Hostas, Burning Bush

kss1956June 6, 2008

My mother has hostas that are very old and very big. I have received mixed advice whether I can pull them out of her yard this time of year. Some say wait until the fall and some say they are extremely hardy and it's okay to do now. Also, I don't want to take the whole plant-I want to leave part of each plant for her. Is is really quite as simple as pushing a spade down the middle? I appreciate your advice.

Also, I have received mixed advice as to whether I can cut back my burning bush. I don't care if it doesn't turn red this fall. They are now banned in New England so I would be upset if I killed it by cutting it back now.

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terrene(5b MA)

Hostas are very hardy, and I wouldn't hesitate to move or divide them just about any time, except for dry and hot conditions.

As for the Burning Bush - no need to worry about killing them - I doubt you could. They are extremely hardy. Because they are so rugged, growers and nurseries have promoted these things like crazy and they are WAY over-planted, especially in commercial properties. Frankly, the only redeeming quality I see about Burning bush is the fall color - their flowers are inconspicuous and they are boring and ugly shrubs (IMO).

They are prohibited because they are invasive. Birds spread the seeds and they have naturalized in wild areas, crowding out native plants. Even after nurseries stop selling them, there are only about a million of them growing in the woods and wild areas everywhere.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:09AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

You can divide hosta any time....but it's best to do it not more than 6 weeks before expected ground freeze.
You will find the hosta easier to divide and they will look nicer for your mother if you dig the whole plant and cut it up and replant some for her and take what you want....but carving a piece off the side and filling the hole with bagged compost or top soil works well too.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:39AM
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triciae(Zone 7 Coastal SE CT)

If the burning bush has overgrown it's position, I would take this opportunity to remove an invasive shrub & replace it with something more appropriate. Blueberry, 'Diablo' Ninebark, fragrant summer-blooming deciduous azaleas, and/or viburnum will all give you nice fall color.


PS I think Linda meant to say not to dig the hostas LESS than six weeks before first frost.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 11:11AM
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While I agree with other posters that the hostas can be dug/divided/transplanted/otherwise manhandled at pretty much any time of the year, for appearance's sake I'd try to wait until later in the season - say early fall. It is impossible to divide them while in full leaf without chewing up the foliage pretty badly, even out of the ground. To take just a portion or chunk from the mother plant is going look even worse.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:43PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

try going over to the hosta forum ...

and use the search function for a post named something like:


try the FAQ's also ...

they live on the driveway you know ....


    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 3:29PM
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growlove(zone4 Ia.)

I lift the leaves and try totake the piece where it will not affect the overall appearance of the original. I just slip the spade under the side and gently pull it loose from the clump. Our weather has been cool and damp so they recover quickly. Cutting into the plant would not be the best option now. Mary

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:29PM
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I just destroyed 4 burning bush on purpose!! I've had enough of them. I hope I can find all the seedlings in the woods this fall.

The root ball of a very old and very big hosta may be difficult to simply slice out a piece. But whatever you do, you will not kill the mother plant. No matter how small a piece you get out, it will do fine.

The only issue as someone said is affecting the looks of the mother plant.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 10:49PM
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drexler(Z5 PITTSBURGH)

I just dug and sliced up around 20 plants that were over grown. A friend gave them to me all at once last Sunday. I managed to get them divided and planted the same day. Then I've kept up on watering them. They look great but a little odd. As new foliage grows in, I'm cutting back the longer ones. So far so good. Don't worry, just make sure you're giving them enough water so they come back. In the past, it has taken around 4 weeks to have a nice growth from the divisions. But, the view next year will be very nice... it keeps the beds looking very neat!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 11:30PM
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