En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - October 15, 2008

From: Chesterfield, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning of Burning Bush in Missouri
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in MO and am pretty sure I have burning bushes on either side of my deck. My question is that they are huge and overgrown but I feel if I cut them lower and shape the sides up I will be left with sticks, so what do I do? Is there a good time to cut them or did we miss the boat now and they would be ruined?

ANSWER:

There appear to be a number of different plants referred to as "burning bush." For instance, read this article from About.com Landscaping Burning Bush Shrubs: Illegal Aliens, referring to Euonymus alata as an invasive alien in the Northeast U.S., originating in Asia. However, we went to our own Native Plant Database and found Euonymus atropurpureus (burningbush), native to North America and, in fact, to Missouri. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we promote the use and propagation of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown, because they will need less fertilizer, water, and maintenance than introduced species. So, we're going to assume that you have the native plant by your deck. We have no personal experience with the plant, but found this article, A Southern Garden Burning Bush, that gives some pruning information.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

"No pruning is necessary! The most attractive shrubs are those that have not been pruned or sheared. except for cutting out older branches immediately following blooms. It can be cut to the ground following bloom time if you feel that it needs renewal."

Euonymus atropurpureus (burningbush) - pictures


Euonymus atropurpureus

Euonymus atropurpureus

 

 

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Arrows and Hunting Dogs in Kentucky
December 09, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants--Is it normal for our arrowwood viburnum to give off a musky odour in the late fall? The smell reminds me of a wet hunting dog.
view the full question and answer

Problem with crapemyrtle shoots in Victoria, TX
May 13, 2009 - I have a problem with crepe myrtle shoots coming up in my flowerbed. I had to remove a large crepe myrtle tree (18" diameter stump) and digging out the stump was not possible. I killed the stump wi...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back a Rhododendron in Maryland
June 17, 2015 - I have a planting of six shrubs across the front of my house (alternating azalea & rhododendron). All have died except for one huge rhody & a small azalea next to it. Can I cut the huge rhody back to ...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with live oak suckers in Central Texas
March 05, 2015 - Hi, I have a couple huge Live Oak trees in my back yard. Trunks are 4' in diameter. These Live Oaks produce a lot of root sprouts/suckers. I had always head that a tree's roots feed on water/oxyg...
view the full question and answer

Sun loving plants for flower bed by the pool in Weatherford Texas
October 03, 2011 - We have a 40' long x 2 1/2' wide flowerbed along our pool. It is in full sun with the pool deck across the front and a 6' privacy fence across back. Also, the level of the bed is 18" below the l...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center