question - cutting Rosemary bush back

roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)May 4, 2007

hi ya'll,

i have a Rosemary bush that has been "neglected" way too long and is HUGE - like, overtaking the flowerbed - about 3 feet wide, a couple of feet deep - 4 feet high. If i cut it way back, will it kill it? i don't want to try to transplant - until late fall anyway.

suggestions? Thanks, Rosemary (quit laffing)

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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Well, rosemary is a fairly big plant, and yours is a little below average for a mature plant. If it looks untidy, just give it an all-over haircut. Rosemary is very amenable to trimming - it's not a bad topiary plant, actually. But don't chop off more than about one-third of total growth at any one time.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 2:26AM
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gborosteve

Oh how I love rosemary, and would LOVE to see a picture of your plant!
I didn't know, until the other weekend, that rosemary could be a nice topiary plant. I saw some at Home Depot that were rather mature, done quite well and very healthy.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 4:41PM
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granite(z6 NC)

Cut back by 1/3 to shape your plant.
Take the likely-looking 4-6" pieces and stick them into the ground 1" or so. About 50% will root without any further assistance other than watering if its really, really dry. Then you'll have a bunch of little rosemarys to train or to pot up and give as gifts.

Same works for lavender, forsythia, etc, etc. I'm very bad at caring for potted plants but very good at trimming my plants. I decided a few years back to use this method to start new stuff. Its about 50% accurate in the spring and fall. Less reliable in the summer UNLESS you have a nice, moist-but-not-moldy shady area to try it. My dad used to start boxwood and azaleas in the woods this way.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 9:43AM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

Thanks for the tips granite! I have been very successful with forsythia in that manner, haven't tried it on lavender or Rosemary but will do so today. Will take a pic first for you Gborosteve and post it later today or this week @ least. :)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 1:51PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

My old rosemary has just had very severe treatment after deciding to lie down across the path for the last few years rather than stand up. I had to take a saw to it resulting in a large pile of rosemary branches which would be sufficient for an entire flock of roast lamb. Pity we don't have a functioning fireplace; it would smell wonderful if burned. It is beginning to put up shoots from the trunk and I have also stuck in some cuttings. Roseyp, forsythia is one of the easiest shrubs to grow from cuttings. Rosemary is not quite so obliging but is fairly successful all the same.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 9:40AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

You can also make nice Christmas wreaths from the trimmings. Even if the rosemary dries out, it can still be used as a flavoring. There are usually a few twigs of rosemary clipped in a refrigerator magnet in my kitchen for myself but those generally don't get made into wreaths and tied with ribbons.

You could also take the trimmings and soak them in bath oil to get a rosemary scented bath or soak them in cooking oil for rosemary oil to cook with.

I cut my rosemary back by about two thirds or at least a half every holiday season, but that is pretty much also the beginning of rainy season so the rosemary doesn't seem to care about being clipped. We also have a year round growing season so there isn't any harsh winter for the bush to survive, I don't think cutting it that far back would work if there were harsh climate conditions.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 3:15PM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

thanks for all the responses - hope to cut back tomorrow -

here is a pic of the huge bush - the gardenias it is in between are about 5 feet high (and need fertilizing).....i have never managed to insert the pics here, it is a link to a page with pics

Here is a link that might be useful: my HUGE Rosemary bush

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 3:22PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

That's a nice-looking rosemary, but it's less than half the height of mine! Mine has about the same spread, however, and I keep it pruned because I don't have the space to let it spread.

I wish I had a camera!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 6:25PM
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roseyp8255(z8 - SC AL)

Daisy - that is why i am gonna cut mine back - to let the plants UNDER it breath and grow - course, gotta finish weeding - there is only so much time in the weekends....

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 3:16AM
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gborosteve

Wow Roseyp8255, that's quite a rosemary bush. I think it's beautiful. I wouldn't touch it, but that's me. I love rosemary. I'm so glad you had a camera to share the picture with us. Thanks!!! Just an incredible picture!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 11:13PM
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treelover(z8b SoCtrlTX)

Does it matter what time of year you trim rosemary...to keep from losing the blooms the following year?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 2:27PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

I can't answer for other climates than mine (subtropical), but I trim my rosemary any time of the year, whenever I feel that it needs it. Mine is in flower all the year round.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 7:44PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Lucky you. Here in Z6, the winters kill it..

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 6:37PM
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amymay_grower

Any advice on how to prune a full-grown rosemary bush into a christmas tree shape?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 12:46AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Full-grown? Some rosemary only grows a foot tall. Some kinds can be very big. Continual trimming of the stems is the only to to help shape it.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 2:47PM
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amymay_grower

This is a very large rosemary that has spread in many directions and I was wondering if wrapping it in some type of metal mesh would be a good way to start shaping it into the Christmas tree shape.

Thanks! Amy

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 3:45PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Most Christmas trees have a conical shape and there is usually a leader at the top. I don't know if Rosemary has single top leader, but with repeated trimming, I suppose it could evenually form into something similar. If grown in a mesh, it may poke stems through enough so that they grow out and then you cannot remove the mesh without damage.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 11:51AM
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chester_grant(6)

My Rosemary tree (like a little Dwarf Alberta Spruce) lasted well through the winter but by February the branches were pretty much dead. In the spring I noticed one little green shoot had survived - and now the plant is regenerating nicely. Next winter I will bring it inside......

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 5:16PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

amymay_grower -

Personally I find the natural forms bushes and trees take to be quite beautiful and I would suggest that for your rosemary but there is a topiary forum that may have some suggestions on how to clip specific shapes. Other than that, be sure to clip no more than 1/3 of the living parts of your bush at any time.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 5:32PM
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