A study was conducted over a two-year period to determine how time of pruning affects cold hardiness of butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii (Franchet) ‘Royal Red’). Plants were pruned in November, January, or March, and pruned and non-pruned plants were exposed to six freezing temperatures two weeks after pruning treatments were applied. In addition, plants pruned in previous seasons were included in subsequent freezing treatments. Plants were rated for injury 2 or 3 weeks after treatment (WAT), and for mortality at 6 WAT. In fall 2001, at −6C (21.2F), injury ratings were higher in pruned than non-pruned plants. At all other treatment temperatures, injury to pruned and non-pruned plants was similar. In fall 2001, mortality increased with decreasing temperatures and was higher in pruned plants than in non-pruned controls, regardless of treatment temperature. In winter and spring 2002, injury and mortality increased with decreasing temperatures, but were not affected by pruning treatments. In fall 2002, temperature decreased as injury rating and mortality increased, regardless of pruning treatment and pruned plants had a higher injury rating and mortality than non-pruned across all temperatures. In winter 2003, injury rating and mortality increased with decreasing temperatures and pruning did not affect either. Spring 2003 plants, which had deacclimated prior to freeze treatment, were not affected by pruning or freezing treatments.
2Graduate Research Assistant.