Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rose of Sharon

When we first moved into our home we could barely see the neighbor’s house through the hedge. Actually ‘hedge’ isn’t the right term. It was an over grown combination of 50+ year old trees, bushes, bulbs, and vines. Over the past 3 years I’ve done some trimming but it barely kept up with the grown of this mini jungle. It was time to tame the beast. I went in armed with a pair of pruners and a small handsaw. Over the month of June and into July I have cut down all but 3 of the 15-20’ high Rose of Sharon, pulled vines and trimmed the remaining bushes waist high. I stacked two piles of Rose of Sharon branches 5 feet high along with 25 bags filled with leaves, twigs, and weeds.I’ve sacrificed the fast growing Rose of Sharon hoping the other bushes will now fill out and will still allow some light in for the white azaleas, day lilies, lily of the valley, and other plants that have been struggling for light and water to thrive.

The project isn’t done. The Rose of Sharon is doing its best to come back from their wood stump remains. I’ve tried scoring the tops and painting on herbicide but they are determined. I’ve been cutting off the green leaves as they reappear. My next attempt to kill them off will be splitting each of the stumps with a small hatchet to encourage natural micros and rotting process to kill them off. I really rather not use more herbicide. I don’t want to risk hurting the remaining plants, my kids, or any wildlife.

I left 3 of the Rose of Sharon plants because they are nice bushes when maintained. According to all of my web surfing they can be trimmed to be more tree- like and looking around the neighborhood I found several beautiful ones that have been. Out of the three I have saved I hope to see how they do with more light and space and choose one to trim for a more beautiful and controllable shape. I’m holding off trimming the three for a few weeks since they are starting to bloom. The kids and I really enjoy their big trumpet shaped purple blossoms.

I’m happy to say after 6 weeks of slowly taming the ‘hedge’ the neighbor said it looks better then it has in any of the 30 years they have lived there. So I have a better looking property line and happy neighbors. It is definitely a win-win.

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