Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:58 pm
Location: Indiana

3 shrub ID extravaganza

I have 3 shrubs in my yard that someone else planted many years ago.
It's been my experience with all 3 of them that they do nothing but grow and need trimmed. I'm trying to re-focus my yard into the direction I would like were the plants are multi-functional. Just being in my yard isn't for me, I would like them to flower, or smell good, produce fruit etc.

SO, I will start with the first bush.
It appears to be strangley my hydrangea. It has fatty leaves and doesnt appear to flower ever (that I remember).
The third picture shows an interesting structure on the end of some of the limbs that I feel might help ID the plant.

The second one I have is a rather frustrating plant. It has a very woody trunk system and grows pretty randomly outwards. I have cut these down to the ground and they come back up. They also seem to spread underground and grow new plants through runners?
It has one big trait that I think will help its ID. The limbs all have 3-4 raised woody ridges that run the length of the limbs.

The third shrub isn't so bad. Its a smaller leave plant that seems to grow in a nice tight ball. Its base is made up of many trunks (?). It also can grow back from heavy cutting.

If anyone can Identify these it would be helpful in me deciding there fate. If any more specific pictures would help don't hestitate to ask for them. I might replace the last two with other plants . The first one I might knock back some to let my hydrangea stronger.

thanks for any help

Senior Member
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:31 pm
Location: Shenandoah Valley

Some ideas

Number one looks like a Rhodo to me. No Blooms? Can't explain that. The third pic is showing what appears to be a spent bloom though. If it bloomed you would notice it.

Number2 looks like an euonymus...... maybe burning bush.... in which case it would put on a brilliant show of red foliage in the fall... it only redeeming value.

The third reminds me of Virburnum 'bridal veil' an olde timey shrub which should give a mid- to late spring show of white flower clusters along the stems.
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Posts: 27910
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

The first one's definitely a rhododendron. If you've been trimming it, as the shape of the shrub suggests, you may have been cutting off next year's buds. The cluster that bloomed (3rd photo) must have managed to get by you, both in pruning and in flowering. :wink:

This shrub could use some thinning cuts to open up the interior to let in more light. If you wanted to, you could also limb up the lower branches and give relief to the hydrangea that way. Azaleas, astilbes, and daffodils work well underneath. If you get enough sun, low-bush blueberries also have similar acid soil requirements and will produce fruit.

At the Tylar Arboretum in Pennsylvania, they have rhodos that I guess are over 100 years old along one of the trails. The trunks are 6~8" in diameter and the lower branches arch OVEREHEAD. "These CAN'T be rhodo's! Can they?" was my reaction. I had to walk over and check their tags. :shock:

Full Member
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:58 pm
Location: Indiana

We have what I call a burning bush in our yard that I didn't take a picture of. It definatetly gives a very bright red showing in the fall.
The second one is not like it in any way. It has very unique woody ridges on all its limbs. It also , when left uncontrolled, has what I would could a true wooden trunk that gets as big as you let it. Ive cut one down that was as large as my leg. The others have your more sterotypical shrug multi-faceted base.

On the rhodoendrum, when is a good time to trim it back. Do we take entire limbs out or do we take the entire plant down. That is what my wife has been doing. Trimming back all the growth at once.


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