Help with a smoke tree

(Question)

Hi there my wife and I bought a home and inherited a 12 foot smoke tree, I know that it needs to be pruned to improve its general form but don’t know where to start. Ive read online that it requires specific pruning to avoid issues with “watersprouts” (the presenter defined it as long stems that grow at a very quick seasonal pace and don’t enhance the look of the shrub). I consider myself a very experienced gardner. We live in zone 6a in Toronto. I look forward to hearing from you

(Answer)

It would be helpful to first identify the type of tree that you have. I suggest that you Google “Cotinus coggyria” where you will see images of both the green and purple versions of what is commonly called Smoke Bush. If the images resemble your specimen, our Ask A Master Gardener website has several excellent answers to address your question: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php.askagardener/smokebush/

I wish you great success in reshaping your tree.