A lot of times, there is confusion among gardeners regarding what constitutes a tree or shrub. In other words, there’s a back-and-forth that revolves around the proper identification of certain plants.

One of those we’ll be discussing is the Rose of Sharon. Is it a tree or a shrub?

Rose Of Sharon Tree Vs. Shrub

If you’ve been confused trying to figure this out, this article should provide much-needed help in making such a decision. So, why is this identification important?

It is because a gardener or homeowner wants a specific outcome from their efforts.

It’s only logical that they obtain desired results.

SEE: How to Buy Rose Trees

Trees Vs. Shrubs

To get to the heart of our discussion, it will be necessary first to identify the critical differences between trees and shrubs.

Only then will we better understand what category to place the plant being looked at (Rose of Sharon). So, are you unclear about the key differences? This section should be of help.

Critical differences between trees and shrubs mainly involve height, trunk, stem formation, lifespan, and more. With this said, looking at these areas of difference is necessary to have a fair idea of what to look out for.

  • Height

Height easily stands out as one of the apparent differences between trees and shrubs. While this is true, there are times when shrubs grow to as high as 15 feet.

Plus, trees that aren’t fully matured might be temporarily shorter than some shrubs. Also, stout or dwarf tree species are known for their limited growth.

While the above is valid to some extent, trees, for the most part, are much taller than shrubs. Depending on the species, a tree may grow hundreds of meters tall.

Shrubs have limited growth and cannot exceed certain heights that trees quickly grow past.

  • Trunk & Stem Formation

The trunk formation of trees is primarily different from those of shrubs. Tree trunks are single and grow to significant heights.

The woody trunks possess a thick and hard stem. It’s pretty different from shrubs because such plants may contain multiple branches that grow near the ground.

  • Lifespan

There’s a clear difference between trees and shrubs regarding lifespan. Although shrubs are perennials, they have a much-limited lifespan compared to trees.

Trees can live for several hundreds of years before they die. Some of the oldest trees in the world have lived thousands of years and are still alive.

What Category does the Rose of Sharon Belong to?

In our discussion, we’ve focused on providing critical distinguishing factors between trees and shrubs. Arguments have been for and against the Rose of Sharon being classified as a tree.

So, what is the answer? You’ll need to read on to find the answers you seek.

Ordinarily, trees are known to be single-stemmed. This is where apparent differences exist compared to plants like the Rose of Sharon.

In other words, the Rose of Sharon will naturally grow into a shrub with multiple stems. However, this plant has been known to be trained into a tree.

Rose of Sharon shrubs can be trained into an actual tree by trimming it when young to have a single stem. This has been done successfully and still is practiced today.

At this point, it’s safe to say that Rose of Sharon plants can be left as shrubs that they quickly are or can be trained into a tree.

  • It depends on what you want.

As stated earlier, the Rose of Sharon easily fits a shrub when allowed to grow naturally. It’s widely grown as a hedge plant and pruned to maintain a definite shape and height.

When overgrown, this plant could reach around 7 to 10 ft.

However, when your goal is to allow it to grow into a tree, you can have your Rose of Sharon shrub trained by trimming it while still young.

Here, the straightest and most central trunk is allowed to grow while the others are pruned or trimmed off. The end goal is to allow the shrub to grow into a tree.

To do this, you may want to get tips on how to go about pruning. Understanding the pruning process is essential to ensure you get things right from the onset.

With a good job comes a well-developed Rose of Sharon tree.

  • It’s Different Things to Different People

Based on the above explanation, it’s easy to see why the Rose of Sharon’s status has long been debated. No wonder it’s called a bush, a shrub, a tree, and a plant.

As seen clearly, its status as a tree is only achieved through proper pruning action and nothing else.

However, when not trained, it grows into a shrub or bush. Now, even the shrub needs to be maintained through pruning or trimming.

Different benefits arising from pruning are derived.

These include removing diseased or dead limbs, improving air circulation, and promoting vigorous growth.

The most common reason for pruning Rose of Sharon shrubs is to keep them in shape and to the correct size. With these performed, the shrub blossoms enhance your home’s surroundings.

Your Choices will Influence your Outcomes.

Persons wanting a tree out of this shrub can achieve that through pruning. However, if you only want to grow this shrub for its beauty as a flowering hedge plant, you can easily accomplish that.

Rose of Sharon wouldn’t be an excellent idea for homeowners seeking a colorful evergreen plant.

Because it’s a deciduous plant, it sheds or loses its leaves in fall or winter. As such, the tree becomes a shadow of itself during such times.

SEE: Best Time to Plant Shrubs in Northeast

However, if you’re content with its appearance during the blooming season, you will want this plant to be a part of your garden.

It’s now clear that Rose of Sharon plants can be made to grow into anything you want. In other words, you make it grow into a tree and shrub.

To grow into a tree, you only need to train it through pruning.

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