Old smoke bush

(Question)

photo (5)We moved into a house (Mississauga) that has a smoke bush in the front yard. I’m guessing its close to 30 years old; as you can see from the pic, the main stems/trunks are quite big. I would like to prune it down so that its about 3′ tall, and hopefully, get more foliage & flowers out of it. Can I do that next spring without killing it?

Many thanks!

 

 

 

 

(Answer)

Smoke bush commonly suffer winter kill quite readily, especially after a hard winter.  In the spring, it can appear that the bush is dead and can take a long time for any new growth to appear.  Don’t lose heart, they will come back with patience.

Given the age and established root system of your current smoke bush, it is likely that it can survive a hard pruning.  You can even cut them all the way to the ground and they should rejuvenate.

Remember to prune in late winter or early spring so as to minimize stress on the bush.