can you ID my shrub?

I'd like to know what this is so I can find out how to take care of it. It seems to be very overgrown with a lot of dead branches underneath the new growth. I'd love to whack it to the ground and let it re-grow, it's about 3 feet wider than I'd like for the location it's in and it catches all the neighbor's beer cans and take-out wrappers that blow out of his pickup.
http://www.reddawn.net/dawn/photos/APR11_02.JPG
http://www.reddawn.net/dawn/photos/APR11_03.JPG
http://www.reddawn.net/dawn/photos/APR11_04.JPG
Any help identifying this bush would be appreciated.
Dawn
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Looks like a very badly pruned Gold Flame spirea. They aren't meant to be little balls, but graceful arching shrubs. If it's too big for where it is, move it, and gradually thin out 1/3 of the oldest canes completely over the next three years and leave the new canes to assume what size they will. It will be gorgeous with that golden new growth and produce blooms maybe twice a year if you keep yourself from hacking it into an unnatural golfball. For annual pruning, again, remove any winterkill and thin out 1/3 of the oldest canes and STOP. Hedge clipper pruning creates lots of dead and twiggy and growth on the bottom that doesn't get any light and can lead to disease. Formally trimmed boxwood hedges have their place, but hacking flowering shrubs like spirea, azalias, and forsythia into golfballs should be severely punished, along with crepe murder.
Sunflower MS 7b
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Thanks, I think you're right. It has little pink flowers when it blooms. And it's not a "little ball", it's over four feet high and hasn't been pruned at all in the last five years.

Should I get underneath it and just start cutting out the dead canes?
Dawn
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Yes, always prune out any dead wood from any plant, branches and limbs which cross one another, or anything growing in toward the center should also come out. After that, step away from the plant and prune it for shape, but don't remove more than about a third. Rehab of a badly pruned or not pruned plant takes a few seasons.
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wrote:

If those yellow things are blooms not leaves, then I vote for forsythia. One of my most unfavorite things in the world. But basically they bloom on year old wood, so personally, I'd whack it to the ground after it's bloomed, then any new growth would bloom next year. It looks like it's growing too close to the building has been ignored .. except by the pruning shear guy. They should be put somewhere with room to grow up and arch over.
If it's a spirea, which I don't think it is, it too would bloom on year old wood, and too would need a place to grow where it can arch .. but I wouldn't whack that clear to the ground, as it's not evil like forsythia ;-)
If you don't want to whack it ALL down, I'd cut out any big canes, and water it well. Move it if you want to keep .. or move part of it.. where it has room to grow... if you have such a place. If it were on my place though, I'd be headin' for it with a shovel.. like when I moved into this house, there was a forsythia out there and I didn't know if it was on my place or the neighbors's.. and I was headed for it with the shovel when the guy came out of the house next door, and I said.. "that in your yard or mine?" He said, I think ours. I said, damn! and slunk back to my house...dragging the shovel. *sigh* .. it's still out there pretty much unkempt of cared for clashing with the pink blossoms of the peach tree with it's yellow green blossoms on the scraggly mess of a bush, 27 years later!
Janice
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opined:

It's not a forsythia. Do not "whack" it to the ground without knowing what it is. The photos are very poor and not clear enough to identify it properly. I can tell you, it's definitely not forsythia. Even if it was, I would never recommend hacking it to the ground.
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I tend to agree with Escapee. To whack a forsythia to the ground sacrifices the blooms for two years. Copicing is fine if done properly. (copicing is to cut something to the ground, also called stooling) If there are no thorns, then it's a spirea and can be dug up now in early spring, trimmed back a bit and replanted somewhere you want it. madgardener who has done such things.
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wrote:

Shouldn't if you prune it *right* after it blooms since it blooms on last season's wood.. which it would have grown after it was pruned.. would it not? Asking not arguing here.
I was kind of tongue in cheeking it on the whacking it down to the ground.. if it were forsythia... through the story of heading for what was here with the shovel and it being how I felt about it - I really hate the stuff :-D So..guess I was flyin' too low there with that. Usually I'm too hit in the head with it all. LOL
Janice

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opined:

When you hack something to the ground, it takes all its energy to restore the foliage. The following year, it may not have the energy to develop blooms.

And people who know you know that. However, in a forum like this where there are many transient posters, it doesn't translate well.
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Sorry, my digital doesn't do well on close-ups. You're right, it's not forsythia, I know what those look like. Someone suggested Gold Flame Spirea, and I looked and found a picture that shows exactly what it looks like when it blooms:
http://courses.smsu.edu/pab532f/GoldFlame2.jpg
Now I guess I need to get out and start removing dead branches.
Dawn
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wrote:

I guess I was too subtle in the tongue in cheek part of *IF* it was forsythia. As I said... If those were blooms not leaves.
I was just kind of joking .. just a little.. that if it were forsythia.. *I* would dig it out. From the pic you show the link to, yup definitely not forsythia. ;-)
I like spirea, well the old type with white flowers and arching branches. Don't know if that one is supposed to grow the same.
Congrats on finding out what it is!
Janice
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