Lilac- Zone 2
Characteristics of the tree
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The common lilac is a shrub or small tree that typically grows up to 5 metres in height, at a medium rate. It is originally native to eastern Europe, but is naturalised in many parts of the United States and Canada. Each individual tree lives about 50 years, but the root system has a strong tendency to sucker, meaning that shoots of the original plant will take over and persist long after the death of the first tree. Lilacs can grow easily in almost any soil, including heavy clay, but are intolerant to shade and require full sun to grow well. Their suckering habit should be taken into consideration when planning where you will plant them. Ideally they should be placed in areas where it is an advantage and will not cause you problems: as part of a windbreak or an informal hedge, for example.
The flowers of the lilac are strongly perfumed and edible: either making a pretty decoration for sweet dishes, added to salads, or even folded into batter and fried into fritters. An essential oil can also be obtained from the flowers and this is sometimes used for making perfumes. The lovely spring flowers add colour and beauty to your garden, along with their magnificent scent. Besides this, the flowers are a favourite of the bees, butterflies and moths that are essential to our ecosystem. Lilacs lend themselves very well to being planted along the line of a hedge, or used to make an informal hedge in their own right. If you wish to plant them as a hedge, they should be spaced 1-1.5 metres apart (3-5 feet).
Lilacs have a moderate growth rate and typically reach about 5 metres in height, or 16 feet, generally in the shape of a large shrub. The individual shrub or tree lives only for about 50 years, but in the meantime it will tend to produce several suckers to form new plants. This illustration shows a 20-year-old shrub, which has reached its maximum height.
You should note that this illustration is meant only to give a general indication of what you can expect, and the growth of your tree might look somewhat different. The development of a tree depends on the soil type, irrigation, fertilisation and climatic conditions.
What we show here is based on our observation of the growth of the lilac in zone 4, in rather poor soil. In a colder climate it might be slower, and in richer soil or warmer climates it might be faster.
All our lilac trees are sold bare-root, without pots. They have been cultivated directly in our soil. Bare-root trees must be taken out of the ground and shipped during their period of dormancy, which is why we only ship trees in the spring. A big advantage with these kinds of trees is that they take up very little space, and can therefore be easily shipped by mail all over Canada!
This photograph shows a 1-3-foot lilac tree, just like one that you might receive. This specimen is at the taller end of this range of height; depending on availability at the time of your order preparation, it might be somewhat smaller (closer to 1 foot). This will not affect the growth of the tree in the long run.