Smoke Bush

(Zone 4a)

When we bought our house, we inherited a smoke bush (our friend informed us, we had no idea). We want to know the best way to take care of it.

Right now it is huge, more like a tree than a bush. I did a little researching online and found you can either prune it so it is more like a tree (what we did last year; we cut all the new vine-type growth and left the older tree-type growth so it looked like a tree with pink fuzz) or like a bush (the leaves sound lovely in the Fall).

When do you prune (Spring or Fall), how do you prune (what do you cut), any advice on this very unusal very cool tree/bush would be beneficial.

Thank you for your help!

Portland, OR(Zone 8a)

Hi,,, I grow Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'. It has wonderful purple foliage...I have it placed so the setting sun glows through its leaves...I love it. I will tell you how I take care of mine...keeping in mind that I lose the flowers every year, but remember I grow it because of its foliage. I also find the branches to be very brittle and easily broken if they get too large. Although we have a mild climate here in Portland, we are prone to ice storms in the winter and they break many trees and shrubs down.
I stool it, a gardening practice very well known to our friends in Europe! I prune just before the buds begin to break, usually late February. I first take out any dead wood and I clean out the center, I make these cuts all the way to the ground. I then start looking for an outward- facing bud about 12" from the ground...when I find it I cut 1/4 of an inch above the bud and at a 45 degree angle ( just like pruning roses). Thats it...easy as pie! Stooling works on a lot of plants...I do it to my red twig dogwood as well. I have never done this to an older established plant like yours, so would be very interested to hear from other DG'ers...will stooling work for Aceback? Dee

(Zone 4a)

Thank you for the wonderful information! I really appreciate it and any other advise. I have a digital camera and would love to send a picture for further discussion and would love to see yours for comparison? Aceback :)

Portland, OR(Zone 8a)

Great...I'm asking Santa for a digital cam...hope I've been a good girl! Dee

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Glad to see this thread. I have a Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple' (about 2-1/2' tall) that I bought last summer. It hasn't grown much (any?) but looks healthy. The info. on pruning is wonderful, and I suspect I shall need to prune for the best growth. Thanks.

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