Smoke Trees

Question About Smoke Tree (Cotinus) Information

Anonymous added on August 25, 2016 | Answered

Your post about smoke trees (Cotinus) mentions the smoky flowers bloom in summer and pruning in late fall or early spring. This is contradictory to the fact that it sets on buds on old wood, blooms in spring, and the "smoke" feature are not the actual flowers but remain through the summer. It's a tricky situation to control, as you would need to prune by late June to avoid removing next year's flower buds, but then you lose this season's smoke display. What's important to note is that you cannot prune this tree or shrub in late fall or early spring, as you will most definitely cut off the season's flowering buds (similar to lilacs ).

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 26, 2016

Pruning for you Smoke Bush/Tree should be done when the plant is mostly dormant.
Since the Smoke Bush blooms after June 1'st, you can prune in early spring before it sets buds.

Here is a link with more information.

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