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In the Garden

Get down and dirty in the garden

5 Reasons to Plant a Burning Bush

A burning bush is an invasive plant native to Asia, whose branches make for beautiful foliage year round. In 1860 they were introduced to the U.S. for decorative use. They are versatile and can provide cooling shade to your home, reducing upcoming summer energy bills. And of course, the obvious benefit of adding more plants to your yard is the good they do for the environment. If that isn't reason enough to pull out the shovel and work gloves, you will just have to keep reading!

burning bush in flower bed

1. Strong and Versatile
During a drought, it will probably be one of the last things standing in a once lush landscape. Burning bushes can withstand a variety of climates and soil. That is great, because I have red clay in my yard...not fertile, loose dirt. If you want the boldest fall colors, the plant needs full sun. However, it can be placed in semi shady areas, but its fall colors will be stunted to a pale pink or yellow.

2. Multifunctional
With a little pruning, the bush can be shaped and kept to the size of your liking. A compact burning bush can grow to be 10 to 15 feet tall, or it can be kept as a small, ornamental bush. The bottom branches can be removed to create a treelike appearance too, wonderful for lining a driveway.

3. Beautiful Year Round
Not only known for their breathtaking fall color, these bushes add something to your yard year round. In the summer, its green leaves and small blooms look like any other landscaping accent, then in the fall it bursts into fiery red color. After the leaves fall for the winter, they expose an interesting and beautiful branch structure.

4. Little Maintenance
It can be overwhelming to care for a garden and a yard full of decorative shrubs and trees. A little watering, and some occasional pruning are the main things you will have to do. Depending on where you live, there may be some addition care steps.

5. Disease and Pest Resistant
Bugs and fungi seem to shy away from burning bushes. Although, they are still at risk for some infestations such as coral spot nectria canker, which is a fungal disease that can kill the plant. Extreme weather can be the cause and avoiding pruning during the hot months is a great way to prevent this. Aphids and the Black Vine Weevil like to feed on the leaves, but can be warded off by natural pesticides. Mineral oil, citrus oil/cayenne mix, eucalyptus oil, onion/garlic spray and tobacco can all be useful in discouraging destructive pests.

Things You Need to Know

Don't plant burning bushes near forests or wooded areas, as they are an invasive, foreign species that will spread wildly. Plant them near your house, or in a separated area of your yard to keep it under control.

Burning bushes need good drainage. If you have hard packed soil like mine, some tilling and loose soil may be in order.

My bushes came from Nature Hills Nursery, since I couldn't find them at my local gardening stores. Prices are very reasonable and my plants arrived well packed and healthy. The representatives can help guide you through the planting process if you're new to gardening and landscaping.

I placed three burning bushes along the barren backside of my home. I hope that when they grow to my preferred size, they will reduce the mid-day Georgia heat. And in the fall, I look forward to sitting on my back porch to enjoy the view.

Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.