How Best To Train Rose of Sharon as a Standard?

suel41452April 25, 2006

I've purchased a 2 ft. high 'Blushing Bride' Rose of Sharon and would like to train it as a standard.

It has two 3/4-inch diameter main "trunks" coming out at soil level. One trunk is growing straighter up than the other and has 5 large branches; the other trunk has 4 large branches.

Is it too late to shape as a single-trunked standard?

How high can I remove leaves from the branches without hurting it? Should I let it establish after planting before messing with it? How Long? Do ROS standards have trouble in wind; I mean, would the trunk likely snap?

By the way, it has variagated white & green foliage which makes me wonder if it is a 'Blushing Bride'? Maybe it's 'Miss Julene'?

Thanks to all in advance for any info!!!

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I've had 'Blushing Bride' before. It was a beaut being a double. I don't think it had variegated leaves though.

Usually standard training requires time and a certain amount of patience. You would need to pick the strongest straightest stem to be the main trunk and then allow that to reach somewhat above the final height of the standard. During this process, you would be removing the bottom-most branches up to the point where you want the flowering portion to begin, and then you would eventually reach the point where you can head the leader stem back to induce more branching below that top cut. Over time, any sprouting that occurs down near the base or below the bottom of the flowering mass, would need to be removed and leaf buds rubbed off. Branch cuts within the flowering mass can induce further branching over time and more potential for flowering stems when pruned at the proper time.

With established ROSs, you can cut them down to the ground and not hurt them as they bloom on new growth and will sprout from the roots. However your goal is to try to retain as much live trunk as possible to support the top portion that will have the flowers, so it's more a matter of letting it grow to the final height you want and then start progressively training it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 3:04PM
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alison(6b/OH)

I'll try to remember to take pictures of my ROS in the morning and post them for you. I've cut all mine as standards. As jenny says, it takes patience to train a shrub into tree-form, but luckily ROS grow so fast you don't have to wait too long!

As I recall, I started with whips from my mothers yard. (These are just the common, lavender-with-a-red-eye ROS.) I planted mine at the corner of the apartment building, and another set at the corner of the property aolong the fence and the alley.

By the second summer, they were a good 5' high, and I began cutting off all the branches below 3-4'. By their third summer, they were all between 8 and 12' tall, a height they've maintained for the last three years. I simply prune off all the branches as high as I can reach. I had some vandalism, with trunks broken off on the plants in the alley, and I let one of the ones in the front grow with a fork in the trunk at about 3' high, but I think they are beautiful in this shape, especially in a small city garden.

There are some drawbacks. The weight of the seedpods can sometimes pull the branches way down, and if there is a lot of seed pods left on the branches over winter they can catch a lot of snow, and the weight dragging down the branches can sometimes cause them to split off the tree. Mine have gotten so tall I can't clip off as many of the seedpods as I like, so I tie the "trees" together and to something -- drainpipe, fence post -- just to keep the branches from breaking off. By spring, I release them, and the all sigh and spread out a little bit.

Pretty plants, and incredibly hardy for something so delicate looking. If I was doing it again, tho' I'd get one of those sterile versions.....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 2:58PM
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suel41452

I'm SO glad I consulted the experts before I butchered my baby ROS!!!!
Fortunately, "Blushing Bride" does not have seeds. I've never grown a ROS before - they sound like they have a lot of the same characteristics as crepe myrtles (bloom on new growth, bare trunk(s) can be formed).
Thanks you two for all the great info!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 8:59PM
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