Burning Bush? Invasive?

Asked September 29, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT

I can' t understand why the burning bush is considered invasive. I never see it in fields or forests growing uncontrollably. Can you give me an explanation? The blueberry shrubs we planted don't come close to the brilliance of the Burning Bush ie winged Euonymus.(sp)

Windsor County Vermont trees and shrubs invasive species horticulture

1 Response

Burning bush - Euonymus alatus - is indeed invasive. It is a non-native plant that seeds prolifically and those seeds are carried in many directions by birds. Those seeds, and the ones that simply drop from the bush create a dormant "bank" of seeds that can sit for many years until the conditions favor germination. Because the plant is not native there are no pests that keep it under control. It also leafs out fairly early in the spring and shades out many other plants around it. The dense foliage also inhibits growth around and under it. You may not recognize how much burning bush is in the wooded landscape because it doesn't turn bright red in shade - it's more of a pale pink.

Along with blueberry, there are other alternatives that give good fall color such as red chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia. The cultivar Brilliantissima has excellent red fall color. For more options check out UVM professor Leonard Perry's list at http://perrysperennials.info/articles/burning.html