Q: Do you have any idea what is wrong with my burning bush or what I can do to save it? It is several years old and I have never had an issue with it before. Some of the branches are brown, but some appear to have some green on them but no leaves. Thanks for any insight you can give. — Kelli Medders.

A: Thanks for sending the good photo. Burning bush, also called winged euonymus, was among the shrub types that experienced injury from our long, cold winter. They are also a favorite of rabbits. I think your burning bush is going to be just fine because in the photo I see decent growth coming from the base, which is a wonderful sign.

Here’s what to do: With a strong lopping-type pruning shears or pruning saw, cut all the branches down to the point at which the new growth is arising from the base. Cutting the shrub all the way down to this new growth will remove the top branches, and divert all the burning bush’s energy into recovery. Prune as soon as you can.

Burning bush does tend to get overgrown and woody in time, so a rejuvenation every so often keeps the branches young, vigorous and well-filled around the base. Adding a well-balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer before July 4 will provide extra nutrition for the burning bush as it rebounds.

Q: I still have a lythrum plant in my yard, even though we were advised to remove them about eight years ago. I felt that it never spread or went to seed and was a safe plant to grow. My landscaper said I need to remove that plant, or I could be fined. I thought they had relaxed that advisory. What are the current recommendations? — Jane Doe.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

A: A number of years ago, lythrum, which was a widely planted perennial flower, was added to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed List, which currently contains 13 plants deemed dangerous weeds: absinth wormwood, Canada thistle, dalmatian toadflax, diffuse knapweed, leafy spurge, musk thistle, purple loosestrife (lythrum), Russian knapweed, saltcedar, spotted knapweed, yellow toadflax, Palmer amaranth and houndstongue.

From North Dakota’s Noxious Weeds Laws and Regulations: “Each person shall do all things necessary and proper to control the spread of noxious weeds.” The enforcement manual adds, “Formal enforcement action is generally a measure of last resort in an effective weed control program, and it usually should only be used after all other attempts to get someone to control noxious weeds have been ineffective.”

In summary, if someone reports your lythrum to the authorities, you would likely receive a letter indicating you are to remove the lythrum, and you would be given the chance to do so before other measures are taken.

ARCHIVE: Read more of Don Kinzler's Fielding Questions columns

Q: We have removed an old overgrown hedge from the south side of our house. What kind of shrub could be planted along this 32-foot stretch? We have one ninebark that seems to be doing well there. Your suggestions would be very helpful. — Joan Nelson, Moorhead.

A: One of the more common shrubs used for hedges in the past was cotoneaster, and is still planted today. Ninebark is a nice shrub if it is kept pruned regularly, otherwise it becomes filled with old, dead branches. Because of its need for pruning, and tendency to become woody, there might be better choices.

Alpine currant makes a nice hedge, and its foliage trims nicely. Dwarf forms of lilac make beautiful informal hedges, such as Miss Kim lilac and Dwarf Korean lilac.

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. All questions will be answered, and those with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice.