En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Shrubs Questions

Failure to bloom of Texas Mountain Laurel
April 15, 2008 - My +/- 4 yr old Tx. Mountain Laurel, has never bloomed. It is in full sun. I sometimes (minimal) fertilize it. I've pretty much planted it and let it grow. Its been pruned back last year when som...
view the full question and answer

Huckleberries and blueberries from Vancouver WA
April 14, 2013 - Can you plant a blueberry next to a huckleberry?
view the full question and answer

Limiting erosion around pond from Brooklyn Park MN
May 20, 2013 - Minnesota resident, wants to find plant limit erosion from pond?
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Yakima WA
May 11, 2013 - My condo complex has purchased large, pottery pots for around our pool. I need to choose low maintenance plants. hopefully something that takes limited water, etc.
view the full question and answer

Cenizo for border of school garden from Cedar Park TX
January 27, 2014 - Hi. We're starting a school garden in Central Texas, and instead of building a fence along one side, we'd like to plant a hedge. Ideally, it would grow tall enough to deter deer from jumping over, b...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center