This can be done at any time during the year. Cutting overgrown branches back to the form of the bush during the summer helps to keep it in shape. We suggest cutting branches at a 45′ angle, this allows water to run off easily. Routine pruning takes place before new growth, usually done in late winter or early spring.
After “how?”, the second most-asked question we get about pruning is “when?” (Or, ” Can I prune this now?”) The rule of thumb is to prune immediately after bloom for flowering shrubs, in late winter or early spring for non-blooming shrubs (particularly for heavy pruning ), and not after mid-August for any shrubs.
Over pruning reduces the foliage that’s available for making food for the rest of the plant and can allow pests and diseases access to the tree, if cuts are made incorrectly. So, although pruning may not kill your plant directly, over pruned trees and shrubs can die as a long term result of the associated stress.
Heading back or trimming firebush plants helps the plant form a compact rather than splayed appearance. To do this, you will be hand trimming rather than using a hedging saw. At each branch, cut back to the previous growth node. This will cause the cut area to send out more stems and form a bushier appearance.
Rejuvenation is simply severely cutting back the plant so that it can grow all new growth. To do rejuvenation pruning on a burning bush, take either a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears or hedge clippers and cut the entire burning bush plant down all the way to about 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 cm.) from the ground.
Burning bush grows well in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 8 but can become invasive in the warmer ranges. Burning bush plants may get 9 to 15 feet (2.5 – 4.5 m.) tall and are suitable for full sun to partial sun locations.
When is Late Winter? Late winter is 4 to 6 weeks before spring thaw begins. This could be any time in January to May, depending on your climate.
Remove dead or diseased wood anytime. Light shaping in fall for shrubs that have uneven growth is okay. Remove stems growing out of the shrub by cutting close to the parent branch, not by shearing. Shearing promotes new growth which is unwanted this late in the season, since it can cause winter damage.
Professional gardeners and experienced DIY landscapers learn, though, that the nearly perfect pruning practice involves trimming about 1/3 of the good wood during any major pruning session. Prune more than that and you run the risk of damaging the plant or at least stunting its growth in a major way.
Cut the entire plant down to ⅓ of its original height (and don’t be shy about it). Be sure to cut each branch off where it meets another branch.
The terms pruning and trimming are often used interchangeably, but surprising to most, there is a difference between the two. When you are removing the dead, loose, or infected branches or stems from its respective plant, you are pruning. Trimming, on the other hand, occurs when you are cutting back overgrown plants.
A: It is likely that the burning bushes you have seen and have heard about dying were damaged by meadow voles and are Euonymus alatus “Compacta”. When grass is not readily available, such as during the winter months, voles will often gnaw on bark for nourishment. Monitor plants for damage during the winter.
So why won’t burning bush turn red? The most likely culprit is the plant’s location. Is it planted in full sun, partial sun or shade? Although the plant can thrive in any of these exposures, it requires a full six hours of direct sun for the foliage to turn red.
The best thing you can do is to cut off the dead branches. This will enable the shrub to send new nutrients only to the growing portions and will help push new growth. If your burning bush has some sparse leaves, cut the bush back to the place where you find the majority of the existing growth.