hacking back rampant burning bush

robinheatherApril 7, 2013


When we moved into this house, we inherited a couple of enormous, scraggly burning bushes along one side of the property. I think they are euonymus alatus but am not certain. I don't love them, and my husband positively HATES them. Since they are off to the side and we have plenty of other projects in mind, taking care of them has not been a priority. However, I can't get them off my mind and wanted to ask this forum what we should do. (Searching previous threads yielded information that seemed conflicting to me.)

Should we...
1)Wait until it is in our budget to have them professionally removed? Lowest branches are almost the size of my arm, I'd say, and the bushes are quite a bit taller than we are, so we don't feel up to removing them completely ourselves.

2)Trim them as best we can so that we can try to grow some shade tolerant native plants around their bases? Right now it's just bare dirt that gets weedy in summer, and I'd like to do something about that.

3)Cut them back as much as possible and see what happens? This is my instinct, but I'm afraid it will make them spring up harder and higher than ever. (This is only my 2nd year as a gardener. Last year I cut back a peegee hydrangea with great success...and I carefully "pruned" some of our foundation bushes with unfortunately humorous results!)

4)Forget about it and concentrate on areas of the yard where we spend more time.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

From the information you provide (especially the part about hating them), the first option is the only one that makes any sense to me. If you have a strapping young neighbor, have them do the removal. I'm not a beer person, but I hear that can often be used as payment.

Do get some concentrated (not the ready-to-use stuff that has a hard time killing tough grass) glyphosate (RoundUp, Gly-4, etc) and apply it to the freshly cut stumps. A mustard bottle or something like that can make a good applicator. One teaspoon is more than enough to kill a stump the size of your arm if applied correctly.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 8:45PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

agree.. if you dont MURDER it.. with malice and aforethought.. it will be back with a vengeance.. because there is no insult to the root system ...

see link for very expensive RUp applicator ... clean it out.. insert RU.. use.. return unused to original container for storage .... 41% is full strength ...

on cutting.. there is a green ring just under the bark .. the cambian layer ..... and that is what needs to be treated.. middle dead wood is.. well.. dead ... that green is the vascular system of the plant.. and will suck the killer down into the roots ...

i would never pay to have one removed.. but i have space.. if you need the space.. pay or dig.. your choice ...

it is an INVASIVE in many parts of the country .. PLEASE KILL it.. do NOT ignore it ...

pix of leaves and branches.. if you are questionable on your ID guess ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Thanks for the feedback, especially about what to apply to freshly cut stumps. This is exactly the kind of stuff I don't know. Other garden projects are higher priority for me, so I guess I will tell husband (the one who really hates it) that cutting it down is up to him!

I've uploaded a close-up of the branches. No leaves yet, of course. The whole bush is definitely at least 9 feet tall.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:17AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its a man thing..

encourage him to kill it.. tell him you see his wisdom ... [i am sure he doesnt hear that often enough.. lol] ...

let him channel his inner cave man.. and protect you .. lol


    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:18PM
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The area around the bases are filled with roots. Don't think anything would grow there. My recommendation is to chop them down. I personally would just use a hand held pruning saw and some lopping shears. Ask a neighbor if you can borrow if you don't have. After each cut, immediately apply brush killer to the new cut. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS on the container. Only a tiny amount is needed. Then cover the bare area with bagged mulch or pine tree.

To hasten decay of the roots, wait a month or so, then drill a bunch of holes in the larger branches, as deep as you can, then throw dirt over them.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 1:20PM
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