Pruning my hibiscus tree
I brought my hibiscus tree in over the winter and all the leaves fell off and now all the branches are dead (did the scratch test). However, the main stem still shows green once you scratch off the top layer of bark. I was not sure if I could cut the plant down to the main stem or not? Can you please advise?
All the branches are dead all the way to the main stem.
Are the branches dead all the way to the main stem? Did you do the scratch test moving down the entire length of the branch? It is possible that you might eventually hit a bright green patch. There might be more life to the tree than you think. And if there is signs of life, that will give you an idea on how to prune it (so you prune back to the appropriate node on the branch). Otherwise, you could just do a full prune and cut back all the branches at once down to 2-3 nodes per branch and then wait for new growth. You can always do a hard prune later on and cut the branches back to the main stem, as you proposed, if no new growth happens whatsoever. Whatever you are most comfortable with.
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