The Q&A Archives: caring for shrubs

Question: Hi... I'd like to hard prune a burning bush late this fall. I think Oct. is a good time, right? Its about 5 feet tall and I'd like to cut it back about 2 feet. Is that too much?
Also, I'd like to cut back a Spreading Yew in Oct. also.
Can I cut it back by a third, right? Bushes are dormant in October, right or should I wait a bit longer? Thanks, Dorian

Answer: Pruning should be done in early spring on burning bush. If you prune in October, you'll encourage new growth which will be frost-tender. Over the winter you could end up with some extensive damage. Also, if you prune in October, you may miss some of the bright colors your burning bush will develop.

Your spreading yew should be pruned in spring, as well. You can reduce the height or width, but no more than 20 percent. Remember, too, tht the plant must have healthy, green foliage on the branches that remain in order to generate new growth.

I'd put the pruners away until next spring. Best wishes with your landscape!

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