Need some advice-Scotch Broom

drtynails(z6 MD)May 21, 2005

Yesterday's storms that blew through Maryland did quite a number on my Scotch Broom. It seems to have parted the shrub in the middle and it is now splayed in front of my gate. It doesn't seem to be damaged other than the branches are now severely arced. It was in need of pruning back this year and we were going to cut it back after it finished blooming. Right now it stands about five foot tall...that is when it is standing.

Should I tie it up around the middle to hold it upright? I need help. My husband is ready to dig it out but it is doing so well where it is. It has been there for a few years so it is well established. We just can't get through the gate now.

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creatrix(z7 VA)

Feel free to tie it up, then prune later. It might be best to put a stake near it to tie it to, however.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 8:25PM
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Larry K(7a)

Same thing has happened to my two Lena's. Although at this point I think it's mostly the weight of the wet, open flowers weighing the brances down.

What have been people's experiences in pruning these things? I've read conflicting reports about cutting into old wood. I've been lax in pruning mine (about 3 years old and need it) and am not sure what I'll try. Maybe prune most of the brnaches halfway down int o the "green" wood and cut a few back much further down and hope for the best.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2005 at 9:37PM
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cfmuehling(7b DC/MD burbs)

Mine is only 2 years old and glorious. I had to stake it last year, which is still in place. It's about 3' tall, but wider this year. I had no idea one should prune them!

I recall years ago my aunt had one. It flopped over, so she tied it to the fence. It's all good.

Mine is 'Garnet' and living up to its name! Yeah!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 11:59AM
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Larry K(7a)

Here's a picture from year 2. They've now grown up a bit and the bottom 12-18 inches is old wood and looks leggy. If I had been pruning all along it might have delayed this problem a bit.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 12:55PM
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Beautiful! Thanks for the link!
happy gardening,

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 9:36AM
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a great resource for pruning:



Look like mounds and are medium-tough plants, found in mass plantings. They have small leaves and supple branches. You usually just want to tidy them up or reduce their size. People like to shear these -- don't you! Examples of mounds are abelias, escallonia, barberries and broom. orange. Locate the longest, most unruly branch. Grab the tip with your left hand. Follow the branch down into the interior of the plant with your right-hand pruners, and snip it off two inches to one foot below the general surface level of your shrub. Cut to a side branch or bud, if possible.

These shrubs often benefit from taking out some of the old canes to their base. This opens up and renews the shrub. Any dead wood or weeds should also be removed.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 9:51AM
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Arent the flowers beautiful on the broom plant.Mine is blooming now.I liked it for its different look surprise it bloomed

    Bookmark   June 9, 2005 at 10:10AM
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I think I let my scotch broom get really ill. It looks all dead and dried out. The base of the plant still looks green and when I cut some twigs off it is still green undeneath. do you think I killled it?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 11:05AM
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elizh(z5/6 MA)

I've had difficulty staking mine, over the last couple of years -- they get buried by the snowplows, and have too many stems for a stake in the center to do much. I think now I'm going to try using three or four stakes, and weaving them with wire or twine. So far the only pruning needed has been removing dead bits. They have grown back well even with significant top damage, as Sally hopefully knows by now...

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 8:27PM
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same problem as sally, looks dead after a late summer transplant (about 2 feet away from where it was) do they regenerate?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 8:10AM
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Hi drtynails,
The storm also caused damage to my garden and prompted me to look up alternative plants.
I found a surprise, though. I learned that Scotch Broom is actually considered highly invasive in several states. Just a quick look online turned up problems with this plant in WA, CA, OR, WI, and parts of Canada.

I think I'm going to remove the 2 plants that I have because it also appears that the plant won't support local insects and it has a skin irritant (saponins) - I'm already allergic to the poison ivy in my yard, I don't want more problems!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 5:10PM
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