Renewal Pruning My Dwarf Burning Bush

I had a problem with my burning bush. It had grown so tall that I couldn’t hang our American flag anymore! The bush is growing in a raised planter that forms a retaining wall to one side of our front door. I just lean over the rail and set my flag in the holder bolted to the front of our house. Handy–until Old Glory kept tangling in the bush!

I have removed the old growth of this bush over the years and trimmed branches, but the bush had reached a size that called for more drastic action. The bush is a dwarf variant, and I like it where it is because it attracts birds with its berries and its shelter from predators. Even though my renewal pruning job looks brutal, I’m really not trying to kill it!

Lilacs are another bush that can take this drastic pruning and thrive. You may lose blossoms for the first year, but the next year there will be more flowers than ever on all the new wood that replaces the old.

This is a job that you should do when the bush is still dormant or before bud break. (You will note that my bush was a little past bud break when I cut it back.) I used my curved pruning saw, which went through the branches like a hot knife through butter. I did the whole job including hauling the cut branches to my growing brush pile at the curb in about 15 minutes. When you are cutting back an entire bush, you don’t spend a lot of time agonizing about how a cut will affect the shape of the whole–you just get ‘er done!

What looks like a big job isn’t always as big as it looks. Begonia


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