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Is mid-June too late to prune cotinus?

I am in zone 3 (Canadian prairies) and I have a 4-year-old Grace smokebush that has developed upper branches that are leafless except at the ends. I would like to hard-prune it down to within a few inches of the ground. In the photo you can see that it has a single trunk that branches into two very low down . . . I would like to cut it below the crotch in the hope that it will come back as a shrub rather than a tree.

Everything I have read says to do hard pruning in the early spring.image Is it now too late? I don't care about sacrificing foliage, but of course I don't want to kill it or endanger it either. 

Last edited: 10 June 2017 22:02:14

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  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,666

    I personally don't recommend you to go beyond where the branch splits into two. Maybe cut it just before that. I think it can still be a shrub from that point. Cutting time is really up to you. If you cut it down now, there will obviously be little to look at for many months. But, if you don't mind that, it's fine to do that. These plants are very resilient and should bounce back quite quickly.

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