euon.manh_prune1Why Can’t I Just Shear It?

I call this one of my “go-to” plants.  Manhattan Euonymus is tough, nice looking, fast growing, and cheap (I mean relatively inexpensive).  Yes you could shear it – many people do, but the result will be excessive, dense branching on the sheared ends.  This produces that mass of stems and leaves on the exterior and nothing but bare stems on the inside.  Look, I get it.  If you have a huge hedge it’s not practical to hand-prune.  But I really feel I need to state the correct way to prune if you have the time and desire.

euon.manh_prune2Concentrate On The Older Stems

Look at the flush of growth on this euonymus in the pic above. If we don’t get this plant under control the view of the house will be obliterated.  To do this I start in one area and pick a point on the plant where even after aggressive pruning there will still be enough foliage to look presentable and “mask” the heavy cuts I’ll be making.  And that’s the key.  Notice in the picture here on the left that I’m ready to cut into 2nd, possibly 3rd year growth.  But before I make the cut I check to see that there’s leafy growth nearby that will eventually fill in and help disguise the major cut.

euon.manh_prune3Like with most shrub pruning, make sure the plant shape is getting wider towards the base, i.e. don’t go in at the bottom and make it look like a ball.  There are still a few cuts remaining, but you can already see a difference.  If you look at the before pic above you’ll notice that most of the pruning occurred in the upper portion of the plant.  I did proportionately less cutting as I came down the sides towards the ground.  To avoid creating “indescribable shapes” and hearing wise-crack remarks from neighbors, stand back occasionally and check it out as you go.  I always say “picture an imaginary line as to how the shape should look (think “mounded” and wider at the base) and try to follow it”.

  • mark
    10:15 PM, 26 September 2011

    Manhattan Euonymus
    I am trying to clone these and grow them in a green house I have but am having trouble. Where can I find instructions on best conditions and what part of cutting should be used for best rooting chances?

    • Roger
      9:28 AM, 27 September 2011

      Unfortunately plant propagation is something I’m not too well versed in.

      I did take a propagation class in college, and funny enough I still have the text: Plant Propagation, Principles and Practices (2nd Edition) by Hartman & Kester. I looked it up on Amazon and here’s the current edition.

      It would be really helpful if you could visit a nursery where they do woody plant propagation to see their systems and techniques. I wonder if any of your local nurseries or garden centers could suggest any propagators they do business with?

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  • Marti
    11:08 AM, 4 October 2011

    Can I trim my manhattan euonymus in October?

    • Roger
      2:12 PM, 4 October 2011

      If pruning the plant is something you can put off, I’d say prune in spring. Winter can cause frost damage and you’d rather have the current growth on the plant for some extra protection.

      If the situation requires you prune it now, the plant will probably be OK. These euonymus can recover quite readily.

  • Kelli
    7:18 AM, 20 January 2012

    I work for a company who installs and maintains neighborhood entrances. There are euonymous manhattans that have been planted but the previous maintenance crew has been in the habit of shearing them. Now they have done exactly as you said they would and all the foliage is on the outside edge leaving the interior bare. Is it too late to or is there something I can do to make these flush back out.

    • Roger
      12:07 PM, 21 January 2012

      Hi Kelli,
      Dave Kennedy, a landscape contractor and one of our contributors here on LA, calls this euonymus a weed. And he means that in a complimentary sort of way. We like this plant because it’s attractive (when used and cared for properly) and it’s a “trooper”, i.e. it’s fairly tough and you can use (mold it) to all sorts of applications.

      It will rejuvenate and re-bud if you make severe cuts to re-shape it and get it back to where it belongs. Of course it will take a little patience on the part of the homeowners that have to look at it during that “rejuvenation period,” but on the other hand this “weed of a plant” responds pretty quickly.

      Think about this approach too. Eunoymus Manhattan is a relatively inexpensive plan, and it grows fairly rapidly. Perhaps it makes sense to just remove those that are severely overgrown and replace them, either with new euonymus or another selection. You have to weigh the cost and involvement of your pruning campaign to rejuvenate them vs. replacing them.

  • Jay Hanlin
    12:43 PM, 11 July 2012

    After a severe cut to an entire Manhattan, there appear to be scale or plaque on the branches and some of the remaining leaves are dull green/yellow. The plant lost it’s luster.

    Any suggestions for repair?

    Thank you

    • Roger
      4:28 PM, 12 July 2012

      Scale is very common in many varieties of euonymus. If you think the plant is losing the battle you can apply a systemic insecticide. Sometimes the insect population does not reach that level and the plant can live on with a minor infestation.

      I checked w/ Michael Hirsch, our plant health care advisor, and he now uses a systemic insecticide called Safari. The base ingredient is imidacloprid. This ingredient can also be found in other products like Merit, which is available to homeowners.

  • Gary
    4:02 PM, 27 April 2013

    My Enouymus have been poorly maintained with removal of the lower branches, exposing the trunk and severe verticle overgrowth. If I top the plant to a reasonable height, ie 4 feet, I have bare stems. Will the plant rebud and deveolpe new growth or will this kill the plant?

    • Roger
      8:35 PM, 27 April 2013

      Go ahead and prune back as you wish. The plant should push what is called “adventitious buds” from the lower stems. This will take some time, but should ultimately rejuvenate the plant.

  • Gary
    6:11 PM, 27 April 2013

    I have a severely overgrown plant that was previously trimmed heavily at the base to bare wood and allowed to grow vertically. It is now over 8 feet. Can I trim it severely to essentially bare wood and will it then grow back into more manageable form? I am patient and not concerned about appearance. Will it generally recover in a single season?

    • Roger
      8:40 PM, 27 April 2013

      Please see my comment in your other message.
      I’ll bet it will take 2 years before you have a nice full plant. You may want to selectively prune the tips off the new growth to stimulate lateral buds and growth. This will give you a fuller and stronger plant long-term.

  • Elizabeth
    11:26 AM, 6 May 2013

    Hi! I am hoping you can help. I have a smaller Manhattan Euonymus 5′ tall, 5′ wide in Denver that just got fried with a late spring frost (15′ and snow/ice/wind) after the new leaves barely came in. Now all the leaves are crispy, brown and dead and falling off. Any suggestions on what to do? Should I prune back and hope for new growth or let it be? Do you think the plant is dead? Thanks for your help!

    • Roger
      2:22 PM, 19 May 2013

      It could very well be that the late season frost damaged stems too, so there may be an overall die-back.

      My experience with this euonymus is the plant will recover from lower, thicker stems and branches. And in the worst case scenario it will rejuvenate from the base of the plant.

      Soon you should be able to determine what stems are alive by some sign of new growth. Where no new growth is appearing you should begin to prune back to just above where a new leaf is showing.

      We kid around in the trade that this plant is like a weed…in a good way. I’m amazed at how quickly they can recover.

  • H King
    9:02 AM, 3 July 2013

    Hi there,
    I have a client in Longmont, Co. with a hedge of Manhattan Euonymous near the entry to their home. I noticed that the new growth has curling leaves. At first I suspected a fungal problem but Im now wondering if it is leaf curling aphids. How can I be certain what the problem is?
    Thank you!

    • Roger
      1:41 PM, 2 September 2013

      It’s difficult to comment/diagnose without seeing the plant.
      Aphids can be a problem on Manhattan Euonymus. Although more often I see scale and mildew problems, but these don’t necessarily cause the leaves to curl.
      I would check w/ a plant nursery that might have an experienced, knowledgeable person on staff, or perhaps you have a plant health care person you use on your jobs.
      I also use the Rutgers Ag. Extension Service here in NJ to help diagnose plant problems. Every state has an Ag. Ext. Service and perhaps you’ve used yours. Here is a link to the website.

  • Donna Carter
    10:35 AM, 14 January 2014

    I just bought a house that has a hedge of this plant on both sides of the drive. It has not been trimmed in several years and has grown too wide to allow vehicles to enter the drive. In reality, the plant needs to be cut back at least a foot, which will basically remove all of the green and leave a woody, stemy mess. If I do this, will it eventually re-leaf, or will it ruin the plant? If it will recover, how long will it likely take to product foliage?

    • Roger
      11:32 AM, 14 January 2014

      Some of us in the trade refer to this euonymus as an “ornamental weed”. It wants to survive no matter what.

      You can cut it back quite severely and it will push buds and growth from the stems and base that remain.

      If you did this “cutting-back” in late-winter/early-spring the plant should begin to rejuvenate this growing season. However it may take 2 years to look full again. Realize, of course, that it’s hard to predict a timeline and an absolute outcome because there are too many variables.

  • Cristy P
    9:53 PM, 23 March 2014

    I always read to prune 2nd and 3rd year growth on my manhattan eonymus. How can I tell what that is?

    • Roger
      11:28 PM, 23 March 2014

      If you examine a branch starting at the tip, that first length of growth (thinnest) is 1st year. Then, simply work your way down to identify the next thicker gauge of growth, which is 2nd year – and so on.

      Someone could recommend to prune Euonymus Manhattan to its 2nd & 3rd year growth because: 1) It is a fast growing plant and often outgrows the space people give it in the garden. And 2) It will rejuvenate quite well from aggressive pruning.

      Cutting back to 2nd and 3rd year growth is aggressive pruning. I try to prune with a combination of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year growth cuts. This way the plant keeps some newer foliage towards the ends, while at the same time is “kept in check” with the deeper cuts of 2nd & 3rd year growth.

      I hope that makes sense. It’s easier to visually demonstrate than describe it in writing. 🙂

  • Cristy
    10:13 AM, 24 March 2014

    That does make sense to work your way down to the next thicker gauges of growth.

    Thanks so much for your reply!

  • Clark
    10:41 PM, 3 April 2014

    Roger, I have a gap in my hedges which I would like to fill in. I took a sample of the leaves to my local nursery and they said it is probably a Manhattan Euonymus. However, when I looked at their one for sale, it had small little buds on it. Is that just because it is a young plant? I don’t see anything similar on mine at home but it is about 5′ tall now. I do see lots of new growth on mine this spring, but nothing like what the Manhattan at the store has. Do you think it was mis-identified? Can I send you a picture of the hedge I have to see if you think it’s a Manhattan? Thanks in advance.

    • Roger
      11:17 PM, 3 April 2014

      It can be challenging and a test of your patience when trying to match a particular plant. Even when a plant is “true to cultivar,” it can vary from what’s on your property. Perhaps it came from a nursery in a different environment where soil and other conditions vary enough to cause a difference in appearance.

      ‘Manhattan’ is a cultivar of Eunoymus kiautschovicus. So is ‘Sieboldiana,’ and they are often mistaken for one another.

      Perhaps you could do a bit more shopping around to see if you can find something that more closely matches your plant(s).

      Feel free to email me a picture. Take one of the whole plant, and one close-up of a few leaves.

  • Rick
    12:41 PM, 13 April 2014

    We live in Northwest Ohio. We have a Manhattan bush in the center of our front garden. The plant is the center piece, it also gives some privacy to all season front room. It is approx. 4ft across the bottom tapering due to trimming at the top and stand apptox 10ft high against the house.We just had a very cold snowy winter. The leaves on the whole pant except for the very bottom all turned brown and are now falling off. How do I determine if this plant is dead or will bloom shortly.

    • Roger
      10:33 PM, 27 April 2014

      The Manhattan Euonymus took a real beating this winter. Everyone of them in our area was damaged. The question is to what degree is the winter damage.

      This plant is generally very tough and can rejuvenate quite well. Give it time this spring to show clearly what is dead on the plant. By mid-May you can prune any of the deadwood back to new leaves.

  • Cristy
    11:16 AM, 28 April 2014

    I live in Wichita, KS and mine looked horrible and brown after this winter. Just in the last couple of weeks, they have REALLY greened up and new growth has just shot up!

  • Rick
    1:45 PM, 28 April 2014

    Thanks for the reply. However, the plant is dead down to about a foot off the ground and not much there. We have shopped around and can only find bushes a foot or two high, Can anyone direct me to a NUSERY IN northwest Ohio THE MAY CARRY OR CAN GET US A PLANT IN THE 3, 4. FOOT RANGE OR LARGER.

  • Cristy
    11:47 AM, 30 April 2014

    I’m not sure how big it would be (you can call and ask) but you can order a 3.6 gallon plant from for $45.00.

  • Rick
    12:16 PM, 30 April 2014


    Thanks I will give it a try.

  • Lisa sneed
    12:08 AM, 30 May 2014

    I just purchased Two good sized manhattan’s they were formed on a trellis at the nursery so I assumed that they were a climber, I want to put them on a 4 foot chain link fence separating the front yard from back yard the space is about 10 feet across with lawn on each side, do you think two is too many? And can I trim them thinner?

    • Roger
      10:44 PM, 4 July 2014

      I’ve used Manhattan Euonymus as a trellis plant. It’s a vigorous grower that naturally wants to revert back to its shrub form, so it’s difficult to maintain as a “tight to the fence” climber.

      You’ll have to keep at it with hand pruners to keep it as a climber. 2 should fill that 10′ width without a problem.

  • Pamela
    8:51 PM, 16 June 2014

    I have Manhattans that got a fungus last year. This year they are full and beautiful. Lots of new growth. Now the problem. The leaves are dropping off. There seems to be no sign of last years fungus. The new growth stems are now sticks without leaves. The leaves are on the ground. I have sprayed them this year and I clean up all the dropped leaves etc. I pruned so that there was plenty of air circulation.

    Any ideas?

    • Roger
      12:13 PM, 20 July 2014

      Hard to say what’s bothering your Manhattan Euonymus. Is the leaf dropping occurring on all that you have?

      It almost sounds like a root problem. Perhaps the soil is too wet. Or it’s entirely possible there is a soil born fungus that has affected the roots and the vascular system of the plant(s).

      And certainly there are other possibilities. Is there a garden center or nursery nearby that can look at the plant or a sample you bring them?

      When I’m not sure of a problem with a plant or turf, I’ll send a sample to the lab associated with my state’s Agricultural Extension Service. They give me an accurate diagnosis and recommendations on what to do.

  • Hilaree
    12:57 AM, 10 July 2014

    I have a unfinished backyard and was going to plant some Manhattan Euonymus along my back fence. As I have been reading about this plant does it really attract a lot flies? My kids swing set is located along this back portion of my fence as well. I am new to planting and landscaping so any suggestions you have would be great.

    • Roger
      11:09 PM, 2 October 2014

      Manhattan Euonymus flowers later in the summer and attract bees at that time.

      If you’re OK with a deciduous plant, try looking at Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) or some of the other Viburnums. Also, you might like Compact Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’)

  • Alice
    11:16 AM, 29 October 2014

    Hi Roger,
    I help my neighbor by keeping her long aged line of Manhattan Euonymus in their space and shape. I understand what I do is called shearing. That is I use my hedge trimmer to cut back the tops & sides; I have occasionally cut thick inner branches as well.
    I generally trim when their growth becomes a bit unruly 1-2 times yearly. When is the appropriate time for pruning? I last trimmed in May and they are currently quite tall and wide again. I’d like to trim now to avoid a tougher job in spring but worry doing so may cause winter damage. If I wait I worry I’ll deter their spring flowering. We are in Kentucky, zone 6.

    • Roger
      11:54 AM, 30 November 2014

      My friends and I in the trade affectionately refer to Manhattan Euonymus as an “ornamental weed”. All kidding aside, this plant seems to never stop growing – no matter what you do to it.

      My recommendation is to prune the euonymus whenever you think it’s necessary.

      Technically speaking, this euonymus flowers on old wood (last year’s growth), so you will sacrifice some flowering if you prune severely in spring before flowering. Therefore, if flowering is very important, then the more aggressive pruning soon be done after flowering.

  • Carrie
    10:20 PM, 26 November 2014

    How tall and wide will a Manhattan grow in full shade? If I have plants that are about 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide now, how long will it take for them to grow 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide? Is there anything I can do to encourage quick growth in full shade? Thank you!

    • Roger
      9:18 PM, 30 November 2014

      Here is a picture of Manhattan Euonymus in the shade. When it was planted it was approximately 30″ high. In this pictures it’s about 7′ high. It took maybe 6 or 7 years to get to 7′ (with some selective pruning done occasionally to grow the plant full & strong). That works out to about 8″ per year.

      This plant has not been fertilized and there is no irrigation on the property. If you were to fertilize once/year and water during dry spells, you should get more growth.

  • John
    10:06 AM, 19 February 2015

    I cut my Manhattan eu off at e
    The ground. Will it grow back?

    • Roger
      5:22 PM, 3 March 2015

      I would not be surprised if the euonymus rejuvenates from the remaining base of the plant. We affectionately refer to E. ‘Manhattan’ as an ornamental weed. 🙂

  • Tom
    11:23 AM, 9 March 2015

    Hi Roger – thanks for all the great Euonymus info here!

    I have a large Euonymus hedge, along the side of our yard, that is becoming a bit unkempt for the space. It’s pretty bare on the lower half and the top needs to be taken down on top and in on the sides to make a clearer path along the side of our house. Also, for ease of future maintenance, I’d like to maintain them around 6′ tall or so as a screen. I’m thinking I’d just like to start over and rejuvenate them – cut them close to the ground and maintain them as they fill in again to that ~6′ height. Just wondering if you think that’s the best approach. Something needs to be done with them and I’m leaning toward a major cutback, instead of selective hand pruning. It seems like a fresh start might be the way to go?

    Please check out the photos on my site to see these Euonymus (right side of house):


    Also, check out the left side [Euonymus] around sun porch. This photo is old, so it looks a little more overgrown now. I think this might benefit from starting over as well, since it’s too wide on one side (and would allow us to clean the windows;) Do you think it would it take a long time for them to grow back?

    Any thoughts on these is much appreciated!!


    • Roger
      9:19 PM, 9 March 2015

      Hi Tom,
      It’s so helpful to have pictures (from your site) to go with the description.

      In the more recent picture of the euonymus along the side yard, it looks as if the plants are being grazed by deer. Is that why the bottoms are bare? If that’s the case, you’ll have quite a problem getting them to rejuvenate. If so, perhaps you’d be better off replacing with something deer resistant.

      If deer are not a problem, then I’d go ahead and cut them back severely. They’ll rejuvenate from the base of the plant, but it will take 2-3 years before you have a presentable shrub. You’ll want to selectively prune the new growth every now and then to encourage lateral branching for fullness and structural/stem strength.

      The same strategy would apply to the euonymus around the sun porch. Is privacy an issue with regard to the sun porch? If not, the plants around the porch should be kept low. From a design standpoint it would be nice to see the porch as part of the home.

  • Carrie
    9:31 AM, 2 April 2015

    Hello Roger!
    I live in Ohio and I planted several 1 gallon manhattan euonymus last summer. The leaves of many of them turned brown over the winter and some plants lost many leaves. There are new buds on the plants now. How can I tell whether this is just winter burn or whether some of the plants have mildew that caused the leaf discoloration and drop? Also and most importantly, when is the best time to fertilize them and what formula of fertilizer should I use? The plants are in the shade. Thank you for all of your help. Thank you!

    • Roger
      12:27 PM, 3 April 2015

      What you’re seeing on the euonymus is very common right now (early spring). In all likelihood it’s winter damage. The fact that you see new growth is great. My experience with this euonymus is they’ll recover completely.

      Later in the season you can begin to look out for mildew problems. This is another common occurrence for euonymus, especially for those planted in the shade and with poor air circulation. I have euonymus ‘Manhattan’ on the east side of my house, and frequently get powdery mildew on them. It’s never that bad that I feel I need to treat with a fungicide. Quite frankly the fungicides rarely seem to help (IMO). Also, it’s not helpful to feed the plants because that supports the mildew problem.

      If you feel you need to fertilize, I’d use a general, organic fertilizer such as: Plant-Tone or Milorganite. Now (spring) would be a good time to fertilize.

  • Rudy
    4:48 PM, 9 April 2015

    Hello Roger!
    I have a few questions. I plan on planting various Manhattan Euonymus to create a hedge in my front yard on the side of my house dividing my property and the neighbors.
    The length of the area I would like to cover is 28ft and when the hedge forms I would like to maintain it to about 3ft wide and 4-6ft high.

    My first question is, is this too large of a plant to keep at that desired size?

    How far apart should the plants be planted from each other to cover 28ft (plants are currently in 3.58 gal. pots and about 2ft high) and how far away from the property line should I plant them?

    My neighbor is pretty awesome and I don’t think he’ll mind if the hedge starts to grow onto his side, but I would like to keep it in consideration and try not to have it do so.

    I’m very new to all this so thank you for all the info already and thank you in advance to your reply.

    • Roger
      9:52 PM, 13 April 2015

      It’s going to be a challenge to keep Euonymus Manhattan 3′ wide. If you’re fixed to that width, you might want to search for a substitute that naturally will stay closer to that 3′ limit.

      Your best bet would be to visit a local nursery/garden center with knowledgeable staff and explain the characteristics you’re looking for in a plant. They should then show you your options.

      When I plant Euonymus Manhattan as a hedge on a property border, I would space them 4′ apart (i.e. center of plant to center of plant) and 4′ from the property line (again, center of plant to property line).

  • Mike F
    2:18 PM, 2 May 2015

    Hi Roger,
    I have a Manhattan Euonymus that is at least 30 years old. it was growing magnificently and then hurricane sandy flooded my area. Part of the plant died. Its been a couple years and just this past month (april) I removed every dead branch and piece that I could find. there were a lot. Now that spring is starting I am getting some very good new growth but only on the top, which is about 6 foot or taller. the mid scection to the ground is bear with only a few little new buds here and there. I asked my landscaper to take a good amount off the top to try and encourage new growth at the bottom. He did not want to do it but I suspect he just didn’t want to. do you think that doing prunning and cutting back the top will help force new growth in the bottow area of the plant?

    • Roger
      3:29 PM, 2 May 2015

      Go right ahead and prune back the uppermost growth the plant is producing.

      You’re exactly right that it will encourage lower growth.

      In fact, it’s likely the plant will push more growth at the top this season. Feel free to continue the campaign of pruning back that growth too.

  • Karen
    7:41 AM, 9 May 2015

    Hey Roger-
    I have Manhattan Eus all over the place in my yard. LOVE them as a natural privacy fence. I am very familiar with it’s capability to put off trailers and have saved tons of money by using them as transplants. I have one that is about 10′ feet from my septic tank. I had a company come out to pump the tank and they insisted the tank was covered with dense roots and they could not get to it. The Man Eu is the only plant in the vicinity. However, I am not finding anything that dense or deep to occlude their progress. In fact the shallow trailers stopped about 2 feet prior to the spot they dug. My questions are as follows: How far/long will the Man Eu send off trailers? And will the Man Eu’s root system choke out other plants?


    • Roger
      9:32 AM, 9 May 2015

      If the Euonymus is 10′ away from the septic tank, it’s unlikely its roots (if they’re even near the tank) are hindering them from digging and doing whatever they have to do.

      I’ve never had a problem with Euonymus Manhattan’s roots competing with another plant such that it was a problem.

  • Karen
    10:04 AM, 9 May 2015

    THANK YOU! I thought they were full of malarkey. And thank you for having this forum. I have learned a lot from perusing the others questions and your responses. Now if I could just learn to consistently spell Euonymus correctly, life will be good. Have a wonderful weekend. Karen

  • Rhonda
    1:24 PM, 16 May 2015

    We had three, ten year-old Manhattan Euonymus bushes in our yard. This spring the leaves are brown and crisp and new leaves have not appeared on two of the plants while the third has sprouted a few new leaves. Surrounding plants are fine. I am wondering if the uncharacteristic cold snap we experienced here in Denver in early November 2014 could be the cause. We like the evergreen nature of the Manhattan Euonymus and will likely replace them, but am curious to know what may have caused the problem with the three we had.

    Thank you.

    • Roger
      10:50 PM, 16 May 2015

      You’re probably correct assuming the unusual cold in November “played a part” in your plant loss.

      Here in the northeast we had extremely cold weather this past winter. Combined with winter-sun on plants facing south and southwest, and northern facing plants battling dessicating winds, winter damage has been severe.

      All our Euonymus Manhattan were damaged, along with many other broadleaf evergreens. Some are slowly recovering, while others are being removed and replaced.

      At this point (mid-May) it should be pretty evident what’s recovering and what’s dead. On your recovering plant, you can start to prune out deadwood.

  • sheryl
    9:47 PM, 1 July 2015

    I just bought 6 gallon e.m’s.and want to put them in front of a 27′ deck,however,at one end,i have a small concrete fish pond.will the roots invade that and break thru the concrete? (the closest one will probably be withing 3-4 ft of the pond)thanks.

    • Roger
      10:40 PM, 1 July 2015

      Not likely. Euonymus have fibrous root systems.

      I would be more concerned about the future top-growth of the euonymus and its mature size. Yes, you can keep it pruned, but don’t underestimate how wide that plant wants to get. And they are vigorous growers.

      If you can, think about moving that last one further away from the pond. You can always fill-in the gap with herbaceous plants like perennials or ground-covers. As the euonymus grows you can easily pop-out the herbaceous plants. This is a trick/technique I use all the time.

  • richard
    2:13 PM, 6 July 2015

    I am considering planning some Manahattan’s along a shaded fence line in my back yard. The height seems perfect for what I have in mind but I am concerned with the possible width of this plant. The planning/growth area is probably no more that 5 feet wide. Is this too narrow for a Manhattan? If so, what would be a suitable replacement?

    • Roger
      12:11 PM, 11 July 2015

      Overtime it will become difficult to keep Manhattan Euonymus within a 5′ space.

      Another plant to consider in this situation is Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica). It has a more upright growth habit. And although is can potentially get wider than 5′, the upright habit will help (and work with you) to keep it in-check. Of course proper pruning is always a key part to guiding a plant within a certain space.

  • Marilily
    10:33 AM, 7 July 2015

    I have discovered that if you cut off a 8-10″ stem of new growth in early June, strip off the bottom 4″ of leaves, dip them in root powder, plant a group of 6 in 4″ ish starter pot with potting soil and keep watered in mostly shade area – – you will have a new bush by the end of summer! I made 18 this year as I am expanding a “green fence” on both sides of my yard. I plant them 4 ‘ apart. Keep watered well the first year. They keep most of their leaves in the winter too! I love this bush!!

    • Roger
      12:23 PM, 11 July 2015

      That’s fantastic! You’ve got a great propagation process going there.
      Thanks for sharing it.

  • sheryl
    3:49 PM, 11 July 2015

    thanks for the info!

  • Holly
    5:43 PM, 2 August 2015

    Hi! I live in SC and have 30 year old 8-10ft tall boxwoods against the front left side of my home. I’ve considered pulling these up and replacing with something new but they cover up most of the large brick wall, which is great. I’ve purchase 3 Manhataan Euonymus to plant in front of these box woods to give a tiered look. I’m hoping this wth give the look I’m looking for. Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated!

    • Roger
      11:04 PM, 2 August 2015

      Having large boxwood means you’re no stranger to the growth potential of plants. I say this because you’ll need the same appreciation for the euonymus. They can get 8′ high and 12′ wide.

      So space them appropriately if you have the space and are able to. And if you’re intention is keep them smaller (as foreground plants) realize you’ll be pruning them regularly. Which is fine if you have the time and desire.

  • Jennifer
    8:28 PM, 26 April 2016

    We bought Manhattan Euonymus to extent our hedge about 4 years ago and they are only 3 feet tall. We bought them because they were to be fast growing. They look healthy. Any suggestions to help them grow?

    • Roger
      8:07 AM, 27 April 2016

      There could be any number of possibilities as to why they’re not growing too quickly. How do they look generally? Is there foliage a nice, dark green — and full-sized leaves? Are there plants nearby that are also growing slowly — or are doing very well?

      I was on a job the other day where euonymus were not doing well. They were planted along a border where the lawn grade caused water runoff to go to. Every time it rained and they rain their sprinkler system, these euonymus got wet from the water runoff. That’s what was stunting them. Leaves were a light green and smaller than normal.

      At the very least you could try feeding them. I would suggest Espoma Plant-tone.

  • Ryan
    4:24 PM, 27 April 2016

    Hi Roger,

    I live in NYC and have been trying to fill my balcony with plants. I recently bought a Manhattan Euonymus, which is on laticing and is 4 feet by 5 feet wide. How large should of a pot should I plant this in? I also worry that in winter if I go with too small a pot the roots could freeze and it will die. How much can I treat it like a vine, as I am trying to get it to grow around all the railing?

    • Roger
      10:06 PM, 30 April 2016

      Any evergreen kept in a planter has to adapt to this “unusual” condition. Let’s face it — they’d prefer to be in the ground. 🙂

      Certainly the larger the planter the better. For example, a good size would be approximately 21″ wide X 18″ tall (or there abouts).

      During a real cold winter even the largest pots freeze throughout. Without the insulation of the ground, an exposed pot in 20 degree weather will eventually freeze. Euonymus is generally pretty tough, but it will be challenged depending on the severity of the winter. And the cold winds and winter sun contribute to the challenge because together they cause the foliage to lose moisture. The roots are frozen and cannot replace that moisture. Therefore it would be wise the wrap the plant in burlap during the winter months.

      Euonymus is not a vine. In this case it’s been trained/pruned (espalier) to grow on the trellis. It instinctively wants to revert back to being a shrub. So it will take ongoing pruning to keep it in that vine state. You can allow certain stems to continue growing and tie them off to the railing. Don’t be afraid to make the necessary cuts to make the plant do what you want. A friend in the business refers (affectionately) to euonymus as an “ornamental weed”. 🙂

  • Pam
    6:24 PM, 1 May 2016

    I have euonymus Manhattan across the front of my house which have gotten out of control….5 ft tall. I want to severely trim back. Can I take them down to the woody trunks (and leave some green possibly) and expect some growth before getting into hot summer ( Louisville, Ky)? I have 4 on one side and 3 on other side of entry. Thank you

    • Roger
      6:44 PM, 1 May 2016

      I’ve never cut Euonymus ‘Manhattan’ down to the base to rejuvenate the plant. I have cut them back severely (leaving some foliage) and they’ve recovered without a problem.

      So I hesitate to say “yes you can cut them back that extreme”. One approach might be to do this size-reduction in stages. In other words, prune the plants back by maybe a third (leaving more foliage), and let them respond/recover for 1 year. Then, prune back further the following year.

      Another approach would be to do the incremental method, but then also cut one of the plants more severely (like you have planned) and observe how it responds. It will be like a test or experiment.

  • Patricia Hogan
    2:45 PM, 7 May 2016

    Would wrapping with burlap in the winter keep the leaves from Browning?

    • Roger
      11:23 PM, 7 May 2016

      If the plant is not too large, wrapping with burlap is still a great way to protect it during winter. Burlap shades the sun and screens from wind.

      Today most people (including professionals) use anti-transpirants to protect plants. But I still believe burlap does a better job.

  • Patricia
    4:55 AM, 8 May 2016

    Thank you.

  • Rita
    11:40 AM, 5 July 2016

    I have had Manhattan Euonymus at several different homes/yards. It’s a great, easy-care, fast-growing shrub. My only problem are the summer flowers that attract flies…hundreds of flies are attracted to the sticky sap on the flowers. This creates a fly problem in the rest of my yard and in the house.

    Question: Is there a time to prune the hedges that will eliminate the flower growth?

    • Roger
      10:35 AM, 10 July 2016

      Flowering on Manhattan Euonymus occurs on new growth — so to reduce the amount of flowering you would have to prune that new growth just before (and while) it’s setting flower buds. Here in the northeast I see the flower buds on Manhattan Euonymus right now (early July), and they’ll be opening through this month and into August. Therefore, you would have started pruning in mid-June or so and if you wish continue pruning as you see flower buds form. I don’t think this will totally eliminate flowering, but it should reduce it.

      I know that there are sprays that stop flowering, but I’ve only seen them used on ornamental flowering trees. They’re used to stop the trees from flowering so they don’t produce fruit (which can be a nuisance in certain circumstances). You would have to contact a plant health care specialist (or similar) to see if these sprays would work on Euonymus.

  • Mary
    9:54 PM, 1 August 2016

    We just bought an old house that has a hedge of Manhattan euonymus completely blocking the view from the back porch. They were about 7!feet tall. The whole yard is really overgrown. Anyway, We sheared the euonymus down to about three feet high (in July in northeast.) They look awful, but at least we can find the porch now! My question: will they come back next year to look presentable?

    • Roger
      11:42 AM, 6 August 2016


      Odds are good the euonymus will push new buds and growth next season.

      By cutting back the plant(s) in July, rather than early spring, you missed the plants cycle to rejuvenate. I would also fertilize them next spring with Plant-tone.

  • Lisa Mulch
    10:22 PM, 31 August 2016

    Help. I have Manhattan Euonymus on my chain link fence that my neighbor planted. I just bought the house. It has totally taken over the fence and the lady that lived here before me literally had to cut out pieces of the vine out. It looks like pieces of driftwood.
    It is also growing under my wooden shed. I pulled out pieces of root that were 8-10 feet long. It was remarkable. It is causing the bottom of the shed to rot. What do I do?
    I also want to get it off the fence. Do you have any suggestions? My neighbors are going to have to build a privacy fence, but this plant is beautiful just too aggressive.

    Thank you for your help.
    Lisa Mulch

    • Roger
      4:45 PM, 1 September 2016

      It would be helpful to see the actual plant(s) and the situation to give advice. But here are a few comments:

      Ideally the euonymus (center of plant) should be at least 4′ away from the fence. And even at that distance it will become an exercise in diligent pruning to keep the euonymus from growing up against and through the fence (as it’s doing).

      If you intend to cut back and prune the existing plants before the new fence gets installed, than realize you can be very aggressive with that pruning and the plant will recover. Ideally you’d do this type pruning in the spring, but it’s OK to do it now if you must. Euonymus Manhattan is like a weed and will take whatever you dish out. 🙂

      Beyond pruning there really is no other way to control this plant.

  • LISA M
    7:31 PM, 1 September 2016

    No one has mentioned how thick the vine gets. Like I said mine looks like big pieces of driftwood in my chain link fence. I did have the extension agent come over and he took a sample to KState. I also have Virginia Creeper mixed in there.

    I just can’t keep up with the pruning etc. due to back issues. That’s what I meant by my neighbor will have to get a privacy fence if that is what he wants. I don’t want it to ruin my fence and shed.

    Thanks so much for your advise and book. I am a novice so I found it very informational.


  • Rleena
    2:43 PM, 7 September 2016

    Over the weekend I bought 6 Manhattan Euonymus and I now wish I had read up on this shrub as I planted 2 of these as a privacy hedge along our driveway, not thinking or really knowing how huge in depth this can get. We may not be able to drive our car ! And its September but weather has been so unusuably warm and sunny so should this take well root ? And should I prune these next Spring ? And was this a mistake along our drive way ? I also planted a bush near my patio, one on each side for more privacy, but we love eating out there, and will we end up with ton of flies from the flowers ? My husband will surely never come out and eat again. Lol. Oh my help, now worried I may have created a monster ?

    • Roger
      8:58 AM, 8 September 2016

      Isn’t it amazing how each plant type has its own characteristics? With all the types and varieties out there, and with new introductions all the time, I’m looking up plant information constantly.

      Without seeing the particular situation you have, let me give you a few thoughts. First off, ideally euonymus manhattan should have at least 6’+ of space to grow in — and that will require pruning to keep it within those bounds. Now, you could grow it in less space, but it will need more and more selective pruning.

      Alternatively, you could re-locate them to an area with more room to grow (if you have it) — and choose a new plant better suited to the limited space you have.

      Euonymus manhattan will attract some bees while it’s flowering during the summer. It’s only for a couple of weeks and then the flowers fade along with the bees.

      September and the fall months are when plants produce their roots. Keep the soil moist, not wet, and they’ll do fine.

      Prune them in the spring if you wish. Frankly, euonymus manhattan is so tough you can (and should) prune them whenever you feel it’s necessary.

  • Lynn
    7:18 PM, 25 October 2016

    Hi Roger,

    What if the euonymus had already been sheered (previous owner) and I need to trim it back. Even with selective pruning it seems already to have mostly outer leaves and not many inside. It looks great but I really need to trim it and scared of it looking awful.

    • Roger
      3:24 PM, 27 October 2016

      You can still do selective pruning to reduce the size of the plant — and improve its look and overall health.

      You can reduce the size of the plant in stages. This way it won’t look so terrible during the process. Use your judgement and “selectively” choose stems & branches and following them down into the body of the plant. There you can make a cut at a branching juncture to remove that stem or branch. Yes, it will make a hole, but that will allow light & air into the plant so that it eventually will begin to bud lower down into the plant. Make these cuts and openings so that its dispersed over the plant. You can also keep the remaining growth pruned to a point so the plant doesn’t get any bigger, but foliage remains while new buds form internally.

      Once you see growth forming lower down, you can start to cut the remaining tall stems and branches down too. This process will, of course, take time. But euonymus manhattan is a vigorous grower, so it should recover quicker than many other woody shrubs.

      Alternatively you could just aggressively cut the entire plant down to where you want it. It will survive and recover, but in the meantime not look so good.

  • Jim
    11:13 PM, 2 November 2016

    Hello, I purchased 5 Manhattan Euonymus in July. It is now November and they look pretty good except for one which is not as dark green and has leaves turning yellow. It is about 2 ft from a gutter down spout. What could be the problem. They are about 2 – 3 ft high.
    Thank you

    • Roger
      12:43 PM, 9 November 2016

      It’s likely the one euonymus is struggling with the wet soil near the downspout. And the concentration of water runoff from the downspout is probably leaching nutrients from the soil as well.

      I have a project where we installed a hedge row of Euonymus Manhattan along one border of the property. The lawn is pitched towards this hedge row — more in one area than another. The euonymus hedge is noticeably more yellow and stunted where the higher concentration of runoff is.

  • Susan Carr
    5:33 PM, 2 April 2017

    I have a very old Manhattan Euonymus in the front garden of my house in Southern Colorado. The last few winters have been harsh, causing all the leaves to turn brown and fall off. However, the new growth this year is very pale and anemic looking. Could it be needing supplementation?

    • Roger
      11:20 PM, 2 April 2017

      It’s difficult to diagnose plant problems without being on-site.

      Euonymus Manhattan can usually recover from leaf loss after a severe winter. If the cold and wind was really severe the damage could go beyond just the foliage and stems could be damaged. In this case you’d have a percentage of die-back — and in some cases lose the plant entirely.

      As you may know, new emerging foliage is typically a light green and gradually turns darker as it matures.

      If you’re recognizing that the new foliage is clearly “pale and anemic,” and not gradually getting healthier looking over time, that could be a couple of things — even a combination of a few.

      Perhaps some of the plant’s struggle to regain color & vigor is associated with the “hard-hit” it took from the winter damage.

      There is the possibility that there’s a nutrient deficiency of some kind. To be absolutely sure and to know exactly what the plant is deficient in, you’d need to have the soil tested and even the leaf tissue analyzed. The simplest approach for this one plant would be to just feed it. It won’t hurt, especially if you use and organic fertilizer like Plant-tone.

      Also, the soil’s pH could be off and this could play a part. Again, a soil test would reveal this.

      And lastly, if the soil is or has been excessively wet, this could cause an anemic looking plant.

      You might be able to rule out or even consider some of these possibilities based on your knowledge of the site and the plant’s behavior over the years.

      Hope this helps.

  • Melissa B
    10:16 AM, 23 May 2017

    My EM have always been beautiful! Then this Spring they greened up and new sprouts, but there is a horrible brown hairy growth all over the limbs. I have big balls of limbs/vines at the base (because after reading above I know my hubby should not have cut them only from the top). He has now used a chain saw (sigh) to cut down most of the back of the bushes from our porch and I went in with clippers and trimmed out all the dead branches. Since his chain sawing of the back, I did a selective trimming from the top and sides as you suggested in comments above. There is lots of regrowth on the backside chainsaw parts, but the brown stuff is still there.

    It has been a rather cool, but really wet spring. And in March we had 80 degree days that probably made the bushes green up too early, because we then had horrible freezing days.

    What is the brown stuff? Is it what made parts of bushes die? My hubs wants to cut (chain saw, sigh) the bushes to their bases to get rid of the brown stuff. What do you think we should do.

    • Roger
      9:42 PM, 23 May 2017

      I’m not familiar with the “brown hairy growth” you’re describing on the euonymus. Could you cut a sample from the plant and bring it to a local garden center or nursery? The more professional garden centers and nurseries usually have at least one knowledgeable “plant-person” on staff that may be able to identify the condition.

  • Maria Schmidt
    6:53 PM, 1 August 2017

    I have 2 boxed espaliered euonymus on my sunny deck, one purchased 2 years ago, which is very yellow (in contrast to a new green one next to it), and the yellow one is shedding seeds like crazy.

    Is it sick? Dying? Over- or under- watered? Does it need fertilizer? (I gave it some already…)

    • Roger
      4:04 PM, 5 August 2017

      It’s difficult to accurately diagnose symptoms like you describe, especially without seeing the plant and the environment it’s in.

      The life of any container-kept woody plant (like your euonymus) can be a challenging one. A woody plant, evergreen or deciduous, is naturally accustomed to growing in the ground where it can expand it’s root system, have more consistent soil moisture and temperature (season to season), and more readily available nutrients.

      All the possibilities you list can be contributing to the problem. Make sure the container is large enough (soil volume) to support the plant long-term. And you should certainly continue to fertilize with some regimen. For example, if you’re using a liquid fertilizer, I’d feed every 6-8 weeks during the growing season.

  • Marie
    8:50 PM, 11 September 2017

    How fast doestrogen Manhattan eponymous grow. I have clipping and I rooted them.

    • Roger
      3:18 PM, 17 September 2017

      Once you have them rooted and can move them into the ground they’ll grow very quickly. Prune them a bit starting early so the plant develops a strong framework (and not get weak and leggy).

  • Ryan Craner
    5:49 PM, 23 December 2017

    Hey Roger, I planted 50 1 gallon Golden Euonymus over the spring and they were doing great up until Early November when temps went down to 20 degrees over a 3 day period. Right before temps dipped i staked around each 1 and stapled burlap to them but left the top open. I also put some dry shredded maple leaves around the base of each one. I didn’t keep such a good eye on them after this was done and I’d say a week or two later almost all of them had some browning leaves with leaf drop. I’m worried about them and wondering if I caused this or was it to do with the temperature and do you think they will rebound in the spring because the stems are still healthy although the unopened buds on them have browned. ☹️

  • Ryan Craner
    6:55 PM, 23 December 2017

    The leaves turned more yellow/pale. Some leaves had a black mark or two and seemed like mold. We’ve also had our fair share of rain during the summer, fall and going into winter. So they’re definitely not underwatered. Right after I noticed the plant damage I removed the shredded leaves but the burlap tents still stand. Some lost a lot of leaves, some have noticeable unactive scales on them. I have a 5 gallon plant in the ground with no signs of scale but that plant also experienced leaf drop and leave discoloration. Again just wondering what caused this and if you think they will rebound? Also do you recommend using Plant Tone on them in the Spring?

    • Roger
      10:38 AM, 24 December 2017

      I suspect the environment created with the leaves (for insulation) and surrounded by burlap may have contributed to the leaf drop. Frankly, I think the burlap by itself is more than enough protection — with that you’re getting air circulation. Do the euonymus have a normal layer of mulch? If so, that should provide the insulation for the ground and root system in terms of moderating changes in soil temperature and moisture.

      It’s likely they’ll recover in the spring. Give them time in the spring to show where stems and buds are alive and recovering. Then, later in the spring, you can prune out dead stems. Yes, I do think a feeding with Plant Tone in the spring would be helpful.

  • Sharla
    3:36 PM, 30 March 2018

    I have a very nice Manhattan Euo out back. It’s about 7′ tall and 12′ wide. My chickens love it and give it lots of “fertilizer”. I’m bringing home 2 goats tomorrow. Do you happen to know if it’s noxious to livestock?

    • Roger
      9:40 AM, 31 March 2018

      I’m sorry, but I’m not aware if there’s potential toxicity of euonymus to livestock. I would check with your area Cooperative Extension Service.

      Every county in every state has a Cooperative Extension Services office. Through your respective office you should be able to get information on your question. Here’s a link to the webpage to find the Cooperative Extension Offices in your area.

  • Matt
    1:48 PM, 2 September 2018

    Roger, thanks for all this good information. I have a larger Manhattan Euo that was damaged by last winter’s snow storms in NY. This spring, my landscaper “pruned” it aggressively, including cutting off a large branch where the branch had split due to excessive snow weight. My question is: will the plant grow back to cover up this branch “stump” in the future? Thinking I may need to plant another Euo in front of this plant to hide the branch stump but I also hear the plant grows quickly so perhaps this isn’t necessary? Thanks!

    • Roger
      7:49 PM, 2 September 2018

      Some of us in the trade refer to Manhattan Euonymus as an ornamental weed because of its toughness and fast growth.

      It should recover and fill-in in a relatively short time. It would be helpful to “tip-prune” the remaining growth. By pruning off even the very ends of branches you’ll encourage the plant to push growth laterally (side buds) and from the base of the plant.

      Planting another Euonymus next to the damaged plant is a strategy, but it may not be necessary here. You could see how the plant recovers next spring with new growth, especially if you do the tip-pruning. And if you still feel another new plant is necessary, add it then. You could also feed it some Plant-tone (or similar) in the spring.

  • Susan Carr
    5:57 PM, 3 September 2018

    According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we here in southern Colorado will be having an extremely bitter cold winter. I had to severely cut back, all the way to the stumps, several of my Manhattan Euonymus after such a winter when the temps dropped off fast and the cold appeared to have burned all the leaves off. The leaves dropped eventually but there was so much damage that I had no choice. Is there any advice on how best to protect them this winter? The ones I cut back to the stumps are just now beginning to look good again.

    • Roger
      3:30 PM, 6 September 2018

      You’ll want to make sure they’re well-watered going into the fall & winter. It’s also a good practice to have a mulch layer (3″ or so) around them. But don’t put mulch up against the neck/base of the plant.

      And finally, it’s important to protect the upper plant (stems, branches and leaves) from winter’s exposure challenges, i.e. wind, winter sun, fluctuating temps. Although there are anti-desiccant sprays you could apply, there is nothing more reliable (and simple) than wrapping the plant with burlap. You can place stakes around the plant and then create a “curtain” with the burlap. But, if possible, I like to tie the plant up (like a bundle) and then “wrap” the bundled plant with the burlap.

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