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Now I have a lilac...but I'm confused about removing grass around it?

 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 217
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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While I've long been an admirer of lilacs, I've never had one of my own before. Back in my old city, I was able to "borrow" blossoms from the parks and an empty neighbourhood house...and I remember grass growing around the bushes.
The advice label on the lilac bush (it was growing in a pot at a grocery store - but it's a Madame Lemoine variety, so it fits with my old-time garden!) the label was really not helpful about how to plant it.
I've just planted it this morning, with a little bit of organic material at the bottom of the hole. It's about two feet tall right now.
There seems to be a lot of online advice saying that the grass should be removed between one and two feet outwards from a new lilac planting, should I do this?
I also need to mulch in some way, and am thinking right now that I will just lay newspaper, demarcate the edges with stones/rubble, and then cover the paper with grass clippings, and whatever else I happen across, since I just cut the grass. I might have a little bit of mullein leaf I can use, but I'm not 100% certain that it's mullein.
Also I'm thinking of putting in a homemade olla beside it at some point in the near future, since I've read it'll need about an inch of water a week, way more then it's going to get naturally.
Another thought I had was that maybe I can grow strawberries underneath it?

If anyone has any lilac advice, please help me out! Thank-you.
 
Dillon Nichols
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Location: Victoria BC
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Your plan sounds fine to me, though I'm no lilac expert. The only real care we give ours is some ash and lime, yearly.

I don't like being in charge of removing grass on an ongoing basis, so after mulching I'd be planting something grass suppressing around/under it, and then leaving it be. Preferably something you have a surplus of on hand that you know does well at this, that also prefers alkaline soil, like the lilac.

The huge old lilac in our garden gets very little (none maybe?) watering in the summer. Of course yours will need some for now, but hopefully will establish a good root system and be more self sufficient with time. I would guess ours has been there at least 40+ years, and it's fine; it came back nicely after 20 years of neglect after we pulled the blackberry canes out of it and gave it some ash/lime. No grass grows under it, just moss and some wildflowers.

I wouldn't think strawberries are the best fit since they like a more acidic soil, but then so do blackberries, and they seem fine growing around our lilac, so... maybe worth trying anyhow.

Good luck!
 
Rick English
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Lilac is pretty happy without any care, but planting a ground cover to keep the grass away seems like a good idea for nearly everything. I have seen several lilacs over the years with Lily of the Valley as ground cover around the base. Both plants seem happy with the pairing in zone 6.
 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 217
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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Thank-you both.
I will do basic mulching today, and think about what I should plant as ground cover.
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I have thousands of lilacs growing right now. What I've done is...nothing. Literally nothing. They smother out the grass pretty well so I've never worried about that. Lilacs are super hardy, at least for my area. Not much you can do to kill them in my experience.
 
Vera Stewart
Posts: 217
Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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Good to know.
 
Judith Browning
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elle sagenev wrote:I have thousands of lilacs growing right now. What I've done is...nothing. Literally nothing. They smother out the grass pretty well so I've never worried about that. Lilacs are super hardy, at least for my area. Not much you can do to kill them in my experience.


I agree....lilacs are easy and seem to spread from the base with more suckers. We have gotten and been given all of ours from old house site bushes that are generations old. The important thing I found, was to plant them in plenty of sun. I don't mulch any of them or water or worry about grass..... but I do remember my grandmother having lilacs with lily of the valley under them as someone mentions above....very pretty.
 
elle sagenev
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Judith Browning wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:I have thousands of lilacs growing right now. What I've done is...nothing. Literally nothing. They smother out the grass pretty well so I've never worried about that. Lilacs are super hardy, at least for my area. Not much you can do to kill them in my experience.


I agree....lilacs are easy and seem to spread from the base with more suckers. We have gotten and been given all of ours from old house site bushes that are generations old. The important thing I found, was to plant them in plenty of sun. I don't mulch any of them or water or worry about grass..... but I do remember my grandmother having lilacs with lily of the valley under them as someone mentions above....very pretty.


Funnily sun isn't an issue. Our lilacs are all planted in partial shade (as they are the last row of the tree line so do not get east sun). I've run them over with the tractor before. I've not watered pretty much at all. They are bigger than ever!
 
Vera Stewart
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Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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elle sagenev wrote:
Judith Browning wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:
Funnily sun isn't an issue. Our lilacs are all planted in partial shade


I'm glad to read this, as it confirms what I recall from the lilacs in my old home town, and I've planted my lilac where it will be partially shaded. Not on purpose, really, that's just where there was room.
 
Vera Stewart
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Location: 7b at 1050 feet, precipitation average 13 inches, irrigated, Okanagan Valley
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My lilac has been doing just fine - except just recently, it looks like something is taking bites out of the leaves, and some are browning at the edges. I've had a close look at the leaves and branches, and don't see anything. It still looks mostly healthy.
 
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