The Q&A Archives: Should I Cut Back A Damaged Burning Bush; If So, When

Question: A couple years ago, we planted a lovely small burning bush which transplanted well and looked beautiful in the fall. Unfortunately, deer ate several of the branches during the winter and now the bush looks very sad. The main stems are about two feet tall with few side branches and only a few leaves. Can we cut this bush back and start over? How far can we cut it back and when? We now have a fence around it to keep the deer out.

Answer: Unfortunately, it is probably better to allow the plant to recover on its own. Early next summer you might shape it lightly if the new growth seems very lopsided. This plant grows slowly and it may take some time for it to regain the lost size. With the established root system, though, it should grow back faster than it took the first time. I'm sorry about your plant!

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