temps in this area, and I don't know what the cold hardiness of them is.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 3:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 11:53 pm
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Location: Creston B.C. Canada
I can't tell you why your lilac is doing poorly but I can suggest it's not because of your clay. where I live we have the clay of all clays with little organic content, yet my lilacs grow wonderfully with no fertilizer. If you have a fondness for your mothers bush I would suggest you propagate it by softwood cutting or layering. After you have established roots, pot the rooted lilac in a 1/2 or 1 gallon grow bag (these are used in hydroponics and are the vertical growbags not the horizontal ones - They should look like a pot when opened not a sand bag). Why a growbag you might ask? Hard plastic pots are prone to root circling unless you treat them with copper or step up to the next pot size before the plants roots start to circle. Growbags much by accident have folded bottoms, roots become trapped in these folds and stop elongating. This tells the plant to shoot new roots or branch further back the root stem promoting a full, dense, vibrant root system with few to no circling roots. this doesn't work forever but you should be able to let the lilac become well ectablished and healthy before transplanting into your clay (about one growing season). For a soil mix I would use 1 part #4 sunshine mix (Peat based potting mix-coarse grade) 1 part compost, again coarse if you can get it, and 1/3 perlite. you can add some general purpose organic fertilizer to this mix as well.

Enjoy your mothers plant, it should grow on your site.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:11 am 
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Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 11:22 am
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Location: Midland, MI
I will try the suggestion (grow bags).
So you don't think the clay is the problem... That's good news. How about the ones I have already planted? Should I dig them back up, or will that be too much of a shock?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 12:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 11:53 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Creston B.C. Canada
I would leave the transplanted lilacs in the ground. It's possible that you didn't transplant enough root to support the top growth transplanted. In this case the plant will likely die back till it can sustain the top growth that remains. I don't live in your area so I can't say what to do this fall and winter so I'll only suggest you treat them normally till they go fully dormant then prune them to one third thier current height. In spring when they start to push new growth fertilize with an even to heavy on the P value organic fertilizer and keep them watered regularly. you may also want to mulch around them. Hope this works for you.

Have fun with the grow bags, their neat but difficult to fill. you can make a plastic sheath to roll up then insert in the bag to help hold it open during filling, grab the plastic sheath and gently shake it out after the bag is full. If you have a hard time with the bags don't be concerned about using a 1 gallon hard plastic pot just check it after the lilac is about 2 feet tall to see if it is producing too many circling roots. If so bump it up to the next pot size (2 gallon) and repeat later if needed.


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