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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.

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

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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

 

 

 

 

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