Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus, USDA zones 5-9) spreads easily by seed or through suckers. When it starts to take over the garden and smother other plants, it's time to remove rose of Sharon. You can either transplant rose of Sharon to a more suitable location or remove it with the intention of disposing of it. Either way, it's essential to remove as many leftover roots as possible to prevent new rose of Sharon shoots.
Removing Rose of Sharon to Plant Elsewhere
If you'd like to keep growing your rose of Sharon, you can transplant it into a large container to prevent it from propagating via suckers. You'll also need to dutifully remove the flowers once they begin to wilt in order to prevent rose of Sharon from spreading by seed.
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Before removing a rose of Sharon you'd like to transplant, prune out any dead or crossing branches as well as any branches that simply get in the way of digging up the main root ball. To help prevent transplant shock, perform this pruning a couple of weeks before digging up the plant.
Dig up the rose of Sharon when the ground is moist from rainfall or from hose water. Using a shovel, cut a circle into the ground around the base of the plant. Push down on the shovel's handle with each cut to lever the root ball up and out of the ground. Feel around for any large roots that need to be severed and cut these with loppers, a handsaw or a pick axe until the plant is free. Transplant it immediately.
Removing Rose of Sharon for Good
If you have no desire to transplant rose of Sharon elsewhere, you can take a more direct approach when removing it. Cut all the branches to about 6 inches or less so that they're out of the way when you dig up the main root ball. Do not compost any part of this plant; add it to a burn pile or dispose of it through your local yard waste pickup service.
The method for digging up the main root ball remains the same, but you don't need to be too delicate when chopping up the roots. For example, if you end up splitting and cracking the roots with the shovel, it's not a big deal. You can also cut the trunk into smaller sections with a handsaw to aid in its removal.
Killing Rose of Sharon Roots
Removing the main stem of a rose of Sharon won't prevent suckers from appearing in your yard. You still need to kill the roots. You can either physically remove them or smother them.
To physically remove the roots, you'll need to use a hand trowel and move all the dirt away from the roots, following each one as much as possible and then snipping it with your garden shears. Learn how to identify rose of Sharon suckers before they get too big and immediately dig them out of the ground before they grow strong roots of their own.