burning bush pruning

Asked May 1, 2020, 11:54 AM EDT

Hi. we would like to cut back a burning bush. prune it shorter. Can we do this now? Leaves are starting to emerge. It is quite tall and shorter would be better. thank you!!

Kent County Michigan

1 Response

If you are pruning a burning bush to shape it, you can prune it while it is dormant, in either late winter or very early spring. If you are trimming burning bushes to rejuvenate them, you should be doing this in early spring, before the burning bush starts to put out leaves.

How to prune to shape the plant (rather than rejuvenation pruning explained below):

Your first step is to remove any dead or dying branches. Use pruning shears to cut away any dead branches or branches that have been severely injured. Also look for any branches or branch stubs that are intertwined or rubbing against each other. Use pruning shears to remove these branches, as well. Cut these branches down to their point of origin on the main stem. Problem branches like these will typically grow back again in the same direction, so it is best to remove them completely instead of trimming them down.

Rejuvenation pruning:

Rejuvenation pruning is often used on plants that are too tall. This is best performed in late winter or early spring before foliage forms by cutting one third of the tallest canes growing from the base of the shrub to the ground level with a pruning saw or pruning shears. Then next year, cut down another 1/3, and the final 1/3 the year after that. This is less stressful on the plant than trying to cut it all down at once.

The information in the links below will give you additional information: