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Unusual Vibernum - pruning query

I have a Vibernum of a named variety (label sadly lost) with a very sweet smelling flower which appears before the leaf, no berries, no change of leaf colour(Pic1).
A few years later I noticed that another, stronger stem had grown out of the centre, this has profuse blossom, followed by abundant berries (Pic3), the leaves turning to attractive red colours in autum. As can be seen, this has now attained a height approaching 12 feet and swamps the original plant which can be seen at the base, with dull green leaves. I assume it must be a form of reversion.
Q. 1. How and when can I heavily prune the larger strain?
Q. 2. How can I control what I presume to be Vibernum beetle? I spray it repeatedly with Bug killer each spring but it has grown so large and inaccessible, that it has been largely ineffective this year. (Pics 2 & 4)
Sorry, the pics didn't come in the sequence I intended, hence the odd sequencing!


  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,515
    edited June 2018
    Your original plant looks and sounds like Viburnum burkwoodii. It has probably been grafted onto a more vigorous rootstock, such as Viburnum opulus, which has now taken over. If you want to keep the original plant you should cut out all of the V. opulus growth - check the leaf shape as you do so.
    I have both plants. The burkwoodii is lovely in early spring and then retires into the background, but gives a little height and solidity to the border.
    V. opulus is a lovely shrub in the right place and its colour in autumn is heartwarming. The birds don't seem all that fond of the berries, so they last for a long time, and a lot fall to the ground and root, so forming a thicket. It can be kept in check by removing a proportion of the older stems, about 1 in 3, each year. I have plenty of space, so just let it do its thing.
    Fortunately for me the accursed beetle hasn't found its way to this spot yet, hoping it will stay that way, as there doesn't seem to be much you can do about it!
  • ChrisH2ChrisH2 Posts: 9
    Thank you. Everything you have said makes perfect sense. Burkwoodii certainly rings a distant bell, and yes, the birds don't seem keen on the berries (unlike the Amelanchier, which is like a drug!). I cant say I've noticed self-seeding but if so, I can hopefully propagate the Opulus and replace the 'insurgent', which I would be sorry to lose. Two for the price of one can't be bad.
    I've managed to keep the beetle at bay for the last 2-3 years but it's been an unusual year weather-wise. Probably got the timing wrong.

  • Janie BJanie B LincolnshirePosts: 772
    We have had so much bleeding viburnum beetle this year... and we weren't really on the ball with it early enough, so it has decimated several large viburnums. Some we have just cut to the ground (they were very large so they may well sprout up again next year), and one we are planning on taking about half away as it really is enormous. Unfortunately the plants were either on our drive, or by the side door on the way out the back, so our visitors couldn't avoid the horrendous pong!
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