Pruning Burning bush, Privet and Magnolia

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by robert payer, Oct 19, 2002.

  1. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I will need to prune back a burning bush to reduce its size. It is currently about six feet and I am hoping to reduce it to about 3 feet. I know that this can be done. I am wondering about timing. I am not sure if late Fall or early Spring is better. I also have some Privets that I plan to thin out. A Magnolia also. Pruning will all be selective thining by hand. I am aware that the Magnolia buds have already been set for the coming season.

    Pruning is enjoyed, have been told that I excell at it. Embarassed that I lack this knowledge of timing. Guess this is how we learn.

    In advance, thank you for your help!
  2. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    For Zones 5b-8a the VA Extension recommends pruning Magnolias only during May, June and July. Your state's extension probably also has a publication that lists pruning dates by species. If not, let me know and I'll try to locate the link to those publications.
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Lanelle...if you find a good site that covers lots of plants and when and when not to prune each I think allot of us woujld love to hear about it....honestly I can never keep straight when certain plants should/should not be pruned....I too get embarrassed on this.....but there are so many different plants and rules on pruning that we almost need a cheat sheet or somthing in our trucks. Just last week a guy told me that the window for pruning white pine is unusual...forgot what he told me but the rule was not what I thought it would be...thanks in advance if you find anyting...or if anyone finds something for us
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    A Burning Bush and Privet can really be pruned anytime. The Magnolia can be pruned in the fall and winter as long as you consider the flower buds. It will reduce blooms, but not hurt the plant.
    I would not avoid pruning these things due to time of year except late winter/early spring on the Magnolia. I would wait until after the bloom if the client needs to see every flower this plant can produce. As long as you branch prune leaving enough branches with flower buds, they probably will not know the difference.
  5. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393


    The rules of pruning are not at all difficult provided you know your plant material and the bloom time of the plant you are pruning.

    For common Spring flowering shrubs such as Forsythia, azaleas and rhododendron, you prune these shrubs after blooming in the spring. If you prune these shrubs after say Sept 1 you will be pruning the blooms off of next years plant.

    For summer bloomers such as potentillia & AW spireas as well as most of your perennials (if not cut back the previous fall) you prune these back hard in the early spring, as they flower on new wood.

    For white and other pines the right time to prune them is as the candles start to elongate in the spring. By cutting these candles you reduce the length of that years growth and maintain the natural growth habit of the tree. White pines grow from the tips out so pruning back into the previous years growth will prevent that branch from expanding out in the future.

    Now as for the last line in your post about Lanelle or someone else finding a site to help with this information....GET OFF YOUR BUTT and find this out yourself. Attend a master gardeners course or a ornamental hort course at your local college during the off season. Or lay down some of your own cash and buy yourself some books on shrub and tree pruning. The ortho books are pretty good places to start, but may include alot of plants youll never see.

    You will learn far more by researching this yourself then if someone just tells you what they think you need to know.

    Ask not what another person can do for you, but what you can do to help another person on lawnsite.

    Your welcome!

  6. John from OH

    John from OH LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    Robert, the Ohio Landscapers Association is having a Pruning Clinic taught by Elton Smith at the Cleveland Zoo on December 2. Good chance to refresh and hone your pruning skills. You can get more information by calling the OLA office at (440) 717-0002 or 1 800 335-6521.
  7. The Mowerdude

    The Mowerdude LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372


    Sorry to change the topic of this thread, but I noticed that your profile states your age as being 148 years old. :angel: Shouldn't someone contact Jay Leno or Willard Scott so that you can get the recognition that you deserve? :D
  8. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

  9. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    I would wait to prune the burning bush and privet until Feb/March when you would concentrate on most of your dormant pruning for non spring flowering shrubs. Magnolia - if you can wait until after the bloom, great. If not, then prune for the reason not the season and go for it.

    You can always go for the Three D's anytime... dead, diseased and damaged wood can be removed at any time. When you get into structural, rejuvination and renovating type pruning, then I would wait for the ideal season.
  10. robert payer

    robert payer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Thank you to every one who responded. Lots of good information from very reliable sources. I will be sure to watch your topics for when I am able to respond and lend a hand.

    Those pruning classes are great. I could use a refresher. It has been years. Would highly recomend them to every one.

    Headed now to reread your efforts, Thank You!

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