What are those bushes

pixie_louOctober 29, 2010

That right around now have the beautiful bright red/pink leaves? They are so pretty. I think I'd like to get some to plant out behind the pond.

And I guess, more importantly, what do they look like the rest of the year?

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could be burning bush, euoynmous. Very invasive. Illegal to sell in many states.

but yes, they are gorgeous.

I think the pinkish leaves are ones that don't get full sun. I see them at the edge of the woods.

boring the rest of the year.

blueberries are the preferred substitute. They are great looking in the fall, but not as much as BBs. But the fruit is a worthwhile bonus! Another great fall foliage bush for color is fothergilla and cranberry (blueberry cousin).

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 7:00PM
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Enkianthus! One of our most outstanding and undervalued shrubs. Gorgeous red fall color. If it had an easy name like burning bush, it would be everywhere.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 9:24PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Yes that's Burning bush, Eunoymous alatus. Its only interesting feature is the fall red color, otherwise it is a fairly non-descript shrub with inconspicuous flowers. Burning bushes were planted everywhere, particularly commercial properties, probably because they're rugged and drought-tolerant. But it is a non-native invasive species, because the berries are spread by birds, and they have invaded wild areas. It is listed on the Mass. prohibited plant list so they can no longer be sold in this state.

The red color is outstanding, but that quickly gets boring when all I see are the same few plantings over and over while driving around (Forsythia, Callery pear, etc.).

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 10:30AM
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OK - looks like I won't be putting burning bush behind the pond. I'm having a tough enough time doing away with the bittersweet and multi-flora rose, nevermind the poison ivy - so don't want to deal with another invasive species.

Though I'll look into some Enkianthus. That looks pretty.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 1:04PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

It's ridiculous that this shrub is on the invasive list. I have several on my property that I planted years ago and I have yet to find a single seedling anywhere. My Japanese maples would be more invasive than a Burning Bush because I find little seedlings from them everywhere. I rarely ever see this shrub growing wild and even then it's only growing where nothing else will grow.

This shrub is awesome and not just for its fall color. It has a very dense and perfectly rounded shape that make it ideal for a hedge. Unlike most hedge plants, it remains dense close to the ground and basically needs no pruning to keep it's attractive shape. It can also be pruned rather easily into other hedge shapes. The branches are very ornamental with their "wings" although this trait has been bred out of the newer compact varieties. After the leaves have dropped, the bright orange-red seeds are prominent and provide interest and are a good source of food for birds. I would much rather have this shrub growing wild on my property than the native poison ivy, wild raspberries and other thorny vines, and the native weeds that prolifically seed everywhere.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 8:13PM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Ditto tree oracle... I've seen plenty of planted BB's but have never seen one "in the wild".

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 8:13PM
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I see tons and tons of them. I removed my last BB 3-4 years ago and I STILL have to scour the edge of the woods for seedlings. Yesterday I went around and picked out about 20 very small seedlings in the woods as far back as 15' in from my beds. It is easy to find them this time of year. It might take many years for them to be a problem, but if left alone they eventually would take over.

There was one BB I had in my rear foundation planting that had ajuga groundcover surrounding it. For a few of the latter years (after enlightment), I tried to trim off berries before they could drop. But still, if I do ANY planting in that area disturbing the soil, the next year I will see seedlings pop up. (The dog went after a vole recently, I should see a lot next year - LOL)

Here's a stretch of wild ones that I saw down the street after a lot was cleared for development.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:12AM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

Thanks for the photo wendyb. Like I said I haven't seen anything like your photo around here but I see they have been documented in several locations and are expected to be added to the "illegal to sell" list of invasive species.
We planted one burning bush years ago and still have it. I wonder if it's diecious since it has never produced any berries.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 5:44PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I see them EVERYWHERE! Both planted in the landscape, and wild in the woods. A shame they are so invasive, because they are indeed beautiful at this time of year.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 6:57PM
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Here also I see them spreading into the woods from yard plantings. At driving speed they are only easy to spot at this time of year due to color, since the rest of the year they are so blah. I don't mind that they are banned since there are other plants with gorgeous fall color that have interest at other times of year.

I do think that there is a native Euonymous that has red fall berries and color in addition to the other plants mentioned above. My 'Diane' witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) also has gorgeous fall color, gold, orange and red,and the native witch hazel has a nice bright yellow. My PJM rhododendrons have nice fall color, darkening to a maroon color as the weather gets colder.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:31AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I don't think Euonymous alatus is dioecious, but perhaps it requires other specimens for cross pollination, in order to produce berries? In any case, these bushes are clearly invasive in this area, and have spread around my yard and the neighborhood. I've pulled and cut and dug out a lot of them, although in my experience, the exotic honeysuckles and Buckthorns are even more invasive.

This species wouldn't have been placed on the prohibited plant list without serious consideration, because of its previous commercial value (which is why it was phased out over 3 years, instead of banned immediately). One native alternative that is supposed to have good red color is a cultivar of Aronia arbutifolia called 'Brilliantissima'. And there are lots of native alternatives that produce berries or fruits for the birds.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 10:17AM
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cris(6b RI)

Burning Bush are indeed invasive and I see them in the wooded areas of the RI State Management areas. In fact, my husband and his company are working on the federal Forest Health Works Projects with the Rhode Island Natural History Survey to remove invasives like burning bush, russian olive, and bittersweet from those state management areas.

If you're looking for red fall color, I would look at Itea virginica, Aronia 'Brilliantissima', Hydrangea quercifolia, and some of the viburnums.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 11:06AM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

Every spring, I pull up an untold number of burning bush seedlings from under and around the bush in my yard, and there are some in the woods behind the house. So I envy anyone for whom this doesn't happen. I would have cut the bush down long ago except my very nice neighbors use it as part of a privacy fence. I need to replace it with a full grown shrub of something else. They have burning bush in their yard, so my bush removal won't solve the problem of invasion in the woods.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 12:33PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

I live in Marshfield and work in Cambridge and this morning during my commute to work, I counted all of the burning bushes that I saw on my way. The grand total was five (I'm counting clusters as one) and in every case they were growing in a dry, infertile, or shaded area that wasn't conducive to the growing conditions of most shrubs. In my area, poison ivy is far worse of a culprit for choking out other plants than a burning bush. Spare me the gloom and doom predictions of this species taking over the planet. I would rather see Euonymus Alatas growing in a vacant area than a bunch of dry dirt that provides a habitat for a bunch of thorny vines. In more fertile areas, the native trees, shrubs, and vines tend to hold their own quite well from what I have observed.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 1:36PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I wonder if this shrub is less prolific here in our colder Vermont climate than in southern New England. Like SquireJohn, I've seen some planted by landscapers, but never yet encountered any in the wild.

Or perhaps the burning bush invasion is just getting started here and will become endemic as time goes on. All sorts of unwelcome things have made their way northward through Connecticut and MA before reaching us, like deer ticks and those red lily beetles for instance. Too bad, since this is such an attractive shrub.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 5:30PM
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bernd ny zone5

I am in zone 5a in NY state, have 3 BB, one of them 40 years old. You must have different birds than I have, no spreading of seeds here. They tend to become very big, so I prune them every 2 years very hard, and just now enjoy their red leaves. I have only very few seedlings right below them, but have millions of maple seedlings everywhere on my half acre. Lets eradicate all maples!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 5:33PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

We have a BB and I am in the process of getting it out. It is the last invasive shrub on the property. There is fruit on it every year. It is an old shrub with an extensive root system, that I understand will regrow if you don't get it all out. We've cut it back, so it hasn't produced fruit this year, but we haven't got the entire root out yet.

There has always been seedlings in the yard from the shrub. I remember seeing a photo of these shrubs covering the ground in a woodland where the birds have dropped the seeds. Evidently passing through a bird's digestive system increases germination. As you can well imagine, if you have the shrub on your property, the birds do eat the fruit and how far they travel before depositing it, might make the seedlings pop up quite a distance from your property and you wouldn't even be aware of it.

I bought some Blueberry bushes last year to replace the red color for the fall. They are fabulous this year. I like the red color even better than I do the Euonymous. Plus you get blueberries, how great is that! I also just brought home Aronia 'Brilliantissima' and it is gorgeous fall color. Red and orange with a touch of yellow. Plus it's native and produces berries the birds love.

I went looking for the photo that I remember and here it is...

Here is a link that might be useful: Euonymous alatus in the wild

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 7:26PM
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pm2, I had a cluster of 3 that I got rid of by having the tree company saw them down at the base. Then I drilled holes near the cambium layer and applied brush killer (possibly diluted, I forget). No regrowth. They were my oldest ones, around 10-12 years old.

I recently started growing Rhus gro-low (lo-gro?) in that BB cluster area and they are gorgeous red color. (granted, they may become pesky long term too, but so far so good).

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:36PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wendy, thanks for that suggestion. So you didn't attempt to get the root system out. Mine has been there since we moved here over 25 years ago and I wanted to plant a new shrub in the same location. I think I will have to investigate a little more to see if I can replant a little further over to where the original trunk is. Rhus are very pretty, too. I've seen bright reds and I think there is a pretty golden one too.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 12:43AM
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The largest trunks of my BB's were about 5" across, but that method should work on any size. I, too, decided to plant my replacements in a slightly different location -- no way was I going to attack those roots. Actually, I had a triangle of 3 BB's. I think my new plant (Kolwitzia Dreamcatcher) went in the middle of the triangle.

I used to have the Rhus in part-shade and it got yellow. Its a sun thing, well at least with my attempts.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:51AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I planted a Kolkwitzia Dreamcatcher, last year in a different area. I got it from Bluestone and it was SO tiny...lol. I have Lunaria planted in that area and they were taller than the shrub this year and I could barely see it sticking out from the basal foliage of the Lunaria. I guess I have a long wait to see something from that shrub.

I am going to dig around the base of that old BB and see if there is any area that I am able to get a planting hole dug. I do have a couple of shrubs that are old near there. One is a 30 yr old Taxus, so I'm really considering having someone come in with a bobcat and just dig out that whole area and start over. Maybe next spring. I've been saying that for three years now. So, maybe I could do what you did instead of postponing year after year.

The Rhus I was thinking about was 'Tiger Eyes'. I guess the foliage is golden all season. I'm not sure what color it turns in the fall. Yes, amount of sun really does make a difference. I have two Viburnum carlesii in different amounts of sun and they are very different colors in the Fall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rhus 'Tiger Eyes'

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 12:48PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

Let me get this straight. You guys are worried about the invasiveness of euonymus alatas so in it's place you are planting rhus typhina that spreads like wildfire. Isn't that like replacing a pit bull with a rottweiler because you don't want a dangerous dog? One of the plants that has stuck out over the last few days as I have been observing the foliage is the Sumac. It is literally everywhere. There is a colony in a field across the street from me that has been rapidly expanding for years. I find seedlings of it in my yard all season long every year. It is a weed!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 1:30PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have a small 1/4 acre property and a need for as low maintenance as I can manage, so no, I am not planning on adding a Sumac. I believe they are native to New England, but native or not, if it makes a nuisance of itself, I am avoiding it.

I did find this article by Bill Cullina of the NEWFS where he discusses, native choices and invasiveness. I thought it was interesting reading. I tend to agree with him, that it's about more than just whether it's native or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bill Cullina on Native Plant Choices

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Agree rhus may be risky. In this case, my Rhus aromatic 'Gro-Low" is replacing euyonmous fortunei coloratus. I got rid of an entire hillside of it so I need some alternative groundcover. Am hoping the Rhus will do the job and not invade the woods and strangle the nearby birches (in my lifetime at least-LOL). I only got two plants for about 1000 sf so that should take a long while to fill in. I hope!

Here's a partial shot of the hillside several years ago while I was still trying to manage the mess. Nice to not have to trim the BB's anymore to ATTEMPT to slow them down.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 8:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks for the photo, Wendy. Is that all Euonymous? What a lot of work!
I did run across this in the conservation notes of the NEWFS....

Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)[Zones 3-8, 15'-35']
delivers fiery late-season foliage, with interesting fruit clus-
ters, and is not choosy about soil. Cultivars such as
'Laciniata,' with finely dissected foliage, and 'Tiger Eyes,'
with sunburst leaves, are preferred for their self-limiting
growth; they top out at 10'-12' and wonâÂÂt spread too far.
I don't know what they mean by 'won't spread too far' though. [g]

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 8:48PM
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It was a ton of work! That picture above is only a small portion of the groundcover euonymous. This is one of at least 5 tarp-fuls I pulled out. I had to let it bake in the sun for a few weeks to die, turning regularly. chemicals were ineffective.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 11:24PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Wow Wendy...what a ton of work that was! I was tempted to buy a variegated Euonymous once a long time ago, and I'm so glad I didn't. I didn't realize they were so hard to kill too. You are really changing your property, there. It's a lot of fun to watch the changes, isn't it?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 5:33PM
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cris(6b RI)

The difference with Rhus typhina vs. Euonymus alatus is Rhus (Sumac) is truly native to the Northeast (Dirr says it's native from Quebec to Ontario; south to Georgia, Indiana and Iowa.) Burning Bush is native to Northern Asia to central China.

So, yes...I would choose planting staghorn sumac over Burning Bush hands down.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 9:54AM
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You know what, and you may laugh at me, but I found BB is to be a less invasive (in my yard at least) than a hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'.
Believe it or not, but every spring I find 10-12 natural seedlings of it in a radius of 10' from the original plant.
None of the other of 8 different cultivars of paniculatas I grow produce seedlings. Go figure :-)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 10:52PM
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pm2, the variegated Euonymous is not at all like what I got rid of. I don't believe the one you refer to is a troublemaker. Mine was Euyonymous fortunei coloratus, a/k/a Wintercreeper.

Speaking of seedlings, this year I had my first hibiscus seedling in 15 years. I know lots of folk find Rose of Sharon shrub to be a pest. I never knew what they were talking about.

I think part of what makes the "pest meter" go up is when birds relocate seeds in other locales. Hard to know for sure when that is going on. Seed fertility is certainly a big clue, but bird relocation just makes it a bigger problem.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 9:02PM
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cris(6b RI)

There is actual criteria plants must meet before they are deemed invasive. This is Connecticut's criteria -

Here is a link that might be useful: CT invasive plant criteria

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 12:33PM
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