Prune 1 yr old butterfly bushes?

I read about pruning butterfly bushes, but I have several bushes planted last April. They are now about 4 feet tall. Should these bushed be pruned back to 1-2 feet high as recommended for more mature bushes?
PaulF
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Forgot to mention I live in Zone 7B.
PaulF
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I'm in zone 5/6, upstate NY. Because I've read conflicting ideas about butterfly bushes, there have been years when I haven't pruned mine at all, and the first year in this house, I hacked it to 12" in February. That's generally a bad idea because enough mild weather can cause plants to make buds, and when winter returns, they can be damaged. But, nothing seems to hurt the butterfly bush.
I've done everything in between, too. Even when hacked severely, it was still 8-10 feet tall by July.
If you're pruning for shape, go ahead and do it now if you're bored and need something to do. But, I don't see that it matters. You can prune for shape almost any time during the growing season, and the crazy bush will be back to its previous size in about 20 minutes.
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Paul
Good question. Generally speaking. I would treat them as a tree. Wait until second growing season before pruning stems. You have. If you understood targets when pruning a tree, then there are two critical periods. I.e., when the leaves are forming and when the leaves are falling. Like an airplane. Two times are critical - taking off and landing. Of course when pruning a BF Bush you are indiscriminately pruning, like topping a tree. The old timers used to say winter was the best time to prune a tree. The question really was when is the best time to severely wound a tree because they did not understand targets. You could do that now, as long as the leaves are not forming, or after the flowers have died.
On the topic of pruning here are two outstanding, top quality books on pruning trees and woody plants. http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/TPRUNING.html
http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/TPB.html
And a site on pruning http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/tree_pruning/index.html
Also, you could follow proper mulching instruction. http://www.treedictionary.com/DICT2003/M/mulch.html
I hope this helps you Paul.
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Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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Prune it back near the last frost date. Don't do it now.
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Phoon Hencman wrote:

As someone who has grown Butterfly bushes for many years, I can say that that is really BAD advice. New growth starts WAY before the last frost date and if you cut back the bush then you are likely to have less blooms that season.
I cut mine after about the second hard freeze in the late fall or early winter. Then, in the spring, I trim lightly if needed (mainly for "form").
If you did not cut them at all yet, I would do it now BEFORE any new growth starts.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

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said:

Bill, I have great respect for you and agree with your diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Keep up the good work!
I would say this guy can be trusted. By the words that he uses.
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John A. Keslick, Jr.
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symplastless wrote:

Thank you John.
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Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

Gardening for over 40 years
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I like the way you are providing nutrients, elements and cellulose with your addition of wood.
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Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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wrote:
Thanks for the information. One thing I was assuming is if I prune my butterfly bushes they will grow bigger and fuller than if I do not prune them. Is this correct? Since they are only about 3-4 feet tall, I do not need to prune them just to reduce their size or modify their shape.
Thanks, PaulF

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Next time, google it. http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/mvv2-94.htm
According to Mountain Valley Growers, you can whack it back to the ground, whether it is dormant or vegetative, and it will bounce back. If it is budding or pushing, you will have wasted some of it's energy reserves, which will reduce its' vigor but you won't seriously damage it. With grape vines, if you prune just before bud break, it will delay budding a couple of weeks and may get you past a late frost before it starts to push.
--

Billy

Bush, Cheney & Pelosi, Behind Bars
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said:

Why?
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John A. Keslick, Jr.
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Any new growth now or before last frost will be killed off by freezing before last frost date anyway. I was taught to wait.
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Are they dormant or still in leaf?
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Billy

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