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How to Plant & Care for Burning Bushes

Burning bushes are fast-growing deciduous shrubs that thrive in USDA Zones 3 through 8. The burning bush, or Euonymus alata, tolerates poor soils, heat stress and drought, making it an easy-to-care-for shrub for hedges, borders and yard landscaping. The foliage turns a vibrant red in the fall. Find a planting site for your burning bush in full sunlight and with well-drained soil. Select a site that has plenty of room for the burning bush to grow both in height and spread. Burning bushes are fast-growing and reach 6 to 10 feet in height and 6 to 8 feet in width at maturity.

Dig a hole at the planting site that is the same depth as the plant container or root ball. Make the hole 3 or 4 inches wider than the root ball or container. Loosen the soil around the planting hole with a pitchfork.

Place the burning bush’s root ball in the hole. Refill the hole with the displaced soil and firm the soil around the roots.

Soak the ground around the burning bush to moisten the soil thoroughly. Water your burning bush in times of drought or as needed to supplement rainfall and keep the soil moistened.

Place chicken wire around, but not touching, the young burning bush to keep rabbits away from the base of the bush. Rabbits like to eat the bark off the burning bush’s trunk.

Trim back the older branches in the fall, right after your burning bush is finished blooming and the foliage drops off. You don’t need to prune your burning bush much at all, but you can trim away any dead or old wood and prune back branches to maintain its shape.


The soil quality is not important, as burning bushes adapt to poor soils.

If your burning bush needs renewal as it ages, cut the bush down to the ground in the fall.


Don’t plant your burning bushes in the shade. Although the bushes will tolerate shade, you’ll end up with muted fall colors of the foliage.

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