The Q&A Archives: Rejunevating Mature Burning Bush

Question: I have two 30-year-old burning bushes next to the front of my house and together they are about 12 feet tall and 15 feet wide. I don't want to remove them, but how would I go about pruning these monsters? I tried cutting off a few larger branches at the base of each bush last fall, but I didn't get any new growth on the stubs I left there.

Answer: Euonymous usually respond well to severe pruning. Perhaps you didn't cut enough growth away to stimulate the new growth. A few winters ago here, many mature burning bushes died back severely. They were pruned to about one foot from the ground and now, a few years later, they have recovered their shape and growth. So, I think you can cut them down to the height you'd like and new growth will appear form the base. Do so now, so the plant has the summer to sprout new growth. You might want to plant tall annual flowers in front of the pruned shrub to hide the view until it fills in. Good luck.

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