Pruning burning bush tree

(Question)

I had big success with rejuvenation pruning of our 13-year old burning bush this Spring, cutting it back to 16″ above the ground. It had suffered from the severe icing of the last 2 winters and had gotten very thinned.

Now, we’ve noticed this summer that our 13-year old burning bush tree has become very thinned with older bits of branches falling off. Probably from some of the same icing although it is better sheltered from the winter winds.

Can I expect similar success with rejuvenation pruning my burning bush tree by cutting it back to 12 – 18″ above the graft?

I would appreciate your thoughts. I’m prepared to remove the tree if it can’t be rejuvenated. As I told the bush in the Spring; “either it grows or it goes”. lol!! But I’d like to give it a chance.

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(Answer)

Presumably, you are talking about two different types of burning bush here. Both are 13 years old but one is a shrub and the other a tree form. It’s great that you were successful doing a complete rejuvenation pruning on the shrub.  I’d be inclined to do something less severe with your burning bush tree, especially as it sounds as if you really just want to remove dead and damaged branches.   Your burning bush tree can be pruned less drastically by removing dead and crossing branches, thinning out about a third of the oldest stems, and pruning the remaining stems to create an attractive, natural looking shrub. This is called maintenance pruning. Burning bush (Euonymus alatus ) should be pruned in late winter or early spring before they start to leaf out and are still dormant. Remember to use sharp, sterile cutting tools and do not cut out more than one third of the trees branches. Cuts should be made where a branch meets another, being careful not to damage the bark of the remaining branch. Enjoy your plants autumn show of red leaves and good luck with the pruning.

The following websites provide useful information on pruning woody plants.

https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/how-to-prune-this-tree/

https://extension.uga.edu/publications/files/pdf/B%20949_4.PDF