Lilac Bushes

Cutting Lilac Tree Roots That Have Taken Over Whole Garden

Anonymous added on May 26, 2011 | Answered

I am digging up my garden. We have two lilac trees, which are doing fine, but as I was weeding the flower garden, I found that the lilac tree roots have taken over the whole garden, spreading out to at least 6 feet. These roots are very hardy - about 1 inch in diameter. Can I cut back these roots that have taken over the garden?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on May 27, 2011

Unfortunately, cutting back these roots will potentially harm the tree. While you can do this as a last resort, you should be aware of this possibility. If choosing to cut back the roots, do not take more off than necessary (just what's in the bed itself). I would also recommend taking some new shoots from the tree in the event that this root pruning does not go well. At least this way you'll be able to start again--perhaps further away from the garden. Dig down from the main clump, exposing the roots and cut the shoot away from the mother plant and replant in a container or elsewhere.

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