I have just planted some burning bushes and the ends of the new growth are being stripped away. Could birds be doing this? Or could it be the dry weather?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Jim: I do not think the birds are defoliating the tips of your burning bush. It is more likely related to stress involved with transplanting and possibly moisture levels. As with any new plantings, it is important to make sure they receive adequate moisture and it is up to us if Mother Nature does not provide rainfall. Newly planted shrubs require 1 inch of water per week. It is better to water deeply and less frequently than to water lightly and more frequently. It is also important to make sure your shrubs were planted properly. The holes should have been dug twice as wide as the container they were purchased in and just as deep. Planting too deeply can cause problems. A thin layer of mulch, no more than 2 inches thick, will help the soil retain moisture and keep your plants happy. Burning bush (Euonymus alatus) will grow in just about any light/soil conditions. For now, take your pruners or any sharp object and scrape the bark where there is no foliage. When you peel the bark back, if it is still green then leave it alone and the shrub should put on new growth. If the wood is brown and brittle, go ahead and prune back to where there is healthy foliage. There is no need to fertilize these shrubs.