How to Trim a Smoke Bush

Written by gregory hamel
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Smoke bush is a leafy flowering shrub that loses its leaves in the winter. Like other shrubs, smoke bush tends to grow out in all directions, which can give it a very puffy and scraggly look; some varieties can grow over 10 feet fall. Trimming back new growth of smoke bush plants will keep them looking shapely and full while preventing them from taking up more room in your yard.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Automatic hedge trimmer
  • Manual hedge trimmer
  • Pruning shears
  • Rake
  • Leaf bag
  • Ladder

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  1. 1

    Use an automatic hedge trimmer to cut back new growth on the bush to a uniform length. You can cut back as much of the new growth as you like, back to the woody older growth.

  2. 2

    Use a ladder to trim areas you cannot reach from the ground.

  3. 3

    Use a manual hedge trimmer to clean up uneven spots. Automatic hedge trimmers are helpful for cutting large bushes quickly, but manual trimmers are more precise.

  4. 4

    Use pruning shears to cut off and remove any dead branches within the plant. Dead branches are those with discoloured or withered looking leaves or no leaves at all. Cut back dead growth down as far as possible to the nearest live branch.

  5. 5

    Use a rake to gather the leaf cuttings from trimming and place them in a leaf bag for disposal.

Tips and warnings

  • Smoke bushes are not extremely fast growing, but they may require a trim at least once a year to keep their shape.
  • If you want to reduce the size of the bush considerably, consider pruning back branches down to the woody growth in late winter or early spring before plants start to grow.

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