Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How & When to Prune a Dwarf Korean Lilac Tree

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017

Dwarf Korean Lilac, known botanically as Syringa meyeri and commonly as Meyer Lilac is a large shrub lilac that blooms profusely in the late spring. It is a fragrant, high performance and low maintenance lilac that does not suffer from the disease problems of other cultivars. It has a billowing and round natural growth habit that reaches 8 feet in height and 12 feet in spread. It is often planted en masse for informal hedging and screening shrubbery. Dwarf Korean Lilac rarely requires pruning, save to remove damaged or diseased wood or to control size.

Prune away damaged, diseased, crossing, abrading or otherwise compromised branches throughout the growing season as needed when you spy them. Place the cut down to the point of healthy plant tissue and just above a leaf node or bud.

Harvest fresh blooms for use in cut flower arrangements and deadhead spent blooms as desired throughout the growing season. While deadheading is not needed to encourage bloom it can help to keep the shrub looking tidy.

Prune for height and spread in the late spring or early summer immediately following bloom. Prune following the natural shape of the shrub and only remove what is necessary to prevent when your Meyer Lilac from encroaching on other plants or a structure. Cut away the tips of the branches to the desired length and collect all of the clippings from the soil surface.


Things You Will Need

  • Secateurs
  • Long handled loppers


  • Remove no more than one-third of the lilac shrub mass in any one pruning session to prevent stress and shock from setting in.