What is happening to my lilac bushes? They appear to be dying. - Marilyn
Thanks for including the photo as that helps a lot. It appears that the bush is growing along a gravel path. It also appears that more of the dieback is on the gravel side. Let’s start with the simple. Has anything been applied to the gravel path? Ice melt last winter? Weed control products? It is interesting that the dieback is on that side and as you move away the plant appears to be healthy. The plant also looks fairly young so could it be an establishment issue with drought from last fall and winter that lead to the decline. By the appearance I am saying this issue is related to the root system. Something has happened to the roots. The limbs appear to be dead on that side. You can wait but I think you will need to prune them out and hope for the best. It does not appear to be insect or disease so I have no recommended treatment except keep the plant as healthy as possible. --
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Dennis – Johnson County K-State Extension Horticulture Agent