Answer: Butterfly bushes are best trimmed back in spring. The amount of trimming will be determined in part by how much winter kill occurs and in part by the desired shape. Privet usually loses its leaves at some point during the winter if it is a harsh one. If the plant suffered stress such as drought or an insect or disease it might lose its leaves erlier. In many cases it can be considered "semi-evergreen". Borers often take advantage of and enter the tree through wounds in the trunk, so it is important to protect it from damage by either weed trimmer, mower or animals. Keeping the tree in good general health also helps. If you suspect your tree has borers, you might want to consult with your County Extension (489-4315) about the most up to date control measures.
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