The Q&A Archives: pruning burning bushes

Question: I have 8 six foot tall burning bushes I'd like to cut down to 3 1/2 feet. This will take off most of the foliage. What is the best time of year for this or will this kill them?

Answer: Your pruning plan sounds a little drastic. The standard rule of thumb is to remove no more than one third of the live material on any shrub during any pruning session. So, if you want to reduce your burning bushes by one half, you should plan on doing it over a 2 year period. You can prune them back now, taking 12-18" off and then prune them in the spring, reducing them by another 12-18". Pruning in increments will allow your shrubs to maintain good health. Best wishes with your project.

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