Summer WIne Ninebark - should I prune it to keep it in control?

summersunlight(5b)May 6, 2012

I put a summer wine ninebark pretty close to my foundation because I thought it was going to stay small. I'm now starting to read posts on here about how it grows a lot bigger than advertised. Do you think I should try to move it now before it turns into a giant or do you think it's safe to keep it near my foundation and just prune the top growth so it doesn't take over?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i would move it in dormancy ...

here in z5 MI.. you could probably get away with moving it right now..

but z5 KCity. too late ...

so where are you???


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If you keep cutting it back you won't get many flowers.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 1:16PM
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One of the joys of having a ninebark is its arching form. If you pruned it back, it would be about as attractive as a top-pruned forsythia (not). I would definitely move it now leaving a couple feet of room between its ultimate size and your house so that branches rubbing aren't a maintenance issue and you you can always walk between the shrub and the house for painting the wall or pruning out dead branches. As bboy implies, you want to keep the flowers. The delicate white clusters really complement the dark leaves, and on my Coppertina, the bracts or seedpods extend the season of interest with their bright color. I don't know if this is true of the Summer Wine, but I'd guess it is.

One of the things I've learned as a gardener is that you want your plants where they will be comfortable - right soil, right moisture, right size for the spot. Otherwise you spend a lot of time fighting the plant's nature and don't have as much time to just enjoy it. Be aware that the size you will see on a plant tag is generally for its 10-year size, so give it a bit more width than that. It's listed to get to about 7 feet wide, so if it were mine, I'd probably plant it about 5 feet from the house. (It is advertised as smaller than other ninebarks, but since Diablo can get to 12' wide, this is small as ninebarks tend to run.) Any pruning you do should be cutting some of the stems (not more than 1/3) all the way to the base, not just pruning off the top.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:50AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Not sure what you consider small for the space but this is good advice listed below.

More of my experience first though. Ninebark does set buds on old wood. So ever few years or so when you need to cut it far back you will lose buds for that year. Otherwise cutting it back a 1/3 after it flowers is just right. I actually planted a Diablo hedge and wanted the large size and it just wasn't get there, it was very leggy. Cutting it back got the desired results.

Ater that I only use ninebark sparingly in moist sites with good air circulation. In humid and dry sites they are EXTREMELY susepctible to powdery mildew. I learned that the hard way after I was told ninebark was drought tolerate. Sure it is, but if its humid out, look out PM!

Coppertina by far has superior color to all others. Its the only one that should be used in my opinion.

What I love best about ninebark is the way it tolerates different pruning methods. When left alone for years to grow into a medium to large shrub, the only care it needs is to remove dead wood, or to thin out a quarter of the stems each year in the winter or spring, right down to the base, to maintain a bushy habit. This rejuvenates the plant, helping to prevent a leggy appearance, and encourages the production of flowers and fruit.

Ninebark also responds well to being clipped back by half every few years in order to keep it in check, particularly if used in a foundation planting. This should be done right after flowering, so the shrub has time to form new buds for the following season.

The easiest pruning method of all, however, is to cut ninebark back to a height of 15 to 20 centimetres in the spring before it leafs out. This technique is known as coppicing, and results in a flush of new growth with particularly large and lush foliage�absolutely stunning in the coloured-leaf forms�though it comes at the expense of both blooms and seedheads. The lush growth and more compact size resulting from hard pruning makes ninebark especially wonderful in a perennial border, placed in the middle to back. Plants should be allowed to establish for two to three years before using this method, however, and it should be done only every other year since it temporarily weakens them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 2:17PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

I'll reserve any transplanting suggestions until we know where in z5 you are. How big is the plant now? Any pictures? Ninebarks have a root system that takes dynamite if you wait too long. I've also been told (as whaas points out), but have no experience, that pruning ninebark in late July allows enough time for buds to form for next year.

BTW- I find any size estimates for this plant to be way off. The tag on mine said 5 x 5. That was 4-5 years ago and my plant is 8x8. Fortunately is has room.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 8:08PM
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According to Shrub Source, you can prune the Ninebark 'Summer Wine' pretty hard without losing many flowers. It�s a multi-stemmed shrub, so you could even cut the larger stems (1 1/2 inches in diameter) to the ground and then trim the rest of the stems by 1/3 right after it finishes flowering but not after mid-August, or you risk cutting off the next years flower buds. Below is a link to the Ninebark 'Summer Wine' on Shrub Source's website.
As far as Powdery Mildew goes, I've read that the Ninebark 'Summer Wine' is more resistant to it than Diablo. Just because a person has had a bad experience with PM on Diablo, doesn't mean he/she will have a problem with it on Summer Wine. I live in SC Kansas where we have sustained drought most summers and extreme humidity, yet everyone who I have talked to who owns a ninebark 'Summer Wine' around here has never had a problem with Powdery Mildew on them.
If all else fails, just experiment with it. If it gets too big just cut it back to the height and spread you want. You won't kill it. I hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shrub Source - Ninebark 'Summer Wine'

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 1:50PM
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