In detail

How to plant and prune a pyracantha?

How to plant and prune a pyracantha?

Characteristics of pyracantha

  • Type: shrub
  • Height: up to 10m
  • Flower color: White
  • Desired exposure: sunny, semi-shaded
  • Type of soil: normal
  • Foliage: persistent
  • Interview : easy
  • Sanitizing: no
  • Diseases: scab, fire blight
  • Varieties:coccinea, golden glow, angustifolia, crenulata, rogersiana

Origins and characteristics of pyracantha

The name pyracantha comes from greekpyros which means fire andAcantha, the thorn. Native to Europe and Asia Minor, it is part of the Rosaceae family. It is commonly called "burning bush", by allusion to a biblical episode.

Easy to maintain, pyracantha is also tolerant of soil. It is often planted in gardens to create defensive hedges because it can quickly become impassable.

Between May and July (depending on the variety planted), the shrub is adorned with pretty white flowers. Very pretty bouquets are formed, thus attracting browsers. It is in autumn that the fruits of pyracantha appear. They persist until winter. These small red, orange or yellow berries are the delight of birds who love them. However, these same berries are very toxic to humans. They can cause stomach upset, vomiting and dry mouth. So make sure that children do not come to peck in the shrub. Also pay attention to the many thorns present on the pyracantha.

There are currently 7 varieties of pyracantha. In France, the marketing of certain varieties susceptible to fire blight is prohibited. This therefore means that all the varieties sold in our nurseries and garden centers are resistant.

Plantation of pyracantha

The pyracantha is a rustic ornamental shrub, which has the ability to please everywhere. Depending on the variety, it can withstand negative temperatures up to -20 ° C.

It will appreciate a very sunny location, but can bear to be grown in partial shade. It will prefer a soil rich in humus and well draining, do not hesitate to add potting soil and perlite or clay balls during planting. If this happens, your pyracantha can tolerate excessively hard soil, but its growth will be slowed down.

You can plant the pyracantha in different ways, depending on the expected effect: isolated, hedge (defensive or pruned), embankment or even trellised against a wall. To determine the location of its plantation, it is important to take into account its adult size:

  • Trellised against a wall: move the foot away from the wall by about 30cm. The support must be solid and able to support the weight of the pyracantha. Remember to attach the twigs as they grow.
  • In defensive hedge: to be effective, it must be at least 1.50m high and be 0.80m to 1m thick. Allow a distance of about 80cm between the shrubs.

If you live in a windy region, combine your pyracanthas in two rows, planting them in staggered rows.

Maintenance of pyracantha

Maintenance of the pyracantha is very easy. Once in the ground, it is enough to perform a few gestures to ensure good health:

  • protect young pyracanthas with mulch during winter
  • water it in hot weather

The pyracantha blooms on the wood of the previous year. It is cut only for aesthetic reasons, to maintain its volume or give it a certain shape. The two most suitable periods for the size of the pyracantha are the months of February and March (excluding frost) or in September-October.

If you have opted for a strict hedge, pruning is done rather at the beginning of summer. However, avoid doing this during a heat wave.

Because of its thorns, it is recommended to handle the pyracantha during its maintenance with thick gardening gloves, to avoid any risk of cutting or injury.

Diseases and pests of pyracantha

The pyracantha almost disappeared from European gardens at the end of the 20th century. Without the reason being known, a large part of the shrubs was almost eradicated due to fire blight.

Fire blight is a disease that particularly affects fruit trees, such as apple or pear trees. The culprit is bacteriaErwinia amylovora,who can kill a tree in one season only.

It's easy to spot if fire blight has hit your shrub. The leaves and flowers turn black. Cankers appear on the bark of the shrub.

To prevent shrubs from being affected by fire blight, there are a few precautions to take:

  • avoid cutting your pyracanthas too severely
  • do not over water
  • disinfect your tools after each use

Currently, no treatment is effective against fire blight. It is then necessary to cut the sick shrub as soon as the first symptoms appear and burn it quickly to avoid spreading the disease.

The pyracantha can also be affected by scab. This fungus causes brownish spots to appear on the foliage. To prevent disease, collect and burn the affected leaves. In spring and autumn, you can spray Bordeaux mixture to prevent its appearance.