How to Prune a Burning Bush

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you have a burning bush that’s in need of a good prune, follow these simple steps and you’ll have it looking great in no time.

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Pruning a Burning Bush

Pruning a burning bush is a necessary task to perform in order to maintain its shape and keep it from getting too large. You will need to prune your bush in the late winter or early spring. Follow these steps to prune your burning bush.


Burning bush (Euonymus alata) is a deciduous shrub that gets its name from its crimson fall foliage. But this vigorous plant isn’t just a one-hit wonder. It also sports small, white flowers in the springtime and attractive corky wings along its branches.

Pruning is seldom needed for burning bush, but if you want to control its size or shape, it’s best to prune immediately after the plant finishes flowering in the spring. Burning bush blooms on last year’s growth, so pruning any later in the season will remove next year’s flowers.

To prune, start by removing any dead, damaged or diseased wood. Then cut back one-third of the remaining stems to the ground. Finally, thin out the center of the plant by removing a few of the oldest stems at ground level. This will promote air circulation and discourage disease.


Shaping should be done in early spring, before new growth begins. You can prune a burning bush at any time of year, but it will bleed if pruned in late winter or early spring. The best time to prune a burning bush is after it blooms in late spring or early summer.

To shape a burning bush, start by removing any dead or damaged wood. Cut back any long, straggly branches to encourage new growth. Next, remove any branches that are rubbing against each other or growing in toward the center of the plant. Finally, trim back any branches that are longer than the others.


Deadheading is the process of removing spent flowers from a plant. Burning bushes produce flowers on new growth, so deadheading isn’t necessary to keep the plant looking tidy. However, if you want to prevent the plant from self-seeding, deadheading is a good idea.

To deadhead a burning bush, simply snip off the spent flower clusters at the base of the plant. You can do this with hand pruners or shears.

When to Prune a Burning Bush

Many gardeners are unsure of when the best time to prune a burning bush is. The answer to this question depends on a few factors. The first factor is the type of pruning you will be doing. The second factor is the age and health of your burning bush.


The best time to prune a burning bush is in early spring before new growth begins. That way, you can see the plant’s natural shape and structure more easily. You’ll also avoid damaging new growth that’s more susceptible to pests and diseases.


It’s best to prune your burning bush in the summer when it’s actively growing. This will help it heal quickly and encourage new growth.


Burning bush (Euonymous alata) is an attractive shrub that’s often used as a hedge or foundation planting. With its deep green leaves that turn a brilliant red in fall, it’s no wonder this plant is so popular. But like all shrubs, it will require occasional pruning to keep it looking its best.

Burning bush should be pruned in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. However, if you wait until spring to prune, you’ll miss out on the plant’s beautiful fall color. So if you must prune after the leaves have fallen, do so as soon as possible.

Pruning burning bush is simple. Just remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches, and trim back any wayward or overgrown branches. You can also thin out the plant to allow more light and air to reach the center of the shrub. To do this, remove some of the older branches at the base of the plant.

Be sure to use sharp pruning shears and make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle just above an outward-facing bud or branch. Avoid leaving stubs, which can damage the plant.

How Often to Prune a Burning Bush

Pruning a burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is important to maintain its shape, remove dead wood and encourage new growth. But how often should you prune a burning bush? That depends on the plant’s age, the type of plant and the time of year.

Every year

Pruning a burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is important to maintain its distinctive shape and to encourage dense growth. You should prune burning bushes every year, right after they finish blooming. Burning bushes are known for their bright red fall color, so you’ll want to wait until the fall show is over before you start pruning.

Every other year

Pruning burning bushes (Euonymus alatus) every other year will help to maintain their desirable, compact growth habit and prevent them from becoming leggy and overgrown. Burning bushes can tolerate heavy pruning, so don’t be afraid to cut them back quite a bit if necessary. The best time to prune burning bushes is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

As needed

Pruning a burning bush (Euonymous alata) is best done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. You can prune as little or as much as you like, but remember that this shrub blooms on new wood, so the more you prune, the more flowers you’ll get.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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