Q: I cut down a Rose of Sharon bush that had become a tree (!), which was growing up against my house. Now I have "suckers" coming up through the ground in an area about 10 feet all around where it was! Help! They are impossible to pull out of the ground (long roots). Is there any way to get rid of them? I am unable to remove the root system from the Rose of Sharon since it is very deep and mainly under my house.
Hardiness Zone: 5b
Kathy from Indianapolis
While Rose of Sharon is beautiful to some gardeners, it is the bane of many others. The ROS suckers will eventually disappear, but it's going to require some patience and persistence on your part. It may take several seasons worth of yanking and digging, but eventually you'll win! Try removing them by digging down as far as you can and cutting them out. Another alternative is to keep mowing them down as they spring up. Eventually the roots will tire and stop sending up shoots. If you plan to turn the 10-foot area where the suckers keep popping up into flowerbeds, you might want to try to cut the suckers out, and then cover the area with several sheets of newspaper followed by a thick layer of mulch. This should help prevent new suckers from sprouting. If you want to plant the area, just push aside some mulch and pop the individual plants in.
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I live in a house that was built in 1902, and the original owners planted a Rose of Sharon, which was huge when we moved in. I don't recall the plant ever putting up suckers, except those shoots that come from the base of the trunk. It does however, reseed itself every year after the blooms have past. The seedlings come up the following spring, have deep roots, and are vigorous growers. They are easiest to pull when young and small after a good rain has soaked in. When they get larger, you need a shovel to loosen the main tap root. Don't give up. Since the mature tree is down, if you keep getting rid of the young seedlings, soon your yard will be free, unless you leave them in long enough for the young trees to set seeds of their own. I've had some flower and seed during the second year.
By Poco (Guest Post)06/22/2006
I had the same problem with Purple Sage, dug them out and still have them coming up, I spay the new shoots with Round-Up hopefully that will stop the growth.
By Coreen Hart06/20/2006
Boiling water will kill off the top. However, it won't kill the root. Frankly, digging them as deep as you can is the safest and cheapest, if you have a strong back.
By Barbie (Guest Post)06/19/2006
I know you can use vinegar to kill roots.....it's cheap and worth a try....and non toxic.......I use it on deep rooted weeds all the time....don't get it on things you want to live though......plus it dissapates and is dilutable with water so I would think after a time you would have no trouble growing other things there like you would using poisons
By Debra Frick (Guest Post)06/19/2006
AAAAh! I hate to see someone kill a plant that someone else just might be able to use. Dig up some of those suckers and give them to friends before you spray. I just paid 12 dollars for a Rose of Sharon bush I wish I lived near you I would dig them up myself.
By Susan from Hamilton (Guest Post)06/19/2006
Spray the leaves of these shoots with a herbicide any of the brand names like killex will do. With a spray you can get the ones you want and it will take it down to the root system and kill off the rest of the plant. voila dead sharon lol
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