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How to Prune Rose of Sharon Trees

The rose of Sharon, known for its large, sometimes papery blooms, is easy to maintain for most gardeners. Like most plants, it benefits from routine pruning and care. Luckily, if you don’t already know how to prune rose of Sharon trees, it is simple and doesn’t require a lot of intense timing or skill. Just keep an eye on your plant as spring comes to know when the time is right.

Check the stems of your plants in early spring before new growth has started for the year. Once new buds are starting to swell, you’ll know it’s time to prune.

Prune by cutting away branches to maintain the shape of the plant. On any branch or stem you trim, make sure two to three buds are left to grow on the branch.

Trim your rose of Sharon to be treelike, if desired, by only trimming near the base of the plant, but leaving the body of it full.

Cut back the plant excessively if it is old or overgrown by pruning the entire plant back to 2 to 6 feet tall.

Remove any suckers or new shoots at ground level by snipping them as low to the surface as possible.

Sever any weak or unwanted wispy branches after your rose of Sharon has flowered. These should be fairly easy to spot because of their lack of leaves, and they may or may not have flowered.

Prune A Rose Of Sharon Bush To Create A Rose Of Sharon Tree

The hardy rose of Sharon bush (Hibiscus syriacus) produces large, beautiful flowers in gardens across U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. This 8- to 12-foot tall shrub spreads 4 to 10 feet wide when left to its normal growth pattern. Its upright habit allows you to prune it into an accent tree suited to a small garden, courtyard or patio. If left unpruned, the rose of Sharon grows into an upright 12-foot-tall shrub with arching branches. By controlling the shrub with pruning, you can enjoy the rose of Sharon leaves and flowers as a focal point in a small garden or courtyard. Put on shoes, long pants, long sleeves, gloves and safety goggles and keep a bucket of Lysol handy for dipping the blades of your loppers and anvil pruners. There may be one main stem or several stems. Remove any branches or leaves that appear on the trunk. Add a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant and pull it back 4 inches from the main stem or trunk. Apply a slow-release balanced fertilizer formulated for shrubs and trees in early spring. Scratch the granules into the soil and water thoroughly. Deadhead the flowers as they fade to encourage more blossoms. Though the foliage and seeds generally don't attract wildlife, the prolific blossoms bring butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.


Add a layer of mulch around your plants to help cover the cut suckers, which prevents them from coming up and keeps weeds down.

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