Depth of roots for Rose of Sharon?

krikitJuly 11, 2007

Does anyone know how deep rooted these shrubs are? I'm needing to put one in the ground in my Mom's yard, but the best spot is near the field lines for her septic system. I'm thinking that the guy who installed it said it would be fine to plant small trees near by, so that sounds like it would be o.k., but would really hate to mess it up with roots.

Thanks in advance,


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Normally, most of the roots would stay in the top 8" to 12" of soil, BUT in a case like this, I would go back to the/a septic system installer and ask their opinion. If the roots are growing near the drain field, they many not react like they would in other locations. I'm not a plumber, but I would consider that septic fields might change the soil dynamics because of drainage issues, extra moisture levels, and introduction of air underground.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 4:13PM
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P.S. If you are planting over a drain line, but not anywhere near the drain field, you shouldn't have any problems at all.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 4:17PM
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thanks 'atwork' - I'll talk to the guy and tell him what you estimate the normal root depth


    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 12:10PM
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would they be safe to plant near a home... if so how near? I want to plant one up against my house for privacy.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 3:11PM
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Hey 'lnwn'- I just stopped in here to see what was going on and was surprised to see this post revived. I'd treat the rose of sharon as a small tree - they can get up to maybe 10 or 12 feet while some stay much smaller. But I got some from a friend who had hers planted real close to her house (like 3') and over time and with some neglect (due to family illness I think) they had suckered and gotten right up against the foundation, didn't look good and I'm sure wasn't good for the house. That's just my opinion - maybe someone more knowledgeable could help you better. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 11:11AM
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Chris_in_the_Valley(z7 MD)

Lnwn, I had a ton of wild Rose of Sharon in my Maryland yard. They quickly put down a long tap root. Which is why you must dig them out early and often. I do suspect that taproot is well suited to our Tennessee clay. Are you growing it as a tree or shrub? They are only good as a screen for only maybe 4 months a year in Maryland.

The first few years I would cut the volunteers at soil level in the spring without poisoning the cut. That turned into a great way to prune them into a shrub, alas. And all through my azalea border. Seriously, I found them near impossible to kill.

I had the intentional ones 3 feet from the house and would suggest a tad bit more. FWIW, they did well in shade.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:59PM
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My son just bought a 70 year old house that has Rose of Sharon coming up all over the place. Some of it is very close to the foundation and we can't get to the roots to dig it up completely. I hate the thought of killing it but I don't want it doing damage to the house. Any suggestions of what to do with it? We have cut it back as far as we can but it just keeps growing.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 6:51PM
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heathersgarden(6b/7a Mid TN)

Hi retired,

You can kill most plants non chemically by continuously cutting back so that the leaves cannot feed the roots. It eventually exhausts the plant, but this is a tactic that requires extreme vigilance. I think using Roundup, or the generic, made for applying to cut stumps may be the most efficient.

Ps: I recall reading an article concerning function plants and the damage they can cause. It was determined that except in rare cases even very large trees next to a house do not threaten a foundation. One of the rare exceptions to this is willows and water pipes. Their roots are like water seeking missiles and they will seriously mess up underground plumbing. Other than that though, chances are you don't need to worry about some dinky rose of sharon shrubs:)

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Thanks heathersgarden. I'll try the roundup and see if we can get it cleared up.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 6:40PM
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