Growing your own dwarf burning bushes can add height and drama to any yard. The bushes are easy to grow, hard to kill and provide a brilliant pop of bright red color to the landscape in the fall. Burning bushes are also easy to propagate and ship, so nurseries tend to keep them in stock. Dwarf burning bushes get their name due to the small size of the cork ridges on their stems. The dwarf variety of burning bush can still grow to 8 feet in both height and width. To have a successful burning bush you will need to know how to plant it, how to care for it and how to prune it properly.
The burning bush requires a lot of sun. Dwarf bushes planted in shady locations have yellow, scarce leaves and don't produce vibrant red foliage in the fall. Choose a location with abundant sunlight for most of the day. Plant the root ball level with the ground, and water the plant frequently after it is planted. You won't need to provide the bush with fertilizer during planting.
Remember that your dwarf burning bush will be quite large when it grows. Plant it in accordance with its fully-grown size, not the size of the immature plants you purchase at the nursery. Space the plants 8 to 10 feet apart, and ensure that they are far from the foundations of your house and any walkways and paths you use frequently.
The plants provide thick green foliage in the summer, but no flowers or other interesting features. Consider planting bulb flowers or other flowering plants that blossom in the spring or summer alongside your dwarf burning bushes, to provide visual interest.
Deer and rabbits are fond of nibbling on dwarf burning bush plants, and will chew the bushes all the way to the ground, if given the opportunity. You will likely need to provide webbing or netting to protect your plants from these pests.
Dwarf burning bushes are also prone to infection by spider mites. These small insects will suck the sap and nutrients from your bushes, and cause them to lose their leaves and die. Place a white piece of paper under a branch of your burning bush, and tap the branch with a pencil. Look for crawling black specs on your paper. If you find these small spider mites, wash down your plant with a soapy water solution.
To keep your dwarf burning bush at a manageable size, prune heavily in the early spring. Remove any dead, black branches. Trim the hedge to the shape and size appropriate for your yard. Burning bushes are very responsive to pruning, so don't worry that you will kill or otherwise damage the plant. If your dwarf burning bush hasn't been pruned in several years and is quite large, you can cut healthy stalks down to 12 inches from the ground, after removing the dead and diseased stalks. This harsh pruning will allow the plant to rebuild itself from the ground up.