Scrub (Lillac?) looking sparse and white spots on Trunk

Kitchener, Canada

What needs to be done to make this shrub healthy again?
Concerns are how sparse it appears, and the white spots on the trunk?
Options?
This is in Newfoundland, I am visiting my parent's home, where the soil apparently is acidic.

This message was edited Aug 27, 2016 8:18 PM

This message was edited Aug 27, 2016 8:21 PM

Thumbnail by hburry Thumbnail by hburry
Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

The "white spots" on the trunk and branches look like lichens growing there. That's common, where there's enough moisture around. They are adventitious, and cause no particular damage to their host.

Otherwise, I would eliminate grass/lawn from around this plant. Competition from grass/lawn isn't helpful to your shrub, and maintenance of that lawn can lead to mechanical damage on the woody trunk of that plant from mowers or weedeaters hitting it and breaking the bark. Put an inch or two of coarse mulch (wood chips are fine) around it, and don't pile it up against the trunk.

Have you tested the soil in your yard in the vicinity of this plant? Doing so can direct whether there is reason to alter the soil pH (lilacs generally prefer soils with a neutral reaction in the 7.0 - 7.5 range) or need to add nutrients.

If you don't do a soil test, an application of general balanced granular fertilizer scattered over the rooting zone (10-10-10 is a normal mix you could use) can be beneficial. Lilacs don't typically need a lot of extra help, especially in an area like yours where they are typically stellar performers. Water during the droughtiest of times, but again - lilacs usually don't need much extra help normally.

I fondly remember my one visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens near Hamilton back in spring of 1995, and the tremendous lilac display there. That's practically in your back yard.

http://www.rbg.ca/
http://www.rbg.ca/arboretum


Kitchener, Canada

Thanks, good advise.
I edited my question, I am visiting in Newfoundland, this is in Newfoundland not in Kitchener, trying to help my Mom with her garden. Soil here is fairly acidic I understand.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Bringing the soil pH up closer to 6.5 - 7.0 would likely help tremendously.

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