Lilac bushes are one of the hardiest bushes, surviving temperatures of minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They also are among the easiest to care for and will endure on their own for years without any care at all. Starting them out right and following a minimalist care plan will ensure your lilacs are hardy and healthy for many years to come.
Soak the bare roots of the lilac bush in a bucket of water while the planting site is prepared. Choose a sunny location that receives at least six hours of sunshine per day.
Using the shovel, dig a hole approximately 3 to 4 feet wide or wide enough to accommodate the width of the root system. Dig to a depth no deeper than 1 to 2 inches deeper than the original planting depth of the bush.
Widen and deepen the hole for clay-type soils. Mix the manure or compost with the soil from the hole. Add some of this mixture to bucket or road gravel, mixing thoroughly.
Pour some of the gravel-compost-soil mix into the hole. Place the lilac bush into the center of the hole. Gently fill in the hole with the rest of the gravel-compost-soil mix. Add any remaining soil mix to the top and tamp down.
Pour the water from the bucket the bush was soaking in gently over the filled hole. Spread mulch over root base, covering the filled hole with a layer 3 to 4 inches deep.
Caring for Lilacs
Use pruning shears to prune damaged or diseased branches during dormancy in the late fall or winter. Prune for shaping purposes after last flowers have begun to fade.
Replace mulch annually to maintain moisture, control weeds and provide consistent temperatures to the root system. Remove any fallen leaves or branches from base of bush.
Water only during periods of drought. Add fertilizer only if the bush does not grow vigorously about once every three to four years.