Smoke Bush – Pruning to Shrub Form

Q: I planted a smoke bush seedling last spring. It was about 18″ tall. It now has 1 tall shoot approximately 10 feet tall. That’s the only part that seems to be growing-straight up. Do I need to prune it? If so, should I wait until early spring, late winter?

A: This is one of those plants, like fig and sweet gum that grows tall immediately, before making any side growth. Prune the sprout at two feet tall this winter. It will make side sprouts and probably some ground sprouts in spring. Clip those when they get twelve inches long and you’ll have a real bush eventually.

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