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pruning burning bush


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#1 MG_Gal

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 10:39 AM

I have several burning bushes that are planted along my property line. They have gotten about 6 feet tall and I would like to cut them back. When can I prune then and how much can I reduce their height?
Thanks, Priscilla
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#2 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 07:08 PM

Priscilla, if you want to cut them back hard -- more than a foot (and maybe even all the way to the ground; that's okay) -- then do it just before they begin to leaf out. In my area, that ideal time comes about the first week of April.
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#3 IndySusan

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 11:27 AM

Ok, question. If before they leaf out is the time to prune, (now) I assume this means that they don't bloom until later in the summer? so pruning now would not interfere with bloom?
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#4 Guest_Corky_*

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 11:18 AM

Now I have a question! Two questions.
The first is: how do you ever get burning bush to the point where it needs pruning? We just leave it up to the deer and they never get anywhere near that point! tongue.gif The second question is, I guess, a direct result of that: Burning bush blooms?! I never knew that!! When?
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#5 IndySusan

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:03 PM

Oops, perhaps I am confusing it with the Purple Ninebark "Diabolo" (Physocarpus Opulifolius) that we planted at the same time we planted the two burning bushes late last summer. Perhaps someone can clear up my confusion?

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#6 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 04:23 PM

Burning bushes do bloom. Small greenish flowers many people don't notice but which then form seed capsules that open to reveal bright orange-pink seeds in fall. The seeds can be attractive, even on plain old burning bush (Euonymus alata). It can be an outstanding show on some of the burning bush's relatives, such as Euonymus europaeus -- spindle tree -- and E. atropurpureus -- America's eastern wahoo. When those show their seeds in fall people ask "What is that blooming over there?!" And E. americanus has even earned the sommon name "hearts-a-bursting" for its fall display.

However, if you cut in ways that prevent flowering, you don't get seeds.

Ninebark (Physocarpus species) have a more significant bloom. Many people plant it especially for its flowers. Those blooms do come on wood that ripened last fall, so any severe cut early in spring will reduce or eliminate that year's flower. But only that year's flower. If the shrub is too big, forfeit a single year's bloom in order to make the cut back in early spring when the plant's grow-back response is strongest.

To tell them apart, burning bush from ninebark:

Burning bushes have opposite leaf and branching -- on every new stem, where there is a leaf or twig on one side of that stem, there is a matching leaf or stem on the opposite side of that branch. Ninebark has alternate leaf and branching -- there will be a leaf emerging from one side of a stem, and then at a little distance, the next leaf will emerge from the other side of the stem.

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#7 Guest_Corky_*

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 11:26 AM

Wow! I never knew! I guess I never would have either, because, while I have never pruned a burning bush, we have a herd of deer who do so annually (at least)!
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#8 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 10:47 AM

Where there is habitat for wildlife, burning bushes are on the "edible target" list, that's for sure. If not the deer, the rabbits.
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