How To Water, Fertilize & Prune Burning Bush

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This article provides tips for how to plant a burning bush shrub
by Brett · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · August 30, 2015 · 11,461 views

Burning Bush are exceptionally low maintenance shrubs. Here's the lowdown on how to care for them.

How To Water A Burning Bush

Because they do not like constantly soggy or wet soil, avoid overwatering or planting burning bush in a poorly drained soil that stays constantly soggy or wet. The best time of day to water shrubs is between the early morning hours and noon. Avoid watering in the late evening or at night. Doing so can lead to the onset of damaging disease and fungus.

TIP: When watering with an automated irrigation system, during the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not soggy or wet.

At Planting Time: Immediately after planting, deep soak the planting area to a depth of 6" or more. Make sure to water the root ball and the surrounding soil. It's also a good idea to water your new plant for the first time with a solution of Root Stimulator, which stimulates early root formation and stronger root development. Root Stimulator reduces plant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.

During The First Growing Season: In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted burning bush every day. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the rootball and surrounding soil damp to moist. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Shrubs planted during the winter dormant season, when the plant is not growing and moisture is not evaporating from the soil as quickly, will require much less water.

Watering Therafter: When established, Encore Azaleas are quite drought tolerant. That being said, if you see new leaves wilting or tips of stems bending over during a drought, this could be a sign that your plants could use a good deep soaking.

How To Fertilize Burning Bush

To maintain good foliage color and support growth and overall health of the plant, feed burning bush in spring with a slow-release shrub & tree food, preferably one containing iron and/or sulfur. Alternatively, you can feed with a natural organic plant food. To avoid stimulating new growth that could be damaged by an early frost, cease fertilization two months prior to the first frost date in your area.

Soil pH - Burning bush thrive in a moderately acid to slightly alkaline soil ranging from 6.0 to 7.5 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.

What is soil pH? Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, or suspect your soil is outside the range this plant prefers, it's a good idea to test the pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil Sulfur, Aluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions. To reduce acidity, or make soil more alkaline, you can apply pelletized limestone.

Learn More: What is Soil pH and How To Adjust It?

How To Prune A Burning Bush

I don't like doing much pruning on burning bush unless it will be grown as a hedge. Otherwise, as a single specimen or planted in smaller groupings I like to let them grow naturally as trimming effects their natural, graceful form. If you have a specific size requirement to fill a smaller space I'd consider one of the "dwarf" cultivars. Light pruning to remove a stray or damaged branch can be performed any time of year. Use a sharp pair of bypass hand pruners to selectively remove stray or damaged branches. When using hedge trimmers, lightly shear the plant to desired shape.

You can buy Burning Bush online at Gardener Direct plant nursery

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