By Duston On September 8, 2010
Posted in: Trimming & Pruning Tips
Thanks for the instructions for cutting back shubs. I thought that Burning Bush was so pretty, it would never occur to me to cut it back like that, however I know it is probably really good for the plant.
I think the cut back shrub is pretty ugly, but Mike’s right. If that’s what needs to be done to keep it in bounds.. However….I prefer to do it late winter or early spring, just before leaf break. The less time I have to look at all those stumps, the better.
can you cut any shrub that severe in the winter months
Deborah, yes, during the dormancy period you can cut most shrubs back pretty hard. Evergreens are going to be slow to fill back in, but in most cases they do.
Great video but in my neck of the woods they are invasive plants that should be destroyed.
Norm, as close as I can tell the invasive plant is the standard burning bush, Euonymus Alatus, not the more common dwarf Burning Bush, Euonymus Alatus compacta. I know there is a lot of buzz about this online, but around here they seldom seed themselves. Certainly now where near at the rate that maple trees and other plants do.
Can i do the same cutting with my supposed to be dwarf Korean Lilac that has grown enormously in my front lawn? When is the best time to cut it and do I need to use a chain saw?
Does this apply to the Smoke Bush? I have to wacked on it during the summer so it doesn’t grow out on the drive way. It seems to just keep going. Should I give it a good prune this winter?
Can English Boxwod be cut back the same way?
The boxwood have been in front of my house for 35 years and never been trimmed. The original plants came from Woodrow Wilson’s home in Staunton, Va and i don’t want to damage mine! (My mom took a tour there when they were trimming the boxwood and picked up a few snippets!)
Excellent clip. Now about the chainsaw method……
I have a burning bush that doesn’t seem to grow but, it seems healthy and green.
Is there anything special I can do for this plant? It’s been planted in this same spot
for about 4 yrs. It gets full sun. Should I move it? It’s about 3ft tall.
Whedn I watched your video on pruning burning bushes on new something was wrong
with mine. Excellent video!!!
May be you need to transfer it in a bigger pot. In any case plants planted in pots stay do not grow as much as those planted in the ground.
Loved this video Just planted burning bushes last month and they are really growing. Do I need to do anything with the bush this year?
Great video. Prune away!
would love to get hold of some of those cuttings Mike.
I have a snowball bush, can I do the same with it, in November?
I don’t know if the snowball bush will work with this. I had one in NY that I tried trimming and it just went rank. Last week I had to remove a huge (>90 foot tall, five trunks) white pine and the arborist cut my snowball bush to the ground. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
I’d suggest waiting to prune the burning bush until late winter, that way you don’t have to look at the ugly stumps for six months.
I really enjoy your messages and look forward to them. I read them all and just waiting time until I can take advantage of plant sales. I am into herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes and wish I knew more. Maybe you can inspire me more.
Thanks Mike..very interesting, you sure have taken away much of my fear of plant whacking through the videos.
Do you have any tips on keeping arborvitae ,etc under control? We live in a Mobile Home court and ours are too tall now.
Can you then plant all those branches you pruned?
I was wondering about rose bushes. I live in Idaho, the Boise area. How far back can I cut a rose bush and when should I do it?
Mike has another video here that explains how to prune rose bushes:
Roy, rose bushes can be cut back quite a lot. Some folks prune them hard in the fall, others in the very early spring. I like to think early spring is best, but I often do it in the fall just to make sure it gets done.
Thank you Mike!
I’ve been amazed with the results I’ve had by following your advise on pruning my plants. Tou have truely given me the answers for so many questions concerning my gardening, but my shears and I have been set free. The growth and control your advice has afforded has been
Thank you for this great site! Keep’em coming.
I thoroughly enjoy your videos. Can I do the same “heavy pruning” with a privet hedge that has grown 12-15 feet high? It has many thick “trunks.” I bought a chain saw and took out 1/3 of the thickest trunks on 3 bushes this past spring, but was afraid to go further. I have 10 privets in a hedge. When I pruned in years past, I apparently pruned at the wrong time. The result was many “witches brooms” with multiple branches coming out from the trunks I cut. The branches on the witches brooms had 5-7 branches that all got tall, lanky, and actually twisted. Can you give me guidance on when and how to trim the privets? I’d like to keep them about 8 feet tall to serve as a screen between my yard and my neighbor’s yard. Thanks so much and keep those videos coming.
Linda, the privet can be pruned pretty hard when they are dormant. Then come spring as they start to put on a lot of new growth just keep that trimmed to the desired height and they should be fine. When you prune most plants hard they come back with a few unruly branches. The quicker you stop those from growing out of control the better.
Thank you for the pruning advise. I can’t wait until November.
What about Blue spruces. Can they be cut down to size?
Kelli, Blue Spruce and most other conifers are a bit of a different animal. If you prune them hard like I did you will remove the main leader and end up with a very large blue spruce shrub, probably not what you want. They can be kept smaller through regular pruning each year, but if they get too large its really not practical to try and trim them back a lot.
My husband severely cut an old fashion rose last month (August) so he could paint. Boy did he get it from me. But it has forgiven him and is coming back beautifully. So he is forgiven.
Thanks for yet another great, free, tip. I almost always tune into your tips. From one landscaper to another – thanks a lot. -Chris
Great video with some very useful information. Thanks for sharing!
This reminds me of when my mother asked me about trimming her boxwoods. I told her to wait until late fall and take it easy. She cut them back HARD in the middle of the summer. Result-they ended up looking like a fresh, new planting of boxwoods! A lot easier than starting all over.
Amen, I trim at the end of March as the snow melts here in Michigan. Each year I trimmed back almost all the new growth from the previous year. The burning bushes gradually got taller and taller. Finally I decided that even if it killed them I had to get control of them; so, about five years ago I wacked them off at about knee high. It didn’t bother them one bit. This summer near the end of July I decided that a little light trimming would make them much neater in appearance. It didn’t seem to have any negative effects although I do worry about disease when I leave an open wound that time of year.
I loved this video! It is the best way for us novices to learn! Yaay!! I actually learned something!! But I gotta tell you, I trimmed 3 little burning bushes I planted right on the front of my house & plan on trimming them as they show growth next yr cause I don’t want them to grow bigger than 3-4 foot. Am I making a mistake planning this?
Ipf, let them completely flush out with new growth before you prune next spring. If you prune them too early they’ll just grow right back. I had a couple of Burning Bush at my other house that I kept at 40″ tall for 16 years. As soon as I moved out every plant in the landscape grew completely out of control because of a lack of hard pruning.
I have a Spirea (sp?) that has grown to triple its size this year. Can I prune it back hard like the Burning Bush?
Cheryl, quick story about sprirea. I had three in my landscape that just grew way too much for the area that they were in and I really no longer wanted them. So I went out with my chainsaw and cut them along with some evergreens that I didn’t want right to the ground. I mean as close to the ground as I could get them. I did this right before Kevin left for college and asked him to dig out the stumps for me. He dug out all of the evergreen stumps but didn’t see the sprirea stumps. That’s how low I cut them! So anyway I didn’t even realize that he didn’t dig them out until one day I walked around the house and noticed three of the most compact spirea that I’ve ever seen. I cut them clear to the ground and forgot about them and they grew back really nice and tight a full.
So yes, sprirea respond really well to heavy pruning. Do them when they are dormant.
Excellent! I have been thinking about cutting an overgrown forsythia back a little to control it’s ranging habit. This video has given me the release to chop it about halfway up…
Thank you Mike,
Very informative. I have a very unruly variagated privot that I am going to try this on in November.
Really enjoy your newsletters
Good information.This is really good to know that you can cut the burning bush back and reshape it without doing permanent damage to it. Thanks Mike.
Good to know. I love the burning bushes and they’ve gotten monsterous over the years. Wasn’t quite sure how much I could cut them back, and now I know.
May you and yours be well,
That’s pretty severe pruning! I’d like to know if there’s a danger of just leaving a burning bush alone – mine is spectacular – easily 10 feet in diameter. I have a huge yard, so I welcome very large accents. It is very beautiful when it turns color in fall, and is perfectly filled out all the way around. I worry though, that it’s going to do what a butterfly bush I had did… it grew so large that it cracked down the middle of the root ball and after severe pruning would not come back in the least. Perhaps water got down into the base and it rotted. I don’t really know. Any ideas of what the outer limits are?
Karen, I don’t think there is a downside to letting burning bush grow large. Should they ever get broken down by snow load or something else I’m sure some pruning would make them nice again.
Wow, this is a good video! My neighbors burning bushes are wicked tall. I bet they would love to know you can cut them way back. Thanks!
Ginger, send them my Email and they can watch the video.
Thanks for the vid – great info! What do you do with the waste material, compost or burn it? There must quite a lot let after that hedge was cut?
Martin, of course composting the smaller branches would be a great idea. The larger branches would take much longer, but at my new nursery I am clearing some space to plant in, and anything less than 1-1/2″ in diamter goes onto a brush pile that will eventually compost and the larger wood goes into a firewood pile. It will take a long time for that brush pile to compost, but all I have is time and in the meantime I use it as a barrier to discourage snowmobiles and 4 wheelers.
where is the burning bush trimming video?
All of Mike’s gardening videos are found on his blog at http://www.mikesbackyardnursery.com/
Scroll down the page just a little bit to see the title of the Burning Bush pruning video with the
title “Trim Your Burning Bush WAY BACK!!”. Click on the title to see the video.
oops typed in the wrong space. However, it is worth thanking you again for your ‘tutorials’. I look forward to seeing how to garden properly. You always seem to talk about something I am needing help with.
I love your videos, thank you for sharing with us. I always learn something new. Thank you again for all your efforts.
Great job! I’m a believer!
Thank you for the video on pruning burning bushes. I will get out my tools in November and get to work.
THANK YOU, you just answered my question!!!
Thanks Mike, great tips. I have a row of large burning bushes that will be getting pruned back this fall.
Great information, I didn’t think I could cut them that hard. Now I can tackle that row along my drive.
Thank you for the info. Also, I was wondering how much you can prune a circular cedar bush? It appears to have only bare branches in the middle of the bush. Will it come back if
I were to cut it way back? It is by the garage door and is beginning to hang over into the entrance.
Susan, if you cut an evergreen way back into that dead wood in the center of the plant it will take a long time to come back. But actually that wood in the middle of the plant isn’t dead, its just starved for sunlight. But if you cut this plant back that hard it will be very slow to come back. If it were mine I’d replace it. But if you’re going to do that you have little to lose by cutting it back first. But it will be at least a year before it looks any better at all.
when do I get information on actual gardening without buying one of your books???
You’ll find plenty of gardening information – enough to keep you busy reading for hours – on Mike’s website
Jeannie, I’m not sure what kind of actual gardening you’re interested in. http://freeplants.com/site-map.htm is loaded with all kinds of free gardening information as is my newsletter and videos. But I am a little taken back by your question. I’ve been giving away free gardening information online for over 10 years now, I’ve invested at least 10,000 hours of my own time sitting at this computer sharing my knowledge with strangers all over the world and I get the impression you think I’m stingy. Hmmmm. You don’t have to buy my books, as a matter of fact you can even unsubscribe from my newsletter if you like.
Love your videos Mike! They are very helpful. Keep ‘em coming! Can we have some Oleander pruning tips? (Tomball, TX)
Can you transplant new growth near the bottom of an old Crepe Myrtle tree? The roots are not extended very far from the tree.
We transplanted a rhododendrom and it looks pretty sad. Thanks for your suggestion re pruning after a hard freeze. We’ll cut it ‘way back and hopefully it will come back again.
Cathy, make sure that Rhododendron is not planted too deep and that it is not planted in heavy clay soil or over watered. They need water, but not near as much as other plants and they can not tolerate wet roots. It will kill them. They like to be planted high and dry.
Hi Mike; Excellent garden tip on heavy pruning! With pruning, sometimes its best to just “Have NO Fear”!
Becky, you’re right. You have to make that decision that the plant offers nothing to your landscape in its present condition, and if heavy pruning works (and it usually does) you are saving a plant that otherwise would be tossed away.
Thanks for the confirmation. Recently, I pruned two loropetalum bushes at the front of our home about 50% down. I have several others around the yard so I waited to see what the response would be. I did this in early August, the hottest time of the year here in Florida. About three weeks later there was new growth coming from the woody part of the plants. So I went ahead and pruned another 10 plants in a similar fashion. Six more to go and I will be done. It just took a little courage to get started. Thanks again.
You’re living proof that it works, but it always best to do this kind of pruning when the plants are dormant, or as close to dormant as they get.
Thanks again Mike. Fort Wayne Indiana landscaper.
I did not need to trim my burning bush as the deer came in and did it for me!! The bear came in last night and really pruned my plum tree too! (ARRRGH!) SOO I will be busy picking what is left of the plums to day. We live in beautiful country but the wild animals take over as well on my plants and trees.
Mike, where can I look at your answers to these questions? I have lots of the same ones…!
Just look right here. I do my best to get here and answer questions, but I just can not get to them all. I spend a great deal of time each day on the Backyard Growers Message Board answering questions for the members of my Backyard Growers Group. I try and answer as many questions as possible here, but there are only so many hours. But often times other knowledgeable people offer good answers here as well.
What about Butterfly Bushes?
Here in the north we cut Butterfly bushes right back to the ground each year because they are not all that hardy here and the tops typically don’t survive the winter.
Do you mean that you prune your butterfly bushes back in the fall? A tip I got from a professional grower of BB (zone 6) is to cut them back to about a foot or two off the ground in mid-April. It is important not to do it sooner because if you get a freeze soon after new growth has started, it could kill the whole plant (only after pruning – not on a plant that hasn’t been cut back hard).
I had a customer a few years ago that I pruned a 5-7 year old (well established & healthy) BB for in March, and that year we did get a freeze afterwards. Sure enough, the entire plant died. I am much more careful with the timing of pruning them now.
What I’m not sure of is if there’s a difference between pruning in the fall and pruning too early in the spring. You may say that you’ve never lost a BB from pruning in the fall, but have you ever had one with new spring growth endure a hard freeze? I think that is the only situation where the entire plant will die.
Just to clarify – I am referring to a “BB” = BUTTERFLY Bush, not a burning bush which this article is about.
enjoyed the ‘pruning’ video and it just makes me want to take my trusty pruning shears to several bushes in my yard…but will ‘azalea’ bushes withstand this type of pruning? i have several azaleas that are beautiful but getting ‘woody’, 2 overgrown rhododendrons , and several ‘spiriella’ bushes
and they all need a good cut. my burning bushes are still young but i gave them a ‘low trim’ just to freshen them up. the weather here in western n.c. is like a rain forest in warm weather and as a lot of the country, very unpredictable, so i don’t want to prune too early.keep the tips coming.
Tootsie, the spirea will respond nicely to hard pruning. Azaleas and Rhododendrons can be cut back, but the textbook method is to only remove 1/3 of the plant per year over a 3 year period. So what would happen if you cut them back really hard like I did in the video? If you did it while they are dormant (winter) they’d probably be fine, but I have to remind you that there is some risk involved of losing the plant.
Mike you were reading my mind. This was perfect timing for me to see the burning bush video. You’re the best.
can you prune a butterfly bush back also? we had lots of flowers this year but they never formed all the way.
Annette, yes you can trim butterfly bush back pretty hard.
good video I enjoy all your garden tips. I cut a sand cherry way back last week. too early I guess, now that I saw the video. hope it comes back. I want to plant garlic. think it should be planted in october? do I plant the garlic I buy in the grocery store? (the same garlic I cook with) or is there different garlic to plant? thanks, Tia
Here’s an article for you from Mike’s website that explains all about planting garlic. October would be a great time to plant garlic, but don’t plant the grocery store garlic:
Here’s info on garlic.
I have a beautiful burning bush. But this year on one side it looks bare as if fall was here. What would cause that. Thanks for the tip.
Betty Jo, it could be spider mites. They really don’t do permanent damge, they just defoliate the plants earlier than normal. I want to do a video about them, let me see if I can get it done.
Planted Calla lillies this spring, and they were beautiful but. on next round of growth they stood tall with large “bulbs” and just fell over. the huge blooms never opened. Should I leave them , or cut them off later in fall? Ga. has been @100 degrees, I worked my bed & mulched, What to do? enjoy all your tips & videos. Thanks so much.
Please ,please answer about my calla lillies. I spent a fortune on them from c.f.
Kay, I really don’t know a lot about calla lillies. Anybody with knowledge that would like to jump in here?
Here is a link on caring for calla lilies – I found the site helpful. Good luck. http://www.callalilyguide.com/calla_lily_care.html
PS: Thanks Mike – I enjoy and appreciate your gardening tips!
Can I cut some of the roots off that are coming up from the ground from a maple tree that is about 7 years old. I also have an OLD oak tree that some of the roots are about 3 in above ground, Can I cover the oak roots up with dirt or chop them back.
I’d say either is feasible. If you cut them back, wait until the trees are dormant just to be safe.
How much can I cut off? Can you do a video showing how much to cover the roots of the old tree and how to cut the roots off the maple tree.
Can you cut down a mock orange bush ? Is that considered a woody bush ?
Michelle, yes you can, it is a woody shrub. If you wait until Thanksgiving you can cut it down all you want.
Mike, When do you cut down pampas grass and ow do you do it. Someone told me to burn it, but how do I do that? Thanks, Linda
Linda, ornamental grasses can be cut to the ground in the late fall. After a good hard freeze is the ideal time. Some people burn them to the ground, but that’s really not necessary, and you certainly don’t want to burn the whole plant you could start a major fire. Just cut them within a few inches of the ground. I pruning saw works the best, or a pruning blade in reciprocating saw.
Fall works for pruning back ornamental grasses, but consider this:
The flowering stalks of many ornamental grasses dry beautifully – cut or uncut – and will stay like that for months (or sometimes years when cut for dried arrangements). Especially if your ornamental grasses were planted as a screening, but even if not, leave them be until early spring. Most will stay attractive throughout the winter. Just be sure to prune away the dead by the time the new growth starts.
Thanks, Mike. What about crepe myrtle? First of all, my next door neighbor’s looks great. Still blooming like crazy. Mine isn’t. It has what looks like seed pods at the end of every branch. And what about pruning? I want it to look like a tree, but it keeps growing new branches right out of the ground, looking like a bush. I live in St. Louis, and I know they are different in every growing area. Thanks in advance. Ron.
There are many different varieties of crape myrtles. Some have more of an upright shrub form, others have more of a tree form. Some have longer blooming seasons than others, while others begin blooming much earlier than other varieties. Your neighbor’s crape must be a variety that has a longer blooming season. Once your crape has finished blooming for the season, you can clip off the spent blossoms and seed pods.
I live in AZ where it is super hot, so I am afraid to plant anything other than those that do well in the heat (lantana). In these past few years I did try others that have done pretty good, especially in my patio. For privacy, this past spring I planted a couple of privet bushes by our pool, and they really seemed stressed during the hottest part of the summer, but they look like they have made it through quite healthy. They were only about 3 1/2 ft when I planted them, and are now about 6 ft tall, but still need them to grow a bit more to obtain that privacy we like, so now I hear that we are supposed to cut them way down during the winter. Is that correct?
Just one more question-please: I live Hibiscus, but every single one I have planted has died. One lasted about a year, and then it just turned yellow until it dried up. My dream is to grow several in my yard. We have North/south exposure. Any help would be much appreciated.
Makes me wish I had a burning bush to prune. I’ll look around to see what I can do.
Thanks Mike – that was fun.
Thanks so much for the link to calla lillies. I’ll keep trying! I have some in partial shade &some in full sun and some on a sloped bank. Thanks so much! And thank you Mike. Kay
On the burning bush cutting is there a way to propagate them to make more so I can make a row between me and my neighbor.
The Homemade Plant Propagation System is a great way to propagate plants:
With burning bush, try softwood cuttings next year starting in mid June in your area.
I have burning bush’s that don’t seem to want to grow. I have had them for about six years and they seem not to grow. They are still as small as when I first bought them. I have had dear eating on them from time to time. Also they don’t seem to turn red as they should. Can you give me some hints.
I have a question …Will peaches ripen off the tree? I have a 3 yr. old peach tree that was suposed to be a flowering almond bush!!! This year the peaches are looking real good but are still hard. I live in Idaho and we will be geting a frost in a few weeks so I’m wondering if I can pick them soon ? What else should I do?? Help Thanks
The average height of a blue spruce is for example 40′. Can I keep it tall at the maximum of 10′ by pruning it every year, assuming when I plant it it is only 6′ tall?
I appreciate your advice.
Sam, you really can. You just have to be diligent about cutting off all of the new growth. But you might be happier with another conifer that doesn’t get that tall.
MIke, I recently removed a monster yucca tree community and subsequently was left with roots that wouldn’t come out without a struggle, and now the dang things are trying to grow back! How do I get these roots out once and for all?
Mike what can I do to ensure no roaches come in when I bring my potted trees back in for the winter? I’ve seen some big ones scatter from my grill and fear I may bring some inside. I live in Raleighy, NC and we had a hot dry summer and early fall. Suggestions?
Can the Chinese Fringe be done the same way? What about rooting some of the cuttings Thanks
Marge, you can try and do them as hardwood cuttings, then next summer do some as softwoods in the http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Hello Mike I am like you i am not afraid to cut it away back. my neighbors say you are going to kill that tree or bush i say if it dies i know where i can buy another .& it turns out beautiful and i get yard of the week several times thank you ,is it time to cut back hollies or move them to a new location.
Mike, what about a quince bush?
mike, i’ve had some good luck with rooting hardwood birch cuttings. i must have 100 of those sons-of-birches rooting around here! haha
I have a question regarding trimming bushes back. We have large cedar hedge/bushes all around the front of our home. They were never trimmed regularly before we moved in, but desperately need it. Is there a way to trim them back hard, and not be left with dead sticks showing everywhere? Our last trimming left dead areas that did not come back.
Teri, with evergreens hard pruning is a gamble. What you can do is reach inside the plant and cut away 1/3 of what needs trimmed. Then a year later do it again, then again the third year. On paper this is supposed to work, but it’s a 3 year process and if the plant still doesn’t get sun to the inside after the first or second pruning your still going to have a lot of dead sticks.
I know you say Cedar but a lot of people have arborvitae and they call them Cedar. In my book, if they are unsightly you have to decide whether or not you want to keep looking at them, take a chance on trimming them really hard (winter is the time to do that) and if they don’t come back nicely rip them out and start over.
your the best info on line Thanks for so much good learning material I am old but not to old to learn thanks thANKS
Thanks Bess, that’s very kind of you. Happy gardening!
I have 4 really big, ugly Japanese Holly Bushes that I wanted to get rid of but after seeing your video, maybe I should control them better. I had been clipping them throughout the summer with my hedge clipper and they grew back REALLY fast. Should I take our chain saw to in the fall? Thanks Mike. I love your newsletters and you videos.
This type of training is typical of Mike. The amount of information he gives away is phenomenal.
I do have a question though. Two or three years ago, I purchased the entire package. Since then, life has happened and I have lost all of my log in information, receits, etc. Is there a way to reconnect with this, or will I have to repurchase? Your help would be appreciated
Ray – contact Taylor at email@example.com and she can look up your previous order and get you what you need.
I had a couple arborvitae that when I planted them I thought they would be great for decorating with lights at xmas time…so I planted them in the front bed on each end of the house. I knew they were fast growing but did not realize HOW fast. One day i looked and realized they were taller than my house by a good bit. Everyone said, can’t trim that much. Well…It was trim or cut down. I chanced it and trimmed last fall along with my severely overgrown lilacs and red twig dogwoods. Now I was not able to get the same shape and not have it look horrible, but I was able to round out the top and have it look acceptable. Is there a way to get the pyramidal shape back without having it be an eyesore? BTW The lilacs my husband was not sure about making it look lovely this year- though not as much flowers as we got in previous years, I am sure next year will be fine. The Red Twig dogwood was cut back to half its size and looks great this spring.
I moved into a house 3 years ago with a 10′ tall Lilac Bush. I haven’t done much pruning of it and there were not too many blooms this year. (a) What is the best thing to do with the spent blooms too promote more growth next year? (b) Should I cut back 1/3 of it after Thanksgiving? Or will I lose next year’s buds?
I planted a road frontage with two burning bushes then one purple smoke bush, Two burning bushes the one purple smoke bush, two burning bushes and the one purple smoke bush.. and I did this on each side of my drive way.. My purple smoke bushes grew 4 foot in one year.. my burning bushes grew maybe 1 foot in one year so the burning bushes are growing very slow compared to my purple smoke bushes.. Any opinions from landscappers on how this will look once I have a hedgerow growing?
Would love to see the hedge
in its fall color,
I am wondering if I can cut a pussywillow back as much as you did the burning bush. It is higher than our front porch right now and it is actually too close to the porch. It really needs to be replanted somewhere else, but I am afraid it is too large to remove and then replant. So maybe if I can just trim it way back.
Yes, you can trim a pussy willow way back. I know – they grow like weeds! They are not very suited for landscaping right in front or around the house. Just remember that pussy willows start to form next year’s buds right after they flower, so if you prune in the fall, you won’t get very many of the little furry buds. The best time to prune for having buds is right after they bloom, but unfortunately, this is BEFORE the growth spurt, so it doesn’t always help. Good luck.
Loved the video. What’s the best way to prune Indian Hawthorne? And what time of year should I prune it?
I would like advice on pruning a japanese maple that is about 15 ft tall
Billie- this is from Mike’s video archive
Please advise on the proper pruning of peach trees and proper time of year.
Mike, I do appreciate your videos, and have benefited from many of your tips – thank you. I hope you don’t think I’m contradicting your advice or disagreeing with you – we both know that our own way isn’t always the best way, and also that often there is more than one “right” way to do things.
I am amazed at how many unrelated questions you get from people who are too lazy to do the research on their plant and just post a comment on one of your (FREE!!) articles, expecting you to give them MORE for free by taking your valuable time to answer it for them. I don’t blame you for not answering everyone – you can’t (plus, the more you do, the more questions you get) – and at the same time I am impressed with how giving you are in the quantity of unrelated questions you DO take the time (GIVE your time?) to answer. Kudos to you – you’re a very selfless and generous person – and a wealth of information. Thank you.
Sharon, I appreciate your comments. You’re right, it is upsetting when people get mad at me because I can’t give them more of my time. If only they had any idea how many thousands, or tens of thousands of hours I’ve invested in giving out free gardening advice. I can’t even begin to tell you. But it helps that you understand.
Mike, Thank you sincerely for all of your awesome and helpful tips.. Your time spent on helping others should be appreciated by all who visits your website… I sure appreciate you! Thank you kindly!!
Kind Cowgirl, thank you, I appreciate your kind words.
Thank you! I moved into a house with beautiful burning bushes that hang out into the street and block vision for driveways. Now I know I can keep the plant and be safe.
This is awesome advice! Thanks again Mike for all of your great landscaping posts!
YOU ROCK!! Going out to hard prune, the rain is clearing as we speak…
would you please do a segment on the Mock Orange bush and how to trim them so that they thicken up?
Cathy, Mockorange is a woody shrub a lot like forsythia. During the winter you can cut them back really hard like I did here with the Sandcherry. See that post on this site about trimming Purple Sandcherry.
Can I cut back my burning bush right at the beginning of spring….say today, perhaps? (April 3rd)…. They haven’t bloomed yet and wasn’t sure if they were still considered dormant. I’m guessing they’ll start to bloom very soon and I didn’t want to compromise the life of the bush.
Thanks Mike! Great videos!!
Sure you can cut them back now. You won’t hurt them. Depending on how hard you cut them back it will take them a time to fill back in completely, but they most certainly will fill back in.
I have inherited a burning bush (euonymus) that is about 15+ ft tall and I was told to cut it 8 inches from the ground. I’m scared ! What height and when should I do this? I’m in upstate NY.
8″ is pretty harsh, I’d suggest 24″ and don’t do it until winter. However, I cannot guarantee your results, all I can tell you is that I have trimmed them that hard myself.
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