Pruning A Never Before Pruned Rose of Sharon

chipster_2007May 13, 2012

I have a rose of sharon that is at least 10 yrs old that is tall and lanky that has never been pruned before. It is about 8 ft tall with a main stem/trunk that is about 1 1/2- 2 inches wide. There is an area about a foot long, about 5-6 ft up the main stem that has no side branches coming off of it. I would love to trim this to get a fuller and shorter bush. I would like to make the plant about 5 ft tall. Are there any special precautions and/or technique I should take in order to cut this properly? Thanks

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Everything you need to know about pruning is in the link I have included below!
Please read it through and reread the most pertinent section- Deciduous and Flower Shrubs.
Your choices as regards timing, tools, and the cuts you make will influence this plant for years to come so study up before you make the first cut.
This is the sort of thing you don't get second chances with :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Proper pruning techniques

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:03AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the short answer is.. after it flowers.. cut it to 6 inches.. you probably cant kill it.. with no insult to the roots ..

if you dont care about this years flower show ... do it when you are in the mood..



    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:58AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If you prune it heavily, be prepared for a ton of suckers to come up from the roots. Shrubs and small trees planted in the right place (with enough space to accommodate their size at maturity) don't need to be pruned. If one wants a 5-ft. shrub, that's what should be planted, not a 10 foot tree.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 9:49AM
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Ken's right (as usual)- you can cut it to a couple of inches and it will grow back. I have several Roses of Sharon, and I love them, but they are, with all due respect, weeds. There are many flowering shrubs that need special pruning, but these aren't the ones.

ROS bloom on new growth, and to keep the flower count high, you need lots of new growth, which will only come with ruthless pruning. I usually cut the strong upright branches in half or more, and the more lateral branches pretty much to stubs, as I need them columnar where they are planted.

We have a row planted along our neighbor's driveway (with their concurrence) for privacy for both of us, and those I let get bigger and don't prune them as much unless a branch gets in the way.

Since you are in MA, your ROS is probably not fully leafed out yet, so prune away.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:22AM
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