I planted about 10 Miss Canada lilac bushes early this spring. I just bought the house and before that there were some older lilac bushes that were dying. We dug all of them out and put fresh soil and manure in. I watered the lilac bushes about every other day all summer long. I live in Boise, Idaho and we have hot, dry summers so I wanted to make sure they got enough water. Now it's late summer and the lilac bushes seem like they're shriveling up and dying. Leaves are hanging and curling brown. I did fertilize with bone meal, but it didn't make any difference. I'm speculating if the soil is dead and I didn't dig deep enough when I put the fresh stuff in or if I'm simply overwatering and the roots are drowning. It was a pretty big investment buying all the starters from the nursery. If anybody has any advice it would be greatly appreciated!
Miss Canada Lilacs
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Lilacs need a full sun location with well draining soil.
If the excess moisture does not drain away the plants can suffer root rot.
Make sure the plant was placed in the soil at the same level the plant was in the pot.
The first couple of years the plant will need regular watering, and during hot weather you will need to increase watering.
No fertilizer is needed the first year, but a granular, slow release fertilizer can be applied in the spring the 2nd year.
Test the branches of the plants. If they snap off, they have died. If they bend or you can scratch the bark and see green underneath those branches are still alive.
Remember that despite the best of care, a new plant may not survive. Reputable greenhouses will guarantee most shrub or tree purchases for the first year, so check your receipts.
Here are some links with more information.