Moving a Rose of Sharon


I was listening to you on CBC and it prompted me to ask you this question:
We need to move this beautiful Rose of Sharon as it’s too close to the pool . We’re so afraid because we love it so much, and if you zoom in you can see the many buds (2nd round of buds this summer- not sure if that’s normal!)
Looking for your advice and suggestions.
Many thanks


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.

Garden conditions are always evolving and it’s not unusual to discover that a tree or shrub needs to be moved to a new location. We receive numerous inquires regarding transplanting large trees or shrubs.

The following information is from one of our archived posts:

“Woody plants can be transplanted quite successfully if you plan well beforehand.  The best time is when the tree is dormant either before it leaf’s out in early Spring or in the Fall before the soil freezes. Care is needed when digging up the root ball so as not to damage the roots. Dig a wide hole around the base of the tree, getting as much of the root system as possible and keep as much soil on the roots as possible. The root ball should be ten times, or more, wider than the tree’s trunk diameter.  Choose the new site in accordance with the trees growing requirements and make sure that the hole will accommodate the root ball with room to spare.

Rose of Sharon prefers full sun, soil that is rich and moist, and is hardy to USDA zone 5 (i.e. Canadian zone 6). Since it is borderline hardy in Toronto, it is best to give it a sheltered location to protect from winter kill. Giving it a good 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch around the root zone in the Fall will also help. In late Spring, after it has leafed out, prune out the winter damaged branches and apply a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer to give it a head start. A mid-summer application of a low nitrogen 0-10-10 fertilizer will promote root health and flower production. Do not apply fertilizer after August as this will encourage tender new growth that will not overwinter. Water deeply but not too frequently, and take care not to let in sit in wet soil or the roots will drown. Amend the soil regularly to keep it humus rich and healthy.

Dig a hole in the new location that is two times wider than the root ball and the same depth. Do not add topsoil or compost or other soil amendments, as this will limit root growth. Do not place soil above the root collar, please refer to the Garden Guide link below. Fill the hole half full with water ( allow water time to drain) and then back fill with the original soil. Press down gently and firmly to eliminate air pockets.  Water thoroughly every day for the first two weeks and continue to water every two to three days for the next couple of weeks to encourage the roots to re-establish.”

From your photo it appear as if your Rose of Sharon could use some pruning. A Rose of Sharon can be pruned in early spring before the buds form or in late fall after the leaves drop or in winter.

If you’re looking to cut out dead wood, consider that the Rose of Sharon is a late starter and some branches will leaf out before others. Those branches may appear to be dead when they are still quite alive.

When pruning a Rose of Sharon, it is best to cut branches back to collar of the branch, just before the crotch where the branch is growing from the trunk or branch to which it is attached.  For smaller branches you can use a clean, sharp pair of pruning shears and for larger branches you can use a set of clean, sharp lopping shears.  Make sure the cut is clean and angled so that water will drain off and the wound will heal on it’s own.  Try to avoid creating any jagged edges, which could allow disease to enter the bark and infect the shrub.

Here is a link to some information about how and when to prune a Rose of Sharon.

I am also attaching a link to our  Garden Guide Planting a TreeA Toronto Master Gardener’s Guide. It contains important tips and instructions.

Good Luck with transplanting your Rose of Sharon