smokebush coppiced

v1rtu0s1ty(5a)March 17, 2011

Hey folks,

I learned coppicing from you guys last year. Yesterday, I coppiced it leaving only 2" from the ground. Hopefully, I did it at a right time.

I'll keep you posted.

Thanks.

Neil

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

neil???

after all these years.. its the first time i noticed a name ... lol ...

on an established plant.. i doubt you could kill it .... though i doubt you will have smoke this year...

no before and after pix??

ken

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

I cut back mine to about six inches ever spring to keep it small, the lack of smoke is just a little extra that comes along with the trimming. Not a feature that I find attractive.

mao

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 2:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

hey ken,

hahaha! Didn't I put my name? They know me well in our wtrsow forum. I have pictures from last year. I will take pictures this weekend. :)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 7:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

mao, i have 2 smokebush and I only coppiced one. Looks like this smokebush I bought 2 years ago were coppiced previously. It's branching from 2 inches from ground. That's why I cut it from that point.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 7:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

ken,

The smokebush that I coppiced is the one on the right of the huge rock. The one on the left is healthy and thick but the one on right looks sick before.

Here is another one. I'm standing at my neighbor's property.

I have better pictures of the smokebush but I couldn't find them.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

I found another one. The one on the left is the unhealthy smokebush(coppiced yesterday).

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

Yeah, I would of cut that back too. I imagine it will be much fuller this year. Mine branched about five inches tall, so I cut at six inches. I also pinch the tops as it grows so that it branches more.

I like how you have lots of texture in your garden. It's something I strive for too.

mao

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Thanks! :)

If I get home today where there is still enough light, I will take a picture of the coppiced smokebush.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardengal48

Cutting down to 2" is a pretty severe whacking!! Typically, a little bit more -- alright, a LOT more -- than that gets left. I've been coppicing smokebushes and other plants for a long time but I've never taken one down virtually to the ground. Good luck with that :-)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

I don't have any choice. Look at how the lower trunk looks like. Looks like it was already being coppiced before I bought it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 9:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anitamo(5)

Gardengal, how far down do you coppice these? Is there a rule of thumb to follow?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 10:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
calistoga_al

Please post again when growth has started on your REALLY short smoke tree. Depending on how the regrowth does I might do the same NEXT year. Al

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardengal48

Neil, you could have cut it back at any point. There is not some magical height that determines where coppicing cuts should be made. And I don't see anything to indicate that this was otherwise previously coppiced or cut back hard by the growers. Cotinus often grows this way, with numerous branching low on the stems.....even with multiple stems. Cutting back to only 2 inches is just pretty harsh treatment for this shrub and it may take some time to recover. Or not.....

anitamo - same as above :-) No magical point to start this process. Generally where is determined by how you want the pruned back shrub to appear and how large you want it to get each season. Cutting back as hard as the photo illustrates will just generate a small and very shrubby plant, provided the plant recovers properly. No real branch development, just a bunch of whippy and rather unsubstantial stems. OTOH, coppicing at 6-8 inches, even as tall as 10-12" will produce a larger shrub with some major branch development. My own cotinus was coppiced at about chest height -- grew to about 8-9' each season and with a similar overall spread.

Not all plants respond to coppicing in the same manner. Cotinus typically responds to hard pruning/coppicing with the production of numerous leggy, elongated stems that fail to develop any real substance. This is why it is often suggested that the shrub be allowed to develop some sort of woody framework before beginning the coppicing practice.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 11:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mrtulin

First, your garden looks like Eden in a lawn desert. I hope your neighbors develop garden envy and ask you for advice. What about starting a weekend garden club?

About that haircut.When I cut my c.c. back it was atleast a foot higher than yours It grew one stick that summer. It was horrible looking. Be prepared to grow something this year to hide the stump while crossing your fingers that next year it will begin to grow back.

Sorry to be a pessimist, I truly hope I'm wrong. I'm positive there's a longer thread somewhere on gardenweb, started by a question from me, on coppicing a smokebush. It also has an interesting discussion about the terms "coppicing" "stooling" and cutting back/pruning.

I'm looking forward to seeing the plant as it grows out.

idabean/marie

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 12:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
katob Z6ish, NE Pa

I'm going to side with optimism here and say your smokebush will be fine. Sure it's a little lower than I would have gone, but just by an inch or two, and I'm going to call it brave and daring and not a mistake.

Coppicing, by definition, is cutting a woody plant back to a stump, so you have done it correctly. My only concern would be that whatever was holding it back before will come up again. It doesn't look "sick" as far as disease, if I had to venture a guess it would be a transplanting issue or root girdling from being a container plant.

I've done butterfly bush, paulownia, forsythia, oaks, willows, catalpa, even magnolias in a similar way without problem. My only casualty was a sumac (uh oh, close smokebush relative)... the main sumac died and suckers took over.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Great info folks! :)

The reason I said it was sick is because my other smokebush(non-coppiced) put new growth last year and this year, it did again. The new wood is very obvious. However, with the other smokebush I coppiced, I didn't see any new growth last year and this year too. It's has also few leaves compared to my other one.

I will keep everyone posted after a month or two. :)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 4:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
peaceofmind

Look at the roots growing out on the right hand side of the base in the picture taken after you'd coppiced the tree. Those look troubling to me. I'll be interested to see how this bush grows this summer. I'm glad you are going to keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

hi peaceofmind,

About the roots, I already noticed it last year. I was really wondering too why it was exposed. Maybe I should add more dirt there.

I've been very tempted to dig it and transplant it to a another location which I think is healthy. Looks like the dirt(could be potting mix) that came with it doesn't have enough nutrients(from pot 2+ years ago).

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

I wouldn't want to stress it any more by moving it right now. I would add two inches of compost and/or composted manure around it to enrich the soil.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Got it! Will do. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 4:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Not sure when I'll get a chance to buy compost.

Anyways, the coppiced smokebush is alive. I saw 3 tiny maroon pointy something coming out of the trunk. :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 12:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

Good for it. Glad to know it made it.

You need to start a compost heap do you don't have to spend money that is better used buying new plants.

mao

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

I know you guys are excited when you see a thread like this. I am especially when someone conducts an experiment. :)

I'll do it again next year. I love the colors. These pictures doesn't do justice to how beautiful the color really is.

After 2 months, here she is. We haven't gotten much heat yet. I think once we get continuous warm weather, it will go crazy. I hope :) Sorry about the blurry pictures, I was rushing since it started raining.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Wow, I just thought of something cool. I will plant my Catalpa behind(in between) these 2 smokebush plants. I will pollard Catalpa but I don't know when it will happen since it's still a seedling. :)

Looks like the big lime colored leaves of catalpa will contrast really well with the coppiced smokebushes.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 8:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Your garden is gorgeous!

One thing I don't understand, I see this on HGTV's House Hunters all the time too, why doesn't anyone have a backyard fence? I've never lived anywhere where the backyards aren't all fenced for privacy. I can't imagine doing all that gardening with everyone staring at me.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

buyorsell888 - I am so glad you posed that question! I had assumed it was a US thing and didn't like to ask. We get a lot of posts on GW about problems with neighbours trespassing or damaging people's plants and I always wonder why they don't just have a fence?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mrtulin

A good question: I loved gardening in my tiny front yard garden in a town where houses were cheek by jowl. It was a very safe neighborhood. I got to talk to my neighbors, I made friends with the harmless man with schizophrenia (very interesting de-coding his conversation)and took regular breaks to check out others' gardening projects.

On the other hand, when we are eating on the patio, I want screening, not from the neighbors who can't really see us, but from our cars.

I'd like to start a new thread about "do good fences make good neighbors?, if you don't mind.

Mt

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Thanks buyorsell888! :)

To me, I don't mind people seeing us. I also would like my neighbors to enjoy what I have. The neighbor on my left has been asking me plants I can give her and I've given her few last years and are doing well. However, my neighbor on the right put fence 2 years ago.

If I decide to go with screening/fencing, I will plant english yew taxus baccata. I've visited about 4 gardens last year. I just love the effect of it.

Maybe they put fence for trespassing purposes, privacy etc.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

Toss some seeds of orange Siberian Wallflower in the area. It's a great companion for the young smoke bush leaves.

I have a front porch instead of a patio so my favorite garden is the front yard. I find it so much friendlier then the back.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

I don't have seeds of Siberian Wallflower. I will check google to see how it looks like.

Maybe if you have, we can exchange seeds.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 7:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

sending you an e-mail

mao

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maozamom NE Ohio

You'll need to e-mail me.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 6:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

I'll check it later. The email is blocked here at work.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

v1, thanks so much for posting these photos; this is a first, i believe, on GW. you know what would be terrific is if you started a new thread titled BEFORE AND AFTER COPPICING; PHOTOS and posted 2 photos and a description of what you did, when in the plant's life(i.e. 'it had been planted 3 yrs' or 'it was a new plant this year' etc). May I use (and credit you) your photos on our teaching website? soooo helpful!
www.cottonarboretum.com/

best,
mindy

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Mindy,

Go ahead and use it. :)

Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

She's about 16-18 inches tall now. It grows fast! :)
I also took a picture of my other non-coppiced smokebush so we can have a reference.

I love the dark maroon color with blue hue. It is unbelievable!

I'm going to buy more this coming fall.

unmodified Smokebush :P

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

That color is outstanding.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Indeed! I will post another picture next month.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 9:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Here is another shot I took early yesterday morning around 6am. Sun was in front of me.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 5:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

It has become my favorite bush. I purchased one 3 years ago and it has unbelievable color. I rooted some cuttings.

Your plant is gorgeous.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Teach me please how to do cuttings. I would like to grow more. Air layering? The stems are soft right now.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

I trim mine every Fall. Last Fall I just pushed the cuttings in a nursery bed that I set up for seedlings or new plants that I have not decided where they are going in the gardens.

It is a very rich soil area that is in semi-shade and it stays moist. I did not know if the clippings would root I just took a chance since I was cutting the bush back. I did this in Sept. That time of year it is not real hot in my area and we get a lot of rain. This Spring the cuttings started leafing out. I rooted my Black Lace Sambucus in the same spot.

Maybe you could fill a pot with some good compost and keep it moist until winter and stack leaves around the pot for the winter.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

How long were the cuttings? Did you remove the leaves?

How does your nursery bed look like? Was it covered with plastic so that it creates like a humidity dome?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
marquest(z5 PA)

Nope did not do any domes or special effort. Like I said it is our rainy period in Sept. We usually have rain every other day in Sept.

The cuttings were about 12" each I only put 2 in and both of them rooted. There were a few leaves at the top but most had dropped off.

I cut mine down every year.

This is the two cuttings leafed out. I was not expecting them to root I will have to take one out and plant it in the other gardens.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

I love your castor bean plant in the first picture! I love anything with red or dark foliage.

I had not heard of coppicing before. I don't have any smokebushes, the few I've seen around the neighborhood are not well maintained (too tall, too rangy), so I did not realize they could look that good.

Can coppicing be done with other shrubs? I have some overgrown purple plum (I forgot the real name) and barberries. I wonder if this technique could rehabilitate them. I'd prefer to remove them (at least the barberries), but they are amid a lot of stuff I'd hate to disturb.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Thanks linnea56. It was my first time too to coppice smokebush but I have been told about 2 years ago to cut it but I was so scared. It came to a point(this year) that I couldn't stomach her appearance. I had to cut her down.

Also, Mone and I dug 8 ft Ninebark from her yard. It was too big and wouldn't fit my van. I had to cut some of the branches. When I got home, I cut them down again back to 12 inches. Today, it is producing new branches and are even flowering on those branches. :)

I'm not sure about other shrubs.

marquest,

So all you did is stick the cuttings to the ground right?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 1:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

Disregard my question Marquest. You already mentioned your answer on your first post. :)

I will try your tips this coming fall! :D

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ct44_frontiernet_net

v1rtu0s1ty,

How tall did your coppiced smokebush get so far and did it remain full looking?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
v1rtu0s1ty(5a)

I'm so sorry CT44. I had a knee surgery on August 3. The whole of July, I was in pain. I was not able to enjoy my garden. I have tons of weeds. :(

Anyways, now that I am able to walk, the height is like between 4ft and 5ft. I am shock that it still grew that tall. However, I was expecting it to be more bushy. Hmmm, maybe I should have cut it when it reached 10 inches. I only like it to grow around 3 ft.

I'll take a picture tomorrow. :)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 12:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Chop, chop!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
miclino(5)

I want to see this pic too. I almost bought one at the nursery yesterday after reading the two threads about coppicing but restrained myself.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
miclino(5)

I've also read you can grow cotinus as a small tree. How would one go about doing that?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 11:27PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What plant are you anxiously awaiting the return of in the spring?
Well, maybe not *anxiously* awaiting but awaiting nevertheless. For...
mxk3
Are you missing past content?
I went searching for my old comments on GW and according...
prairiemoon2 z6 MA
Zone 10b: Dog Friendly Ground Covering (Creeping Perennial)
I am considering replacing our front lawn (in a gated,...
fraustachowski
Sun Lovers in Shade---Shade lovers in Sun?
Have you placed plants in a location contrary to what...
WendyJoZ8
Mason Bees)
Does anyone here encourage Mason Bees to stick around...
mikerno_1micha
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™