how & when would you prune this Rose of Sharon?
I have moved to a new property that has a variety of shrubs on it. They have been neglected over the years & I would like to bring them back. This shrub/tree is one of the victims of neglect. What would you recommend?
Most flowering shrubs do better with regular removal of old wood. Rose of Sharon blooms on new wood - current year's growth. The best time to prune is winter while the plant is dormant. Cut off 1/3 of the stems down to the ground starting with the largest/oldest ones. More sunlight will reach the interior and speed growth of new stems. Do this every year and you will have a continually renewed, robust shrub for many years. There is another pruning technic called rejuvenation pruning. This entails cutting the entire shrub down to 9 inches (or so) all at once during winter. There will be reduced blooming the following summer but the shrub should be splendid by the second year. Some shrubs don't do well with this approach, in fact it may kill the shrub. Rose of Sharon is known to respond well to this radical approach. Either way, consider giving your shrub some fertilizer once growth starts in late spring. Choose a fertilizer designed for flowering shrubs or just flowers. Avoid those that are heavy on nitrogen. Lots of nitrogen directs plant energy toward leafy growth and flowers may be fewer than expected. Your blooms have a lovely color. In a few short years, it will also have an attractive form.