Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No Seedlings Wanted!

A couple of years after we moved into our house we were gifted with a cutting from the Rose of Sharon shrub that Hubby Tony remembered from his aunt's yard. I planted the small shoot in the back yard.  Now, more than 20 years later the bush is about 9 feet tall. We keep the bottom branches pruned off to make it easier to mow around it, but above that line the bush is about 6 feet wide.

Every year I enjoy the plant's beautiful white flowers with pink centers. However, since the plant is a heirloom variety it doesn't have some of the improvements newer cultivars have. Every flower on our bush produces a seed pod, which if not removed ripens and releases seed, which leads to hundreds of seedlings sprouting in the spring.

The solution is to make sure those seeds don't end up on the ground.  One option is to deadhead the flowers right after they bloom, but the bush attracts so many bees I usually leave the job until the fall. Last year I forgot to do it until after many of the pods had ripened, and I was pulling tiny Rose of Sharons out of the grass around the bush for months. I was determined not to repeat that again this year.

After dinner last night I began the removal process by pulling off the eye-level seed heads (which are about an inch in diameter and look like a fat bud). The shrub is much taller than me, but the branches are very flexible and I could bend them down to my level. Each branch had somewhere between ten and fifteen seed heads on it. Most of them were still green, but there were a handful that were turning brown and a couple that were almost ripe.

I spent a half hour on the job and only stopped when it got too dark outside to work. The debris filled half of the 2-gallon bucket I was using. This morning I went out to check my work and found there were a lot of branches in the bush interior I'd missed, so I began pulling again This time my bucket was about a third full.

I think I'm done now. Even if there's a few left that ripen and fall from the bush there won't be too many seedlings to take care of next year.

Five years ago today: New Thing #250--Not Just For Kids!

10 comments:

  1. Oh my! At least the lawn mower will get them if they sprout. The bush sounds beautiful!

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    1. The problem is that the lawn mower will get the leaves, but they grow back quickly and give the roots more energy to grow deeper. I've found some sprouts that are 2" tall with VERY sturdy root systems!

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  2. I planted a hedge of rose of sharon around the perimeter of the backyard of our old house. It was well established after twenty years. I noticed it was gone in a swing through the old neighborhood a while back. Bet it took the new owners more than a year to get the job done.

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    1. I bet it took longer! There's the 'cutting it down' part, then the 'battling the sprouts that come up from the roots' part. Rose of Sharon is one tough bush.

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  3. Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes

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  4. Sounds beautiful. Also sounds like fish tank maintenance in a way.

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    1. Yes, but it only happens once a year :-)

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