when do I prune my smoke tree and what is the best way - Knowledgebase Question

durham, Co
Question by cwilde63
March 11, 2010
I have a smoke tree and I'v checked online to see when the best time of year to prune and got conflicting reports. I live in CT. One article said mid to late summer after blooming and another said early spring. Also wht is the best way to prune to shape the tree.

Answer from NGA
March 11, 2010


I vote for early spring. If you prune it in late summer after it finishes blooming you run the risk of winter dieback. This is because pruning encourages new growth and if that growth doesn't have time to harden off before winter weather sets in, the new growth will die back. Smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria) can be pruned down to about 12" above ground level to completely renew it, or you can simply prune it back to create or maintain a specific shape. I tend to reduce the size of my smoke trees by about one third each spring to help keep it bushy and under control Early spring is the best time to prune. Best wishes with your landscape!

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