Trimming a Burning Bush


Old 03-28-15, 07:13 AM
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Trimming a Burning Bush

I have an old burning bush that has gotten huge, about 15' wide, 12' tall. It's been pruned into a ball shape and is a perfect screen from the road. I'd like to keep it, more or less as-is, but would like to prune it back a foot or two all around.

Over the last year (just inherited it with the house), I've pruned it a bit, 6-8" is all, only cutting off some new growth, never to the old wood. I've read that it's very tolerant to pruning, but what will happen if the new growth is cut off back to the woody portion of the stalks? Will new growth come off those stalks? I don't mind a bit of a re-growing year, but I don't want it to have to start from scratch.

Thoughts or suggestions?

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Old 03-29-15, 12:23 PM
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If the new growth is already visible, I would prune outboard of the new growth. If new growth has not yet started, prune as you wish, but fairly soon.
Old 03-29-15, 12:39 PM
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We have a half dozen or so burning bushes, some that are where I just let them go, some that I have trimmed numerous times, and I'm not convinced that you could hurt them. We had one that was about 10-12 feet tall going into the summer of 1988, which was brutally hot and dry, and we tried to keep it watered, but it literally died down to the roots. The next spring it shot up a few sprouts, and was back to its' former self within 4 or 5 years as I recall. Now, every year, usually in the fall, but sometimes spring, I take a foot or so off the top, and it's doing fine.
Old 03-29-15, 02:45 PM
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I tend to think you can't kill a burning bush. I keep mine pruned to have mostly younger growth with nice red bark to have some color during winter. Once a branch turns brown I cut it off as low as possible. New shoots always appear.

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