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Hi everyone, I have a quick question about Lilac trees.

How big would a 16 year old lilac tree be please, height and trunk diameter?

Any help would be greatly appreciated thanks.

Kind regards, David Howlett


Hi David  Do you know the variety? Some forms sucker and others have a single trunk so it varies.


Depends on lots of things David - how it's been pruned etc, as well as the variety.  A mature lilac (10 years +) can be up to 5m tall - the size of the trunk will depend on whether it's on a single stem or multi-stemmed and at what height the trunk branches.  It will also depend on how well it's been nurtured.



My lilac, after about 15 years was enormous and blocking the path. It had more than one stem. My OH cut off the main trunk, which was 5" diameter and growing out sideways, about 3 years ago which reduced it considerably in size. It has grown quite a bit since but at least the trunks are growing upwards. It is 11 feet tall and 6 feet wide. This is it in May, it had been nearly twice the width. Also it has been thinned out a bit. However, I have another lilac with double flowers which is much smaller, same age.




David, that doesn't look like the happiest of lilacs   Is it in a pot or in the ground? If it's in the ground and you're hoping to use that door in the future one or the other of them needs to move.  

Whether it's in a pot or in the ground that lilac needs some tlc.  


Depends what's happened in those 16 years David - if it was smothered by other shrubs growing around it it could've ended up looking just like a weedy and malnourished sapling struggling for the light which is what it looks like to me.  That bent and distorted stem indicates that at some time it's struggled to find the sunlight.


No way can that be 16 years old! Did you see my photo of my 18 year old one that has been heavily pruned? If you click on the photo it will enlarge.

How old do you think it might be then? 



Why is it's age important?


I'd just like to establish how long it's been there.


Strange - the first photo appears to have been taken from over the other side of the new fence panel shown in the second photo.

The second photo appears to have been taken at a distance and zoomed in on - possibly taken some time earlier than the first.

I sense a mystery 


of course the definitive way to decide how old it is, cut it through (prune) at about 2ft. Count the growth rings.


flowering rose

I have one which I have had for 41 years and transfered it when we moved and also grew some as a hedge.The lilac has now been in one spot for 36 years but alas it has a virus of sorts and is grew as a small tree as we pruned the top so as it woundt get too big.

Ha ha Dovefromabove, no mystery really. There's no-one buried underneath anyway!!

The tree belongs to my Mums neighbour and he reckons it was planted in 1997. The first photo was taken by brother the other day and the second was taken a few days earlier but is a photo of a photo. I was curious because I'm no Alan Titchmarsh but to me it looks too spindly to be 16 years old.



As I said,  it looks to me like a neglected mistreated spindly speciman and it could be almost any age.  It certainly looks to me as if it's been overcrowded and deprived of light and nourishment in the past.  The twsts in the stem indicate either some rough treatment or that it really has had to struggle to reach the sunlight.  

I wouldn't place too much reliance on people's memories of when things happened either - there are some people on this messageboard who think that Nena's 99 Red Balloons was released in the 1970s 

I'm sure this spindly little shrub would be flattered if it knew how important it is in your family's life 

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