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Grow with KARE: What's going on with the lilacs?

Leaves are turning brown and falling off our lilacs across the area. It's a fungus or two that's to blame.

So many of you in our Grow with KARE Facebook group have posted about lilacs. The leaves are shriveling, turning brown and falling to the ground leaving us with very sad looking shrubs.

So what's the deal?

The University of Minnesota Extension looked at the situation and determined the most likely culprit in your yard is a fungus. 

Common lilacs are most affected.

Lilac Pseudocercospora leaf spot and/or verticillium wilt are likely to blame. Both are fungi.

In the case of Lilac Pseudocercospora leaf spot, the researchers recommend pruning to reduce stress on the plant. Also, clean up any fallen leaves to prevent the spread of the fungus.

For verticillium wilt, a similar plan can help as well as adequate watering and fertilizing to help extend the life of the plant.

There is no cure for the fungus and eventually your lilac will die.

Insects have not been found to be a problem with lilacs this year.