Ask a Question forum: Transplanting a large Burning Bush

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Minneapolis, MN
Jun 19, 2017 1:45 PM CST
I have to remove a pretty large burning bush from the front of my house, where it is now completely blocking my front picture window. It's over 6 feet tall, and has been there for at least 7 years - previous owners planted it. So it's very well established.

I covet and adore this bush for it's autumn color, so am wondering if it's possible to transplant it? I am extremely inexperienced/unknowledgeable with this sort of thing. From what I've already read online, burning bushes are amenable to transplanting, but I'm worried this one is just too big. Articles are talking about bushes a few feet in diameter, not one of this size. Also, I can't wait until Fall, which I know is the ideal time of year to transplant.

Is it worth the effort? Or is it going to be too heavy/hard to transplant? And are the chances it survives too small given its age?
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jun 19, 2017 2:27 PM CST
Its a valid concern.
When I attempted to move one that size, I killed it.
Luckily, I first took several cuttings and stuck them in a rooting bed. Most of the cuttings took.

They are considered exotic invasives, so... You might find that most people would prefer that you not make any attempt to salvage it.
Name: Lauri
N Central Wash. - the dry side (Zone 5b)
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Jun 19, 2017 3:36 PM CST
Have you considered just pruning it back severely? I think they rebound pretty well and there are plenty of tips online how to prune it in various ways. I too love the fall color of a burning bush and they are not an invasive problem in my zone 5 area. I would guess that may be the case in Minnesota as well. Here is a link to one page about pruning that could help perhaps.
Good luck!
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Jun 19, 2017 9:07 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @dennyj .

Unless you have some "heavy equipment" for digging it out and moving it, I doubt that transplanting it right now is a very good option. And, although I would otherwise agree with Lauri about pruning it way back, I don't believe this is the right time of year for that, either. (I'm planning to try that with a couple of burning bushes that I planted in a perennial flower bed years ago, which have gotten WAY too large). Taking cuttings to start a new bush might be an option -- or maybe there already some seedlings growing underneath the large bush that you could transplant?

Or, maybe you could just prune it back somewhat now, so it isn't entirely obstructing the window, and then cut it way back in the late winter?
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Minneapolis, MN
Jun 21, 2017 2:05 PM CST
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. The real urgency is that I'm getting the window replaced, and the bush is blocking the way.

I think I've decided to remove it. Reality has taken hold, and it's going to be too much effort to try and transplant it. Plus, I don't really have an obvious place to move it too.

And now that I've started imagining the new window in place, I think it will be real nice to have a lower flower bed there instead of one giant bush.

Do people have funerals for plants? LOL I will be sad to put it down.

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