The Q&A Archives: Scotch Brrom Trees

Question: I bought 2 of the Burkwoodii broom trees about 4-5 years ago and planted them on both sides of my porch. They got totally out of control growing well over 7 ft. tall and about 5 ft. wide. They were growing over my sidewalk so last year I trimmed both of them back after blooming. After doing that, one of the broom trees began turning brown and the majority of the branches died. So this year, before blooming, I cut all the dead branches off. That one has 2 good branches on it that bloomed and the other one seemed to get 2 ft. wider. I am afraid that I am going to loose my surrounding plants. What I want to know is if you advise digging them both up and moving them to a place where they have more space or just try cutting them back again. I love these plants and really don't want to loose them. Any suggestions? They are blooming now.


Answer: Broom (Cytisus) is somewhat likely to die back the way you described, and pruning out the dead material is the right response. For this reason, it is difficult to keep them looking symmetrical. Routine care would include trimming them back hard after bloom each spring. This helps a little bit with size and tidiness but older plants tend to be scraggly and occasionally die out unpredictably.

I am not sure if you would be able to transplant them successfully since they have very extensive root systems, their reputation is of being difficult to move. Your better bet might be to enjoy them this spring and then remove them, try the transplant if you wish, but be prepared to replant with new plants next spring if necessary. You might also consider another location for them if they are overgrowing the allotted space.

I'm sorry I can't be more encouraging, I love this plant in bloom, too.

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