Lilac trees in bloom right now

Q. What’s the white tree blooming right now? It is a shorter tree, and I see it in lots of suburban neighborhoods.

Kristen from Canfield

A. If you get close to this tree, you’ll reminisce of early spring and the purple lilac blooms in your mother or grandmother’s yard. That’s because this tree is a lilac.

The Japanese Tree Lilac, Syringa reticulate, is native to northern Japan. It is not a shrub with multiple stems. It is a single-trunk tree. Thus, many people don’t associate it with lilacs.

The fragrance of tree lilacs is rather intense in most cases. If you bring them inside, you might have to take them back outside because the pleasant scent becomes too overwhelming.

It usually grows to about 20-feet tall and nearly as wide.

It doesn’t grow into the electric lines. It doesn’t need to be pruned or tended to. It will fill a space and simply look beautiful for years. It keeps a nice, rounded form.

It has beautiful, creamy white flowers from late May through the month of June here in the Mahoning Valley.

It fills in a bloom gap between many of our spring blooming plants and the summer blooming plants.

Best of all, these trees tolerate clay soils, dry sites and nearly all the other problem areas we have in urban sites.

Poorly drained soils are not a favorite of this tree, though. The tree grows in zones 4-7.

Japanese Tree Lilacs have few pests or diseases. If planted in partial shade, it can get powdery mildew on its leaves. This is simply a nuisance and will not kill the tree.

To learn more about this wonderful tree, go to

Eric Barrett is OSU Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Mahoning County. Call the office hotline at 330-533-5538 to submit your questions. Regular clinic hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays.

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