This bush will be blazing red in the fall. (Photo: Flickr/Jim Holmes)
Q: I have burning bushes that grow along the back of my house, and they've become overgrown. I've heard that you can't prune in the summer -- is that true? Also the backs of the bushes (against the house) are dead -- is it lack of sunlight?
A: Yes, you can prune in the summer, but it's not ideal. The best is when the leaves start to fall. If you do it in summer, do it progressively one branch from time to time to not stress the plant too much. Also wait for a cool week, so as not to promote fungal infection.
You can prune it 50%. Don't just cut a leveled line; cut it leveled on average but cut different stems at different lengths, otherwise all the new crowns will happen at the same height. If the growth got out of hand over some years, don't try to remedy the situation in just one year. Instead, spread the big trunk pruning over 3 years.
Just to give you an idea of how much you can prune, watch this video on pruning a burning bush.
Note that this is a healthy bush (in video), so don't go as far as this if you have a lot of dead wood in the back. That is why I mention to first remove 50%, allowing for light to go down the plant and once new growths are confirmed, you may remove more.
The back may indeed be dead due to lack of sunlight. It may also be lack of water for the root section nearest the house. But my bet is on the lack of light.
-- Answer from Martin Caron, home and garden Expert on JustAnswer.
Daily Answer is excerpted from the JustAnswer archives and features information provided by a Expert on JustAnswer.