Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Plant of the Day: 'Asessippi' Lilac

Syringa x hyacinthiflora 'Asessippi'

Type    Shrub, woody plant
Hardy range    3B to 7B
Height    8' to 12' / 2.40m to 3.60m
Spread    8' to 12' / 2.40m to 3.60m
Growth rate    Average
Form    Rounded and vase shaped
Exposure    Partial shade or partial sun to full sun
Persistence    Deciduous

Bloom Color    Blue and lavender
Bloom Time    Spring

The flowers are fragrant and very showy.

This plant tolerates drought.
This plant will grow in very dry soil.
Suitable soil is well-drained/loamy, sandy or clay.
The pH preference is an acidic to slightly alkaline (less than 6.8 to 7.7) soil.

Leaf Color    Green
Fall Color    No change in fall color

Landscape Uses
-    Specimen

Culture Notes
Lilac is a common flowering shrub that grows best in a sunny location.  The plant will grow in shade but flowering is poor and powdery mildew is likely to be severe. Pollen bothers certain people. The growth rate is rapid and the plant produces many suckers. Pruning should be completed after flowering and by late spring to ensure next year's flower buds are not removed.

Planting and establishing shrubs 
The most common cause of young plant failure is planting too deep.  Plant the root ball no deeper than it was in the nursery.  In most instances, the root flare zone (point where the top-most root in the root ball originates from the trunk) should be located just above the landscape soil surface. Sometimes plants come from the nursery with soil over the root flare. If there is soil over this area, scrape it off.  The planting hole should be at least twice the width of the root ball, preferably wider.  In all but exceptional circumstances where the soil is very poor, there is no need to incorporate anything into the backfill soil except the loosened soil that came out of the planting hole.  Never place ANY soil over the root ball. If a row or grouping of plants is to be installed, excavating or loosening the soil in the entire bed and incorporating organic matter enhances root growth and establishment rate.

Weed suppression during establishment is essential.  Apply a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around the plant to help control weed growth.  Keep it at least 10 inches from the trunk.  If you apply it over the root ball, apply only a one or two inch layer.   This allows rainwater and air to easily enter the root ball and keeps the trunk dry.  Placing mulch against the trunk or applying too thick a layer above the root ball can kill the plant by oxygen starvation, death of bark, stem and root diseases, prevention of hardening off for winter, vole and other rodent damage to the trunk, keeping soil too wet, or repelling water.  Regular irrigation through the first growing season after planting encourages rapid root growth, which is essential for quick plant establishment.