Burning bush defoliation mistake.

vp999

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So…. I defoliated a burning bush a month ago thinking it’s just like other deciduous trees. Couple days ago I came across an article that stated burning bush only have 1 flush of growth per year. Now the tree has some new leaves but they are much bigger than the original leaves lol. Do I leave it alone now ? And will my tree be ok ? Thanks 1ED5C2A4-A752-476F-9542-C5818CF4B5F1.jpegAE3D4051-CD14-4C30-9F04-345F9F4DCF1F.jpeg
 

canoeguide

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Well, yes, absolutely leave (hah) it alone. I would water and fertilize like you normally would, and not do anything else that could be detrimental to it this year. This is a pretty tough species in my limited experience, but let it regain some health going into the coming winter.
 

vp999

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Thank you! That's what I thought too but just wanna make sure.
 

Forsoothe!

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Yes, reduce leaf size by forcing back-budding by tip pruning which is just a selective form of Walter Pall hedge pruning on a less grand scale. Tip prune in autumn.
 

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So…. I defoliated a burning bush a month ago thinking it’s just like other deciduous trees. Couple days ago I came across an article that stated burning bush only have 1 flush of growth per year. Now the tree has some new leaves but they are much bigger than the original leaves lol. Do I leave it alone now ? And will my tree be ok ? Thanks

In the future, I recommend researching a species before you start doing drastic work to it.

Burning bush are pretty tough so it will probably be ok but do nothing else to this tree besides water and feed until next year and see how it recovers before you work on it again
 
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coh

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I've seen these fully recover from defoliation (by caterpillars) in the ground, but in a pot - not so sure they have the resources to handle a total defoliation. You might lose branches. Let us know what happens next spring, if it buds out completely or if you lose parts of the tree. I've got one in a container and I've never dared to defoliate. I'll do some selective outer canopy partial defoliation and leaf cutting (cut in half) to allow light into the interior branches, that is not a problem.

And yes, I'll echo the advice of others to leave it alone (other than water/fertilizer) the rest of this growing season.
 

vp999

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I've seen these fully recover from defoliation (by caterpillars) in the ground, but in a pot - not so sure they have the resources to handle a total defoliation. You might lose branches. Let us know what happens next spring, if it buds out completely or if you lose parts of the tree. I've got one in a container and I've never dared to defoliate. I'll do some selective outer canopy partial defoliation and leaf cutting (cut in half) to allow light into the interior branches, that is not a problem.

And yes, I'll echo the advice of others to leave it alone (other than water/fertilizer) the rest of this growing season.

Will keep you guys updated, lucky I didn't 100% defoliated every branch, I left a few small leaves on each.
 

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Several years back I defoliated my burning bush. I removed every leaf.…thinking leaf reduction….and a lot of curiosity. Like yours mine also had a dead trunk area in front. Then, I learned that my tree would not send out new leaves during the rest of my growing season.…one flush of growth per season for my tree. So, I watered it and treated it like I normally would. I left it in full morning sun and filtered afternoon sun. I wouldn’t say the placement was on purpose…..it was just put aside and to see what happens to it later.

I watered it regularly…no fertilizer though. The buds stayed buds. The tree simply had no leaves for the entire season. I figured it was a goner. The bush stayed outside in full winter as usual. The next year the buds all opened as usual in the spring.….and the bush was again growing as usual. I did not lose any branches.
 

vp999

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Thanks! I think mine will be ok..it has lots of buds on the tree still.
 

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To best way to promote back budding in these is to let them extend the growth through the spring and into summer, then cut back to 2 internodes in August. They will reward you with lots of buds behind the cut. This is for a developing tree.

For any branches you want to thicken, don't cut those back until they reach the desired thickness


Once the tree is well developed and you have lots of ramification, you can probably trim back sooner to help keep the shape
 

Paradox

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Why 2?

As opposed to one, say.

With a developing tree, Id rather leave it a few more energy generators (leaves) to help push that back budding.
Once the the tree is more developed and has a bit of ramification, then yes going back to one might be the better option at that point
 

LindaPat

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I’m wondering if you can chop burning bush trunk low, well below the first leaves. Mine has no leaves or limbs for 3 feet up the trunk. Actually it could be the euonymus hearts-a-bustin. Trunk is about an inch thick.
 

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With a developing tree, Id rather leave it a few more energy generators (leaves) to help push that back budding.
Once the the tree is more developed and has a bit of ramification, then yes going back to one might be the better option at that point
The trouble is that the buds closest to the cut are the most likely to be released. Relatively rarely do any buds below (closer to the trunk/roots) get released when one prunes. So with opposite leaved species, such as euonymus and acer, one is almost certain to wind up with a branch that is at least two nodes long before it bifurcates.
 

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In my climate I prune the branches back to one or two buds in the spring, after winter in March, when there is no bud activity yet. It’s still late winter. I leave this until March due to the cold winters I have. The trees have always done well following this direction. And, I generally followed the process of pruning burning bushes used by the landscape professionals….they preferred spring/late winter. I follow this process on most of the trees I have. I always felt the tree created it’s own natural sap and bud protection with branches in preparation for winter so I didn't want to prune off that protection off early.

When I prune like this I usually see all the buds develop and grow. I say usually because I don’t always pay attention….at some point I see they all grow and new growth buds also develop down lower on branches and grow out at the same time.
 

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