Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 Esperanza from Austin
June 06, 2012 - I have an Esperanza plant. I've had this plant for over 5 years. Its in a large pot. The plant has NEVER bloomed. I fertilize maybe once a month and dont seem to be over watering, only when I notice ...
view the full question and answer

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Hardiness of Acerola bush for Conway AR
January 25, 2013 - How far north can you grow an Acerola bush? I live in Conway, AR, which is north of Little Rock.We used to be Zone 7, but now we are on the edge of Zone 8, I believe.
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Evergreen Hedge Suggestions for CT
April 30, 2013 - I think I am asking for a lot, but here we go Is there a deer tolerant evergreen that can grow in the shade and create a hedge of 5 feet tall here in CT? I am not opposed to ivy covering a fence if t...
view the full question and answer

Does Helasia diptera absorb toxic substances from Dover Plains NY
March 09, 2012 - Dear Mr. Plants, Halesia carolina is described as absorbing toxic substances: herbicides, pesticides and pollutants from water, air and soil. Does Halesia diptera do the same? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.