Beware of Euonymus alatus (Burning Bush) – Cautionary Tale

What was I thinking? When I planned a foundation planting 15 years ago I made the mistake of choosing a Burning Bush for it’s fall color and interesting bark. For several years I removed what I perceived were seedlings under the the bush. Actually these seedlings are appearing from an enormous fibrous root mass. I chose this plant for it’s fall color and it’s reputation for bug resistance. Last summer some hideous caterpillar type creatures were taking up residence. Unfortunately they were unable (or unwilling) to kill this plant. I have learned that this “landscape” plant is listed as an invasive in New Hampshire, although I see it still stocked at a local nursery. Why invasive? After ripping it out with a pickup truck and chain, I’ve been trying to remove any remnants of DNA in it’s massive root structure. It has pushed it’s roots into my lavender and my PJM. How rude. I decided that the karmically responsible solution was tossing the roots on top of an overgrown rosa floribunda (another invasive) or feeding it to the European bittersweet (Yet another invasive). We think we are so clever bringing new plants and insects into our environment We are fools. Spring is here, you will be visiting your local garden shop. If you see Euonymus, I would suggest a dose of “Round Up”


6 thoughts on “Beware of Euonymus alatus (Burning Bush) – Cautionary Tale

  1. Oh my! I wonder how it does in Colorado… I think I’ll check with my local nursery and see what they think… However, I have a tip for a dynamite bush that is not only incredibly fragrant but drought tolerant with beautiful yellow blossoms as well! It’s called a Moonlight Broom. Steve & I happened on it while shopping for bushes yesterday! The fragrance is intoxicating! Not sure how it does in New Hampshire but am hoping it will be a hit in Colorado!


  2. Scotch Broom does grow in New Hampshire. I had a a red variety for a few years but it was so ugly after over-wintering that I finally removed it. I was intrigued with broom after seeing a bright yellow variety growing along the roadsides in British Columbia. I need to emphasize that it was growing EVERYWHERE! I believe that the variety you mention is a non-invasive hybrid, but be advised that Scotch Broom is listed as an invasive in some parts of the country. This weekend I planted 2 Weigela bushes (variety ‘wine and roses’) to replace the Euonymous. I understand that the flowers are attractive to Butterflies and Hummingbirds and that’s a good thing.


  3. NO NO NOT ROUNDUP… Owned by Monsanto who has patented DNA of plants and destroyed some farmers livelihoods (Canada) finding “their Monsanto” plants on his fields accusing him of stealing their plants…… How does one control wind and pollination?? I support all the efforts on invasive species… but it may require the sweat labor of our ignorance/arrogance rather than $$$ to that crowd of “environmental evil doers”!


  4. One alternative to chemicals for plant control is the using boiling water. I intend to try this on weeds between paving stones. I haven’t tried this yet. I replaced the Burning Bush with “Wine & Roses” Weigela which is in full flower. It is a delightful shrub.


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