Learn how to prune your Rose of Sharon plants for the winter months. This will ensure that they are healthy and will bloom beautifully come springtime.
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Pruning is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. done with the intent of encouraging the plant to produce more flowers or fruit, or to improve its health or appearance.
The best time to prune your rose of Sharon is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This will help ensure that any wounds caused by pruning have plenty of time to heal before the plant begins actively growing again.
Pruning basics are the same for all plants, but the type of tool you use will vary depending on the plant and the size and location of the pruning cut.
Hand pruners are small, lightweight shears with blades that open and close like scissors. They come in two basic types: anvil pruners, which have one sharpened cutting blade that closes against a flat surface (the anvil), and bypass pruners, which have two sharpened cutting blades that slide past each other like scissors. Hand pruners are perfect for small- to medium-size branches (up to about ¾ inch in diameter).
Loppers are larger versions of hand pruners, with longer handles that give you more leverage to cut through thick branches (up to about 2 inches in diameter). Look for loppers with a bypass cutting action for the cleanest cuts. Some loppers also have a ratchet action that multiplies your leverage by letting you “set” the handles partway through a cut so you can finish it with a series of smaller movements.
Pruning saws have curved blades with very fine teeth (often 14 or more per inch). They come in several different styles, including folding models that fit easily into a pocket. Pruning saws are great for branches too large for hand pruners or loppers, but they require two hands to use — one to hold the branch and one to operate the saw. Make sure the blade is sharp; a dull blade will tear rather than cut through woody stems.
There are several ways that you can prune your rose of Sharon. You can do it by hand, with pruning shears, or with a gardening knife. You will need to decide what time of year you want to prune your rose of Sharon.
Deadheading is the process of removing spent blooms from a plant. spent blooms are ones that have already bloomed and are no longer producing flowers. Deadheading can encourage plants to produce more flowers and can also help to tidy up the plant’s appearance.
To deadhead a Rose of Sharon, wait until the bloom has withered and died back. Then, using pruning shears, cut the stem down to the next set of leaves. Repeat this process throughout the blooming season to keep your Rose of Sharon looking its best.
Thinning is the most common type of pruning for Rose of Sharon. You should thin your plant in the late spring or early summer, after the blooms have faded but before new buds have formed. During thinning, you will remove up to one-third of the branches from the plant. This may seem like a lot, but it’s necessary in order to encourage new growth and prevent overcrowding.
To thin a Rose of Sharon, start by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. Then, cut back the remaining branches by one-third their length. Make sure to cut above a set of leaves, as this will encourage new growth. Once you’ve finished thinning, your plant should look airy and open.
This method is also called heading back. You cut the stems of the Rose of Sharon back by about one-third to one-half their length. This forces the shrub to produce new shoots, which will result in a bush with more branches, and ultimately, more flowers. Heading back is typically done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.
Rose of Sharon are tough plants and can handle being pruned quite a bit. However, it is important to take care of your plant after you have pruned it. This includes watering it and fertilizing it.
Watering is critical immediately after pruning. The plant needs to be well hydrated to heal the pruning wounds and to encourage new growth. Water the plant deeply, soaking the root zone. If rainfall is lacking, continue to water once or twice a week for the first month after pruning. Thereafter, water during prolonged periods of drought.
Fertilize your Rose of Sharon immediately after pruning in early spring using a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Follow the package directions for how much to use based on the size of your plant. For the first year after planting, apply 1/2 pound of actual nitrogen per 100 square feet in mid-spring and again six weeks later. Thereafter, apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 100 square feet in early spring and again six weeks later. Do not fertilize late in the season as this can encourage new growth that will not have time to harden off before winter.