Bottle Brush Trees

Our bottle brush shrub appears to have winter kill

Zone zone 8-9 & living in SE NC 3 miles from the coast line. | jtheiss added on April 8, 2015 | Answered

Our bottle brush shrub appears to have winter kill, as the leaves have turned brown. It has always produced blooms and is a relatively small upright shrub. Do I prune heavily or lightly to see if it responds? This shrub faces east and is located in the foundation plantings. All the leaves have turned brown, which I have never before seen on this shrub. It is about 6 feet tall, but not heavily branched. It also experienced an ice storm we had the previous winter (which is very rare here in southern NC); however, the shrub rebounded. We did have an exceptionally cold winter here this year. Should I be wrapping this shrub in burlap each winter? This shrub is about 6-7 years old but has grown slowly.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 8, 2015

Yes, we did have an incredibly cold winter, and it would sound as if your Bottlebrush has suffered winter damage. I would recommend pruning the damaged and dead leaves and branches, and wait and see. Give the roots time to wake up and then you can access the plant.

Burlap wrap is a good way to protect shrubs and plantings in the winter.

I have listed a few links for you with more information.

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