The Q&A Archives: Pruning Burning Bush

Question: What is the proper time (Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter) to prune a burning bush? How much can you prune off at one time? What is the best fertilizer to use?

Answer: This plant has a fairly regular, symmetrical outline naturally if left unpruned. If pruning is required, late winter to early spring, followed by late spring and mid summer, would be the best times to prune it. Late summer and fall are not the best times because this can encourage soft tender new growth that will not have sufficient time to harden off before winter -- with the result being some possible winter damage to it. As a rule of thumb, it is not a good idea to remove more than one third of a plant at a time as more than that can cause shock. These plants grow quite slowly, so it is a good idea to work with some caution since you can't immediately grow back what you have cut off.

These plants are not particularly heavy feeders and don;t need special fertilizing as long as your soil is average or better. It is best to ferilize on the basis of soil tests indicating the specific nutrients might be lacking, however an annual early spring application of compost and/or a complete granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 according to the label instructions should be adequate. It is always better to underfertilize than to overfertilize.

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