Lilac slowly petering out

Q: My father’s lilac bush has taken a turn for the worse! Can you help us?

A: I see considerable powdery mildew on the leaves. Even in places where lilacs grow well, powdery mildew is a big problem.

In the South, we can have a string of cool nights and hot days, which powdery mildew likes, anytime from April through October. This means that any lilac, even those somewhat adapted to southern heat, can succumb to powdery mildew. I think that is the problem with your father’s lilac.

I have one in the backyard that has bloomed pretty well every year until the last couple of years. It is gradually petering out. I don’t plan to replace it.

Lilacs don’t live forever in Atlanta.

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